Still a Domino developer

November 28 2006

One of the interesting thoughts that came out of Jake Howlett's twin postings last week was the sense of being "stuck" that was expressed by a number of the comments.  The feeling expressed by some is frustration, perceiving that the tools haven't evolved to meet their needs, or that IBM isn't listening and doesn't care.

I can understand some of that frustration.

Now the hard part of these types of discussions is that I've never been a developer.  I've taken programming classes, but my IT career was on the network/architecture/admin side.  So it's hard for me to relate to some of the challenges, and even harder for me to provide answers.

What I do know is that IBM has been evolving the programming model for Domino over the last several years.  New tools and new capabilities have been introduced.  There's web services in Domino 7.  The Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio.  Integration components like the Domino and Extended Products Portlets for WebSphere Portal.  Notes Access for SAP Solutions.  NSFDB2 in limited availability.

There are also the two newest tools -- Lotus Component Designer and Lotus Expeditor.  And there's the opportunity that both Expeditor and Notes 8 open up in terms of the Eclipse framework itself, for things like composite applications.  And even a possibility for Domino Designer itself to move into that Eclipse world.

With all of those new tools and capabilities, it seems to me like there has in fact been a lot of evolution -- whether every feature request or design goal for Domino Designer has been addressed thus far or not.  But all of these tools that I mentioned got scant mention in the comments on Jake's threads.  Those that did mention some of these tools seemed to get a bit of a cold shoulder (at least to me), or were critical in a way that certainly didn't encourage others to check them out.

I'm sure some of the developers out there have used some of these new tools or methods.  I'm especially interested in the Domino 7 web services capabilities, and how/if they are being used.  Notwithstanding the sometimes-valid complaints in these discussions, are there positive experiences with the new tools or methods that can be described, shared, referenced in a way that helps this discussion?  

My ultimate goal in asking is to help find ways to evolve Domino developer skills to continue to be relevant in the market, and to attract new developers.  How can we get there?

Post a Comment

  1. 1  Ben Poole http://benpoole.com |

    The evolution you're talking about is at the INFRASTRUCTURE or POLITICAL level though Ed.

    Expeditor, DB2, Websphere, SAP, Websphere Portal, web services -- the availability (or not) of these technologies is often completely out of the hands of the typical Notes & Domino developer.

    Case in point: I work for one your biggest clients, but I don't use *any* of those technologies apart from the odd bit of WAS. Heck, we've only just moved to Notes / Domino 6.x, and none of us have access to things like Websphere Studio, or Ration Developer / whatever the tools are called now.

    Domino developers want the stuff that they've been crying out for for a while now:

    - Control over the content-type punted out by their applications

    - Decent Java support

    - Boosts to agent performance (concurrency and run-time)

    - Some decent updates for Domino Designer (it needs help)

    - More compliant HTML output

    - Proper CSS support in the client

    ... etc.

    Not much to ask eh? ;o)

  1. 2  Volker Weber http://vowe.net |

    Ed, the frustration is around the fact, that Domino is broken, and not being fixed. You mention a bunch of new stuff, which makes the broken pieces even MORE frustrating.

  1. 3  Duffbert http://www.twduff.com |

    I think the comparison would be that IBM is busy working on the new addition to the back of the house, while a number of the windows out front are cracked and the roof is a bit leaky. I believe a number of the people who have weighed in on this subject would like some time spent doing the "maintenance" chores that affect every Domino developer, not just the cool new items that are often available only to the select few whose companies have gone in that direction.

  1. 4  Joe Litton http://www.joelitton.net/ |

    Ben raises some valid points, so I won't rehash those. On the positive side, I *have* been experimenting with the web services in ND7 (at home and at work), and this is a tremendous improvement over ND6. The ability to create a web service in Java or LotusScript, generate or import WSDL with a click of a button ...very much appreciated. Anyone who has not explored the Web Service design element in ND7 needs to have a look!

    Of course, we always want more :) It is still torturous to *consume* a web service from Notes. Rocky has posted some great tips. Julian has provided some wonderful tools. But it's not as easy as I would hope to see one day.

    Many organizations have drunk the SOA koolaid ...with very valid reasons. ND7 allows us to play in that space much more easily in terms of *providing* web services. The other side of that coin - badly needed - is the ability to easily enable Notes applications to consume web services.

  1. 5  Giuseppe Grasso http://www.dominopoint.it |

    well, i think we all earn living working with this product, and we like it or we were not here: i mean, if the frustration wasn't weaker than the love for domino now i will be reading a .net or a java related blog.

    but with all the love can't remove the frustration we live every day when we have to do convoluted tricks to make our site's and applications on-par with today standards; i agree with Ben Duffbert and Joe and dis-agree with volker, domino is not broken but seem like an old doc who can't (or wont) learn new tricks.

    Tanks to the nice people mentioned by Julian i can live without a web-service consuming infrastructure into the designer (the providing part is terrific! very good work) but there are things to i'm required to comply with by law in my country (details: { Link } ) so if can express a vote on something that i really need now to make my life as a domino developer nicer is an (x)html strict compliant nHTTP task and a way to make hotspots work even without javascript.

  1. 6  Bob Balfe http://balfes.net/blog |

    Web services is the way for Domino developers to have an on-ramp to the overall services model. With the introduction of Expeditor running in the client (which houses a full web and portlet container) you are going to see many opportunities for current Domino developers and other developers (J2EE, Web, Eclipse, and Java) integrating their technology with Domino and Notes applications.

    The Composite Application Editor and integration with the Expeditor property broker are going to allow all of these technologies to work together declaratively.

  1. 7  Ketan Patel  |

    Web service consumer is coming in Notes/Domino 8.

  1. 8  Andrew Pollack http://www.thenorth.com/apblog |

    ...it's the existing features that are seemingly abandoned that are killing us.

    The #1 nightmare is the html output which is largely state of the art for 1998. Many items are very hard to hit with css selectors. Others can be accessed but the default properties make them unusable.

    Other things:

    1. Frames are dead. Let them die. They have no business in a modern application.

    2. Rich text fields need web-sensible flags that let you turn off embedded HTML & script so they can't be entered by domino savy users who use "[ <" syntax

    3. We must have a way to disable xml url commands on a per view/form/navigator/etc. basis.

    That's what comes to mind right away.

  1. 9  Gavin Bollard http://dominogavin.blogspot.com/ |

    Ed, I was talking to a developer recently while he did some work and was watching close the properties dialog box. I said, "isn't it annoying how you can't switch between the notes client and the developer without closing the properties box"

    He replied that it was annoying him, but not as much as the "font problem". Both are very old developer issues which I know have been raised before.

    1. There needs to be a shared WISHLIST for features and Fixes to Designer. (it needs to be easy to access - RSS?).

    2. There needs to be some sort of IBM committment to fixing obvious shortcomings like these.

  1. 10  mike  |

    Domino 7 web services is crap for anything than the basic basic usage.

    Try and do anything with it ( ie: use classes ) and it simply won't work, so we run an extra layer through a Tomcat server.

    HTML rendering is a run away monster.

    Java support. Period. Sucks.

  1. 11  mike  |

    Make no mistake, i'm a passionate Notes person, but it's getting harder and harder to defend it against these .Net and microsoft evangelists.

  1. 12  Bruce Elgort http://www.TakingNotesPodcast.com |

    @Gavin,

    Check out Salesforce.com's Idea Exchange:

    { Link }

  1. 13  Lee Davis  |

    One thing I think you fail to realize is the version lag. It is hard for an ISV to move to R7-only design until a large majority of the customers/prospects have moved. My experience is it takes at least a year longer than blogs & enthusiasts say for the bulk to migrate. So while you talk about Rn+2 internally and Beta Rn+1, I am still using Rn-1 (e.g. using R6.5 designer although 7 is current and 8 near beta.) This is not a criticism but a fact of enterprise software whether Domino or Db2 or Exchange or Oracle or SAP; there is not much you can do about that ( well a Hannover+1 designer that could produce a true Hannover database would be huge ) So I am not sure if you fully internalize that while you know what is in the Hannover and beyond pipeline, my frustrations are with R6.5 and no feature in Hannover, no matter how appeciated it will be in the future will, changes today's frustration.

    If one were starting fresh today, let's just say that Portal/WAS/JSP/SQL is a viable alternative to Domino. But you are getting this pushback from people with a decade of experience and applications with Notes. Like @1, I do not see how any of the tools you mentioned - DTWS, DEPP, NASS, LCD with the exception of Expediter - while good products - will do anything in the next 3 years to address the long-term Notes developer. Nor do I see why you would think they would. Partly you are hoisted on the petard of past Domino success: a Domino developer had few "system integration" worries - did not have to worry about the LDAP server, web server, SQL server, or Application server, Many Notes developers are not skilled or interested in finding out who the multiple gatekeepers are in the organization to find out how they can get the technical and political support to deliver a solution that blends Domino with WPS/WAS/TLA, My guess is that for a number of these long-timers, anything you say that involves WPS/WAS will not be considered as responsive to their pain/frustration.

    It is also frustrating that when the BEA, Oracle, Borland etc are all on a clear path to Eclipse development (I even have a couple of Ruby and Rails development choices in Eclipse) that there is nothing definitive about an Eclipse-based IDE for WAS-less Domino; if anyone should be supportive of Eclipse it is a division of IBM. My take is that most any efforts made on the existing non-Eclipse IDE is throw-away code; but until you announce the commitment to an Eclipse-based IDE for tradional (non-WPS/WAS) domino databases, the frustration over the lack of progress in Designer is going to grow.

    I am not sure whether this is spin ( i.e. there are decisions that are right for IBM's bottom line - e.g. no Solaris Notes client or Mac Notes Designer - that will not be popular with some and you need deflect their frustrations and put the product in a favorable light. Every company has to make decisions like this; it's a fact of life and priorities. ) Otherwise, when developers are looking for continued improvement along the R3 4 4.5 4.6 5 6 6.5 arc they may see some of these fine products as irrelevant, or negative - taking resources that could better be spent on my pet feature - or worse case the hopefully put-to-bed "Domino is dead" theory. I do not see how DTWS, DEPP, NASS, LCD have any impact on long-time, traditional Notes developers' frustrations.

  1. 14  Rob McDonagh http://www.CaptainOblivious.com |

    LCD (I have a funny feeling IBM will never use that abbreviation in public, unless the Denis Leary ads are about to be replaced with Dr Timothy Leary ads...), from what I've seen so far, is effectively Domino Designer for Portal. I'm pretty excited about it. It looks great, and when I project my team of Domino developers out into the future, my preferred scenario has some of them using LCD against a Portal backend while others focus on Notes 8 apps by putting composite applications together, preferably including some native Notes apps plus some of those LCD-build components/portlets running on our Portal servers.

    There is, however, one enormous hurdle that must be cleared in order for any of that to happen: my organization must spend boatloads of money building up a Portal infrastructure. Hardware, licensing, admin and implementation for Portal is *not* cheap. Compare that to the cost of a Domino server. That's the entry point for each set of developer tools, and unless LCD will be able to deploy a portlet/component to a pure Domino server without Portal, the toolsets are mutually exclusive. So I can't give my developers LCD, because I don't have a Portal for them to deploy anything to.

    I think this issue is probably very well known inside IBM, but it's not going away. So how does IBM get developers excited about the new opportunities? Figure out a way to make those opportunities available to more than just the lucky few. I don't know how you do that, and I'm sure smarter people than me have thought about it. There's been quite a bit of back-and-forth over IBM presence, or lack thereof, in the SMB market, and a number of new offerings have been announce to try to make Domino (and Portal, too) more affordable for smaller shops. But even with lower license costs for smaller organizations (which doesn't help my Fortune 150 company... /whinge), the hardware needed for a Portal installation is non-trivial. The setup is much better in 6 than it was in 5, but it still takes a couple of days to get it all running. And managing a complex and powerful environment like that is no small matter either.

    It all boils down to a simple fact: there are an awful lot of Domino shops that will not have Portal. What is IBM's pitch to *those* Domino developers? Web Services? They are generally most useful in larger SOA environments. Domino Designer inside of Eclipse sounds neat, but unless the functionality provided by Designer is significantly enhanced it will be a wasted effort. We don't even know if true Composite Apps and Activities will be available in Notes 8 for customers with a pure Domino environment, with no additional servers and licenses required, do we?

    Must. Stop. Rambling. Summary: there's some cool technology coming down the pike, but most Domino developers have little to no reason to expect that those cool tools will be in their hot little hands anytime soon, if at all. The tools they do have are powerful but quirky, effective but old-fashioned, and they're jealous of their colleagues who get to take the snazzy new Ruby on Rails (2 years ago this was LAMP; next time: who knows???) out for a spin.

  1. 15  Senthil Kumar http://senthilkumars.blogspot.com |

    When i think about LND and all the discussions that is going on in the community recently, this is what comes to my mind.

    Instead of doing 1000 things 80% right, why can't we do 100 things 100% right. Will it solve everyone's problem?

    As Julian pointed out some days ago, "Yeah Lotus Notes Can Do That Too". True, my feeling is that thats the problem too.

    Because its very hard to explain its very hard to sell. And because of the UI alone, its sometimes very hard to convince the customers the true potential of the platform.

    But lets say if LND picks out certain areas (Email, Collaborative Document Management, Content Management, Workflow or anything that is related to unstructured information) and do it so well would anyone dare to think of doing the same work in any other platform??

    Will the day come such that if there is a project with unstructured data then it should be done with LOTUS NOTES DOMINO :)

    Is it very difficult to release LND as a platform specific release. Meaning, when am using LND in Windows everything should behave very much windows way and with mac the mac way etc?? Similarly when i develop applications it should also look the OS way.

    Yeah Notes Hannover looks very pretty but when i develop usual NSF applications will the application look similar to the Notes Hannover client or will it look my usual NSF application?

  1. 16  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    There's nothing on anyone's list here that hasn't been posted a dozen times in a dozen different locations to no avail. The problem isn't the citing of wishlists. The problem is that Domino Designer just doesn't get the attention it needs to satisfy your noisy developer base.

    I mean, think about it Ed: I have literally been asking for Designer to understand multi-NSF applications for OVER A DECADE. You can't even so much as programmatically control the target of an embedded view. *eye roll*

    Yeah, the advancements are great, but if I can alter Duffbert's analogy a bit... you're adding a beautiful facade and landscaping to a house that's got a backed-up septic tank and termites in the basement.

    You need to fly the top 15 guys from successful OpenNTF apps to Westford for a 3 day sit-down with Maureen, and give them carte blanche on what Designer 8+1 should look like.

  1. 17  Karen  |

    It's @1 and @2. It's about "very old developer issues which I know have been raised before", per @9.

    Respectfully, if "The economy, stupid" worked for the Democrats in 1992, then maybe "Domino Designer, stupid" should be the slogan for Domino developers in 2007. :-|

    I appreciate that you're trying to understand, Ed.

  1. 18  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    Ed, as others have said, it's absolutely infuriating to see all this focus on Portal and Websphere while the tools we have supported for years languish despite our continual outcry. Lotus Component Designer, Lotus Expeditor, Workplace Forms... yeah, that's all great... what about *Domino*?

    I don't know what having Notes running on Eclipse really means to me as a user, administrator or developer. Everyone keeps talking about it like it's the best thing since air. The screenshots look nice, but so far there has been no information other than some confusing stuff about Expeditor.

    It is pretty telling that you didn't list anything but Notes Access for SAP and NSFDB2 as the only purely Domino solutions. I'm feeling very much like I'm being forced into Websphere and Portal technologies and Java development, and I don't like it one bit.

  1. 19  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @16 - Well said. I would have listed specific problems if I thought it mattered, but I've done that numerous times already and it hasn't gotten me anywhere. At the end of the day that's what has me so disillusioned about continuing with Domino development. There's so much more Domino could be if they would invest in improving its capabilities and give us the tools to exploit its power.

  1. 20  axel  |

    a) Webservices

    Its a moving target. There are all those WS- bonus specifications for transaction, message securtiy, adressing, etc in the making. There is another non-SOAP concept getting strong called REST.

    When I try to learn new things with Webservices/SOA I would prefer Java, (as a .NET-programmer I am a bit unexperienced). In Javaland you get constantly new APIs which

    a) make xml stuff really easier (for me: XOM, JDom, JAXB)

    b) support newest things in Webservices (remember those WS- stuff and REST).

    Notes is based on Axis1. Now there is Axis2. And Xfire on Codehaus as an interesting java-only. You get lots of articles, demo programs, tool support on eclipse and netbeans, integration in other frameworks like Spring, heck even comercial and free certification. And a lot of the source code is open source so you can learn from it. Last thing is hard but I discover me doing this more and more.

    Lotus mentioned last year that they will make document based model for SOA more prominent than rpc based model for SOA. This is in sync with what is said elsewhere. But elsewhere has allready made transition to document based. At least I heard nothing from Lotus in that really important issue.

    b) Eclipse

    The object model of Eclipse is far more complex than that of for example Lotus Script. Practicing OO on your own helps to make the Eclipse-plug-in thing your friend. And not few Notes developers show a strange resistance even against GOF patterns. I had the opportunity to produce a tool with it in my day job. And so far it worked fine. Of course The long years of being also a Java developer does help a lot.

    I think that those new tools, platforms and frameworks require a slightly different type of developer. Things are now far better documented, easier to integrate, somehow less nasty surprises. But the complexity also has its costs... Nevertheless market demand drives part of this complexity.

    I wouldn't like to see this thread degrade into an ideological debate between: need-no-shiny-new-tool & innovation-is-real fraction. Count me in the second group. From my personal experience it works.

    kind regards

    Axel

  1. 21  Tom Roberts  |

    I'm echoing a bit of what's been said in earlier posts, but the biggest issue I deal with on a frequent basis is the lack of (easy) control over the html output from Domino.

    Domino and the Designer client do a very good job at rapid application development, provided you don't care about the cleanliness of the code generated. What's missing is an advanced developer's interface in which to design applications, and a matching mode in Domino that allows and advanced developer to bypass the automatic html generated by Domino.

    Domino generates html like other WYSIWYG web development tools from the mid to late 90's. While these tools were great magical black boxes for many people wanting to design web sites without knowing html, people who know html, javascript, and other web technologies bypass these products for ones that allow full control over the html output. Further, a great number of changes have taken place in web standards, standards compliance, web design philosophies, web browsers and browser features in the past 10 years. The more advanced programmers working with the Notes/Domino platform that wish to optimize the code they write and implement current best practices in web development are constantly fighting with the Domino platform and its' mid 90's paradigm for web development.

    To me, it's not about Notes/SAP integration wizards, WebSphere Portlets, or many of the other tools aimed at developers. It is nice to see continued investment by IBM in Lotus Notes and integration topics. However, from my perspective, a standards based web browser is my universal client. Developing applications for a standards based web browser is the focus of my activities. Using Domino as my web development platform is not a good choice if things like writing lean code, using semantic markup, or fully implementing css are goals.

    A frustrating part of this is that Notes/Domino understands concepts like separation of data and presentation. A Notes document simply contains fieldnames and values (ignoring RichText). The form design controls the presentation of the data. It's not a far stretch to make an analogy between a Notes Form and a Notes Document to XSLT and XML. Further, the Notes client understands the use of styles for text and effects formatting, like stylesheets on the web. By creating your own classes and agents in a Domino app, you can get a pretty darn close analogy to a MVC (Model View Controller) environment. Domino has always been architected this way. This makes it at least appear to not require a complete overhaul to better leverage the Domino architecture.

    As long as Domino Designer is targeted at RAD developers that don't need to know how to code to make applications, and does not allow advanced developers to easily control the code generated by the Domino Web Engine, a significant portion of the developer base will move away from Domino as their skills grow. Additionally, programmers will not be attracted to move away from their current platforms to Domino because of the sacrifices that must be made in the amount of control they have over the environment.

    It appears that IBM is not focused on web browsers as a high priority client for Domino applications. While other parts of IBM appear to be very focused on topics like open standards and platform agnostic clients (SOA, On-Demand Business, Linux initiatives and standards development and support), the Lotus products seem to be out of sync with these initiatives by targeting a proprietary client (Notes) and not updating the Domino web engine as the web development paradigms change.

    If IBM focused on a standards compliant browser as a much higher priority target client for Notes/Domino applications, and provided a development environment similar to a what's being used by people developing against LAMP, Ruby on Rails, or other web platforms, I think more developers would stay on Domino or consider Domino as a web development platform. The people speaking out against Domino and the Designer client are developing applications for web browsers.

  1. 22  Patrix  |

    So, this man was dead on for once?

    { Link }

    :-)

  1. 23  Lionel Conforto http://double-six.org |

    Hi Ed,

    Many are concerned by long time weaknesses that have never been adressed. At the end it's frustrating. But all in all, I am still a big fan of Domino dev. And the more I know other tools, the more I like Domino.

    I have written a serie of 3 articles (in French sorry) about why Domino is a good choice for web design. The advantage I appreciate the most is that with a single set of skills I can address ALL aspects of an application: front end, back end, database, roles, profiles, ssl, authentication, ldap, servlets, css, etc

    { Link }

    If I had to deliver the same products with, say Java, I would need to master more tools and to hire more specialists.

    BR, Lionel

  1. 24  Michael  |

    Much as been said. To sum up my feelings I would say :

    A relatively small set of features and some fixes added to designer could turn this tool from a "good" RAD for Domino to an Excellent web application developer tool.

    And what's annoying is that we see a lot of efforts going in some ways that, I'm sorry to say, are not that valuable (besides marketing): all the Domino stuff that's been done for portal (domino app portlet, xml services for common pim portlet, domino view portlet maybe rewrittten 3 times, Domino application builder, Portlet factory for Domino, Domino SDO, Domino toolkit for websphere studio) : many have been dropped, many are useless besides demo time (do you know one customer investing such an amount of money a portal needs to use a notes view portlet which is close to, well, unusable).

    The worst is when you look at Lotus Component Designer : we know that the team get's the idea and can get things done. This tool is VERY promissing. But once again, the vast majority of Domino customers do not have portal and won't have it for years (at least till the portal deployement model improves dramatically, the infrastructure needed becomes reasonable for SMB and all the batch configuration weirdness is gone)

    There are some very gifted and very devoted people in the domino designer team (Andre G. for exemple). I think they really need more attention, more help and in the end more "money"...they and we deserve it.

    PS : of course, as Bob B. said, Expeditor etc is very cool...but the time when the majority of customers have re-moved to "rich client" model is not tomorrow. And there will still be the need for excellent web app server to deliver web app. And in our Domino community, we all think that with a little more attention, Domino could become one of the best web app server out there.

  1. 25  Stuart McIntyre http://macsfacts.vox.com |

    Fascinating discussion folks...

    @18: Charles says "Lotus Component Designer, Lotus Expeditor, Workplace Forms... yeah, that's all great... what about *Domino*?"

    I see the dificulty (from my inherent viewpoint as an IBM partner) being that all the above generate "net new" revenue for IBM, whereas wholesale changes in the Domino Designer won't be as justifiable in terms of the considerable internal investment required by IBM.

    Therefore, could anyone put forward changes to DomDesigner that would:

    a) improve the lot for the poor Domino developers out there, including fixing the long-running irritations pointed out above, and in previous discussions, and

    b) potentially increase the licencing revenue that IBM sees from Domino Designer or related products? i.e. by selling more copies of Designer, or by cross-selling other products in the portfolio?

    Just a thought...

  1. 26  Ed Maloney  |

    Many, many excellent posts in this thread. And still, you can bet that the keynote address at Lotusphere '07 will be "portal-portal-portal". How many years have we been watching this movie?(5!) Domino has been losing market and mind share the whole time. In the current vision of Hannover/Expeditor/LCD we are still 2-3 years away from any impact in the marketplace. I think that IBM has a last opportunity to fix/update Domino before it goes the way of OS/2.

  1. 27  Ross Hawkins http://www.rosshawkins.net/ |

    I really don't feel that making a load of fixes/enhancements to Domino Designer will help a lot in terms of attracting new developers - however it would definately go some way to help prevent frustrating new blood too quickly, as well as helping satisfy the complaints of the veterans out there.

    Sometimes developers can be a fickle bunch, and often all it can take is seeing an awesome site out in the wild, and having someone say "Hey, that was done in Domino".

    Increased ROI? Synergistic enhancements? A Jedi craves not these things. Sometimes all a Jedi wants to do is look at something that impresses them for whatever reason and say "wow, I want to be a part of that".

  1. 28  Axel Janssen  |

    [quote]

    If I had to deliver the same products with, say Java, I would need to master more tools and to hire more specialists.

    [/quote]

    Gents. Please. Its statement like that... no nice. Ask yourselve: Do you really know? Can you proof it? Have you really tried?

    I have coded smart, JavaScript heavy Domino views, etc. for succesfull projects back in 1999/2000. And xslt-heavy stuff for IE in autumn 2000. I had my own webdevelopment for Domino training material.

    But you simply know that with using "Java" the whole thing is getting far more expensive.

    I can assure you that by choosing good framework stack, web development with Java can be really quick.

    If the Domino community (which I feel part of as black sheep) refuses to learn new open standard, it will loose value and standing inside IBM.

    A lot of you may know that "with just a few changes" Domino will become very great Web development platform. Unfortunatedly we can't proof it. Its a non-falsifiable statement. It won't happen.

  1. 29  Phil  |

    Thank you Ed for asking the question. It must be hard to hear all these apparently negative comments from more eloquent people than me but hopefully it will help reinforce the point that we want tools that will allow us to not just compete but laugh in the face of the competition. While all these new tools might do that there is a long list of issues that could be addressed. We're all a bit puzzled why they haven't been.

    For example at a Lotusphere comes to you session in London (which was really good) we were shown a new designer tool but I came away from it thinking "I can do all that in domino designer already why do I need this?" and "why spend all those resources producing this new tool rather than improve what we have?"

    Webservices in 7 have already proved useful, a big improvement over R6 and a good start.

  1. 30  Richard van Geilswyk  |

    @12 - Wow!

    It would be amazing if IBM could adopt something similar for their client and server products.

  1. 31  Hynek Kobelka http://www.pylonware.com |

    I am not arguing that the designer could not be improved, but from todays situation i would say that IBM/Lotus is doing the right thing: IMPROVING THE CLIENT ! (above everything else)

    This is right now much more important than adding any new tricks and goodies (or even removing our biggest pains) to us developers.

    What good is it if I get a convenient and intuitive development tool if my poor users will still hate the client where my applications are running ?

    I will be much better off if the users will love the client and I as a developer will have to use a somehow older development environment,

    where not everything shines (and i have to use tons of workarounds for a lot of things :-))) I lived with this the last ten years, I can do a few more.

    So i would say to Lotus: Don't spend even one developer on improving the Domino Server or Domino Designer. Put everyone on the client.

    You need to make this "perfect" in the next release. (Its properbly the last chance you have. OK, that was mean :-)) but i really think that it is.)

    PS: I know that this does not apply too much for someone who develops web only applications with domino, but I don't, and I actually never understood the advantages in doing so.

  1. 32  Thomas Schulte http://www.welovenotesbut.com/blog |

    my two cent

    What Nathan said sounds for me the best possible action IBM could do. Perhaps they should not only invite those who write the top 15 applications over there but also people as Jake Howlett, Bill Buchan and so on. Not only for three days but for a week of concentrated work. And getting through the posts at notes.net (it is still this name for me) might deliver a huge set of qirks not really solved. Not only Web wise but also base things that do not work in the client the way they should.

    Indeed Domino/Notes has added lots and lots of features over the last years but as it was said on several occasions. A new paint does not wipe away the need to do maintainance.

  1. 33  Cesar Zavala  |

    Ed, thanks for trying to understand the situation. I agree with a lot of the posts here, I might add that maybe the you also have to look at the profile of the Notes developers.

    In my case, I think similar to many around here, I was a developer/consultant trying to sell apps, and loved Domino but couldn't sell it to small businesses. I found it hard, really hard, to even get prices from IBM Mexico. I know maybe it's not IBM focus, but that's where Microsoft came really handy. And as much as I loved Domino, I went with the Microsoft side to deliver things that my Small Business Customers wanted. I felt that I had control on the things that I delivered, and I wouldn't let my customers depend on IBM for further upgrades (since the service was so bad).

    And yes, being used to have everything integrated in Domino, I had to learn and do things myself that Domino did. So I realized that I loved Domino for it's simplicity and integratation. But then with Websphere things became in my viewpoint as complicated as with other tools (Microsoft and other alternatives). And then there was all this period of not knowing if IBM was going to support Domino. I wouldn't even think of any of those Customers buying Websphere or anything more than a small integrated server.

    That's the story. I'm now mainly working for a Company that has Domino, and adding Websphere is a possibility, but we don't want more software/complexity/costs and would rather stay with Domino as long as possible.

    I can see value on the new tools and all the new technologies available. And to ease the adoption of these tools, I'd think IBM can:

    * Get a developers site where you could easily compare or see where you're pushing Domino to its limits and where it would be better to use some other IBM technologies.

    * A developers guide to Websphere Admin, it's hard to come from a Domino perspective where one could do a fast/easy install of the server and show an application, and I didn't find that with Websphere. I'd even think of a "shortened" Websphere environment for Domino developers that could be installed as easy (I went to a websphere training course some time ago and it took us 2 days to install the basic stuff with just the sample apps ... I couldn't make a "hello world" app there, so as much as I wanted to know the latest technologies when I went back to work I found it hard to try to do something there).

    Hope this helps, I think there are lots of good things there, an we have the resources, maybe we need a recipe for the different developer profiles to get there.

    Thanks.

  1. 34  Keith Smillie http://www.domiclipse.com |

    Documentation! How am I supposed to document my increasingly large and complex Notes applications?

    LSDoc goes a long way to addressing the issue but it's something that should be built into the product!

    It can't even be that difficult to do... add a Rich Text $documentation item to all design elements and then add a Documentation tab to the Properties dialog!

  1. 35  Patrix  |

    @23

    Lionel, I Babelfished your articles. Very interesting read. Links to the translastions:

    { Link }

    { Link }

    { Link }

    I hope you don't mind me sharing.

  1. 36  Patrix  |

    @35 I beleive "waiter" in the articles should read "server" :-)

    But machine traslations are amazingly quite readable these days

  1. 37  Sean Jennings  |

    @31 Hynek is right,the focus of Note 8/Hannover has to be getting the client right, this is the face of Notes that end-users see and generally deride for being old-fashioned.

    Its great that IBM is producing all these new tools, such as LCD and Expeditor, but it can be difficult to someone from a pure Domino background to know how these all fit together (especially when product names keep changing).

    If its dificult for us, its more difficult for the management that we have to coax into buying these for us... which relates to @25

    So why not bump-up the price of Domino Designer, both the initial cost and the annual software-assurance cost, but bundle in all these new tools as part of the installation-package? Then alot of corporate Domino Developers will actually get the opportunity to try-out these new tools.

    Moving Designer to Eclipse sounds the logical thing to do, given that IBM appears to be moving so many other tools to it (eg Rational). It would proably make it far easier to keep Designer updated with all the latest new technologies as they appear in the market as well as making it easier to integrate-with (ie cross-sell) other IBM tools.

    It also seems strange that while Notes 8 is going to be installable as an Eclipse plug-in (or as a traditional stand-alone client) the same options don't appear to be happening for Designer.

    Perhaps we need a Lotus Blog by the guys responsible for Designer?

  1. 38  John Turnbow http://www.validxtek.com |

    Would like to see NATIVE AJAX TOOLS, NATIVE ability to CONSUME WEB SERVICES, WEB DEVELOPMENT.

    Having these tools means that we have a standard level of WEB application development across all Domino Developers rather than some good and some marginal.

    Microsoft has figured this out.. Why can't Lotus/IBM????? Can always do more than what is "native", and we need a Native environment.

    I don't like the idea of going to 3d parties for support of AJAX tools, creating my own programs to consume web services... I can do both, but is considerablly more work than if all were available native in Domino where I have to CONSTANTLY build a tool that should already be there!!!!

  1. 39  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    Designer on Eclipse is coming: { Link }

  1. 40  John Turnbow http://www.validxtek.com |

    And, while I have the opportunity to vent. Why do I see IBM as a major sponsor at the AJAX World Expo { Link } but no "native" tools for DOMINO (yet again)....

    Also, watch out, Micorosft not sponsoring anything but they are sending a team of 5 to view all. Nothing illegal, immoral probably as you'll probably see things from the expo show up in MS Atlas for AJAX... mmmm and still no answer from IBM for Domino...

  1. 41  Axel Janssen  |

    @John: IBM participates in a set of plug-ins for AJAX dev based on Eclipse. Is openSource initiative and called ATF.

    { Link }

    For Eclipse/RCP platform don't miss to contribute questions to the exam in JavaBlackbelt (which is in beta).

    Or rate my contributions with the well deserved 5 stars :-)

    { Link }

    Expeditor is based on Eclipse plug-ins. There are tons of open source plug-ins out there in the wild. Especially interesting for Domino might be this: { Link } . Also it has very good documentation to get started.

    If you look at Domino bloggers which do a lot of Webservice like Julian Robichaux or Mikkel Heisterberg, you might note that they don't talk too much about Websphere. At least for development more lightweight server is better. Like Tomcat. Or once I have developed on JBoss app which was deployed also on Websphere Application Server.

    Long time ago the IBM 486 exam gave me a lot of valuable insights in the rationale behind all this OO-mumboJambo.

  1. 42  Patrix  |

    { Link }

    ;-)

  1. 43  John Turnbow http://www.validxtek.com |

    How right you are... OK Cancel...

  1. 44  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    Ed, is there anyone at a senior level on the core dev team who could be called "Domino Developer Advocate?" That's really what you need. I don't know that Maureen could be called that, given that she's really working on other products/projects these days. Plus, my understanding is that she's never had any sort of control over a team, though I could easily be wrong about that.

    I mean, given that Lotus has had a development platform on the market now for 17 years, one would think that there would be one person who's sole job it was to make developers on that platform happy. That seems like a pretty valuable role to me -- at least if you think that the value proposition of Domino is that you can build great stuff with it, not that it's email & IM out of the box.

  1. 45  Alan Bell http://www.astoryforbedtime.com |

    on the subject of web services, I have to confess that I really don't get the point. I have heard all the marketing speak about exposing the business logic at the click of a checkbox, but my application's business logic isn't generally all contained in an agent. It is all about the forms and views and action buttons, this is supported by a few agents in places.

    The second gap in my understanding is that if I have the perfect application for exposing as web services then I talk to folk who work on iSeries applications like BPCS about data and business logic integration using web services, XML WSDL etc. they haven't got the foggiest idea what I am talking about.

    I would certainly be interested in adding web services to an application if I had someone come to me with some client software which wanted to consume my application as a web service, but this has not happened to date.

  1. 46  Alan Smith  |

    The main problem, from my own point of view is that the client has evolved to include things like the DB2 integration, and in 7, WebServices. With 8 it is composite applications. However, although it is possible to implement these features, they're not as well supported as historically the new developer features have been. For example, when the ability to host notes applications as a web application was included there was lots of integration into the Domino Designer UI, it was obvious how we, the developers could exploit this technology... And most importantly it was implemented in a consistant way. The features which have been added, such as DB2 integration and WebServices is badly concieved and is too different from how Domino Developers are working.

    Is it possbily more akin to WAS? (Or is that Rational Developer these days...?) Not sure, I've never used it... I'm a Domino developer ;).

  1. 47  axel  |

    Interesting. For certain group DB2integration, Eclipse, Webservices does not qualify for "true" Domino features. They don't care much about that crap.

    On the other hand their relationship towards "true" Domino features can only be compared with that excited in the hearts of 14 year old girls in a "New Kids on the blog concert" (or other boy group). :-)

  1. 48  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    At the risk of looking like a flaming ass, I have to say that I'm absolutely gobsmacked that you're asking this question, Ed. We've had this discussion a number of times. The shortcomings in Domino and Domino Designer have been discussed to death. At no point in any of the exchanges did anyone say "you know what, I want IBM to give me another server platform with a different programming environment and a different set of languages to use, then give me tools to integrate it back to Domino." That's exactly what we were given, though. What we did was outline a list of things that are broken and need to be fixed... and we were given a whole bunch of Websphere-related components. Are we ever going to get the stuff we asked for, or should we just start porting apps to Portal to get the functionality we need?

  1. 49  Dale Cybela  |

    I'm not a developer (anymore), I'm on the Admin side, but I do interact with the developers. New stuff is cool and needs to be there (in some capacity) to keep up with "the new kids", but I have to agree that a "Fix the basics" campaign needs to be waged at IBM.

    @3 - I agree with you, but at least the Designer Client is being worked on, the Administration Client hasn't had any work since R5 - I can't even count how many years that has been.

  1. 50  Maureen Leland http://mvgirl.blogspot.com |

    A few thoughts from this corner.

    I have led several teams - first the Domino Designer team for V6 and most of 7, and currently the UI team of Lotus Component Designer. And I have an additional team working on putting Domino Designer in Eclipse right now. And yes, I get to code myself, too, which ensures my sanity :-)

    Domino Designer indeed needs some work, and that is the major motivation for bringing it to Eclipse. The work required to do this will pay off both in the short term, as we will be able to add a LotusScript class browser, but also long term because as Eclipse evolves, its enhancements will come in to the platform for free. Style sheet editors and similar features will just fall into place.

    There is much to be done, but it really is happening. Once Domino Designer is on Eclipse, the LCD plugins can OPTIONALLY just be added in, and you can work in the same IDE with both products, making it easier to bridge the worlds.

    Putting Designer in Eclipse doesn't address all that it needs. But it (long term) frees us from building script editors and the framework, freeing up more time to work on core issues.

  1. 51  John Head http://www.johndavidhead.com |

    Problem is sooooo much of this stuff is not just about Designer, its core Server and Client fixes. Stuff link HTML output, java support, built in web framework like Dojo, etc all require changes to the server, client, and the NSF foundation. You can not just put folks on the Designer to make things better. Sure, you could solve simple problems like the Debugger being weak and the properties box causing problems .. but these changes require a complete mindset change. You have to want to make the whole product better at being a web application platform. You made the mindset change for the Hannover/8 client by moving to Eclipse and rebuilding from the ground up. You need to do the same for web applications.

  1. 52  LongliveLotus  |

    Notes.net - kudos to IBM for providing the discussion forums but look at the list in there of :

    mistakes that many people repeatedly make,

    the functionality that people repeatedly cry out for,

    the how do I do this/fix/this/make this work that people repeatedly cry out for.... yada yada

    MANY OF THESE ISSUES SHOULD BE PROACTIVELY LOOKED AT AND FIXED IN THE PRODUCT.

    THE CORE DESIGNER CLIENT HAS NOT MOVED ON FOR MANY MANY YEARS.

    Every year at lotusphere I bug people and every year heads are noddded and every year nothing happens...

    My pet peeve is making changes to a view with, say 50,000 documents in. I make a change in designer, click the refresh data icon and then wait for 50,000 documents/indexes to sort themselves out then display in the view. I ONLY WANT TO SEE 20 DOCs TO ENSURE THE CHANGES I'VE MADE ARE OK - that should take zero seconds not any number greater than zero to infinity.

    Ed - the other Notes related product launches are seemingly drawing attention away from the fact that the designer client is not keeping up with the times and this will come and bite IBM if it is not careful (as I think you already suspect...)

    Many, many, of us are solely Notes run businesses, dont use Websphere/whatever and possibly never will.

    Personally, I felt real (perceived or imagined) IBM pressure to move into Websphere a couple of years ago, now I feel we need to look at moving to something because of apathy and neglect...

    We love Notes, heeeelllppppp

  1. 53  Rob Koppe  |

    @48 - I think your point is dead on. I need tool enhancements that make my everyday design work more productive. Tools that don't meet this requirement will typically get the "cold shoulder". I need to spend my time fighting to get standard, clean, modern web applications out of what I've been given.

  1. 54  Richard Moy  |

    @8 Andrew Pollack

    I disagree with you on the frames. Since CSS is broken on the Notes client frames are critical to our development. IBM should just fix the many flaws that frames have, like javascript implementation.

    I would be happy if IBM just fix the things that are broken in the Notes client 6.5/7 and give us more control over the look and feel of the client. The Hannover client seem to heading toward bloatware. Domino and Notes does everything that I need and IBM keeps pushing Websphere and Workplace which maybe fine for large enterprises that have a huge support and infrastructures. Most of my clients both small to enterprise use Domino and the Notes client and do not use Websphere, Portal, or Workplace and have no plans.

    I have asked the IBM developers the same questions over and over about fixing the based problems in the Notes client and Designer but the answer is the "next version."

    From what I have heard the Notes 8 client will be much bigger than the Notes 7 client. IBM seems to be adding everything but the kitchen sink into the Hannover client. I would rather see a lighter client that works. If organization do not have Websphere Portal and Workplace they should be given the option to turn off those features off.

    Better yet, Ed, there should be an option to not install or remove different parts of the client which an organization would not need.

    I have making my living on Notes and Domino for the past 15 years. I have tried other technologies and Domino is still the best and IBM should spend more investment on it crown jewel. Yes, IBM is spending x amount of dollars creating new version and marketing the product again as the Exchange killer. But the the main advantage of Domino really is as an rapid application development platform that is secure and scalable with a low overhead in maintaining. IBM should be marketing Domino the advantages as an application development platform. There has been too much emphasis on Webphere and Websphere Portal when it come to applications. Try running them on a Pentium II/III server with 512 Mbytes of memory. I know of a number of companies running Domino server on those platforms.

  1. 55  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @50 - Maureen, I know you're doing all you can and your efforts are sincerely appreciated. I spoke with your at Lotusphere and I know you're frustrated as well. The difference is we're the ones trying to make a living using the product we've been told repeatedly is going to get fixed. As Richard says, we keep getting told "next version", and have been strung along for a decade or more. If I were less hard headed I would just give up, go to cooking school, and be a chef instead. I'm sure Ed likes the sound of that right about now. :-)

  1. 56  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @50 - Maureen, I know you're doing all you can and your efforts are sincerely appreciated. I spoke with your at Lotusphere and I know you're frustrated as well. The difference is we're the ones trying to make a living using the product we've been told repeatedly is going to get fixed. As Richard says, we keep getting told "next version", and have been strung along for a decade or more. If I were less hard headed I would just give up, go to cooking school, and be a chef instead. I'm sure Ed likes the sound of that right about now. :-)

  1. 57  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    By the way... is the comment box funky for anyone else? It doesn't have the sunken border effect anymore for me. And I'm not sure why my last comment was submitted twice.

  1. 58  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    Maureen, nice to hear from you.

    The issues at hand are not about Designer per se. Yes, we'd all like to see an LS class browser, a formula debugger, and some better editors. But, at least to me, these are side issues. There's much bigger overall need to refocus the entire product on development. Everything from the HTTP rendering engine, to the agent manager, to rich text, to the indexer, needs to go on the table to say "how should this work to empower our developer base?"

    The good part is: Domino has an incredibly noisy and loyal developer base, so you won't have ANY problem getting feedback on this stuff if you just focus the questions.

  1. 59  axel  |

    The arguments brought up by Maureen Leeland are convincing. Other companies are using Eclipse as their development platform, too. Why not Lotus.

    Some veterans here seem to think that IBM just should hand them over the steering wheel and problems will become issues of the past. I don't believe in this as a developer. Looking from the outside is simpel. But changing all this huge C-code base is another story.

    Eclipse has had a huge impact on tools vendors. So why shouldn't it have on Domino. Is Domino Designer so great.

    peace Axel

  1. 60  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    Because it's not just about Designer. At least 60% of the overall issues are actually about the HTTP rendering engine. And that has nothing whatsoever to do with Eclipse.

  1. 61  axel  |

    Maybe.

    But you solve this issue by writing a new "Http generation engine" (why rendering? On the serverside there is no rendering... me just thinking).

    The costs for downward compability would be prohibitive.

    Most important rule for new engine: The less intrusive the better.

  1. 62  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    Well, I could be grossly misinformed about this, but my understanding about the HTTP service is that it's always basically created a pseudo-client session with the server, accessed via the normal API, then transformed the content result into HTTP by a translation engine, and sent that over the wire. It's that translation that I'm referring to as the render.

    I can't think of any reason why that layer shouldn't be smart enough to, say, automatically provide an AJAX-driven calendar selector when I specify that field type on a form. But it sure doesn't, does it?

  1. 63  Stu Downes http://www.sdownes.co.uk |

    I'd like to see some regression to allow basic development in the Notes client. Allow the power user to have some input again. More expansion on my thoughts here { Link }

  1. 64  Henning Heinz  |

    When Ed said he will come back to this topic the next day and he did not I thought that he might just slip it. Indeed he did not and I am not sure if he does not regret it now.

    I am surprised about the Admin client comments. As someone that has to deal with the Active Directory nonsense from Microsoft and those stupid management plug-ins, it is a pleasure to come back to the integrated Domino environment.

    I am not sure what to do with Designer and server but indeed sometimes I keep asking myself why there are resources to develop something like LCD in so little time and none for the old Domino Designer. Again there have not been any promises, at least none that I am aware of except a general commitment that the product is going to be enhanced in future releases (whatever that means).

  1. 65  Dan Sickles http://dansickles.blogs.com |

    @54 - I've been telling people that with the Eclipse based enhancements, IBM is giving us exaclty what we've been asking for..a modern extensible UI. I would hate to have seen this attempted by extending the existing Notes cross platform bits. I hope that Designer.next will be a model of extensibility. For example, I would like to extend the Lotuscript editor sourceviewerconfiguration. That level of extensibility. Seriously. Make it as open as possibe and let third parties help you make it a rcok star. Be the gatekeeper, set up a cert lab, but do it.

    As for Domino, enough has been said.

  1. 66  Dan Sickles http://dansickles.blogs.com |

    Um...rock star.

  1. 67  Patrick Corey http://www.dangsite.com/blog |

    I think some of the topics have fair points, but I would not say that one vision on codestore.net holds true for all of the development world. In my area of work I think what has happen is that the Lotus/Iris world is not getting as much good feedback from some of their new api used by 3rd party developers. I was able to recently meet with some people working on the backend apis and it seems that even the newer API hooks are not getting much feedback in the field.

    So I think something has to be happen within IBM to not limit the amount of contact the development needs to improve all parts of the product. Without good APIs it is will be hard for people to build good add product to integration with Lotus/Domino. I think having things done in the NSF world is great, but today professional world wants to see interproduct connections. If people spent 80% of their day in email then having other product intergratino into LN would help the end user do their day to day; especially if that work is not solely within the Domino NSF world.

    I have to say that this technology is not that hard -- though I been doing this for 12 years -- it is more having the creativity to find new ways to bring the Lotus experience to other applicaitons.

    I don't think web server apps work well within a corporate world because it requires a different infrastructure and most desktop can do some work if given a protocol port or ports to work within. I think having some web technology on the desktop is good and may be just as good as having a web applicaiton.

    I find some humor though because back in the mainframe it was a world of working within the mainframe (or server) envirornment and now people are drifting back that way with the web server technologies. Give the desktop some smarts and let's not go back to the dark ages of using a computer as a "dumb client".

  1. 68  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    So I wanted to make sure that everyone who has contributed so far knows that I, and other IBMers in relevant positions, have read this entire thread carefully. I didn't expect others to read or chime in (thanks, Maureen!!!).

    One thing I think is interesting is that there are divergent opinions. While most want the basics fixed, several commented that they understand why IBM is prioritizing the Notes 8 client so highly. That was the gist of the answer I gave to a similar question asked here at Developer 2006 Europe today.... that we have to get the Notes 8 client right for the vast majority of the Notes installed base today. Other projects, such as those Maureen mentions, are intended to move the development environment forward, in ways that appear to be more appealing to existing Domino developers than the introduction of new tools like Component Designer.

    Still, I think you should be checking those new tools out, especially Lotus Component Designer. It's not just for portals anymore.

    I was intrigued at the number of places this turned out to be Domino Web Server issues rather than Domino Designer issues. There is a Web Server session at Lotusphere, in the app dev track, and I will make sure the speakers see this thread (if they haven't already).

    More comments most welcome, but as I've posted new blog topics, I wanted to make sure that y'all were acknowleged thus far. Especially Charles, who rightly asks why I'm asking the same questions over again....the answer is, mainly, because the topic came up again but also because I believe is some additional attention being paid to this aspect of the product right now.

  1. 69  Who Cares  |

    1. Give us a set of web controls like views, calendars and rich editor that doesn't look like it was developped in 1999 (i know it was). same as what you tried in R5 with Java applets but this time - do it right (Hint - no java)

    2. See what microsoft did with Atlas - do the same.

    3. HTML and CSS in the notes client - it can't bee that hard to implement right, isn't it ?

    4. let us write inline code: <% print("I love notes but ibm not" %>

    5. work few months with outlook 2007 client, now go back to notes 7 - you can't even imagine how old and slow your notes mail will feel - it's like going back in time.

    6. 90% of us don't care about workplace/websphere/expoditor and other tools and words that our clients/employers not even consider to use, we care about notes client, notes designer and domino servers and we will NEVER switch to J2EE environment,we preffer NET as it closer to our skills - get it into your heads.

  1. 70  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    @69 - #3 is Notes 8.

    I don't understand #4 in the least.

    I'm laughing my head off at #5. Particularly since to go back in time, you have to go REALLY REALLY FAST.

  1. 71  Mark Demicoli http://www.shakeIT.com.au |

    Come on Ed. You're having us on right?

    Some 10 years ago as a junior I fell into the world of Notes development and was gobsmacked at the beauty of this stroke of integrated genius. How beautiful a thing and it went on for a time. Pervasive? That's not the word. It spread like wildfire then it stopped. Someone living mostly in another galaxy decided that Notes / Domino would be replaced by a big blue platform that would see us into intergalactic humanity whereby the replicator actually did produce "earl grey, hot", instantly. Unfortunately it meant we all had to buy galaxy class vessel.

    "Computer, funding request, 3 stage approval process with simple notification. Support response hierarchy for discussion, instant HTML rendering and deploy to all federation territory."

    acknowledged. And that was back when? in 98? Oh where we could have been now!

    Come on. What happened? It stinks of a bad strategic move and now we're stuck with it. Lets get back to dynamic, integrated genius. We miss it badly.

  1. 72  Bob Congdon http://www.bobcongdon.net/blog |

    @62: Yes, the Domino HTML rendering engine is implemented pretty much as you described. The bulk of the code was written in the late '90s. A rewrite was considered for R6 but never made the schedule. I haven't been involved with that code since 2001 but, as far as I know, it's unchanged modulo small enhancements and bug fixes. A rewrite would be a good thing but it would be challenging to make it "clean and modern" while not breaking all of the hackery that developers do to modify the generated HTML.

  1. 73  Wild Bill http://www.billbuchan.com |

    Well, Ed, you did ask. And what an answer you got!

    Give Maureen more developers, and fix the long-standing designer bugs ASAP.

    Given that Notes is not dead, surely some developers could be freed up to fix this long-standing eyesore ?

    ---* Bill

  1. 74  Carl http://www.iminstant.com |

    @68 I think the divergent opinions is because people are talking about different things, and IBM sometimes answers as if Notes and Domino are still the same thing.

    I believe Jakes initial voiced opinions were about Domino and Domino rendering on the web, lack of native ajax ui etc. and not the notes client, Domino Designer or Admin.

    So hearing that Notes 8 addresses the issue, doesn't help Domino Web developers, but it helps companies that use the Notes client.

    So Companies have different needs depending upon their usage of Domino as a web server, or Domino as the host for Notes Client/Server communications as they are really two different beasts.

    I believe what Jake is saying, is that yeah Notes 8 is great, but a lot of companies use Domino for web apps, where Notes 8.0 will make zip nada difference.

  1. 75  Tony Palmer http://palmerweb.blogspot.com |

    @74 Carl.

    CIO & Architects don't use the Domino Designer, but they do use the Notes Client. If a new shiny Notes 8, means that Domino/Notes doesn't gets the boot from the IT Strategy - then it will make a difference to the developers in the end.

    I think that someone else mentioned 'mind share'. If Ed wants to attract new developers and keep existings ones then IBM needs help to create that 'mind share' at all levels CIO, Architects and Programmers. IBM need to help create a market for applications in organisations by making Domino a credible solution and where Domino/Notes isn't looked down upon (this happens internally in IBM too).

    Where is Domino & Notes in the list of must have technical skills for the fresh graduate ? I bet J2EE, .Net and PHP are closer to the top of the list.

    Personally, I think that Notes 8 will help in the long run but more can and needs to be done and I'm hoping that the eclipse platform & workplace will eventually breath new life into the products.

    When I started developing Notes applications some of those were strategic applications, since then the market and organisations have changed with the internet, bandwidth and open source. In order for Domino & Notes to change the perception it needs to evolve rapidly to become closer to leading edge solutions to modern day business problems.

  1. 76  Lee Davis  |

    #39 - I realize there is work being done regarding Designer in Eclipse. However, when Ed says in the entry that started this "And even a possibility for Domino Designer itself to move into that Eclipse world."

    IBM seems explict in NOT publicly committing to an Eclipse future and publicaly NOT committing to an Eclipse future. Yet they publicly discuss it. A bit of a mixed message. I guess until IBM believes enough to announce it, I will take them at face value and not assume it is going to happen.

  1. 77    |

    Comment removed - please post a valid e-mail address.

    And I can't answer the question anyway.

  1. 78  Henning Heinz  |

    @Lee,

    Everything that has not been released is under the subject to change and not confirmed umbrella (this is even valid for products in public beta). It is just a different philosophy and not a mixed message. I think you will hear a more clear statement at Lotusphere latest time.

  1. 79  Mikkel Heisterberg http://lekkimworld.com |

    I'm a bit late to chime in but here's my 5 cents... I enjoy working in Notes/Domino and overall I think that the platform really kicks a...! Does the product have its shortcomings? Sure - but that is true for most Swiss-army knife products. Could things be done better? Sure - but so it's true for many other applications and environments. Do I always agree with the decisions of Lotus? Nope - but I hardly ever agree with anybody... :-)

    Being serious for a moment... My number one grievance with Lotus is not about feature XYZ but rather that that the bug/feature submission process for many IBM products, incl. Lotus Notes, is opaque. Once the bug/feature request is submitted it is very difficult to get the *real* status on the issue unless you know someone on the inside.

    Would it be possible to make bug/feature request submission more transparent? What if the bug/feature request database was available on the web for all to peruse? Bug tracking systems like Atlassian JIRA and Bugzilla have functionality for voting on bugs. In this way all customers and business partners could see what's going on and what's actively being developed. It could also help Lotus to gauge what's really important to developers and what's not.

    While I know that a process is probably not always possible I think it would go a long way to give developers an outlet for issues and ideas. It could be that I as an user wouldn't be allowed to create issues in the database myself but it would give me a chance to keep track of the issue.

    Just a thought...

  1. 80  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @76/78 thanks, Lee. You're right, until such time as any project gets announced, it's best to describe it as "possible" to be on the safe side. But the fact that IBM is willing to public discuss early projects should be indication enough that this effort is serious.

  1. 81  Craig Wiseman  |

    @80 - Please, please: Review the 2006 BP forum (or the earlier ones) for ideas on this topic. I think you'll find a wealth of reasoned, thoughtful 'needs' in this area. That's one of the major points of that forum, right? - To be able to make comments and requests that may not see wholely positive but that contribute to the growth of Lotus products in a non-public forum....

  1. 82  Sean Jennings  |

    Brilliant hearing Maureen's thoughts @50, and I think her approach is 100% the right-one. Designer going to Eclipse seems a no-brainer, yet it seems strange that while Maureen has a team working on it Ed still refers to it as a "possible".. A public commitment would be nice.

    In addition to all the benefits Maureen points-out, there is another, it has the potential of attracting new developers who use Eclipse but have never considered doing anything with Notes and Domino.

    As a Notes developer for 10 years I have as many gripes about Designer as the rest, but I'd be happy to grin and bear it if we see Designer in Eclipse sometime soon... 8?

  1. 83  Axel Janssen  |

    Some of the longer persisting probl eh challenges can be solved by Eclipse. For example I expect that there will be a more eficient solution for internationalization & localization for the Eclipse based client. Also version control systems like cvs & subversion can be used. There is probably much more.

  1. 84  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    Just keep in mind... the bulk of the issues are not with Designer as such. They're with how the HTTP server turns Designer's code into browser deliverables.

    I *did* offer up some techniques for making this better a few years back, Ed. ;-) { Link }

  1. 85  Craig Wiseman  |

    @84 I'm beginning to think that if the RSS Reader doesn't say it was created today, it's irrelevant to a lot of folks. <sigh>

  1. 86  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @76 - I agree, it gets frustrating trying to piece together what is coming and what isn't. There's a lot of things that are talked about publicly, but followed with "but this isn't official". IBM wants to build buzz but they won't commit to what they're building buzz about. For crying out loud they CREATED Eclipse! IBM is treating Eclipse like a child they put in foster care who wants to come home, but IBM isn't sure they're ready to take it back.

    @84 - Speak for yourself. ;-) The bulk of *my* issues are very specifically with the Designer client. The argument for working on the Notes client now is it causes the most pain for the largest audience. The next largest audience is developers, then administrators. I'm not sure where core code fits in that since it impacts everyone from users to admins. Changes to the HTTP engine are far down the list of my needs, but if I've learned anything it's that this isn't about me.

  1. 87  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    @86 - Okay, the bulk of the issues that most people have.

    Believe me, I do WAY more work for the client than the browser, and there's lots of stuff I'd like to see happen between Designer and the native client. But I don't think stuff like a custom class browser is really going to make a serious difference for most people. What COULD make a difference has a lot more to do with available programmatic controls than Designer as such. For instance...

    a) Linked embedded view/editor combinations should respect form formulas and preview mode. That's not really about Designer, but about client behavior.

    b) Any embedded element's target should be able to be determined by @formulas, just as we can with the target of a frame.

    c) Anything that has property controls of any kind should have presentation controllable in the most flexible way possible. Why can I set the width of a z-layer in pixels, but can only set the width of a table column in inches, and a view column in ems?

    These SOUND like Designer issues at first blush, but they're really not. They're issues about how the client UI renders what Designer describes (and would be the same for the browser end of things, too.)

    But the stronger general point is that while the Notes client competes against other email solutions as a rich base platform, the Domino server as a development tool really competes against web servers. If you draw a Venn diagram for this stuff, you get the set of customers that use Notes for mail, and the set of customers that use Domino for web applications, and an overlap in between of customers that use native client applications. That's a comparatively small intersection, and in spite of the fact that I'm part of a session at Lotusphere on how to improve the efforts inside that intersection, we should always bear in mind that it's a small audience compared to that giant web app group.

    @72 - There IS some level of overhaul of that HTTP engine taking place in order to address the deprecated FONT tag. That's going to be a pretty big change in how that layer works, I suspect, and given that, here's hoping they'll couple some broader changes in there, and cut down on the marginal QA costs.

  1. 88  Axel Janssen  |

    [quote]

    IBM is treating Eclipse like a child they put in foster care who wants to come home, but IBM isn't sure they're ready to take it back.

    [/quote]

    Child? Foster Care? What?

    Have you taken a look at the

    - Strategic Members

    - Add-in Provider Members

    - Associate Members

    { Link }

    of Eclipse Foundation.

    We find startups like Nokia, Bea, Oracle, SAP, MySQL, Intel, Zend, Google and lots more. They are serious about it.

  1. 89  Axel Janssen  |

    And the future of Notes as a developing platform depends on the extend to which its used for n.e.w.l.y. started strategic projects. Yet in 2002/3 I witnessed quite a few projects started with Domino Workflow or LEI. I think that those aditional integration, add-on feature tools have lost a bit of their momentum. Now the colaboration with the vigorous base of existing plug-ins for Eclipse/RCP may create renewed interest to use Notes as one component in bigger and newly started integration projects. Because there's the budget.

  1. 90  Paul Gagnon  |

    Sometimes it is the little things that matter the most.

    I'd be happy if my apps that use OS style date and time pickers (and @prompt's and any dialog list pickers) would work in a browser as is without having to do anything extra.

    Even though I am not an expert (hack by example!), I love Lotuscript, as I suspect many of you do as well. The logic, the syntax, the readability, the power. Even the smallest scripts I like to try to make into poetry. It is a joy to work with and read and even debug for me. I wish I could enjoy working with javascript or even java code nearly as much, but the syntax turns me off. I am really hoping that an Eclipse based Designer client will go a long way to toward alleviating that, if I am reading all this correctly.

    <dream> And alas, Lotuscript does not work in a browser. (I know most of this has been compensated for with javascript or applets, I guess I am stuck in that void (no pun)) This was an opportunity missed by Lotus, IMO. Some type of browser plugin or framework to make Lotuscript work in a browser. After all we are willing to add in Java runtimes or the .NET plugin, or Flash, or run ActiveX controls... SLAP! </dream> <shakes head, whoa.>

    The BOF for Domino Designer at Lotusphere will hopefully cover some of the excellent aforementioned comments. Hope to see you all there.

  1. 91  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @87 - I see what you're saying. Hopefully by moving everything to a common platform (Eclipse/Expeditor) they can address these issues more easily. I think that's what Maureen was talking about. The thing that incenses me about this is they've had lots of time to get there and it looks like they just started recently. It's been glaringly apparent the focus has been on Websphere technologies. Microsoft managed to design, develop and implement .Net and all its development tools in less than 5 years. That shows a commitment and a focus that IBM/Lotus lacks with regards to Notes and Domino.

    @88/89 - I'm talking about IBM and Lotus' lack of willingness to commit to future Eclipse plans. Eclipse adoption in the industry is irrelevant to this discussion. It also seems that your focus is on shops using J2EE. Based on what I've seen I don't think the majority of Domino shops are using J2EE. I could be wrong, but that, too, is beyond the scope of this discussion. You're not coding J2EE apps in Domino Designer and deploying them on Domino.

  1. 92  John Rowland  |

    @2 This is one of my biggest beefs with MS... Things that ought to "just work" only do about <hyperbole alert> 80% of the time... and that goes for their admin products, their office products... it seems to be a corporate standard for MS.

    I agree with Volker things that *should* work need to be fixed. I mean, html rendering in a mail message ought to "just work" and after I can't remember how many new releases, it still works about 80% of the time, just enough to make the user population mad.

  1. 93  Dave Forster  |

    What's missing in this conversation so far? It doesn't seem like people understand why IBM doesn't want to fix the fundamental issues with Notes. We as developers should know the answer. Which is easier: to create a new application or fix/re-engineer an old one? Right! So that's why IBM would prefer to create Expeditor, Toolkit for WSAD, etc. instead of fixing Domino.

    Fixing something like the 64K limitation that's been in existence since Day 1 creates no buzz like a new product and probably seems more of a pain than it's worth to IBM. Domino Designer has been less relevant as time has gone by and I see nothing stopping the trend.

  1. 94  Henning Heinz  |

    So if you think nothing is stopping the trend why do you think this thread is here?

    I said this here on 2005-03-22

    "I am one of the little people that believe that maintenance mode would be the best solution."

    Since then so many things have changed I have absolutely no reason to repeat my statement.

    There are people that think it is worth to invest in Notes and Domino and for the first time I think those people are getting more than less.

  1. 95  John Rowland  |

    @25, 26, 27 and others... Hey IBM, how about open sourcing the existing designer and letting others who would like some kind of sensible IDE have a whack at remaking it?

  1. 96  Kevin Pettitt http://www.lotusguru.com |

    Stu Downes (@63) makes a great point about Notes being an approachable development platform for power users, who as he points out on his blog include folks that might build a spreadsheet or an access db for say, a small business unit. I myself started out in Notes 10 years ago in exactly this manner.

    So what makes it so approachable? Among other things, the fact that so many things like prompts, picklist, multi-value field pickers, calendar controls, etc. require no "coding" to implement for Notes client apps. Remember, we're not talking about people who necessarily even know what a "for loop" is, but do have a pretty good notion of their business process and see a way through Notes to automate some of it.

    So as Nathan has pointed out several times and even @69/Who Cares mentions, one of the great failings of Domino as a development platform is that few of these basic UI controls can be implemented on the web without a bunch of coding hacks. Perhaps now, with the emergence of AJAX, it is time to plug this hole and get Domino to render these UI controls in some standard, useful way simply by checking a box.

    Incidentally, I will be presenting a jumpstart at Lotusphere entitled "IBM Lotus Notes Development for Non-Developers" (link here: { Link } ) specifically aimed at empowering the power user crowd to get into Notes development.

  1. 97  Richard Moy  |

    Whether you talking about rendering information for the Notes Client or rendering information for the Web browser, the key factor is the user interface. The business user using the product will determine the perceived success or failure of the project. That is where IBM has failed in not giving developers the sufficient working tools when it comes to Domino and Notes. You are always 90% to 95% there but you can never get 100%. For example frames, CSS, Javascript, and so on.

    Business users DO NOT CARE what the technology is under the hood, they only care if the tools meet their business needs in a timely matter and within the cost. The TOC for Notes and Domino over other solutions like Websphere is enormous and that is why many of us stick with Domino and Notes.

    At the same time, I believe that as developers we are guilty of not spending enough time on creating solutions that are appealing and useable for the users. Some of the Notes and Domino applications that I have seen are some of the ugliest applications I have every seen. Part of the fault is IBM, but alot is from the developers not spending enough time creating usable interfaces to meet the needs of the business users.

    Even with the many flaws in the user interface and broken features in Notes and Domino, you can create a very nice looking and usable interface that rivals the Workplace and Microsoft interfaces. I have created such Notes interfaces. A good site to go to is Chris Blatnick's site www.interfacematters.com if you are interested in improving the user interface. It takes time to learn the techniques but after you know how to do it, you will be amazed what you can do with the Notes client. As developers, please take the time to create the user interfaces because from the business user perspective it is a reflection of how well Domino and Notes works.

    So, having all these new features on the Hannover client will be great in the future when companies upgrade to Notes and Domino 8 in the next two to three years or maybe longer. But meanwhile, IBM what do we do?

  1. 98  Richard Moy  |

    correction of previous posting "TCO"

  1. 99  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    @97 - Richard if you're a fan of Interface Matters, be sure not to miss this:

    <PLUG>

    { Link }

    </PLUG>

  1. 100  Richard Moy  |

    I plan to attend. I also submitted an abstract for Lotusphere 2007 on interface design that we have presented at GRANITE Notes Users Group here in Chicago that was very well received. Unfortunately, we were rejected. I would like to show you and Chris want we have done. Our user interface design is not just about the visible part of the interface but also how you get data to generate the user interface in order to bypass the issues with Notes and Domino. Look forward in meeting you.

  1. 101  Peyton  |

    I haven't read this entire thread, so I apologize if I rehash territory.

    From where I sit, the fundamental problem is that the unspoken, and event spoken, Lotus/IBM strategic direction has been to upsell customers into the high ticket items like Websphere, Portal, and big iron type J2EE deployments. So, there have been various attempts to 'migrate' the Domino base to the high growth IBM platforms, while at the same time doing as little as possible to satisfy the current installed base.

    OK...there has been some window dressing on the Domino platform over the past few years, but these have been cosmetic touch ups. We can split hairs with the breadth and depth of these enhancements, but I contend they are the minimum required to maintain a somewhat viable base. Mail is a saturated market, Domino isn't the strategic portal direction, it's not the doc mgmt direction, it's not the SOA solution, it's not the web service repository. It's good at all of that stuff...it's just not a dominant player in any category outside of email.

    The IBM issue is that maintenance revenue does not equate with growth. IBM needs growth, not merely maintenance. So, how to transition a rather large installed base of Domino seats into a newer, high growth, highly profitbable product category? We are living through that BCG quadrant shift. The 1001 item developer wish list may appease the Domino development community for another release, but it doesn't solve the $ issue. Workplace was a rather large attempt at that shift. Others will follow.

    I'd love to see all of the issues with Designer, Java agents, JVM, debugging, LS, HTML, etc...fixed. However, these issues are merely the symptoms of the core problem. Domino is no longer strategic and it is unfortunately a stepping stone to higher $ pastures.

    Whew...rant is over...

  1. 102  Andrew Brew  |

    Ed, you wrote "I think you should be checking those new tools out, especially Lotus Component Designer. It's not just for portals anymore."

    Does that mean the LCD-designed components will be deployable on a straight Domino server? That doesn't seem to be what the IBM web site says. What am I missing?

  1. 103  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @102 - No, you cannot deploy LCD components to Domino. You can have your components store their data in Domino databases, though, and surface that data in your traditional Notes client applications. I haven't done it beyond a few simple tests, but it achieves the goal of letting Domino do what Domino does well while pushing the part it doesn't do so well to a platform that does it better. What I don't know yet is whether it's truly any better, or just swapping one set of issues for another.

    @101 - The IBM Application Designer for Medium Business bundles Lotus Component Designer with WAS CE, which is a free version of Websphere Application Server { Link } . While I don't agree with much of IBM's direction regarding Notes and Domino, I do think someone at some level finally got the message that people weren't going to just ditch Domino because IBM told them to. Hence the ties from Lotus Component Designer to Domino and a free version of WAS.

  1. 104  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @102, to quote from Chris Reckling's blog:

    it didn't make sense any more to call it Workplace Designer, even though I liked that name, because now it supports deployment to WebSphere Portal and eventually will include support for Lotus Expeditor and the Hannover/Notes client.
    See { Link }

    @101 Peyton, I have no idea on what you'd base the assertion that "The IBM issue is that maintenance revenue does not equate with growth. IBM needs growth, not merely maintenance. " First, as far as I can tell, we report Notes/Domino revenue all as one bucket -- one that has in fact grown for the last eight fiscal quarters. Second, it's not just growing from maintenance revenues.

    So while of course IBM is a business in the business of generating revenue, from the inside I can't agree at all with your assessment. Unfortunately, since this is the realm of financials, I can't say everything that I'd like to say publicly. It's not a cop-out, it's just IBM policy based on SEC disclosure, and c'est la vie.

  1. 105  Andrew Brew  |

    Charles,

    What do you mean by "surface that data..." I get that you need WAS as part of the picture. Does that mean you can present the components stored in Domino through WAS, or that you can use Domino at the back end, WAS in the middle, and Notes at the front end??

  1. 106  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @104 - Ed, LCD components may be able to be surfaced in Notes 8+X, but they can't be *deployed* on Domino. Currently they require some flavor of WAS, even if they don't also require Portal.

    I think Peyton's comments, and Stuart's @25, are an attempt to make sense of the perceived neglect of Domino in recent years. At least half of the new things you listed in your original post are integration points to some flavor of Websphere. I don't think it's too hard to understand why some people are drawing conclusions about where things are headed. Not everyone is privy to the information you have available, and I'm sure it is frustrating when you know more than you can say publicly. :) Unfortunately that doesn't change perception, and as they say, perception is reality.

    @105 - The latter scenario. You can deploy LCD components to WAS, store the data they collect in Domino, then you can use Notes as the front end for the data, or create another LCD component to display it. Download the Application Designer for Medium Business, I think you'll be at least moderately impressed.

  1. 107  Wild Bill http://www.billbuchan.com |

    In terms of this thread, I'd like to point out that Keith Smilie has been doing "domeclipse" as an open source project for some time - allowing the use of Eclipse as a Domino Java code editor.

    Last time I talked with him - he expressed frustration that whilst he's spent a long time developing this stuff, there doesnt seem to be a huge amount of interest - despite the current shortcomings of the existing Java editor, etc.

    And now its open source - so if there's something in there that you dont like - you can fix it.

    Check it out at:

    { Link }

    It may just keep those "hunger" pangs at bay whilst we wait the Domino Designer Eclipse effort.. ?

    ---* Bill

  1. 108  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @106 you're right, can't be deployed on Domino 8. But part of the value proposition of the Notes 8 client is to federate the client...allow it to talk to more than just Domino. And part of that value is expanding the palette of development tools available to build Notes 8 applications, e.g. Lotus Component Designer. You can then integrate NSF-based and other Notes 8 applications into composite applications.

  1. 109  Craig Wiseman  |

    @108 - I think it's fair to say that vast chunks of your SMB customers largely see the 'value' for IBM, not themselves.

    It seems like there's some kind of translation problem: It's been pretty clear over the last number of years that many customers and well-respected business partners (some have commented in this thread) have been asking

    "We need to be able to easily develop elegant, slick dynamic web applications using domino designer running on domino.",

    and IBM has been hearing

    "We need to be able to develop slick portal applications that run on WAS and 'integrate' with Domino & Notes."

    The IBM portal products are excellent, market-leading pieces of software. However, the portal market hasn't panned out like Gartner said it would 5 years ago.

    When you look at activity explorer (cool!), sametime's RTC gateway (cool!), then look at the backend infrastructure that IBM has -> decided <- to use, it's pretty clear that IBM still doesn't get that a lot of customers are just plain happy with Domino server (and domino designer) and want them to be a _first class_ IBM software offerings.

    As an example, take AE. Boiling down the comments for other BPs, etc., there's no compelling technical reason that activity explorer HAS to use DB2 as a backend for a SMB setting. Domino handles storing XML just dandy. For large scale implementations, yeah, there's almost certainly a need for a hugely robust DB2 backend, but for smaller customers? It seems like the idea is use new capabilities to drive customers to start using the DB2/WAS stack. The same (false) logic seems to apply to the sametime RTC.

  1. 110  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @109 ok, but why build different infrastructure for different use cases of AE? As the point was made on prior threads, Activites will work with other technologies -- such as Office and pure browser users. So IBM wants a technology stack that can be implemented whether a customer has Domino or not. More importantly, I still understand from the team there are reasons for AE to be on a relational database -- I need to go ask the next question on that.

    In the same way some customers say that they won't implement DB2 because it's not their standard, some say they won't implement Domino because it's not their standard. I don't think there's a simple answer to any of this. But by building on Java-based WebSphere, there's at least some level less "proprietary" architecture in there.

    Also, what do you mean that the portal market hasn't panned out like Gartner said it would five years ago? Sure it's not as big as the Domino market, but it's a decent and growing market.

  1. 111  Craig Wiseman  |

    @110 - This has to be a quick response, as I'm at client site.

    Looks like I need some help with exact figures from your loyal readers, but my memory is that sometime in 2000-2002, Gartner predicted the Portal market to be about 10x larger than it actually is today.

    I guess the question is, should we make products for our various markets or make 1 size mostly fits all products and then sell them to our market? Since IBM owns & develops both DB2 & Domino it seems* conceptually appropriate to develop a consistent XML interface that would hum nicely when talking to Domino and scream when talking to Db2.

    _____________

    *'seems' is such a slippery word, huh?

  1. 112  Nathan T. Freeman http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf |

    @110 - "ok, but why build different infrastructure for different use cases of AE?"

    Are you seriously asking that question, Ed!? You might as well ask "why build different operating system versions for different use cases of Domino?" Because it allows for improved customer choice and platform agnosticism.

    It doesn't matter how cool AE is, honestly. I'm not going to have any interest in deploying WAS and DB2 for a pilot in it -- unless maybe you can come up with a single DVD, one-click installer that builds the whole server for me. But if I could just run an install that bolts it on to my existing email platform -- well, that's just a no-brainer, ain't it?

  1. 113  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    And I believe the team wants to accomplish that (simple "activities server" install). Not sure it will get done in the Domino 8 timeframe.

  1. 114  Craig Wiseman  |

    I think most folks would be excited if WAS CE shipped & installed with Domino, and these new cool technologies could use either DB2 or Domino backends. You could even code name the beta of this new option after a semi-precious gem stone or something like that <grin>

  1. 115  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @108 - As Craig said, something is continually getting lost in translation. You keep missing the point that most of the people participating in this conversation don't use WAS. The question they want answered is why would we implement WAS just so we can use LCD to create a component to surface it in Notes 8? That's an exponential increase in complexity, so what's the benefit of going through all that hassle?

    Answering my own questions, the benefit is that you can create a component that you can deploy both on the web *and* in the Notes client. Today's tedium of creating two different UI's can be done away with by deploying a component on WAS then simply exposing it in the appropriate client.

    I don't think I'm particularly slow, but maybe I'm late to the party. Believe it or not, I only had this epiphany while writing this response. I finally get composite applications as they apply to Notes 8, and I understand why I would want to use LCD and WAS.

  1. 116  Craig Wiseman  |

    @115 - Maybe I'm missing something but to my portal apps <> web apps, and it seems like a lot of overhead to have to add WAS, Portal & DB2 just to accomplish this.

    As I mentioned in 114, I think just adding WAS CE and growing the Domino datastore to serve as a backend would be spectacular, but WAS+Portal+DB2 to accomplish your epiphany seems like a very high price.

    Of course, us Wiseman are familar with expensive epiphanies.... <grin>

  1. 117  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @116 - Maybe I'm also missing something because I thought the client for portal apps was a web browser. Maybe it's some kind of special Portal client, I don't use it so I don't know. Even if that's not the case I'm fairly certain you can use a web browser as a front end for LCD components using just WAS CE without Portal. I need to reinstall ADFSMB to test that specifically.

    You can use Domino as a datastore for LCD components, so at least some of your goals from 114 are being met.

  1. 118  Peyton  |

    Ed @104 -

    I understand that the platform still adds some net new seats per year. From a product portfolio perspective, it appears that decisions were made many years ago to invest heavily in potentially high growth areas - at the expense of the Domino platform. We are all venting frustration at this lack of investment in the platform.

    Just because Domino continues to experience some amount of growth does not negate the assertion that there has been an incredible lack of attention and/or investment in the platform. To me, it merely indicates that the cash cow continues to give healthy returns - despite the resources allocated internally.

    However, I'd be very happy to see the wish list items addressed - particularly with Designer. I've now switched to DomEclipse and love it.

  1. 119  Craig Wiseman  |

    @117 - You're right, portal apps run in a web browser.

    I was trying to make the distinction that a portal app is something written to run inside a web-based portal framework - a somewhat heavy app.

    I'd consider a standalone web app (like DWA or a a help desk app or something like that.) as a somewhat different animal, as it runs and stands on it's own in a browser. They can be portalized, but don't have to be.

  1. 120  Craig Wiseman  |

    Oh, and with 114, I was primarly referring to activity explorer and sametime RTC as these had been my reference points in my earlier posts.

  1. 121  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @all -- I wish I had seen Ferdy Christiant's posting on this topic a lot sooner.

    { Link }

  1. 122  Carl Tyler http://www.iminstant.com |

    @119 So Notes today can access browser apps, why wait for Notes 8? Get them out there today. If all I need is a browser to run these apps of the future, then why the effort in the client? There has to be more to it than that?

  1. 123  Charles Robinson http://cubert-codepoet.blogspot.com |

    @121 - What would you have done differently? Nothing he said is particularly revelatory, it's the same things we have been talking about for a while.

  1. 124  Craig Wiseman  |

    @122 I'm not sure I understand your point. I'm discussing DOMINO (web) apps developed in domino designer to run off a domino server in a browser.

    The key point is "to be able to easily develop elegant, slick dynamic web applications using domino designer running on domino."

    I'm assuming that a client application would be called a NOTES application.

  1. 125  Bernard Devlin  |

    @121 since you are pointing @all to Ferdy's comments, does this mean you think that Ferdy has summed up the situation accurately? Here are some quotes from that page:

    "Domino web support is way behind other platforms"

    "I have lost hope that Domino will ever be a serious web platform"

    "It feels like web support is added as an afterthought, without proper architecture or vision"

    "If you intend to stay on the Domino platform, you're probably never going to see the improvement you have screamed for the last years"

    "I have my doubts about IBM's Domino successor"

    "Many in the J2EE community admit that J2EE has failed at being a successful web platform"

    "I work in a 110,000 seat Notes environment where the platform is used for pretty much anything. Sadly, it will probably not take long before we migrate away"

  1. 126  Mark Vincenzes  |

    I'm one of the developers working on the Domino web server. I'll be giving the "What's New in the IBM Lotus Domino Web Server" talk at Lotusphere. Perhaps that is the talk Ed mentions in @68. So, yes, I am following this and other threads in this blog, Jake's blog, the developerWorks forum, the business partner forum, and other blogs.

    Nathan in @87 - the FONT tag work that I was discussing in the lotus developerWorks forum ({ Link } ) is not really an overhaul -- it is rather localized to code that generates HTML for the font information in the notes rich text records. The web based rich text editors will probably still introduce FONT tags and that will need to be addressed separately.

    Speaking of FONT tags, I reworked the design and came up with a bunch of options that let you choose among most of the alternatives that I outlined in the original posting. I have a new writeup but have fallen behind on getting it posted somewhere for comments.

  1. 127  Alan Lepofsky http://www.alanlepofsky.net |

    @118 - Sorry Peyton but I have to disagree with your statement "incredible lack of attention and/or investment in the platform.". I'm ok with hearing that you perceive a lack of investment in Domino's application development capabilities, but not "in the platform" as a general statment. Domino 7 was a heavily invested server release.

    What's new in Lotus Domino 7

    Increased scalability and performance

    New diagnostic tools and autonomic capabilities

    Security and anti-spam enhancements

    Expanded interoperability and integration

    Enhanced support for Linux

    Enhanced software deployment tools

    Improved management of rooms and resources

    The Notes/Domino 7 Resource Center page 2 that I update on my Blog.

    IBM Lotus Domino 7 Data sheet

    7.0's What's New

    7.0.1's What's New

    7.0.2's What's New

  1. 128  Sjef Bosman  |

    The Designer should be like a good toolbox: a few hammers, some very sharp chisels, a few screwdrivers that don't slip every time. Quality equipment. But what's happening? The toolbox gets filled with drilling equipment, blunt axes, even steamhammers, one needs a full-size truck to carry all that around. In the meantime, the old tools are wearing out.

    What we need is a f**ing good set of tools, no quirks, no bypasses, so the end-user can be productive. To me, designing is not a goal, it's a means.

    I think that 90% of the new tools are just marketing noise, to compete with M$. Real users can do without that.

    Suggestions:

    1) Notes Designer as Open Source (I agree with @95)

    2) Rename Notes 8 to Ec-centric 1.0, and continue both products. Which one will survive, I wonder ...

    ** = lipp

  1. 129  Craig Wiseman  |

    { Link }

  1. 130  Tony Tipping  |

    In a nutshell:

    - Domino Designer is about the dumbest IDE out there. Compare it with Eclipse. It’s depressing. IBM trumpets each new release but a core backbone element (the thing people use to BUILD Notes applications) never significantly improves. This is a disgrace.

    - Lotus Notes is fantastic, even unparalleled, for delivering productive, business-task desktop database applications – especially where workflow is required.

    - Domino is, well, crap. It produces HTML from the 1990’s and takes a shedload of tricks to get it to turn off this and turn on that to produce W3C compliant markup. It’s just too much work. And it’s slow.

    - Java on Domino is, well, crap. The JVM is like a sieve; write iteration agents in Java if you dare. (Yes, I know I have to destroy Domino objects explicitly, but why should I HAVE to? I don’t in LotusScript.)

    - For fat-client desktop apps use Notes. For web apps use ASPX, JSP or PHP. You’ll be happier, faster and more productive.

    - If I have to go to a ‘proper’ framework environment like Struts or JSF with EJBs to build flexible, scalable and secure web apps, why pay for WebSphere? Once I turn my back on Domino I can choose the open source route and do it all for free. Oh, and the technical support is no worse than I’d get from Big Blue; far better in most cases.


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