Developing for Lotus Notes

I have been developing Lotus Notes applications for almost 14 years (since version 3 of Notes) and given the latest press on Notes development, composite applications, and what Notes 8 can or can not do, I feel inclined to write my own beliefs about the new Notes 8 client.

When I was at Key Bank I felt I could literally do anything in Notes. And I seriously meant that. When you hear the blogosphere Notes development gurus bash composite applications or Expeditor development in Notes 8 by stating “I could do that already” they are most likely not lying. The problem is, they are right, THEY could do it. However, 90% of the rest of the Notes community could not.

Given that, I think we need to take a step back and think why IBM did Notes 8 in the first place. The top reasons were: better UI for PIM, better customization of applications, and a broader programming model. Of course, those are my personal interpretations.

With the introduction of Lotus Expeditor (and ultimately Eclipse) there is a whole new set of capabilities for application developers and end users. From UI, Web Services to an entire open source community (Eclipse), the capabilities have just quadrupled (or even more). Managers will now most likely have new hires coming directly out of college with Eclipse and Java experience. How many people coming out of college know LotusScript or the NSF architecture? I have interviewed dozens (if not more) and unless they did an internship with IBM or a large IBM customer, the answer was NONE.

This also applies to Sametime. You will now have a common programming model and application architecture all based on Lotus Expeditor. Lotus Expeditor and Eclipse developers are the new “system level engineers”.

Composite Applications are more than just a development platform. It is an end user feature. For the first time applications can now be built without writing a line of code. The problem out of the gate is, we have no component catalog filled with neat, cool, and functional components. This is in fact now our biggest challenge. In order for everyone to “see the light” about composite applications we need a robust catalog of components that can be used and wired across applications. To me, this is a challenge to all of the Notes Guru's out there. Create competitive components that will put the Notes and Composite Application programming model well in front of .NET.

I feel between the JSP, Eclipse, Expeditor, Portal, Notes, and Java communities you will see more compelling commercial and open source components to this overall Expeditor architecture. Because remember, Expeditor can surface all of those technologies today in its UI- and so can Notes 8.

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Back from vacation

Yes, that is the last vacation I will be seeing for a long time. It looks like there was a lot of activity in the blogosphere while I was out. I kept up to date through the use of the google reader and feed subscriptions – which 90% of my news is now read this way. Lotus Notes 8 has some amazing download numbers and it looks like the composite application space is getting a lot of attention. Being on the beach in the Adirondacks got me thinking a lot and it spawned the addition of a cool new component for our team dashboard that I blogged about over at the CA blog. I am really impressed with the samples that shipped with Sametime 7.5.1 toolkit. I was able to take the RecentBuddies sample and modify it in a couple of hours to get what I needed.

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On vacation in the adirondacks

We have been staying at Sunset Beach Cottages in Inlet New York for the past few days, it has been amazing. We visited the Sagamore (the Durrant and then Vanderbilt vacation home) yesterday and its pretty impressive how the “other half” live. You can take a guided tour at either 10am or 1:30pm daily. It lasts about 2 1/2 hours. If you want to know where the “knotty pine” look and the definition of “rustic” came from – then this is place to visit. Durrant went to extremes to make sure his vacation homes “looked like it grew out of the ground”. Today we are going hiking on Rocky Point and Bear Mountain.

Lotus Expeditor Toolkit 6.1.1 is now available

You can now download the Lotus Expeditor 6.1.1 toolkit here. This gives you the ability to create all of the different kinds of applications Lotus Expeditor and Lotus Notes 8 will support.

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Property Broker Monitor Tool update

With the release of Notes 8 and Expeditor 6.1.1 there will be a new version of the Topology Peek and Property Broker Monitor tool made available. When it does become available I will be sure to post a link on this blog.

Some postings relevant to the tools:

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Lotus Notes 8 is available tomorrow!

It has definitely been a long development release and we are about to ship Lotus Notes 8 which will be available tomorrow. Now that we are shipping you will see a whole new set of samples, tools, blog postings, and articles posted. I know we have several blog postings ready for the CA blog.

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I am not sure how many people have seen this but the demonstrations, videos and site are pretty cool. From what I can tell, you can even play with this today.

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