As evidence of the ongoing renewal of focus on Notes/Domino, I've occasionally pointed to the work being spearheaded by Bob Balaban.  Like Mary Beth Raven before him, it's been impressive to see the ramp-up of interactivity on his blog.  Clearly, the passion in the community that has resulted in all the growth of the last couple of years is pent-up a bit in the Notes/Domino developer community, and Bob is willing to challenge conventional wisdom in ways that have provoked good conversation and brainstorming.

I have to admit, though, that I was a bit surprised with his posting from yesterday, "Remember 'Garnet'??"  Bob revisits a project that was undertaken for Domino 6, designed to extend, or perhaps meld, the Domino programmability model with J2EE .  As long-time members of the community recall, this project -- which admittedly generated a lot of excitement in the lead-up to Domino 6 -- was dropped as we moved the Domino 6 project forward, and a change in roadmap was outlined at Lotusphere 2002.  I was part of the team that made the decision to cancel this project, and I have more arrows in my back from this single decision than any other thing that I've personally done in 13 years at Lotus.  

This is probably why a few of the comments on Bob's blog wondered what my reaction would be to his proposal to look at some of the original "Garnet" objectives, with the intention of determining what could be worthwhile and scoped in the context of Domino going forward.  Bob doesn't get all of the history right (nor would I expect him to, since he wasn't on the inside at the time), but he holds on to the most important pieces of the concept, updates them for a 2008 vision, and wonders aloud whether Domino developers would be interested in another go at this.

I can't possibly say this more strongly -- Bob's efforts to update the Notes/Domino application platform have my support 100%.  From chatting with him this afternoon, I'm comfortable that the ideas expressed on his blog today are in-line with utilizing the still-relevant parts of the "Garnet" vision, not going back to what was sometimes called a "Frankenstein" approach.  I'm even more-impressed that 45 comments in, a lot of you have reasonable yet strong opinions on the topic, too.  

It's important never to get stuck in the past -- it's too easy to say "we tried it then, it didn't work, why try again".  In fact, I still often do have to take this attitude to some of the ideas that recycle in the Notes world every few years/months.  In this case, though, a good case is put forward on why that old idea has a lot of merit today.  So go help Bob out -- let's make it work the right way, and deliver value for the long term.

Link: Bob Balaban: Remember "Garnet"?? >

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