Why My Sudden Interest in SharePoint

If all goes to plan then I retire in twenty years' time, aged 55. About the same time as the mortgage ends. In the mean time I need to pay the mortgage each month as well as feed the family, put the kids through university, pay for a couple of weddings, take them on nice holidays etc etc.

Longer-term worries aside I have much more immediate concerns to address. If I'm to continue "living the dream" and working from home doing a job I love then I need to keep hold of what few good customers I have while waiting for others to come along.

I like to think I'm pretty good at keeping hold of customers. I give them what they want (usually more so) and at a reasonable price, so they tend to come back.

But what am I supposed to do when a good customer decides to leave Domino? Wish them luck and let them go; after years of building a relationship with them? Not likely. It would be foolish not to try and keep hold of them.

Can Domino Pay The Bills?

In a comment on this site the other day I said:

It's purely about paying the bills. For the first time in my career I feel like being a Domino-only developer is not going to do that.

The reason I've hardly talked about Domino on here recently is because I've not done much with it and the stuff I have been doing with it just hasn't been anything to write home about.

It's no longer about me being fed up with Domino and looking for alternatives. It's now purely about survival. I need to plan ahead and make sure I have a maintainable income for the foreseeable future.

In a meeting last month with the customer who's leaving Domino they said to me:

There might be some SharePoint work coming up, if you're up for it?

While some of you might have gracefully declined, my eyes lit up at the prospect. Not because I think developing with SharePoint will be a barrel of laughs, but because it means I might not end up losing one of my best customers. If they'd said there might be "some Excel macro work" or "some Notes 4 client work" I'd still have bitten their hand off.

Whether they actually meant SharePoint or whether that's a cover-all term used to describe any ASP.NET based stuff, I don't know. Either way I want to make sure I'm up to speed when the time comes. Hence why I've been working with ASP.NET of late and my more recent interest in SharePoint.

Not Quitting Domino Just Yet

If I thought that being a Domino developer could see me through the next 20 years then I'd be happy enough to stick with it. My family are now way more important than the idea of me being completely contented with my choice of tools.

So, for the record, I'm not looking to move completely away from Domino. If you want some Domino development doing then I'm still your man and waiting by the phone.


    • avatar
    • Rishi
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 04:06 AM

    Jake, You just spoke your heart out :)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 10 Jun 2010 04:13 AM

      It was actually quite refrained. If I really spoke my heart out it would read much more like a desperate plea for work.

      Show the rest of this thread

  1. Hi Jake,

    I have stopped writing anything new in Domino and now do everything in WSS. It's the way the wind is blowing over here in Australia.

    This is not client driven - They don't know what they're logging onto, it is my choice.

    Feel a bit bad, as I love Domino and have had 12 great years from it, but as a client I think that IBM could learn a thing or two from Microsoft.

    My Domino party is over...I don't think I'm the only one.

    Sharepoint did my head in 'cos at first I tried to do it the way the books etc tell you, then I remembered how we in the codestore Domino community ignored standard practice and did it our (your) way, so I now apply the same theory to sharepoint.

    I suggest you do the same - That's what your good at.

    Look forward to your sharepoint tips and tricks down the line.


    • avatar
    • Tim
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 05:02 AM

    Here in Sweden it's the same scenario.... Domino development is stalling. Really badly. I work for quite a big company and I haven't seen any new cases in the last year or so. But having the advantage of working for a big firm is that they will help me learning new stuff. I don't have to do it in my spare time.

    But it seems like Domino is not that big any more in Europe. After more than 10 years with it, the last 2 years have been filled with .NET (C#) programming and now the last year is WebShpere Portal and tons of Java. I guess that is the future now. Just look at job offers, it's Java or .NET. Nothing Lotus anymore....

    It's a very smart move from your side in my opinion. Because in the end, it's all about paying the bill.

      • avatar
      • MarekK
      • Thu 10 Jun 2010 07:11 AM

      Here the same, in Poland... I work for a huge intl corp with hq in France. The process started about 3 years ago when they switched mail - not hard to guess - to exchange&outlook. Now is the big project of decommissioning +100 LD servers, several hundreds of applications. It made me sad when I saw an Excel list of all apps with comments and for all LN apps was written: "It's Lotus Notes, with have to get rid of it"...

    1. Same here in Portugal, specially in the North (where I live) - the last job posting for Lotus Notes development up here was... five years ago (and that's how I got the job I have now).

      On the country's capital is slightly better, maybe one or two opportunities per year. Compare this with the five or more job postings for .Net per *week*, and you can see that Lotus Notes seems to be dying around here... Which is not really a surprise, considering there hasn't been any Lotus marketing on the business (or otherwise) magazines for the last ten years.

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • R
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 05:12 AM

    Here in the netherlands its the same. I am 9 year Lotus Notes developer and switching to SharePoint 2010

  2. I can't speak for any other region, but having worked with Domino for a few years in Australia and then later in the UK, I saw the product go from obscurity to now almost absolute irrelevance. Sure, there is work out there, but like you say, its the kind of "non-strategic" development or worse, application support, that you don't really want to admit to let alone put on your CV. You know things are bad when ISVs are resorting to grunt contract work and even supposed Domino experts are accepting rate cuts.

    Whats interesting is that the product now is in a lot better shape than it has ever been since I first encountered it. There is a powerful standards based rich client, but nobody with skills to write Eclipse plug-ins. There is finally a half decent web framework in XPages, but no top-notch web developers are touching it. The problem is that there is no way to attract the much needed development talent with no real demand for work.

    Like yourself, I have always been technology agnostic, so transitioning to other development platforms in their ascendancy hasn't really been an issue.

    No, Domino isn't dead, but its dead to me.

    • avatar
    • Sammy H
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 06:29 AM

    Learning something new is always a fine way to go. And this way, you'll be around to pick up the pieces when Sharepoint doesn't live up to customer expectations.

    The then pro-MS IT manager convinced an internal customer that "Notes can't do that" and told them that SP could. Two years later after massive cost overruns and a product that didn't work, I'm making the changes in Notes. SP was a bust--from the servers to the ap itself (which was built in another tool because SP doesn't really program). Even though the dev, qa and prod servers were set on the same equipment by the same people, every time the ap was pushed from dev it failed in some different, mysterious way. Fixes that were done 2-3 pushes ago suddenly were broken again. A document never made it successfully through the approval process. Needless to say (especially in this economy), the client wasn't happy.

    So, not only am I again working on this ap (and making the client extremely happy), but I have 3 new projects to work on. The IT dept is again looking at Notes as a low-cost, highly productive platform for internal aps. BTW, that manager is no longer here.

  3. I think user's like Sharepoint because it's "free and easy" like Domino used to be. They just request a "Sharepoint" and voila! it is ready for them to populate with more Excel spreadsheets. (It's amazing that we've gone full circle with the Excel vs Domino applications).

    If the same users came to my group for a Domino Database, they would be put in the queue for six months and then have to go through their requirements, design, development, testing, etc...

    Good luck, Jake. The great thing about Domino was that one person could walk into a company and generate hundreds of truly valuable applications. They could clean up 20+ processes in one year.

    That type of work is now stigmatized. Everything has to be done with a team of 2 project managers, 5 developers, and an off-shored testing group. Two processes get cleaned up in a year vs 20 and it takes 10 more people to do it.

    I hope someone comes along and preaches against the waste that is happening in corporate IT and realizes the value of RAD development and its star developers.

      • avatar
      • SPMike
      • Fri 18 Jun 2010 02:52 PM

      SharePoint is not free. WSS is free.

  4. When customers talk about development work in Sharepoint, they are most likely talking about webparts, and other Sharepoint plug-ins. Once you get the basics of how Sharepoint works (lists, libraries, sites, etc...) start to focus on the API, which uses the same object naming conventions as the other SP components.

    One hard lesson learned: If the data does not HAVE to be in Sharepoint, then do not put it there. Just like Notes, if you have a wide dataset, then the app scales poorly when you get alot of rows.

    • avatar
    • Erskine Harris
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 07:58 AM


    I have been watching the demand for Lotus Notes/Domino going down over the past few years. When you have a family at times it is about paying the bills. So the switch for me to SharePoint was made out of need.

    I still love Notes, but I have to go where the jobs are.


    • avatar
    • Dan
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 07:59 AM

    I became a 100% Domino developer straight out of Uni - joined a company, spend 3 months getting a CLP and stayed with it for about 6 years. About 6 years ago I realised Domino would not be around forever and slowly switched to Java.

    First I had a Domino job with some Java, then a job with Java and some Domino and now I work 100% with Java, mainly web based. It was not a hard transition but it did take time.

    It was hard to give up what was my #1 skill but however much I liked Domino I had to let go.

    One of the great things about being a Domino developer though is that you do know a reasonable range of web technologies already. I also found that as a Domino developer I was used to defining and writing whole systems which is more unusual in the Java world but a useful skill to have.

    What I had to brush up on through was things like automated testing, source code management, object orientated design etc. as in my Domino world these things were little known.

    The thing I miss about Domino is its completeness, security, db, email, multiple language support, scheduled agents, web framework etc in one box. In the Java world each of these things is taken care of by hundreds of different projects and most of the time is spent trying to decide what to use and how to glue it together.

    The other day I did do some quick maintenance of some ASP classic code though. ASP Classic ~= VB ~= LotusScript. I feel lucky I don't have to touch that sort of language often any more :)

  5. As a 15 year Notes veteran (I even survived the whole Workplace fiasco) I've only come to realise in the past couple of years that it's the solutions we provide that matter, not the technology. While it's all well and good to be in the 'yellow bubble' mine burst sometime ago.

    I've had previous experience with PHP/MySQL and have played with ASP classic too. I am also happy with most SQL stuff, just shy of T-SQL so I certainly have never been afraid to try new things. Good luck to you Jake, I shall be watching this closely as I will probably be following in your footsteps.

  6. Jake,

    I couldn't agree more. You have to go where the work is. It's sad, but true. We watch customers leave left and right. Just heard word of a 40,000 user customer looking to leave by year end and go to Exchange.

      • avatar
      • Lance
      • Fri 11 Jun 2010 08:39 AM

      My company is 6500+ users, we are migrating to exchange/OWA by next april. 12+ years on domino and off we go now...

      Show the rest of this thread

  7. Hi Jake,

    I got some advice when I first started in consulting that has served me well: "Say yes". When your customers come to you with a need, any need, say yes. Interested in helping with Notes/Domino? Yes. Sharepoint? Yes. OpenOffice evaluation? Yes (mention Symphony!). PHP? Yes. Whatever it is, say yes.

    You own a very deep long term relationship with your customers that gives you a lot of goodwill as you climb any learning curve associated with whatever it is you're saying yes to. You'll provide more value and help your customer make more rational and informed decisions and that's what you're really there to do.

  8. Hey Jake

    Always nice to see a post from you ...

    I hear you - got the same going on for myself here.

    We were a Domino-only shop about 18 months ago ... but now do a LOT of PHP / MySQL development, Joomla, Drupal, Wordpress and Magento work. It's what pays the bills - and there's plenty of it. So much so, we're just hiring a PHP/MySQL developer that I'm going to have to cross-train to do some development and support work for Domino systems that we have.

    I LOVE Domino. It's SO fast to produce beautiful results. I meet a lot of clients pre-sales ... and if it's a new client and I mention Lotus Notes or Domino, it normally loses the sale. If I mention it's Drupal or Joomla, or something else like that .. it's all good - the stigma of the old Notes client just hangs around like a bad smell whatever beautiful solutions I, and my team can produce.

    So what can be done to "solve" the "problem" ?

    - Sack the advertising guys in Lotus and finally bring some new blood in? (about 10 years overdue)

    Open source it all? (I know it's been discussed in so many places)

    Change the web server to Apache? (hehe, OK OK)

    ... to be honest ... the plugin and community architecture around the alternate products allows me to develop SO quickly and with such enjoyment, I'm going to stick with this new route for now.

    ... but would be happy to be on a team led by IBM/Lotus to help them come up with a resurgence.

    ... again Jake, thanks for sharing

    • avatar
    • Rob Gardner
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 10:11 AM


    I've followed you blog for years. As a Domino developer in the US I know on more than one occasion you have helped me answer a question or solve a problem I was having. I look forward to your take on SharePoint/ASP.NET.

    Our organization started the migration away from Domino about 3 years ago to SharePoint and Exchange. We went from a anti-Microsoft manager to a pro-Microsoft manager which changed our direction. It took 2 years to finally move to Exchange and the majority of our users are using OWA for email. Some of the features that iNotes had we had to purchase a 3rd party tool to accomplish in OWA. We only have about 3 applications that need the final move but they are a little too complex for SharePoint so they will be ASP.NET.

    I too have found that I either needed to adapt or find another occupation. IMO, SharePoint out of the box only gets you about 50% of what you want. The other 50% you will need a combination of Visual Studio, InfoPath and SharePoint Designer.

    BTW, have you seen the blog below at the URL? Not mine but it was nice to read about their experience migrating to SharePoint from Domino.



    • avatar
    • Usha Dewasthali
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 10:28 AM


    I am an avid reader of your site and appreciate your insight into many different technologies and solutions. Codestore is one of my regular sites to read. I have

    worked with Domino for the past 15 years and have really enjoyed it. However,

    at various points over the years and especially now, I have felt it may be time to

    move on and diversify a bit.

    Now I struggle with what direction to take Java or .Net?? I am hoping that whatever direction I take, I will enjoy working with it as much as Notes/Domino. Domino has

    been good to me.

    I wish you luck and will be watching what you think of Sharepoint!


  9. Same boat here in the USA. Been doing Domino dev since 93 and it seems that most of our clients are moving away from Domino. They still support the few applications they have, but they are really not doing anything new with Domino. Seems like Sharepoint has become the new popular kid in town. But what cracks me up, is that when you go and try to learn Sharepoint and start watching their videos, etc... it sounds like Domino V4 LotusSphere all over again... "3 Cs... Communicate, Collaborate, blah, blah..."

    What I want to know, and I haven't been to Lotussphere in some time... someone must still be doing Domino if LotusSphere is still such a big event. Has everyone become established and have their own developers and subject matter experts now and no longer need the consultants? Really, our consulting firm has gone from a team of 15 dedicated Domino developers and notes administrators, down to 2 dedicated developers... and each of us are staffed at clients moving away from Domino and trying to implement Sharepoint.

    I am also looking forward to your future posts on Sharepoint, as I am also probably going to be crossing over to the dark side very soon.

    • avatar
    • Bill
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 10:53 AM

    Absolutely agree. Couldnt have said it better. Family comes first.

    We've all bumped our gums about how IBM here in the UK could support the product better - believe me that message has went to the highest levels within Lotus and IBM.

    And here we are. Fantastic product, great support, fantastic userbase, amazing ROI. Pity no-one knows about it.

    ---* Bill

    • avatar
    • Bill
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 10:58 AM

    @Usha, you might want to check out:

    - Adobe/Flex running on Flash. Quite a nice Rich Web client.

    - Google Web Toolkit. A very major bank in the UK uses that.

    - Sharepoint. Its like Notes 2.x with all the security removed. But for some reason, the client I'm at cant get seasoned developers for love nor money. And since Sharepoint is transitioning to 2010, a good time to jump on.

    - Java. Lots of enterprise dev on Java. However, getting jobs in the UK where most of this gets outsourced is hard.

    - Business Analysis. Customer meetings and writing specs. They cant outsource that, and all that Domino Dev's given you a pretty good idea of how to build a good system.

    Hope this helps,

    ---* Bill

      • avatar
      • Dan
      • Thu 10 Jun 2010 02:34 PM

      Hi Bill, do you know which bank used Google Web Toolkit?

      • avatar
      • Usha Dewasthali
      • Tue 15 Jun 2010 12:11 PM


      Thanks for the ideas!

    • avatar
    • GerryS
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 12:40 PM

    Someone should send this link to Ed.

  10. Gerry, Ed sees that. But what could he possibly say.

      • avatar
      • GerryS
      • Thu 10 Jun 2010 02:22 PM

      Nothing specifically. But if I were in his position, I would like to see it.

    • avatar
    • Nick
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 02:11 PM

    It seems like alot of us have had these same thoughts and same reactions Jake. We who are working more with VS...still visit your site.

    Development in Domino seems few and far between. 10 years ago, I had to move my family to take a job for Domino, but that has grown to learning web development in Visual Studio.

    • avatar
    • Rory
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 02:17 PM

    I haven't been a Notes developer for a long time (mostly because I wasn't a very good one, not because of the product), but I "grew up" with Notes (started w/V3 - they were "V's" back then, not "R's") so I still follow the product and the culture around it.

    With that bit of preface, the technology cycle for Notes is not much different than the technology cycle for other products.

    I'm sure you could enter the "Powerbuilder bubble" or the "Progress bubble" (trying to think of products that were popular when I got into Notes) or even the "COBOL bubble" and find the same issues:

    - technology was once popular but fell out of favor

    - still works well but companies aren't investing in it

    - opportunities to ply the trade are getting fewer

    - need to move on to the "flavor of the month" in order to feed the family

    There's nothing wrong with that. I'd venture to say that's been the case since the Jacquard loom (look it up on Wikipedia).

    I'm sure there are people out there who, after a couple of beers, profess their love for PROFS or cc:Mail.

    The difference is that the generations are shorter, so folks like us may have started in Python, moved to PHP, and now find ourselves learning something called Groovy.

    I can't see where not wanting to be the last buggy-whip manufacturer is a bad thing, so good luck to you, Jake.

    • avatar
    • Michael
    • Thu 10 Jun 2010 04:28 PM

    The company I work for has been talking about getting rid of Notes for the last 10 years. This time I think they're serious. They point to the industry and say that this all works well but Notes is going away everywhere and they don't want to be stuck with it when it's an antique.

    Jake, I've learned (and still am learning) and tonne from you. I'm not too interested in SharePoint but I know if you pursue it you will publish some great articles and I look forward to learning about it from your experiences. It's codestore not notesstore. If there's no Domino work then you are forced to move on. Besides, it's nice to learn new things isn't it?

  11. An interesting thread and one that resonates with my experiences.

    A past 13-years Domino developer, probably the only one remaining fan in an organisation with 12000 Notes "seats", and who misses the loss *enormously*, I am now a SharePoint (2007, soon to be 2010) team leader. I have witnessed ignorance and misunderstanding buzzing around Notes like an unwelcome "act of air turbulence" since I started working with it in version 4. My users' most common complaint (client apps at the time) were about either the UI or the *icons*. Yes, the ICONS. Rarely about the fact that a) it was secure, b) it was distributed to dedicated teams c) it took a few weeks to develop, secure, distribute and replicate across cross sites or b) it JUST BLOODY WORKED.

    And yet, having developed in SharePoint for about 18 months, and starting reading SP blogs like I used to read Codestore daily (sadly no more), the success of this juggernaut has surprised me. It is, as some of the posts in this thread allude, *very* flaky. You getting that problem? Oh you need service pack 2. Or hotfix Q47TFGGY. That'll do it. You don't want to code that method that way, cos that API call is being deprecated in the next release. And that bit of code won't work cos MS are ditching it next year. 2 Domino servers to do all that? You'll need 8 in MS. Minimum. I've never known a product as resource demanding, unreliable and technically *worrying* as SharePoint.

    "Worrying", as it's getting installed all over the place. It's the next big thing. Why? The trojan horse called WSS - the free component of Windows server OS. And they're doing the same with the just released SP 2010. And how I hope (and I am about to find out) that things are fixed; improved; smoother. That there are fewer "dead bodies" (an insider MS terminology to describe known bugs that are swept under the carpet due to time pressures before gold releases) for us to find (and I *have* found a couple of corpses).

    I hope things are less "make sure you leave the curly braces out there cos it crashes the solution" and more about focusing on what the customer wants. They don't and shouldn't care what it's running on (after all any app is only as good as its developers, and I was surprised at Jeff's tweet recently (http://twitter.com/codinghorror/status/10717179885)). SharePoint 2007 to me at least, felt like it took MS by surprise. That they didn't expect its success; that they didn't anticipate the demand that the free WSS introduced. I say this because:

    - bin folders named after the previous developer corporation

    - known errors about asynchronous events which, an MVP once told me, JUST DON'T WORK

    - the pissing about with XML hacking and SPDisposeCheck utilities to look for memory-leak-risky code (SP is not fully managed code)

    - the fear that "well it works on my dev box" "well it doesn't on mine" "well our dev boxes are clones!!" doesn't cut it with the business

    - application pools turning off randomly

    - colleagues who have long since accepted the traits and "it's a SharePoint thing" and are past my stage, known as "rage". (Denial, rage, acceptance I think are the 3 stages of SharePoint development)

    - the fact that, damnit, this "development as hacker" stuff should have stopped 10 years ago. Not in 2010.

    And yet the blogs out there enthuse like it's never been done before. Notes 2.x - that poster was right. Quickplace as well. Some of this stuff is not new. Just BETTER MARKETED. Oh, and prettier-bloody-icons.

    Yet, and this is big one with me, MS never have really embraced backwards compatibility. It's rip and replace, and it's frightening when you have live data out there. Notes? I've still got v3 nsfs running, ticking along, with the sound of BIRDSONG. And yet it was disliked, mistrusted and ostracised. Ignorance. "It's not Microsoft." Both with users, and MS developers. LotusScript? Micky Mouse. Formula code? Not a proper language. Fine, it's not OO, but give you and I a set task and start that stopwatch.

    For a SharePoint 2003 -> 2007 "migration", one course attendee had such a bad experience in his organisation, that he wiped the servers down, blitzed the content, and started again. To a Domino developer, laughable. I could go on, but it's late!.

    Despite this shower of bile, I do have exciting ideas about SharePoint. There *are* things I have seen and liked. There's some huge potential if done right. And the support on forums and blogs is quite something.

    Also, the underlying .NET platform does afford a massive cross-scope of development opportunities (workflow foundation, WPF, WCF, Biztalk, SharePoint designer, Silverlight, SQL backend, publishing frameworks, EDRMS, Excel services, Access services, Visio services, Search management, etc. etc.). Just expect customers to sit tight, cos it's not getting done as quick as it might have used to be.

    As I have said elsewhere, SP is immature, temperamental but, for all of us to realise, also massive and massively important. Good luck Jake, I'll move your RSS feed from my Notes folder to my SharePoint folder now...


    1. Great points Andrew. Having worked together, I feel your pain and frustration.

      Lotus Notes didn't die at that particular organisation because it couldn't do the job and do it well. I would have said decisions were made on emotion and FUD.

      Also, this article pretty much describes how Lotus Notes gets pushed out of an organisation.


      To rub salt into the wound I'm seeing it all again at a different place

      Jake, I agree about paying the bills, but I cannot understand how your customers who have you as a developer (not just any developer) can even consider moving platforms when you must give them some awesome work in Lotus Notes.

  12. IBM is suffering from having a weak marketing and sales strategy. Go to a CIO networking event in Houston, Microsoft salespeople are there at every meeting, IBM ZIP! I think that episodes like this are happening everywhere, IBM just doesn't get out of their office till they are called! I know, we had to call!

    A Story I like to tell, my Uncle a salesman software and hardware, outsold the entire staff(20+ people) by himself. He was NEVER in the office, was at every event, including non-IT events, just went everywhere. I've learned a lot from him about Sales. His response, IBM a great company, Sales and Marketing, well, they just don't know how to do it. How do you do it, you make the customer feel like they are being taken care of, that you'll be there and show up even when they don't call (he found out more on these than any other time). Get to know your customers by name and watch their business and offer help all the time to make them successful. IBM does this only when they are about to lose a customer and then, most of the time it's too late. IBM needs to build customer confidence because customers are not confident in IBM, it's not the software, it's the relationship, it is always the relationship. IBM's software is better, but MS$ makes much better relationships! Just a fact that IBM can't seem to learn and we who love Notes/Domino pay for!

  13. Hi ,

    Its been sometime since i am working on domino,nearly 10 years.In the last 10 years have seen less ups and downs with LD, compared to what it is today.

    I was always thinking that LD is here to stay.But look now ,customers have slowly started to move out of LD for various reasons.It is sad to tell that i have started to feel that the LD will go into oblivion in the near future.Hope this will end up being just a feeling !

    > What is this Lotus Live doing when Lotus Notes is there ?

    > What is Lotus Client(8.X) made so heavy?

    > Why IBM is sitting quite when customers are moving to other platforms ?

    > Can some one stop LD Developers from getting frustrated & shifting to other technology ?

    With the advent of XPages,the developers are more confused.Continue working on domino or switch over to MS/Java.

    Pooh! lot of things to ask & think.

    But one day i would like to listen from customers -"Good that we stuck to Lotus Domino"

    Cheers !

    • avatar
    • Michael
    • Fri 11 Jun 2010 01:51 AM

    For all of you complaining I would say : What did you make in the last 12 months to show your customers and managers how great XPages are, how cool building eclipse plugins for notes client is ? Did you took the time to send a link saying "hey, watch this new cool stuff from IBM"... no, I bet you kept coding your views and your agents like 10 years ago !

    Domino is a fantastic product but it suffers from his "Domino 5" image. We need to show and build new good looking apps. I'v seen so many self proclamed Domino profesionnals that nowadays build "R4 like" applications with poor look n feel, desastrous performance...

    Come on, with 8.5 Domino provides an incredible toolset with completely standard and open technologies ! Show it ! Use it ! Shout it !

    I'm a little provocative here of course but, come on, the community is also vastly responsible of the domino image and while we work on whatever pays the bill, we should aslo take some times to evangelise our customers and managers about what we think is a great product.

      • avatar
      • Rishi
      • Fri 11 Jun 2010 03:22 AM


      First domino developers should get an opportunity by their companies to make "POC" applications in xpages.Most of the companies are just moving out or not ready for upgrade with whatsoever reason. It's IBM responsibility to convince them to stick with Domino or upgrade.Which one is true in Jake's case if he is loosing his customers ?

      * Due to his poor designing or lack of R8.5 knowledge

      * or There is really something wrong with IBM marketing strategy.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 11 Jun 2010 03:28 AM

      I'm still yet to see anything made with XPages that makes me think anything other than "Yeah, and?"

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Christian
    • Fri 11 Jun 2010 02:08 AM

    The biggest problem with Lotus-Development is Lotus-Developer!!!

    Pessimist & unlucky and always disaffected.

    They are under-confident.

    • avatar
    • Simon O'Doherty
    • Fri 11 Jun 2010 02:49 AM

    Can people define what a "Lotus Developer" is? Currently the knowledge set I need to know is.

    Domino/Notes Client usage and diagnostics.

    From that in a development perspective I also need to know.

    - Application design (eg.Forms/Views/etc)

    - @Formula

    - LotusScript

    - Java

    - XPages / Dojo / AJAX

    - Web Services

    - Composite Applications / Eclipse plugins

    - ODBC

    Depending on what you do you could also add

    - C/C++

    - OLE

    - .NET

    There is probably more. So as a developer your skill set is not going out of date unless you let it.

    1. What you describe is IBM's view of a Domino developer. I would say that currently only a minority would fit into this profile. And if we assume that a very high percentage of the installed base has not even reached Notes/Domino version 8 so stuff like Composite Applications, Eclipse plugins and more are not on the task list.

      I have been driving my way in this niche market for years and expect this to work for some more. IBM never committed to my customer group (Micro SMB) so I cannot blame them that they don't care much about .Net and throw their Workplace stuff into the product. They have been telling it for years that this is going to happen so I am not allowed to complain. I am even thankful that they do it in a way that will allow me/customers some years of transition time.

      IBM is a very big (and very successful) company. They have the power to do very big things and to get out of a business if they think that it does not fit into their strategy. They did not fail at all. Revenues are up, profit is up, growth has been tremendous and they are acquiring a lot. As a company, IBM is a clear winner, with a strategy that works for them.

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Bill
    • Fri 11 Jun 2010 04:00 AM

    @Michael, its a little difficult to persuade a customer to move to xPages when they have stated that the last version they'll ever install is 7.x. Or in the case of Unilever, 4.5x (which they're still running).

    So yeah. Cool new feature. However, the 'legacy' card trumps it. Shame, I know but thanks for your input.

    @Christian - Lotus developers are under-confident ? Is it nice on your planet?

    As for Lotus Connnections, Lotus Live, etc, what customer is going to touch that with a bargepole when the brand is badly supported by IBM (especially here in the UK).

    ---* Bill

      • avatar
      • Michael
      • Fri 11 Jun 2010 05:18 AM

      @Bill :

      If Unilever stays with a 4.5 old version then noone can save them...Why would other not upgrade to 8.5 and declare such final sentence as "I wont install anything other than 7.x" ?

      Cause then, if they switch to Sharepoint 2010 ... in 2015 they will be forced to abandon it cause MS will force them to upgrade to be supported in windows 2015 and they will say "I won't install anything other than Sharepoint 2010"...

      Show the rest of this thread

      • avatar
      • Christian
      • Fri 11 Jun 2010 08:23 AM

      i develop notes-application since 19 years and i hear everyday "notes is dead".

      It's enough to moan .

      Be self confident.

  14. I got into Notes years ago because it was hot, for no other reason.

    Now the new hot kid on the block is Sharepoint, so it just seems obvious to me that you get into that.

    Simon's right, Notes prepares you for anything.

    @Andrew, Great Story, Thanks.

    Christian reminded me of all of that outlook/notes name calling 10 years ago..Thought we'd got past that.

    @Michael, no-ones complaining, just acknowledging that Sharepoint is the big Kahuna at the moment...It won't always be so.

    I love Domino, I'm sure we all do, and my preferance would be to develop pure Domino, but when there's a bandwagon in town, it strikes me that you should at least consider climbing aboard it.

    Go for it Jake..Good Luck with it. Keep us posted.

  15. Jake, thanks for your help from this site has solved a number of issues for me over the years. Family is much more important than loyalty to a brand you do not own yourself.

    Interesting opinions here.

    I'm an Admin. My view is better yet worse than yours.

    The last 9 months has seen and heard more from customers than previous years. Maybe it was the iPhone support for traveler but the interest is there again, for now.

    I don't see people leaving for SP. I see people leaving for the Cloud.

    Once there, admins are no longer needed for many orgs.

    Some argue, but yesterday I was told by a CIO to set them up and train an AA to add/drop people and change passwords. Ouch!

    On the plus side, you can all show your apps to clients.

    I get to show off a full functioning notes client, sidebar, storage savings with daos, id vault magic, sametime telephony.

    But then we go to Connections. And once Websphere comes up so many shy away. But the truth is if you work with it, not against it, you will be better off.

    Websphere development is needed everywhere, so stay with the catalog, be an IBM BP, not just a Lotus BP.

  16. I agree with your direction Jake and have been paranoid for long enough to have taken the time to educate myself long ago on what other things can be done for money as a developer. Adding a tool to your toolbox is never a bad thing - especially when you can afford to do so.

    All the gloom though about Notes development... folks, if you are a developer, you're a developer. You have the skills to translate needs into applications, work with customers, doggedly attack a problem till it is conquered and so on. If you aren't those things, Domino or no, you're not long for the field. If developing is what you love, no bump in the road will shake you off your course.

    That said, with the number of people getting out of Notes development, it continues to become specialized knowledge and those few who keep their sign hung outside the door will have long term employment if they can get the word out to those companies that still use it.

    The company I work for, Teamwork Solutions, Inc. (shameless plug) still does Notes. A lot. But we are doing other things as well to keep us abreast of technological changes. I suspect, though times may get tough now and then, we'll still be around several years from now as we seem to be adaptive as well as maintaining our core competence with Notes and Domino.

    My advice is whenever a customer asks you to do some work, never say no. Even if it's Excel macros. ;-)

    • avatar
    • Chris
    • Fri 11 Jun 2010 05:37 PM

    I threw up a little bit in my mouth when I heard Jake is looking into SP. It is really sad, especially when a hero in the field of Lotus Notes/Domino leaves for a technology I have despised so much for years. If he was leaving for a different technology other than SP, it would be much easier for me, but the fact that it is SP hit me hard. I know that Jake has his reasons, and they are very understandable and good reasons. This probably means I should start looking into other technologies. Good luck!

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Sat 12 Jun 2010 02:03 AM

      I'm not *leaving* Domino Chris. I'm just adding a new tool to my toolbox.

      If in the mean time I get bombarded with an over-whelming amount of Domino-based work then I won't have to "leave". That's unlikely to happen though. If anything Domino is leaving me.

      Even if/when I'm working as an SP developer I get approached to do Domino work, I'll do that.

      Like I said, I'll do *anything* to feed the family.

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • axel
    • Fri 11 Jun 2010 06:26 PM

    Specializing simply implies the risk to dig yourself into a hole. Programming teaches you that digging yourself into a hole is nothing dramatic. Its normal. You can allways get out, if you see a need. You will loose some comfortability, as you aren't the guy with 10+ years experience with a well respected web site in the community, if you start to do Sharepoint or other notes-unrelated stuff. But, so what.

    You know a lot about working with customers, project management, IT infrastructure, programming.

    If you seriously want to get into sharepoint set yourself goals for each week and/or day.

    I have changed my technological clothes a lot. Currently I am doing more like administration for programmer teams in a huge organization. nagios scripts, jboss, tomcat, apache all on solaris or redhat. Have done lots of enterprise java in the last years.

    good luck that you take the right enough steps for you and your family.

  17. Having read all the posts here, I think I pretty well agree with everyone, and I feel sorry for those folks who are committed to life as a developer in a large company or government department.

    Brookstone Technologies started out life as a Notes development shop and did pretty well until IBM's dance of death with workplace (I refuse to give it the dignity of a capital W) just about killed our business and effectively ensured that any customers that were thinking about switching to Microsoft did just that, regardless of cost.

    OK, so enough negativity.

    We mortgaged houses and created the VirtualOffice solution.

    We now focus completely on this Domino/Notes based solution sell and to my absolute amazement have discovered that, having seen a solution that solves a whole bunch of their problems and is designed for their business, business owners really not only don't care what it runs on but hardly ever ask.

    We do focus on the SMB space around CRM and Service Industries (plumbers electricians etc), but there are thousands of them, so we don't care about the massively big sites. I'll leave them to IBM.

    Our business is growing, 80% of it is Domino and we're moving it to the cloud. Now not only does SMB not care what a solution runs, but if it is delivered via the cloud, it's even less relevant.

    I'm not too interested in Connections, Sametime or Quickr as my small business clients aren't interested and these are not really relevant to them.

    We deliver a solution that fixes company's problems, that we can make changes to quickly and that we can make look pretty if we want to (we generally don't though as our customers prefer speed to flashy graphics). Oh and in nearly every instance we replace whatever email system they have running with Notes.

    Our clients love a specific solution, they love the look and feel of Notes 8.5.1, they especially love Lotus Traveler and iNotes, and couldn't care less about anything else.

    • avatar
    • An avid follower
    • Sat 12 Jun 2010 10:40 AM

    Check out WaveMaker ... awesome - rad tool, dojo , ... also future facing technologies published by packt publishing and apress - ex domino developer turned project manager blah blah blah...

  18. Hi Jake,

    I think it will make sense if i post it here to get a view from everyone. One of the things i wonder about people making a switch from Lotus to MS

    For mail, yes the migration is not so difficult and they can easily move to Exchange. End of the day it's still only email but people still move for a variety for reasons ranging from end user push to pro MS CTO to MS-Exchange. May be for other reasons too; may be mobile experience for email is good and the iPhone support in MS. Am not very sure on Lotus traveler part and iPhone mail integration for Lotus cos i haven't use it. But my experience with Exchange for mail in the desktop is not very good. I have been using Outlook for 3 years now and before that i have used Notes for more than 7 years.

    Ok, that is only part of the equation. Then the Notes applications. I believe many customers who are running LND will have lots of Notes client applications starting from simple doc repositories, simple workflow applications, some situational applications, to some complex applications integrated with LOB apps including SAP, CRM etc. In some cases, they may also have web based apps running in Domino but at least in Singapore as far as i know it's very much Notes client apps than Domino web based apps. All of that is possible with just IBM LOTUS NOTES AND DOMINO. Now if a customer chose to make web as platform, with few good domino developers they can consolidate all the client based apps and make the transition to web without too much change in their infra. It will still be IBM LOTUS NOTES AND DOMINO.

    Is it the same case when they want to move to MS.

    I believe for doc repositories, simple workflow applications there is a equivalent in MOSS and since they also have 40 business applications out-of-the-box more or less customer can make use of all. If the Notes client app is not heavily customized, they can be moved to MOSS world (you still have to port the data to the new application)

    Now what about the complex applications and i am sure that long time Notes customers would have at least a handful in every environment. You cannot move them directly (even for the simple doc repositories MS - Transport suite has failed big time, if there are lots of Notes RT fields MS cannot do anything but to rely on Lotus consultants to move to MOSS safely)

    In those situations it has to be rewritten as a .NET app ( i believe it is not possible in MOSS). To do that, you need to have many development tools ( .NET Framework, Visual Studio, Infopath, Windows workflow foundation etc) and to support that you need to have a infra starting from AD, IIS, MOSS etc.

    When customers are talking about lowering the cost why do they want to rewrite the existing app and finally get the same functionality in a different platform. If they refactor the existing app and use the newer technologies that are in Domino, will that not reduce the overall cost?

    Curious to know..Or are there still very compelling reasons to move to Sharepoint?

    1. iPhone and Lotus Traveller work very well together :)

  19. Working for an all IBM/Lotus consulting company in Norway, I can say business is blooming. We are around 30 (and hiring, btw) employees that mostly do Domino admin and development, but also do Portal, Quickr, Connections and other IBM stuff. We do see clients moving both to Exchange and to Domino (and we help with both), and we also see a lot of new Domino development.

    Mostly when we sell, we focus on our solutions and what problems they solve, instead of platform. We also provide a lot of "cloud" (or web-based) solutions, where the browser is the client. Then it doesn't matter if it's Microsoft or IBM running in the backend.

      • avatar
      • Nils Halvorsen
      • Tue 15 Jun 2010 05:49 AM

      It's blooming because you are a niche company, and you will probably succeed with that for a couple of years. You have taken over a niche market in the Norwegian IT sector, mostly because the big consulting companies dropped this market.

      But will you say that that the Norwegian Notes market has grown the last 5 years ?

    • avatar
    • Emilio
    • Wed 16 Jun 2010 04:44 AM

    Hi everyone !

    I understand the situation and problems of all of you.

    I have 41 years old, and I been working with Lotus Notes since Release 3.

    Here in Buenos Aires, my small company (seven Notes developers) have a lot of work, but the "fog" of Sharepoint is nocking at my door every day.

    I think that Sharepoint could replace a basic Domino apps, BUT if you have complex databases in Lotus like CRM, workflows with several steps and other big stuff, SP IS NOT THE ANSWER..

    You need integrate SP with the "truck" of NET platform to remove Notes of a bigger corporation.

    Specially if you have customers with 10 years of Notes development and end-users with knowledge about "what Lotus is doing well and what is don´t".

    BUT, don´t loose the target: "customer retention"

    Don´t say "good bye and good luck" ! NEVER !

      • avatar
      • jack
      • Fri 18 Jun 2010 03:33 PM

      You might want to look again, sharepoint has all of that and a ton more.

      <<CRM, workflows with several steps and other big <<stuff,

      I have done workflows that connect Sharepoint to SAP, Oracle, and many more apps. I have created dashboards that integrate data from all those apps and more, I have done complex workflows, and so much more. As a plus you also get web and document managemet, reporting and report building, Line of Biz. integration, the list just goes on and on.

      If you think sharepoint is not a player, or is jr. level, your going to find yourself out in the cold very soon.

    • avatar
    • Shaw G
    • Sat 19 Jun 2010 07:54 AM

    Many of your old customers will come back. They will ask, Jake you wrote this application long time back, it is old now. You are reading sharepoint, so do this application in sharepoint again for us.

    There will lot of work for you. You are busy man, making more money!

  20. Hi All,

    I have been working on lotus domino from the past 6 years. I have heard that many organizations are moving their applications from lotus notes to sharepoint. It is sad to hear that lotus notes will be no more existing in a few years from now.

    We all have to find our alternate options to survive.



    Ajay B Mali

    1. An important thing to remember is that SharePoint requires a lot of time and money to emulate a native Notes or Domino application. Just like when Exchange started being something you saw Notes houses migrating to, many of those organizations STILL have their Notes apps... especially where they had a significant investment in Notes already. It is very likely that Notes work will continue to be required even where people are migrating to SharePoint because you can't move all your apps overnight and support needs will still come up. During that time, we ought all be working to make the cost to convert apparent to the people who decide where to spend the money. Updating a Notes app to use XPages or a Flex interface preserves the customer investment without throwing all the time and money that has been spent developing business logic and a Notes app to run it right out the window.

      In short - life is what you make of it and the more adaptable you are, the longer you will survive. Just be honest when someone asks - can you do this? The answer may be "I can do it in Notes in about 15 minutes. Give me a week and we'll get the same thing going on SharePoint for you." and remember to smile. :-)

    • avatar
    • Samir N
    • Thu 22 Jul 2010 07:50 AM

    I have been hearing similar things for AS400/mainframes when I was learning computers some 12 yrs back, but they still exist. We have lot of openings related to them still here in India and its still a good career.

    Same thing with LN...there is a lot of investment already into this platform and with the kind of flxeibility, power, RAD solutions it provides, it wouldn't go away just like that.

    We are currently migrating existing LN-based applications to Domino web, and there are lot many.

    Sharepoint/.NET everywhere ? What about non-M$ shops ? Especially the ones which have LN presence ?

    I am aware that maybe new investment is not going into LN since there are other open source options, even there arent too many jobs around specifically on LN.

    If you are a developer than I'd suggest dont dump LN, just diversify and learn other popular technologies...just in case !

  21. Hi Jake,

    As they say, "Change is the only constant thing in this world". I couldn't help but agree....

    I think it's about time to expand one's current skill-set, we know how technology evolves.... And there's always something new to learn. I was once a pure domino developer some years ago but I just felt lucky that my employer currently is exposing me right now into cognos/bi, oracle and java development which I plan to gradually 'shift' in those emerging technologies eventually. I still support Lotus Notes Applications by the way but i'm slowly migrating my data to Oracle/Java. I still love Domino especially now that it's eclipsed based-RCP where there's a strong support to write codes in java and interfaces to DB2... it's just that I want a different flavor now and to increase marketability. And oh, this doesn't stop me to learn MySQL/PHP along the way. Let us not limit ourselves to domino alone coz the world is expanding RAPIDLY.

    Keep up the good works you have here... indeed, Your blog is great help to us. Who knows what could happen... i might stumble learning sharepoint in one of my projects. ;D

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CodeStore is all about web development. Concentrating on Lotus Domino, ASP.NET, Flex, SharePoint and all things internet.

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