Having a Stab At Domino

Smashing Magazine have a nice review of different ways to style your forms. In it they feature our very own, although reluctant to admit it, Domino blogger, Andrew Tetlaw.

Andrew has been releasing some great code via his blog and gaining a lot of respect, especially from myself. Which is why it was nice to see that he too has been having a stab at Domino. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one within our "community" who ever speaks out. Although, today, I see Volker had a go too. Come on guys, don't be afraid to speak your mind.


  1. It has all been said and ignored for years. I have already started my Sharepoint for Domino Developer series which will shed some light on how MS views this market segment, and how truly archaic IBM has become in the same market.

    • avatar
    • YoGi
    • Mon 20 Nov 2006 06:26 AM

    I just totally agree with you and Andrew.

    Everybody is excited about Hannover and talk about Lotus Expeditor and so more, but have we ever already heard about any web improvement in Domino Rnext yet ? Not as far as I know.

    Oh yes, now we can use standard mode instead of quirks since 7.02. I should be excited, but I'm not. It comes too late and should have appeared in 2003 along with Firefox and CSS buzz, not at the end of 2006 when it's done.

    I'm disillusioned. It's a great product but I do not believe in it for the web anymore.

    • avatar
    • Bernard Devlin
    • Mon 20 Nov 2006 07:37 AM

    I've often been critical of what IBM has done with Notes over on edbrill.com In the last few years IBM (at least on ibm.com) has not even been marketing Notes as a development platform - see my comments in this thread: {Link}

    They do seem to have since updated ibm.com to now list Designer among application development tools. (I'd like to think that my repeated criticisms on edbrill.com had some responsibility for that). But still there is no evidence that you could use Designer for web development.

    To find Designer you have to drill down through this path: Software -> Software Development -> Design and Construction. Then you find 24 products. There are 14 uses of the word "web", but none in the context of Domino Designer. Here's what they say about it: "Helps rapidly build and deploy security-rich, collaborative applications in Lotus Domino environment". "Helps"? That sounds to me like it is only part of a solution. Then when you look at the words used for the other tools you find these kinds of epithets: "accelerates", "convenient", "design, construct and test", "industry leading", "provides integrated design and development", "enables visual development". Designer sounds like it is a lot less capable than the other products, and that it has nothing to do with web development. Clearly IBM are not steering new clients towards Domino as a web development platform. This goes back to the whole Garnet episode.

    I decided recently that I'd had enough of IBM mothballing Domino as a platform, and moved away to other technologies. You do know that IBM had the equivalent of Ajax toolkits in Lotus products such as K-Station before the word 'Ajax' was even coined? (See Link}

    But they had so little interest in pushing Domino development. They could easily have taken those technologies to allow Domino developers to produce web apps that performed more like rich client apps. They couldn't be bothered to provide a mechanism to translate server-side form validation into client-side validation. They couldn't even be bothered to provide a mechanism to validate an entire form and return the form to the user with the invalid fields marked. We had to do that kind of stuff ourselves - I know I spent weeks developing a generic form validation mechanism that did precisely this.)

    Until a few months ago, I'd been using R5 since it came out. I downloaded R7 to have a look at it - I was staggered by how little things had moved forward in 5 years. In fact, they had barely moved forward since 4.6. And unfortunately, that is NOT because Domino and Designer have reached the peak of perfection ;-)

    It's no surprise that so many Iris people left IBM. And let's hope that CouchDB will show what Domino's trajectory could have been...

    • avatar
    • Andy Burnett
    • Mon 20 Nov 2006 08:30 AM

    I think the problem might lie in the fact that IBM have a very strong focus on only including features which customers ask for. I tried to get some of the Domino developers to look at a new URL command which we all felt would be very useful. Sadly, they told me that if IBM's big users weren't asking for it, it wouldn't happen.

    And the big users are almost certainly using Notes for email and some relatively simple collaboration apps :-(

  2. If you look at the history of Lotus Domino, it has typically lagged behind the industry in a lot of areas. For instance, look at blogging. It took IBM years to realize the popularity of blogs and rss. If weren't for a few die-hard developers coming up with there own solutions, IBM still wouldn't have the blog and rss templates.

    I am currently working as a Lotus Domino developer building web based apps. The requirements for my current project stipulate that the application must utilize standards based XHTML and CSS. It's frustrating to me how difficult this task has been. The work arounds and "hacks" that have to be used to make simple forms is dreadful. I'm almost at the end of my rope with Domino and may be recommending a new approach, Ruby on Rails possibly.

    Anyway, great article. Hope this gets people fired up at IBM and get them looking to the future and not 2 years behind it.

  3. Especially with this push by IBM to advertise Domino as an Open-Standards platform (even if it's stored in a proprietary container), they seem to have left the wide world of w3c web standards from that particular campaign. Given how cheap Domino is, just adding xHTML & CSS compliance to the web engine (or just using Apache as the web stack and build a plugin to address the Notes DOM ...duh!) we'd be leaps ahead of where we were in the developer community.

    I'd rather use straight xHTML, PHP and JavaScript, because you can make it look astonishing, but Domino makes it so easy to tie together all the aspects of managing my OWN business. Getting other businesses to make the leap is very difficult given IBM's slowness to respond.

    Having said that, IBM HAS made a nice comeback in the past year (after several years of neglect), and hopefully we will see a re-kindled interest in the Web-Design parts of Domino.

    I for one will write a letter to Ed Brill asking for IBM to make a commitment to implementing W3C standards compliance in all relevant portions of Domino's HTTP stack. Perhaps a few extras will get a proverbial "fire under their a**."

  4. Domino is still a great product, but it is bordering on irrelevant in the Web 2.0 world. IBM seems to view Notes development as a gateway drug to Websphere and little more. We should not have to rely on OpenNTF and the A-Team bloggers to find hacks to get Domino on par with the major web platforms. In 2006 it should not be this difficult to build a decent looking web site with Domino.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Mon 20 Nov 2006 04:37 PM

    Aha. So, I'm not the only one then ;o) Good to know others have concerns. Lots of voices add up and might make a difference somehow. Probably all be a bit too late though...

  5. First, for Bernard,

    >"I'd like to think that my repeated criticisms on edbrill.com had some responsibility for that".

    Yes, they did.

    Second, for all, it's bizarre when I occasionally wade into codestore because it really takes a minute to adjust the egometer enough to be able to read these comments. I'm sure all the "armchair quarterbacks" as we call them in the US have run businesses the size of Lotus Notes with 46,000+ customers in over 100 countries.

    I'm not proud of all the decisions IBM has made with Notes and Lotus over the last eight years, but the tone of conscious neglect, conspiracy, and other nefarious objectives is just a real barrier to wanting to engage in this kind of discussion.

    Having said all that, one of the small, relatively-unnoticed promises of the Domino 8 release is to be able to put a portal-based UI in front of Domino applications "out of the box". I don't have a ton of detail on this to be shared in public yet, but there is absolutely recognition that the out-of-the-box Domino experience for web applications suffers in current versions from an austere, occasionally stagnant UI/HTML model.

    I am sure someone will come along and say, "you shouldn't have to put something in front of Domino to do this, you should just update Domino itself". That's fair, but it's not part of the scope for Domino 8. "8" is a client-focused release, and while there are a number of new features in Designer and Domino itself, the majority of the effort is on the client evolution to Eclipse. Things like composite applications are going to extend the value of the Notes infrastructure, and can be extended to web-based access as well.

    I think there's good opportunity ahead, and while it won't address everyone's wishlist, no release ever does, from any software company anywhere. Not even those "Web 2.0" thingys.

  6. Ed, I don't believe anyone here is denying that Notes is a great product with a respected heritage . And I think not wanting to engage in this discussion is a mistake because the people here are probably Domino's biggest fans.

    No, we don't build software that is used by 46,000+ customers, but that's why IBM earns the big bucks and we don't.

    I'm speaking for myself, but I think this is also true for most people here, when I say that we are primarily web developers who hopped aboard the Domino train because back in the late nineties it showed a lot of vision. As a web app framework it had capabilities that exceeded all other platforms. And it was sold to us as such.

    Now the world has moved to standards based web development and it seems Domino, as a web app framework, is being left behind. Now I think it's fair to say that IBM does not see Domino as a web app framework any more. The web UI part is a secondary if not a tertiary, focus.

    'web2.0' has nothing to do with it and I don't see anyone mentioning it.

    We are not 'armchair quarterbacks' we are the quarterbacks. In the organisations to which we belong and the markets in which we work we have long been passionate Domino developers. However as the demand for standards based web software increases so too does the work we have to do to get Domino to perform. From this point of view the criticism is valid.

    Perhaps it's not such a great % of the market for Domino in dollar terms but IBM's lack of attention on this and your comments above appear to support that case you are willing to let it slide. And that's your prerogative.

    But, for serious web software development, one has to ask is Domino really the best software?

  7. Sorry to say that Ed, but Andrew is right. We are the Quarterbacks.

    We are the ones who keep the Spirit of Domino/Notes in our organisations moving and we also are the ones who try to get things working that the 46000+ users customer does not because this tanker is way too big to move quick.

    I' am not primarly a web developer. I came from DB2/400 and such stuff but when i started developing Notes applications i was fascinated how "easy" it was to build applications that worked both ways. This fascination has vanished because as a developer who needs both Client and Web based applications with a decent level of functionalityas a standard you effectively have to develop your application twice. Well if portal comes along you will have to do the same thing a third time. Which is what IBM has done with the Mail template also if i am not totally dumb.

    There are tons of ESRs, Enhancement Requests, Entries over at notes.net and other ressources that IBM should simply listen at and give feedback to more with a more public approach. What Mary Beth Raven does with the UI Design is one example of how it should be done. I think IBM can do better regarding this than they do right now.

    • avatar
    • Bernard Devlin
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 03:13 AM


    Armchair quarterbacks? I'll mention web 2.0! I thought one of the major points of web 2.0 was that it was enabling the little guy to have an input? Control and influence are moving (ever so slightly) to the margins.

    We may not have worked for companies with 46,000 customers, but we were foot soldiers. In my previous empoyment I campaigned against IBM staff who were pushing the use of Websphere (a sledgehammer to crack a nut) in preference to Domino. I lost. Now the company has decided they don't need Notes for anything, and it's been replaced by Exchange and Outlook. Notes and Domino lost - five people who were previously all certified and re-certified ND developers and admins are now working with different technologies. The company is continuing to grow in size, but their annual renewal fees (yes, they were renewing Notes licenses annually!?!) are no longer going to IBM. Eventually IBM turned out to be the loser there.

    My interest and enthusiasm for Notes goes back to the early 90s, and I often defended the technology in many different forums. If a situation came up where it seemed like the right solution, I would recommend it. But I can't see myself recommending it for web development, and not even for cross-platform RAD.

    • avatar
    • Tim
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 03:17 AM

    Ed, I speak as someone who has, from the ground up, developed an enterprise level web-based cms using (mostly) domino which is used by several thousand users, spans 5 languages and 48 countries and receives 10s of millions of hits per month.

    The problem as I see it is not portal integration, "out of the box" applications or anything of that nature, it is purely lack of core functionality. There are a number of things such as 32k field limits (why?), the general flakiness of dominos JVM, lack of debugging facilities (entry not found in index anyone?), web agent performance and a myriad of other issues pertinent to web development which have been mostly ignored and glossed over. The notes.net message boards are testimony to this, there are plenty of issues in there dating back to 2000 which are still problems today which IBM hasn't even attempted to fix. The last word has to go to the domino designer client which is truly abysmal. When you compare it to other IDEs out there such as eclipse or anything with the .net moniker, it just seems pre-historic with none of the features which are needed to enable the development of complex web based applications.

    Domino still has potential as a web development platform, it’s just a shame to see IBM squander this whilst packing in irrelevant new functionality just to pad out the feature list.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 05:00 AM

    Ed. I don't really care how occasionally it is that you wade (through you ego?) into this website (if at all for that matter). I notice that, whenever you do comment, you like to make subtle remarks alluding to the fact you're not a regular reader and do so reluctantly, which always amuses me.

    Anyway, a couple of things:

    1. What's an "armchair quarterback"?

    2. What on earth does "be able to put a portal-based UI in front of Domino applications "out of the box"." mean? It sounds like it might help you selling but won't mean squat for me as a developer.

    All I really care about is making my customers happy, doing the best I can and earning a decent living. I don't *care* about Notes as such and I wouldn't say I had a passion for it. It's just a/the tool I use to do my job. The sad thing is that I'm kind of stuck with it. This isn't bad in itself. What's bad is that the product shows no signs of adapting to cater for the changing ways in which web developers work. It's starting to look more and more like it never will either and that IBM don't care about helping us help them.

    It's like being a miner stuck with a pick axe while other miners around you are starting to use dynamite.

  8. @andrew:

    your arguments == true, true

    nothing else 2 say

  9. Jake, an "armchair quarterback" is someone who watches american football from their armchair/lazy-boy recliner and constantly yells insults and orders at the quarterback.

    I hope it is evident where IBM really stands on Domino with comments like that.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 06:31 AM

    Jeff. Thought so. Wasn't sure what specific role a quarterback had though and if it was relevant.

    What does he expect us to do? Get jobs with IBM on the Domino development team and make the changes we want to the server code?!

  10. Another equivalent insult would be to call someone a "backseat driver".

    I think comments like Ed's are just a defense mechanism.

  11. No, not defensive, just irritated.

    @Jake - no, I'm not a regular reader. Reason -- the tone of most Domino posts is "good lord, this product is crap, but look, I made it less smelly today". I do listen to criticisms, and as pointed out earlier in this thread, even do take action on them when possible. I appreciate reasoned discourse and even dissent, but constant slagging just doesn't add value to my job. At least you were upfront about that being the objective of this particular post.

    The "armchair quarterback" comment was directed at statements like "It's no surprise that so many Iris people left IBM." How many was that exactly? And what were their reasons? And how many have spoken on this issue directly? And how many remain (like Al Eldridge, one of the founders, who is still working hard on the Notes code every day)? or "have we ever already heard about any web improvement in Domino Rnext yet ? Not as far as I know." No, because the web engine in Domino wasn't on the objectives list when Domino 8 was conceived. Maybe it needs it - but it isn't coming, so what would you expect to hear?

    I realize and respect the fact that Domino wouldn't be where it is today without people like all of you, who have advocated for it and done great work with it...even in the face of less-than-stellar marketing or positioning from IBM. My comment wasn't about whether you are skilled, or whether you are passionate, or whether your work matters. It was simply about the criticisms of IBM's decision-making.

    And some of that decision-making hasn't been great. I get that there is frustration with Domino Designer. I believe that the work going on to move it into an Eclipse-based environment will help. I believe Lotus Component Designer will help. And I believe that delivering Notes atop Eclipse will help. Those don't solve today's lack-of-debugger or 32k limits.

    It's "the innovator's dilemma" played out every day here. If something that is deep in the product's core has to be changed, it might break everything that IBM has stood for in terms of forward and backward compatibility. So instead of trying to do one-plus changes, sometimes a new approach (Eclipse, for example) is used to take a major leap forward. That's why you see no vendor that just takes what the installed base asks for and makes that the feature list for the next release. There has to be a mix of forward-looking effort along with incremental improvement.

    Last, on the "portal-based UI" thing that I mentioned in my last comment, I've asked the product manager to provide me with some more details on that. I don't think it's just a feature to help IBM, it's squarely intended to help with UI exposure on the Domino side, I just need to further my own understanding before I go further on the public explanation.

  12. What i understand is that IBM and i think Ed too must be driven nuts by those pesky programmers and admins who do not "get the message" that everything is becoming better with Notes 8 but are still hammering on those little not so significant flaws that domino/notes has regarding their work.

    And before anyone from IBM or other folks around Notes hits me with a big hammer. Yes i think that verion 8 will be a major improvement.

    .... in some parts ....

    but this is not the whole story.

    Yes i am sarcastic when it comes to IBM and Domino/Notes. I have every reason for that.

  13. Well Ed, that frustration is what some of us had to deal with on a daily basis while trying to hack around a products limitations. All the while watching releases go by with no attention to those limitations, and then to hear that the next version will not address them either? That is true frustration.

    Your clarification was definitely honest, but bleak.

  14. I wrote my last comment before i could read Ed's.

    On one side Ed is right. IBM has an "innovators dilemma" from their point of view.

    - But paying nearly no attention to the wishes of admins and developers for a long time.

    - Ignoring their plea's for what seems to them a minor fix not really breaking anything.

    - Just getting things to work 100% the way they should do. Not only 70%.

    - Not communicating to them further more when an ESR becomes an enhancement request due to that fact that the IBM Helpdesk declares a problem as works as designed.

    That is what i call stupid. Stupid in more than one way.

    First it makes your customer think that he speaks into a big black hole. Absorbing everything but nothing comes back out. Ever.

    Second it reduces the value of the current product.

    Third it reduces the value of the next versions of that same product.

    And regarding Jeffs last post. This is not a frustation we "had".

    We still have that, because 8.0 is a wee bit time away and most of the things i am trying to work around right now will not be solved by this release.

    • avatar
    • Nick
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 08:31 AM

    I agree with Yogi. I am very disenchanted with it as well.

    My biggest thing is, what is IBM doing for their development base to help them move from Lotus Script, @Functions, etc, to the Websphere, Eclipse, JAVA, etc tools?

    It seems like Microsoft is extending an olive branch. Iris people leaving IBM? Did they leave? Or were they shown the door because of Websphere/Eclipse being the future?

    I went to an Advisor Devcon and sat through sessions that were previous IBM employees, who were hired by Microsoft. One security person, and one domino designer manager(Gary Devendorf) {Link}

    Their new jobs are building those bridges for people who were thinking about working with .NET. I don't see IBM building any bridges for us Notes/Domino Developers to move to Websphere. One giant leap of faith. We even had IBM come in here and try to set up Websphere (which took two days). So I was definately open to staying the IBM Track.

    Luckily, in my current job, I am given the ability to maintain th apps I have in Lotus Notes , but I also am allowed to learn (on the job even), ASP.NET, VB.NET, AJAX. And I have to say, the jump is alot easier. IBM's answer was consultancy to help us over the learning curve. I bought a 50 dollar book, and we have one developer who is Microsoft certified (and java certified by the way). So much easier to go the .NET route.

    So even if I was an 'armchair' quarterback. At least I feel that a company is interested in what I am doing, and showing me how easy it is to integrate the two, and/or move from one to another without feeling that I really had to start over.

  15. Notes 8 is a non-event for Domino web developers. This is only about the client. Web applications run from the server.

  16. Why would someone make a comment like the one below, but then call people "arm chair quarterbacks" when they tell you what would help their advocacy?

    From Ed's site:

    [ I realize that IT people don't like to think of themselves as being "salespeople" or "marketing"...that's the vendor's job, right? In reality, if you advocate for your solutions within an organization, it can make all the difference for user acceptance. ]

  17. The "armchair quarterback" comment was about the second-guessing of decisions made by IBM, as opposed to how the product is discussed within one's own organization. There are a few things I don't like about my car, but I'm not qualified to second-guess why Nissan made the decisions they did. I might ask the dealer for help on some of these, but after all I did buy the car. And to my friends and family, I'll tell them mostly about the 90% of things I love about the car.

    • avatar
    • Nick
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 09:56 AM

    Exactly Ed. The same people that are criticizing about the 'smell', are the same people that sing its praises.

    Without those people, trying to clean up the 'smell', we wouldn't see some of the improvements (in all development platforms), without people being upset with how things work, and wanting a better way of doing things.

    With your car reference though. You are seeing yourself as not being a mechanic. But say that you were, you wouldn't tweak your vehicle to get better performance? Enhance it with add-ons? You couldn't build it from scratch. But you can do things to make it perform better. You may complain about what Nissan does. Just that your forum for venting would be smaller than this one, and wouldn't reach the ears of Nissan.

  18. Did you see any troll in here Ben? I did not. Maybe he has hidden himself under my desk?

    I see some people discussing things that the marketing department of IBM and some parts of the community might not like (wild guess in here), but that no one could say, are not true. Well not the things about Iris people running away from IBM. But the rest of the theme.

    And yes Nick is right. We are the ones who sing the praises for Domino/Notes.

    And we are also the ones who know it in depth from a "content producers" and "users" viewpoint and we can take educated guesses of what would make the product even better. For us to maintain or to do fancy stuff. For our customers to use.

    So when i take Ed's comparision and take it a little bit further. We are the mechanics so that we have the knowledge of how to "pimp" it and we also ride this car. We have not decided to buy it but we are not standing up against its usage in our family. We would like the car manufacturer to listen to us when we describe problems or possible enhancements of that car in both of our roles.

    And believe me our car manufacturer should better listen carefully to our requests and he should also try to answer it either private or in public, because if he does not he will soon be at a point where his customers (our family) will, when the next time for a decision about buying a new cars comes, no longer buy his product because the benefits of its further or renewed use are outruled by the difficulties you have in everyday live.

    And another thing. that someone might perhaps give a thorough thought about is. We know that the business for IBM lies in the big organisations like Daimler-Chrysler. But what drives and renews IT are the little shops. The lone warriors. The people who think outside the inbox.

    • avatar
    • Name Withheld
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 12:17 PM

    @Thomas Schulte - I like your analogy about us being mechanics.

    It's understandable that IBM is going to cater to the largest portion of their installed base because that's where their income is. I think, perhaps, What IBM needs is some practice at sorting out what the majority of the small shops want, and finding ways to quickly and cheaply add those things in ways that don't interfere with what the big shops do.

    I can't image that being too difficult if most of what the small shops want is web-related, and the big shops are all about mail. Is there truth to that? I don't know.

    I'm not trying to nit-pick about the past, just thinking about going forward.

    For a bit of perspective, we have a Domino web app that IS used by 40k+ users that drives a significant portion of our business - and we have everyone using Notes for mail.

    • avatar
    • Brian Miller
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 12:49 PM


    To be honest, the only things that I personally really want out of Domino as a web dev platform are:

    1. The ability to define or tweak the way that things are rendered into HTML. We have some control over certain things, but we should be able to template any domino object into HTML the way we like it. And by default, it should produce valid XHTML. This one thing, enormous as it is, would just about shut everyone up. I don't expect that it would be easy to develop, though.

    2. A pluggable JVM. I've heard all the stories as to why this "can't be done". But, there needs to be a way for people to keep up with Sun's advances in the language and tools. Sun moves faster on new versions of Java than IBM moves on versions of ND. That's just a fact. Given enough time and effort, it can be done. Even if a patch/hotfix is necessary to implement it. We need it.

    3. I have the darndest time getting working web systems together that use JDBC. I always end up crashing the server eventually. I think that the server memory issues in Java really need to be cleaned up. But, this is lower priority than the other issues.

    If any release tackles these issues (or, at least the first two), we'll be much less prone to complain. Really. Honest.

  19. Ed, I think that your outreach into the community has been of tremendous value to all of us. You've opened up a lot of the internal mystery and brought outside voices in, and we all respect you for that...

    ...but IBM's outward positioning is rife with cognitive dissonance, and it's frustrating when people try to tell us not to believe our lying eyes.

    One example, I mentioned above: "Domino embraces and makes sweet love to Open-Standards," except for the W3C web standards which the majority of modern digital communication now relies upon. ...which addresses the needs of people with disabilities who need to use screen-readers, is designed to ease the development of massive projects, etc., etc.,

    There are other products which don't create W3C compliant web-code, but not any which leap to mind who publicly pound their chest about how "we use the standards, where our competition doesn't." Microsoft uses other subtle deceptions (and a few not-so-subtle), but if they've made that one, I missed it.

    Another example is the one that Jake mentioned in recent posts, IBM is releasing articles about how Domino does AJAX/Web 2.0, but in doing so, skip 90% of the work that people associate with Web 2.0 & AJAX. Sure it can handle the mechanisms, but not the flair (not without an extra 2/3 development time slapped on the end of the bill), which is what most people, who aren't knee deep in AJAX on their client's behalf, think of when they see a Web 2.0/AJAX widget.

    The last and most frustrating example is IBM's public insistence that Domino is a platform where you can extend your current skills. So if you know Java, you can with a little knowledge of the Domino DOM, can be a Domino/Java programmer, or if you know VB, you can make a quick bridge to LotusScript, or if you are a WebDesigner, you can use those skills in the Domino world.

    But what happens is that none of those language implementations are at parity with each other (rarely can you do all the same things in Java as you can in LotusScript when dealing with the same piece of the Domino DOM) nor does Domino's use of each language meet the current state of the languages OWN native implementation, and as a consequence, you have to learn ALL of the languages, but use them as they were designed 2-5 years ago if you hope to make an app work the way you imagine it to. Or as many have pointed out, you can get 99% of the way there until you hit some wall where the last piece is claimed to work and be supported, but doesn't for some reason that can't be properly explained other than that it's our fault. :p

    Now Hannover is exciting. As a Linux user, I'm stoked by that part of the roadmap. But as you say, it's a client release. And while Activity-Centric computing sounds cool, and a Portal UI out-of-the-box sounds cool. The majority of your developers have been shouting for CSS compliance IN THE CLIENT so we can create one stylesheet for each application and have it look the same whether it's on the web or in a rich client environment. But that has not been announced for this client release (and is still relevant to this current discussion re: web design), nor has there been any announced intention to address that issue.

    After Hannover has been released, and after the roster for work that goes into Rnext has been finilized, IBM desparately needs to put the brakes on any new features and go back and vet the current code, because IBM is running around making a lot of promises that aren't entirely sincere or accurate. And more over, you take a lot of (entirely fair) shots at Microsoft for not fixing aging bugs that everybody knows are there but Microsoft refuses to acknowledge. So please be open-minded when we make similar correlations.

    Notes is still the best product to manage my business, and I still love it very much, but you keep trying to sell us on a product which we already use, and try to convince us that our frustrations aren't as cool as the new innovations which don't help us at our job.

    I think this thread would be half the size if you avoided the temptation to try and slap a happy-face on public discussion of frustration about your product amongst the foot-soldier evangelists of said product, because regardless of your intentions, which I assume are positive, it comes off like we just don't know how to use or sell your product because we don't know IBM's internal reasoning. I think we all know you're not trying to say that, but it reads that way and raises hackles.

    Perhaps using these conversations to bring our and IBM's internal expectations to some level of parity would be more productive.

    My $.27 as usual

    • avatar
    • Chr. K
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 01:33 PM

    Although IBM makes some brilliant enhancements to ND, it's a fact that they haven't been very dedicated to develop domino as a web platform, despite the growing importance and maturing of the web. Thus both developers and customers are feeling more and more uncomfortable about the future of ND. And this is really a strange strategy, as I guess only a fraction will go for other IBM products when they turn away from ND. But at the same time a lot of developers spots a great potential of further development of the platform.

    I just can't help wondering what would have happened if IBM had given the core of the storage facility (nsf) and the web-engine to the open source community and initiated a project. At least, developers would then have been programming, not complaining ;-)

    • avatar
    • carcomaidon
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 01:33 PM

    What IBM does with Domino Web development is like helping a grandma to cross a road and leave her in the middle of the zebra cross.

    • avatar
    • Stephen Hood
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 01:43 PM

    Has/can someone put together a FORMAL list of what they see as the biggest issues with Web development/standards with Domino. Actually two lists - a whats' here is what we can already do and here is what we can't do/deviates etc. And maybe a 3rd of here is how you think it could be solved. Brian Miller has started one on this thread.

    Why should it be up to the people here and not IBM..because you probably have a different perspective of what is and isn't important in the "real" world of your clients and developing for them. Secondly and maybe more importantly your frustration is an acknowledgment of your commitment to creating a better platform - so let's build a constructive list and pool the knowledge.

    Jake, given your knowledge of Domino and the web could you put a succinct list together. I'm sure Steve Castledine has oodles of bits and pieces as well given his template.

    Maybe Steve would be good point person to co-ordinate and formalize the list since he now works for IBM? Steve do you have the time for that?

    It would be a great reference of best practices etc to move things forward.

    What I see on the web 2.0 front is Jake and Tim Tripcony taking Jake Slocums stuff and using Domino to serve up a web 2.0 interface in a matter of hours.. what am I missing? I'm not a web developer so I really don't know what I'm missing. It may be obvious to everyone else here but not to me and I haven't seen a reference anywhere. I think that is part of the problem

    Btw, having every rich-client control automagically turned into a web 2.0 widget with ability to customizate on the fly - and if it doesn't then Domino sucks as a web development environment would not be the intent of the list.

    P.S. As much as I have wanted full CSS support in the client as well that does NOT make Domino suck as a web development environment. I think it's important to be clear on what the goals are and where the lines can be "fairly" drawn in regards to web vs rich-client.

    • avatar
    • Nick
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 01:57 PM

    But is it just me, or doesn't it seem like IBM has given up on Domino as their web development and put all their eggs in the Websphere/Eclipse basket? That this is the 'better platform' that they are talking about. Not building off of what we already know. And if they are trying to bridge that gap for that in this version 8. Well, it is maybe a bit too late for some.

  20. Carcomaidon nails the root of the discussion with that analogy. We have all invested alot of time, effort, and reputation on ND web development over the years and now feel somewhat abandoned. Let's call it Domino Web Developer Abandonement Syndrome (DWDAS), and apply for United Nations funding to find a cure.

    These discussions never end well. Ed does a good job keeping a positive face on things, unfortunately there are some frustrations that run too deep to be, as Sam said, "happy-faced" away.

    As for the troll comment:


  21. Man... that's 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back. :-(

  22. Oh, and where were you guys when IBM did ask the question, anyway?


  23. So, thinking about what could improve Domino for web development...

    Nathan, it goes beyond replacing the FONT tag.

    Modern Websites need more than just forms and views. I'm guessing, but I think a lot of Domino developers are using it only for the data store and indexing and doing a lot of the other stuff themselves.

    OK it goes without saying developers want more control over HTML output. But what else?

    Well, there are the annoying limitations:

    - data limits on field contents and lookups

    - you can't get an XML version of a search result - you can't make a content type: HTML version of a '$$SearchTemplate default'

    - you can't manually make a file upload field using passthru HTML

    Can we add to this list?

    These are things we've been asking for for ages, the forums are full of requests like these. So Nathan, I don't believe we were absent when asked.

    Then there are the other issues:

    scripting support is limited to web query agents that are performance hungry. I'd love it if LotusScripts could be as fast as embeded @Function formulas. We could then do the equivalent of rowset manipulations, except with ViewEntryCollections, right in the form. Web Query agents have too much overhead.

    Java gives us a huge number of tools, but java web query agents take way too long to initialise.

  24. Andrew...

    (I really REALLY didn't want to get into this...)

    data limits on fields... ok - data limits on lookups? That I chalk up to a limitation that HELPS developers and admins. Can't you achieve the results your looking for in a less server-intensive way than something that generates a lookup size limit error?

    I'll agree with you on the $$SearchTemplate thing... I had to write my own solution via an agent - it works, but it's not ideal.

    That's not quite true. Well, I'll put it this way. It's possible if you throw out the idea of RAD getting the job done for you. The simple way of doing this yourself? Create an HTML file that uses "nameofaform?createdocument" as the form's processing agent. Set your Input type to file and name it "%%.File1" (might have to doublecheck on the name of that one though..) and you can now do your own file upload controls. Hell, you can now do it from an external source if you think about it!

  25. Chris, I know, I really do, I've been doing all that kind of stuff for years. But I'm tired of hacks.

    Domino has always had an excellent value proposition. But there is a tipping point where you realise most of your work is actually spent on Making Domino do something it should do for you and the other features of Notes & Domino don't balance out the cost.

    The value of one thing over another is different for every organisation but the way web software development is getting very serious these days it's going to out weigh other features of the framework.

  26. @NTF, I did read that thread. Incidentally, I came across it when I was stuck trying to figure out why my CSS wouldn't work properly and while IBM was mid-stride in their "we are using open-standards and that makes us different" push.

    Sadly, it was all talk about future ideas which might possibly come to light, but had not been formally announced at the time or since. But one would otherwise have to be constantly trolling the ND forums to have caught that little blip on the map.

    But more importantly, in that thread Bo Fredericksen nails it straight out. Notes/Domino has no structure for semantic markup which is one of the core components of what Web 2.0 is.

    IBM has been focusing on demonstrating how these technologies can be re-implemented using existing Domino tech, which is a tremendous complement to what IBM/Lotus has already been developed, but if IBM then goes around saying we can do Web 2.0/AJAX while it's missing this fundamental cornerstone of semantic definitions, then IBM's not being honest or sincere.

    I'm glad, and know very well, that there are those who are trying to puzzle these things out internally, but in the "public sphere" there has been little commitment to or acknowledgment of these problems. If the problems are addressed publicly, then there's not much to get frustrated about, and a lot to get excited about. Just look at the public announcements of a Linux path for Hannover. People went ballistic with excitement. And then they released a Linux version of 7.0.1 (which works fabulously, BTW) way ahead of schedule.

    But even if they didn't, it was announced as a priority, and people were prepared to be patient because it was "in the mail," so to speak.

    But people are more confused than excited about activity-centric computing because it's a new concept and not necessarily addressing old issues.

    Having said that, and maybe Ed you can weigh in on this, if the activity-centric/portal concept will allow me to render and manage multiple Domino forms/views (without having to bolt DB2 in, losing the offline capabilities of Notes) in the same visible screen space (or viewport as it's called in webland) without using framesets, and allowing the result of an action in one form/view causing a reaction from an adjacent form/view, then a huge problem will have been solved and I will concede greatness to IBM.

  27. @Ed, i hope you read this,

    i want to bring to the discussion a little example that is limited to our scenario here in italy but i think can be used as a sample: we have an accessibility law (niknamed "Stanca law") that covers *every* website and *every* application (with 1 exception) made by or made for the public sector, you have to comply with this law or your contract is void by definition (eg: you take no money), the law text in English is here ({Link} ), so, if you look at the first Requirement here {Link}

    you will see that we *must* be w3c valid with a strict doctype, preferably in XHTM, or we *must* plan the transition of our applications to strict doctype.

    guess what?

    We can't have a valid strict doctype in domino without heavy hacking (and this say goodbye to RAD in domino with lotus-notes)

    the result?

    I guess most developers here in italy choose to not comply with strict doctype and simply make a "plan" for a next version with a strict doctype, how? i dunno but again, i guess a lot of them choose another platform, one that at least can give valid (x)html out of the box.

    At least here in Italy, it is not that developers want to be "cutting-edge", we have to produce valid (x)html output by law and domino really do not help us in that kind of things.

  28. To be fair you all should admit that IBM has not promised what you are asking for. When IBM removed Garnet for R6 and silently cancelled the promised Apache integration the message was crystal clear.

    Go and look somewhere else.

    Now we all had several years time to do that but it seems we are still here.

    I am not angry about IBM, I am more angry about myself. Hey, it can be worse, there are still people that believe IBM will release a new version of Lotus Organizer and that SmartSuite is going to take a revival.

  29. Jake, I might have asked this before. Not sure. Are you an IBM Business Partner? It's not a magic key to the door of People Who Get Things Done @ IBM, but it is a means to an important end: talking to business managers at IBM who want to know where the money is. Even as a partner, it takes a lot of work to get into a position where you can have those kinds of conversations with the right people at IBM, but if you're not the CIO of a Fortune 5000 firm or an analyst who is paid by those CIO's, and you want to have a real voice into IBM's product directions, that's the way to go.

    IBM doesn't do technology for cool technology's sake. Sometimes they do it for the sake of keeping up with industry trends in order to stay competitive, but that's a pretty rare case. Primarily they do technology that increases their opportunity to make money from their customers in specific areas that their senior management has decided are strategic for their long-term interests. They have people whose job it is find out where the money is, whether in strategic areas or not, but there's no shortage of opportunities out there for them to look at. There are lots of competing interests out there, trying to get IBM's business managers to invest their resources in particular areas, and they tend to have a lot at stake in getting IBM to do it so you can bet that they are going to be strong advocates for their positions. The ones who succeed are the ones who can show IBM the money.

  30. Just because IBM decided not to implement Tomcat does not mean they will abandon any/all of the http stack. Nor does it mean that they may not decide to use a straight Apache implementation, or bring the IBM stack up to current standards.

    It only means that IBM decided that moving Domino to a JSP/J2EE backend would complicate their product portfolio in which their biggest competitor would be a sister division.

    The fact that the thread that NTF posted was last added to by an IBM employee on August 1st of 06 means that at some level, IBM folks are internally trying to figure out how to address these needs.

    And I don't begrudge IBM for not committing to a plan that is entirely likely to change a hundred times before it hits an alpha development cycle. My only want is for them to declare it a priority in the queue of things which are being addressed. I think that is the underpinning of this whole thread.

    There has not been a public commitment that the web-engine and it's constituent parts and technologies will be brought up to speed (even if it doesn't happen all at once) if not in RNext, within a few point releases.

  31. I should've added an @Henning to the front of that

  32. @Henning, you hit the nail on the head.

    • avatar
    • Michelle ORorke
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 08:17 PM

    One suggestion for IBM: If you are not willing to provide new tools for web development in Domino, how about just providing the ability to turn OFF some things.

    Ideally, a setting or profile per database or an additional tab on the form or database properties that says 'don't automatically generate any of the following tags'

    How hard could that be? Would anyone else find this useful?

    • avatar
    • Tony Palmer
    • Tue 21 Nov 2006 09:02 PM

    @Richard. I agree and I'll add.

    The Lotus/IBM BP, ISV and Conultants channel has always been there to fill in the gaps and limitations with the IBM products and solutions. You can complain that it doesn't do this or doesn't do that, or you can see it as a way to benefit from it.

    I'm sure that the Aptrix guys are glad that Domino didn't ship with a built in WCMS, I'm sure that TeamStudio guys are glad that there was no team tools built into Designer and I'm sure that Steve Castledine is pretty glad that Domino did ship with a blogging template...and there are many more (nsftools, midas etc).

    This isn't just in the Notes products. PureEdge (Workplace Forms), Bowstreet (Portal) and Instant Technologies (Sametime) have all had some really clever people come up with solutions to fill that need - and made a living.

    I agree that at times it feels like IBM has dropped the ball.

    Just think of it this way, if IBM had solved all the quirks or produced great looking web pages by default, would codestore have gained such popularity ?

  33. @Michelle,

    I call it the "Treat Content type as _____" attribute on the particular element! ;-)

  34. Jake, you are totally correct. Domino is way behind when it comes to the 'Web 2.0' technology. But I think it is only reasonable to look at the whole situation:

    1) Domino has never been about bleeding edge web development out of the box. Folks like you and others make it that. And you can do that because of the flexibility that Domino provides.

    2) IBM is playing with Web 2.0 technologies, they just have not hit Domino yet (out of the box, IBM supported). This includes stuff outside of websphere/db2. Look at alphaworks. Look at the stuff coming out of Lotus like dogear. And the solid rumor of QuickPlace 8 using the Dojo toolkit. All of those are signs that someone is doing the right things.

    3) Notes 8 is all about the client. IBM is betting the farm on a rich, thick client based on eclipse . That is the focus. Everything else ... Designer, Admin, Server ... they are getting incremental upgrades. That is the IBM direction they decided on in summer of 2005. You can not change the direction of a software effort on the scale of Notes 8 this late in the game.

    I really want to see some more stuff out of the box to make web domino development easier. I want the dojo toolkit installed with domino. I want a Names dialog that is ajax enabled out of the box. IBM needs to figure out how to deliver those. If they can add stuff like Nomad and the IBM Blog template in 7.0.2, maybe they can add that to 8.0.1.

    I do think the comparison of Domino as a web development platform to stuff outside of companies like Microsoft and Oracle is like comparing apples to oranges. Web 2.0 companies have software in perpetual beta and do not have to worry about customer support like the big companies. One day, they will ... and their pace will slow.

    So, yes, I think IBM needs to be taken to task. But we as a community also have to realize the reality of developing software at the scale of something like Notes. If we expect them to turn on a dime, we are just kidding ourselves. I think IBM needs to listen better, and the community needs to talk better (and yes, I know, that grammer sucks).

  35. @Tony.

    Yes those Companys have their value and they have added abilities to Domino no other man has thought about before.

    But and this is a serious but. The Customer, also known as the one who pays your bills, does just see that when developing Domino/Notes Applications that work both ways (well three if portal is wanted too) the RAD proposal that IBM gives comes to a grinding halt. He sees that he gets 110 % of the solution in the notes client but when he wants to have the same experience in the web almost all developers start redesigning the whole application.

    Show me only one (more complex, a discussion database does not count) application that works Web and Notes wise the same way WITHOUT the developers of that application investing a lot of time on a lot of different issues to solve so that it not only looks, but also feels good. And i will call this developer a wizard.

    Leaning back and saying hey guys we got consultants to do that for you or this Business Partner or ISVs is not what my customer wants to hear from IBM. The message he wants to hear is. Can you stay at the speed of designing for the Notes Client with the richness of that client when it comes to a Web or Portal interface without the need for tweaks and tricks and hacking around? And i have to say. "No i cannot because the application will have this problem or that problem or another problem." (I know that those problems can be solved Jake showed a lot of the tricks to do that here.) Thank you Sir nice to talk to you but when it comes to web i will have to think about other frameworks that can do what i want to.

    I think the whole discussion is not about a single feature missing. It is perhaps about that not everyone has the chance to be a BP and to be listened to. I have not. I am a customer with the possibility to give ESRs to IBM. And to mee it looks like that, because of that, a lot of things that we are talking about to IBM or trying to get into any open channel over there (sorry Ed) seems to be going into nirvana. You almost never get a feedback either positive or negative. (When it comes to communication classes one thing that is teached first is that the worst thing that can happen in a two way communication is NO communication at all.)

    And yes there is a difference between strategic and operational thinking.

    IBM is thinking strategic.

    I am operational.

    So their proposal is that they might solve my problems or a part of my problems sometime in the future.

    My duty for my customers is to solve their problem NOW. And if i see that the solution for that is just a little bit out of my reach and that this goal could perhaps be easily achieved if a part of the program i use is engineered a little bit further and that no one within the organisation that builds my favorite tool can be persuaded to give a statement about if this enhancement would take place and how long it might last, the patience of my customer and after some time my patience also will wear off.

  36. One thing to add to the Solve now theme.

    NOW, with a limited amount of time and money.


    Yes you are right Domino is not at the "bleeding edge" when it comes to web. But that is not the point. The point is that Domino and Notes often go 70% when they should go 95%.

  37. And that is not only ment for Web development, but also for the Notes client.

  38. I know that this sounds cynical. And I truely want to sound a less bit crazy. I am doing quite fine with Eclipse plugins (and some other more traditional Java project). To code, architect, design those pays my living.

    I understand the platforms as a moving target. 4, 5 years ago it was lots of Domino/DHTML/XML, than Websphere/Tomcat and currently Eclipse-plug-ins/ JBoss/ springframework. Am learning a bit .NET stuff.

    So why this emotion around platform? The underlying technological, organizational and human factors influencing IT projects are allways the same. Once I dedided that as a Techie its better to look out for ways to adapt my assets against the inevitable changes of the technology.

    Of course this costs me r.e.g.u.l.a.r.l.y an aditional 10 hours for well focussed after-office learning activities. Other techies complain about certifications for not being good enough for them. I pass at least 2 of them each year. Other Techies say that they buy no book no more, because its all Internet. I buy and read 2 books each month, because they teach me more focussed.

    I presume that for conference speakers/journalists like Mr. V. Weber or marketing guys like Ed Brill it pays of if many Techies believe that their fate is bound to Domino. I do everything that my is not and currently that works quite well.

  39. of course all this things I learn with coding eclipse plug-in for customer serves as input for Expediture

    • avatar
    • Axel Janssen
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 01:38 AM

    ... and Domino 8. :-)

    • avatar
    • Bernard Devlin
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 04:53 AM

    @Henning is right. I'm kicking myself for the last few wasted years of Domino development. The fact that IBM decided to withdraw Garnet leaving us with @formulas as the only way to get any kind of performance out a Domino web application, should have told us that Domino was not meant to be a serious contender as a web development platform. That they even chose not to provide a re-director to Tomcat, shows that they only route they expected us to take was to move to Websphere, or choose another platform instead of Domino. The irony is that once I'd found how flexible other web development tools could be, I also saw how they could be used to replace Domino's RAD capabilities for non-web applications.

    • avatar
    • Tony Palmer
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 04:58 AM


    *Show me only one (more complex, a discussion database does not count) application that works Web and Notes wise the same way WITHOUT the developers of that application investing a lot of time on a lot of different issues to solve so that it not only looks, but also feels good. And i will call this developer a wizard.*

    Show me a J2ee applications for a customer that needs two clients, browser and Rich Client. You'll still need to code two clients. JSP/JSF and Swing/Eclipse. At least Domino gets you part of the way there...I'll take 70% over nothing.


    • avatar
    • Axel Janssen
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 05:18 AM

    Gents. Please.

    Take another example: Struts as a web framework has lost lots and lots of its coolness appeal. Have you ever heard any guy who has heavily invested time into Struts to complain about that he wasted his time???

    Or maybe with EE5 and other stuff the interest in spring-framework cools down? Such thing happens. Maybe Domino guy is laughing and fingerpointing at Spring guy. But spring guy doesn't care much about his pet framework being fallen out of favour. He knows that ideas of spring will survive in the next shiny new framework or product.

    • avatar
    • Axel Janssen
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 05:25 AM

    (last posting for longer time)

    @Bernhard Devlin:

    What only route does IBM expect you to take:

    Websphere classic or Websphere Community edition aka. Geronimo?

    • avatar
    • Bernard Devlin
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 05:46 AM

    @Axel, If you're saying that Geronimo is also available as an option, then thank you for correcting me. I thought the only clear path for extending Java development with Domino was through the full Websphere product.

  40. @tony.

    Taking a question that is seriously meant and answering it with another question is politic style. Bad. Very Bad. Even if it comes with a smily. And to me it prooves that you have no idea if such an application might exist.

    I did never intend to say that domino is worth nothing and that J2EE rules. I do not have enough skills right now about J2EE to give a reasoned and valuable answer. And i am neither on Axels nor on Bernards path regarding my opinion about developing with notes/domino.

    But that Domino/Notes is a toolset which could do reasonably better on different tasks then it does right now is a fact. And it is one that cannot be argued away because the people who are critical about that can proove and stand their point of view.

    • avatar
    • Axel
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 07:03 AM

    (doesnot count as new posting as its intended as answer to Bernard):

    As we all know, You can integrate *any* Java development with Domino via Webservices(Soap or Rest) or the Java Api for Domino Objects (thin wrapper around rcp or corba).

    We don't need to tight couple too much.

    It gives more disadvantages than advantages.

    I imagine that this is even a problem for websphere classic: We have all this fancy not too often used integration points for Domino and they have to be adapted each release.

    I believe that we will really shift away from this monolytic thinking.

  41. @Samuel

    I never said that IBM had the intention to remove the http stack but it was clear that the web developers wishlist is not going to become smaller in the foreseeable future.


    I would not see my years wasted but I become more dependend on a product (and a vendor). I feel uncomfortable with that.

    I am not even saying that IBM will not do something for the web developer in the future.

    IBM is a multibillion dollar company and has the advantage that they can afford to miss opportunities and still make a lot of money. And they take the luxery to change their (internal) mind quite often.

  42. Can we HAVE this conversation 8 million times? Apparently so.

    Two cents? Sure, why not...

    1. When Andrew said we are not 'armchair quarterbacks' we are the quarterbacks, I about cried. That so sums up what it feels like for us developers. And I hope Ed really takes that to heart, and listens with that paradigm in mind, as we should listen to what he has to say from where HE's coming from. I think more listening would be a good thing.

    2. Ed may not realize the huge contribution you offer to developers, Jake, but I and others do. I was pulled into Notes development with no experience, and some of my best work has included YOUR code. I'm sure the "street value" of the code you offer up free, here, is worth thousands of dollars - probably more. That you give it away is a godsend to the rest of us.

    Here's to Notes/Domino [clink] - can't live with it, can't live without it. ;-)

    • avatar
    • Axel
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 10:37 AM

    If "Haensel" from Haensel and Gretel were a Henning Heinz style Domino expert the famous story had to be rewritten.

    Brothers Grimm 2.0

    Henning and Gretel

    Henning and Gretel do not find their way back home.

    Gretel: Henning. What are we going to do now?

    Henning: I feel uncomfortable. But maybe IBM will do something. Its a multibillion Dollar company. We wait. In the meantime I can own some money doing some administration, watch my daughter grow and complain a bit about Garnet on Ed Brill website (and others) .

    2 years later

    Gretel: Henning. What are we going to do now?

    Henning: I feel uncomfortable. But maybe IBM will do something. Its a multibillion Dollar company. We wait. In the meantime I can own some money doing some administration, watch my daughter grow and complain a bit about Garnet on Ed Brill website (and others) .

  43. At least I have learnt that if I would have invested more time in Java I would also be able to spend hours a day surfing the web and evangelizing the Notes community or posting dozens of last comments.

    You won't find many comments where I am the first to mention Garnet but it was a political decision and I do not like political decisions.

    IBM has always been an honest partner for me and I appreciate that. Now let me stop and have a look where Gretel is. At the end they found their way back home and killed a witch (they even achieved that without a spring framework). Not too bad.

  44. Jake, you are definitely not alone in your criticism of IBM and Lotus. I have often felt like the lone voice of dissent in a sea of rabid zealots. I don't do web development so I can't contribute to that discussion, but I do find one thing interesting.

    Notes has client-focused releases and server-focused releases. Where are the developer-focused releases? We get a few bones tossed our way in every release because they have to give us hooks to do the new client and server stuff, but we have never had anything substantial done to the Designer client since it was released in 1999.

    I also applaud whoever said they need to take some of these things further. Calling some of these 70% complete is being generous. We've got Autocomplete that works just well enough to make me scream, the remote debugger crashes servers *sometimes*, and trying to figure out where you can use each language (JS, Java, LS, Formula) takes a decoder ring. And of course you can't use the language you want where you want to use it.

    I'd rather not have these features at all than have the half-assed implementations we were given, but that's just me.

    • avatar
    • Axel
    • Wed 22 Nov 2006 10:55 PM

    Henning: Political desicion?

    We don't know. And thats a bit dangerous. We were not present in the meetings of the IBM management. You seem to believe that its obvious fact that they decided the way they did, to leave customers Websphere as the only J2EE choice. But maybe there were other reasons. As far as I do rememember they said, that they feared to not be able to cope with the fast release cycles of apache software foundation. And honestly if you really liked Java/J2EE programming, you could have done so. There are quite a few Domino programmers who do so without thinking much about Garnet.

    Your Garnet theories reminds me on critical rationalism, cause you base your whole argumentation on a statement non falsifiable.

    Henning: That Garnet desicion was to pressure Domino organisation to use Websphere.

    IBM manager: It was not.

    Henning: It was.

    IBM Manager: It was not.

    Henning: It was.

    IBM Manager: It was not.

    The whole thing depends on the task you want to archieve. That's why those language discussions are so funny. The current project I am participating is not a small one. More than 5 developers are adding code on a daily basis. Version control systems come in handy in such situations, especially because we support different releases rolled out in some customer organizations.

    My part is kind of providing tools for code generation. The application the customer uses includes complex XForm stuff. My tools help the domain experts (non programmers who are not interested in xml as such) to build those artefacts which define the application. They just document their application in an Excel spreadsheet and this generates big part of the application. You could code it in Domino6 upwards, but its far easier in Java. I truly believe that the many bonus bells-and-whistle apis for xml handling in Java, better OO features, junit, eclipse as tool, eclipse as platform for users, etc. do provide me pragmatic support.

    If you build a standard-like Webapp PHP can be a good tool. Or Ruby on Rails.

    Notes is for other tasks.

    But its getting a bit funny to say: "I am realistic. I concentrate on the real stuff. I am a Domino programmer. The others are crazy zealots, which search for the shiniest newest drug, whereas I do the real work. Domino provides me Workflows."

    It could have been the specific situation of some people in certain organisation in some period of time. But all this changes over time and in place. Today I find myself explaining my java programming coworkers some things in Domino. Should they become Domino programmers?

    For all those tasks there are frameworks in other programming languages as well. Hani Suleiman has build an openSource package called OSWorkflow. Or JBoss has a project. .NET has huge workflow parts in the Vista release.

  45. mmmm.... I love threads.... but, well, I have to get back to the code....

    ( AJAX, CSS, DHTML, using Domino as a data store that provides me ACL, roles, search engine, views and forms. 70% LS code, 29% Java code. 1% @Formulas)


  46. my 5 cents (and my poor english)

    why N/D: for me it's the (supposed) fast way to make tool for people, make this people works together, with built-in infrastructured functionality (web server, search, mail, c&s, ...) in a managed platform (security, ACL, scheduler, ...). It's supposed because the problem has many faces, the tool (N/D) help to 60-80% of this faces, but my hands + mind help for remaining 20% (maybe this like other site help me a lot).

    IS this what I want now?

    If I want a web development tool: out of there exists a lot of tools, N/D help for prototyping, is not a great web tool for itself.

    NB: A LOT - because none of these is complete for all us, a tool is good for this, a tool for that... -

    now I work for IT of a insurance company: why N/D for this company? if it is functional for my work, it it is cost-effective. Is sharepoint a better solution? maybe yes, maybe not, don't know yet. Wiki is better? Ruby on rails? Websphere stuff? Documentum? set the problem, then set the tool.

    We work with one of this tool: use it for what is working well (RAD-prototyping, fat/web client); is for that we love N/D, is for that we hate it (is better in this, is worse for that).

    to IBM - their people are making a good effort to have sinergy from websphere stuff and lotus stuff - the people here make the dream works: make message (and tool) for all us clear and usable.

    btw: to have domino web server 'talk' in xhtml, is maybe a first one thing

    • avatar
    • rob
    • Sun 26 Nov 2006 08:51 PM

    While everyone whinges, I thrive on the shortcomings of Notes, sure it has its problems, but they are opportunities to earn good money, as work-arounds take time to implement. Working in Notes for 10 years, has benefitted my life. Notes is truely international too.. I wouldnt of been to 42 countries and had a fantastic lifestyle... And while all you geeks and nerds are complaining... I say thanks IRIS/LOTUS/IBM for a fantastic opportunity in my life!

    • avatar
    • simlet
    • Mon 27 Nov 2006 05:54 PM

    Ed Malony said:

    "Domino is still a great product, but it is bordering on irrelevant in the Web 2.0 world."

    If you think about web2 with ajax youll agree that most of the code execution is being taken away from the server and into the browser. After youll mostly have ajax calls to domino agents that either updates your model (data) or reads from it and throw xml to browser. If you can think better and start exploring the possibilitys of web2 with domino youll find pure RAD and flexibility. First, you can have an agent that acts as an universal view engine that you call with ajax and it sends xml data to browser. the browser beeing loaded with javascript you get sorts, filters, search, categorys, effects, pages, cache and all that in the purest web2 fashion. just one agent and some js and any view in any application gets web2. What youll benefit is the finest grained security out the box has domino data is "self-secured and user-aware" then youll have flexible data model wich is awesome and not matched by the ORM in java and neither by the active records like Rails, Cake, etc.. Some people might follow me but im scared most wont but still ill risk it: orm : domino maps document object directly to data, active record: its done without configuration and mapping can extend to html form for CRUD. That leaves thousand of possibilities :

    1- domino renders data to html forms, then javascript acts as a transfomation layer for the few types of fields domino render improperly (dates, textarea, numbers), by scanning the form dxl with ajax these gets fixed once and for all. Now you get what : forms rendered correctly.

    2-Next thing you need is flexible layout for xhtml or div id(ing) or nest(ing) that can be acheived by having a form for layouts and subforms for content. You get seperation of layout.

    3-You can extract the domino action bar from the dom at browser side, reorganize it and integrate it anywhere you want. you get formula language actions or ls actions or js actions as plain dom li objects that can be flexed to the style you want but with hidden complexity.

    4-You need an agent for ajax rpc to any ls library: that is easily dony because we have the "Evaluate and execute" fonction that can run a string as lotuscript or fomula from an agent in java or lotuscript. Short: you just need an agent that gets url params and build a string that is beeing executed. Note that security will properly apply because the agent runs as web user. What you get is the browser being given most libraries and tools via ajax calls to domino.

    Performance has been a problem for domino with concurrent users but with ajax domino builds much lighter xml documents that gets xslized. You get awesome caching possiblities. That makes domino very scalable and rapid.

    ok ill stop here but ill just come back to the point that web2 being mostly js, you only need from a server: security, flexibility of model and a complete api. Those thing domino offers unmatched in a standart way out the box. Domino is beeing given a new breed with web2 and it is awesome: sad the best developpers are working in j2ee frameworks and not on domino.

    if you need a few hintwords: sarissa, dxl, xml, google xslt... domino data and security will bend to it unrestrictively.


    • avatar
    • Pejman
    • Fri 29 Dec 2006 06:18 PM

    Well I think that there is a lot to say but not in a public thread.

    The first blow of knife started with the Garnet project....

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