A Personal Update

It's been a while since I posted anything of a personal nature on here. Last time I did, if I remember right, it was when I was down in the dumps, desperate for work and considering throwing the towel in.

Assuming anybody still cares here's a quick update on work, family and this site.


Work is going well at the moment. I've got enough of it to keep me busy and pay the bills (and, more importantly, the taxman!!).

Mostly I'm still doing Lotus Domino work. Legacy and maintenance stuff though. Nothing particularly interesting. And no XPages. I'm still yet to hear a customer even mention XPages. I doubt they even know what it is.

All of my Domino work is for 3 or 4 main customers. All of them are in the process of moving to SharePoint. As am I!

When I first started Rockall 9 years ago Domino work was plentiful and it was an exciting time. It doesn't feel that way any longer. I've not had a new customer for ages now. There was a time when, each year, I'd get a handful of leads for prospective jobs come my way. As a self-employed company owner that's half the buzz - finding and winning business. That buzz has all but gone.

A while back I had the crazy notion that I could carve out a future as a mobile app developer. I've given up on that. What I've come to realise is that money is more important (to me) than how much I enjoy the work. Not that I'm a money-mad mercenary or anything. I just want to earn as much as I can while I'm at my prime (now?) so that I can put as much as possible away for a half-decent retirement. I don't want to look back as a broke pensioner and think "Well, at least I got job satisfaction and respect from my peers". I want to look back and think "Thank God I milked it while I could".

My plan is to aggressively chase a career as a SharePoint developer. Who knows where it will lead but at least it seems to have a much better immediate future than trying to stick it out with Domino.


No matter what happens with work I'll always have my family and I'm blessed to have three lovely kids and a wonderful wife.

Felix (5):


Minnie (3):


Evelyn (2):


Quinn (17) is doing well too. She's got herself a job in admin at a structural engineers in the city centre (near the shops!) and has a steady relationship with a really nice lad, called Adam, whose now at a local university studying Computer Animation.

Life is good really. I hope to remember this time and look back on it as the happiest in my life.


What's the future for codestore?

At points I've gotten very close to calling it a day with this site. I don't think I will yet though and will keep plodding along. I just have to get used to the idea it will never be what it once was.

I still enjoy running this site and creating content, which is what matters really. I just have to stop dwelling on the past and look to the future.

Expect more SharePoint!


  1. Still reading. More Sharepoint! :)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:14 AM

      It's good to know you're still reading Colin. One of the things that bothers me is the idea that I've steadily lost my faithful readers over the years. The likes of yourself, Dragon Cotteril, Aaron Hardin, Ferdy Christant, Jerry Carter and more.

      There used to be a bunch of hard-core commenters I could rely on for reminding me there was somebody listening. Slowly they've stopped coming (or stopped commenting at least).

      Anyway. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and just get on with it. I'm just slightly melancholy by nature.

      BTW: Funnily enough I got an email today from a lady who introduced herself as your "partner" 8 years ago in an email. Is she still? Twas about the canvas print.

      Hide the rest of this thread

        • avatar
        • Nick
        • Fri 27 Apr 2012 06:26 AM

        I only commented a handful of times, and I am more in .NET, but I always read your site still....now that you are moving more towards sharepoint, I would love to read your growing pains, and things you tackle along the way....please. I think you would have awesome posts on the path you take towards more sharepoint, and everything that goes along with it.

      1. You haven't lost us. Thanks to newsfeeds you're still accessible and a daily read.

        I am still involved in Domino in a major way. Working at RIM has a tendency to do that. Despite what people say and Domino and RIM... neither of them are going away any time soon.

        What really brings me back here is the infomation descriptions of the issues and challenges you face in your work. I read a lot of tech blogs, a lot of Domino blogs, and a lot of security related blogs. Your descriptions are far easier on the eye, with informative details and discussions of your thoughts about why you take certain decisions (like this post of yours really).

        Doesn't matter whether it'd Domino or Sharepoint or any other technology. We're still here and still reading... just not commentating as much.

      2. Hey Jake,

        I'm still here at least a few times a week! And even if I can't currently use the information or don't have any meaningful comment, I still enjoy every article.

        With my current day job as Network/Server Administration and system support, I don't feel like I have much to add though. I do some SQL writing against our ERP system, Plex. Its an online (SaaS or Cloud) system that is primarily used by automotive vendors but they are branching out and they are growing steadily. They give us a SQL screen to write and store procedures in then another screen to create interfaces that can pass parameters to the code. I'm doing some basic web development on the side but nothing new and exciting.

        I'll try to find some useful comments along the way :)

      3. I feel like the old dog that has curled up on the Codestore porch, wagging my tail every time there's a bit of excitement or a crumb of knowledge dropped within easy reach.

        I think it's been said in the past - your true-blue readers are here because of what sort of fellow you are, not just what you're working on but the fact that you're sharing that and improving on it. That and it's easier to comment on your blog than keep up my own. ;o)

        I'm looking forward to learning from your SharePoint experiences the way I learned from your Domino Web and Flex writings. Like Archimedes' school, here we gather to learn and discuss and improve one another.

        • avatar
        • Colin Williams
        • Sat 28 Apr 2012 06:06 PM

        Sure is..although "wife" is more accurate these days :) It's mostly my fault that the print was ruined :/

        • avatar
        • Joel
        • Sun 29 Apr 2012 01:33 AM

        I wouldn't fret too much about the losing of faithful readers (or commenters). I think it says more about the decline of the Notes/Domino market for developers than it does a lack of interest in your writings. Ed brill had this on his blog earlier this week, and there were more than a couple of comments about losing Domino customers to Sharepoint.

        http://www.edbrill.com/ebrill/edbri.. ..workshopping-the-next-next-release-of-lotus-notesdomino

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:07 AM


    Would love some sort of Domino to Sharepoint dictionary from you!

    Loads of people do comaprisons but no-one has yet done a "in Domino it's a view, in Sharepoint it's a list" and a list of pitfalls/assumptions that you've found and been tripped up by

    Please keep the site going. It is always a great read


      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:16 AM

      If you could see my screen right now you'd see that I have Windows Writer (blog posting tool) open with a draft entry in with a table of two columns - one listing Domino design elements and one listing the SP equivalent. No, honestly, I have!

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Erwin
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:11 AM

    Hi Jake!

    I made the move from Domino to SharePoint years ago, and I never regret it.

    It's an exciting world, that is growing and growing. Coming from Domino some things might frustrate you which it can't be done in SharePoint, or why it is so difficult to do this or that, or like "Why on earth do we need separate servers for this whereas one Domino box could solve it all".

    The moment you build up a better understanding of SharePoint, it's design/architectural choices things will fall into its place though :-)

    Moving to SharePoint gave me a quite a career boost to be honest. I got certified in basically all that is possible, became a certified trainer, and just recently I got accepted into the Microsoft Certified Master program for SharePoint which is the craziest and most challenging thing I've ever done.

    It's fun with SharePoint, and as you mention, there's good money to be made out there.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:20 AM

      Erwin! Another once reliable commenter who I'd assumed long gone. Good to see that's not the case.

      Getting certified is on my to-do list.

      Good to hear from you and thanks for confirming my assumption that SharePoint is a worthwhile career path.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:32 AM

      BTW: What happened to Doppler?

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Ursus
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:16 AM

    Hi Jake

    Good to hear you are doing well. I am not sure you remember me but you did some contract work for aqua a couple of years ago. The site is still up and running :o)

    Now, to XPages, I don't think that your customers don't know about it but, I for one, am doing a LOT of XPages work internally... once you have got the hang of it is really is very easy to get something up and running - what this means for you is that your customers can now do a lot of the work themselves without too much effort - that is why aqua hasn't had any work to give you. We now have about 6 sites (almost all internal mind you) that I would have outsourced to you. I am also implementing stuff in XPages that I would normally have done in the Notes client - this means that I do not need to install the Notes client for production workers. Makes rollout a LOT easier!

    As you can see XPages is the way we are moving (although I do agree that Domino work is getting less) - maybe your other customers are also in the same boat?

    Greetings from Austria


      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:21 AM

      Ursus. I never forget my readers who turn in to paying customers ;-)

    • avatar
    • Palmi
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 07:38 AM


    There are 2.000 sharepoint developer needed on Dice.com vs 39 Domino developer. you are going in the right directions my friend.

    I would have loved to see you tackel Xpages and like is said before " you would have been the best at it" but keep your family feed and worm is every mans first priority.

    • avatar
    • jason hook
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 07:46 AM

    Matt (White) has made a good fist of introducing people to xpages via xpages101.net.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 27 Apr 2012 07:57 AM

      Made a good fist?

  2. Maybe you should have a "like" button at the top of every post ( a codestore one, not a facebook one )

    I think you would be pleasantly surprised at how many people still follow your blog. I would love to see you cover SharePoint ( or is it .net ) development.

    As for the whole XPage thing not a single customer has my company for it either - but its mostly what we do these days.

    1. Seans typos strike again

      that should read

      As for the whole XPage thing not a single customer has >>asked<< my company for it either - but its mostly what we do these days.

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Xander
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 08:09 AM

    Hi Jake,

    I've only commented a few times both on here and via twitter but I've been a long time reader of your site for many, many years and I often your site for updates.

    Even though I moved away from domino years ago, you always post something worth reading. It was this site that helped me make the move to include Flex in my Java work and although I'm no longer hands on development and only do application design work, I still enjoy reading posts on your site.

    I especially like reading the personal stuff like the garage rebuild or the house renovation from a few years back. I bought my current house last year which was a 150 year old sandstone house in need of renovation and your articles inspired me to do most of the work myself.

    Codestore will always be relevant to your readers as long as it's about what your doing now and that doesn't have to be domino so don't lose heart with the site.

    Keep up the good work,


      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 27 Apr 2012 08:13 AM

      Thanks Xander!

      Might have some more DIY how-to coming up soon. Either here or at http://jake.typepad.com - in particular a detailed description of how to do your own panelling, as in the photos of dining room and bathroom here - http://www.codestore.net/store.nsf/unid/BLOG-20101029-0547 - it's surprisingly simple to do!

    • avatar
    • Rob Darwin
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 10:05 AM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, they are helpful to me. I'm at the same point, knowing I need to make the move to learn SharePoint after a long career in Notes/Domino work. I've been dragging my feet because I enjoy Domino web development and find it easy to create modern web apps with jQuery and Domino ("classic"). But the wind has changed, there are so many more jobs in SharePoint work, and like you, I need to maximize my prime earning years. I have an opportunity where I work to learn and I will take it. Please keep writing about your journey in SharePoint- you are an invaluable resource to people in our field.

    • avatar
    • Marlo
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 11:08 AM

    Jake, the notes gigs are pretty much dead in Dallas. We have to move forward and accept the reality. I have completely made the switch, luckily, to Microsoft .Net. We have to push on and think of the silver lining and keep going. Sharepoint is hot right now. Go for it!

  3. Jake,

    Codestore is still my go to site when I am looking for some a way to do something with Domino - I always thing "Jake's probably done that..."

    I feel your frustration - I'm here in Dallas, TX and 12 years ago I had to beat off recruiters with a stick there were so many Notes jobs... now... there is nothing. My problem is I still really love working with Notes... it always seems that no matter what you can find something new to try with it. It suits my ADD - I can be on to a new challenge before I get bored.

    My employer is (surprise) moving away from it - so I have to face the real possibility of crossing over to the dark side... ;-) Sharepoint might be a good option.... .Net is too tedious to me.... (again ADD here).

    I would love to see posts about Sharepoint - it would be great to know there is a solid resource!

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Mon 30 Apr 2012 03:10 AM

      I just accidentally looked at your photos of the pancake house's menu. Now I feel very hungry.

      Show the rest of this thread

  4. Jake,

    Even your lurkers are still here! I've been lurking since the early days and probably haven't made more than a handful of replies in that entire time. But the fact is, I still enjoy reading your blog - new programming adventures, family life, home/garage remodel, ALL of it!

    For the longest time (since R3) I was a Notes/Domino/Web developer. Then about 6 years ago, I took on a Domino project that was to tie in nicely with a .NET site. It seemed like it made more sense for the customer to have the Domino stuff done in .NET and just pull the relevant data from the Domino server using xml from custom views. That way they had support for it long after I was gone. So I learned .NET on the job and wrote everything in Visual Basic.

    I've now been doing .NET since and haven't even launched my Domino development server once in the last 5 years. I've picked up C# and play in Visual Studio on a daily basis. I have not had any need to learn SharePoint, but I'm interested to see where you go with it.

    So, keep making these blog posts, and I'll keep lurking.


    - Skate -

  5. Still reading. Even if I'm not doing what you're writing about, I find it interesting to read.

  6. Oh and gorgeous kids!

    • avatar
    • Ivan
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 04:53 PM


    Sorry to hear that you are hardly getting new domino customers.

    We didnot comment your posts but I remember very well the time back in 2002 when we were waiting for every single new post with new trick and swallowed it like a candy. Your site was a cult for us during nights spent with notes.net

    Codestore was truly unique, funny and lively website full of knowledge and tricks.. And passion!

    Did you consider to partner with good sales person? I see many clever it & domino programmers around saying there are no new domino customers. They are like great musicians... Know their tools, but good musicians have their good agents...

    • avatar
    • Jono
    • Fri 27 Apr 2012 05:05 PM

    Still reading and am also on the sharepoint journey (whilst also involved in a major domino to exchange mail migration!).

    The articles and blogs you write jake are just a pleasure to read compared to most other blogs etc and it's nice to know there is a nice guy behind them that I almost feel like I know.

    Keep uk the good work jake, will look forward to some sharepoint stuff soon!

  7. Thanks for the post mate, your site has been brilliant for a number of years at explaining to many - including myself - how things work. Hope to see more from you soon :-)

  8. I've only used Domino to create web sites either on a company intranet or the Internet. However, I have been looking for a replacement for Domino. Have you looked at the open source project web2py? It uses python but python is an easy language to learn.

    My pipe-dream is to take mongrel2 as a web server, hook it to web2py using zeromq queuing system and use couchdb for the no-SQL db back-end.

    I installed web2py on my PC using it's built-in web server, rocket, for some testing. Then I'd need modify web2py with a drag-and-drop web page and form builder using JavaScript frameworks like basecamp, jQuery, backbone and knockout.

    So who wants to create an entirely web-based Notes/Domino equivalent as an open source project?

    I like web2py because it has a lot of features similar to Notes/Domino. Mainly it as an authentication system and an authorization system based on user roles.

    I'm unemployed at the moment and my business has no customers either. My wife says I'm retired ... and she may be right. She has a good job (IBM) so we're not hurting ... but I still long to build software systems. Perhaps leave some kind of legacy. Not much that I've created is left now. Just two active web sites ... three if you count my own.

    Peace, Rob:-]

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Mon 30 Apr 2012 03:24 AM

      Not seen any of those tools you mention.

      I hate to admit it, but, I just want to milk this career for all the money I can, while I can. The best way to do this (in my opinion) is to be a consultant/developer in whatever's flavour of the month for all the big enterprises.

      Playing with open source is never going to deliver. Or maybe I'm wrong?

    1. Rob, you have my professional envy. Software is what I do, like most, to pay the bills nowadays. It used to be what I love to do. Seems like getting those bills paid has made it less enjoyable as a hobby like it once was. 6 years back I would spend almost all my free time working on something just because the idea was cool. Now I almost can't be bothered, which is more my state of mind regarding my work rather than the worthiness of anyone else.

      Your idea is intriguing and my old self would jump up and down to have fun like that. My "pay off the house and get kids through school" self can merely muster an enthusiastic "thumbs up" on the notion. Open sourcing LN would be terrific in itself... being as that will NEVER happen, building something like it is the next best.

      You should take a look at PUAKMA if you're willing to get involved in Java. It's not "free" but it's free to try or once was.

      Also, Ruby on Rails has potential to provide a goo substitute for Domino and I've seen it used a bit here and there commercially. It's a pretty well defined end to end solution.

      Have fun - it's great to see there are people who have the luxury! :-)

      Show the rest of this thread

  9. Hi Jake,

    although I left Domino development for some years now I still read your blog with great interest (for more than 10 years now). The mix between Work and Family makes it unique. And your style of writing is really making a difference.

    For me the Sharepoint thing is more interesting than the Domino things but I am open to every direction you will take.

    I wonder why you do not head into mobile development any longer. This is currently the mega trend. But as always, there are app developers and app developers (one that earn a lot of money and others that can't make a living out of it).

    Maybe this article may be interesting for you http://www.zdnet.com/blog/sybase/sh.. ..n-sap-mobile-developer-the-one-reason-that-matters/2939 .

    Currently I am involved in the development of SAP apps combined with Sybase Unwired Platform. At the moment everyone is starting something in this sector. During this phase I will do all steps by myself, that are:

    Developing ABAP code in SAP, developing SUP objects in Sybase Unwired Platform and developing the mobile app in iOS or Android.

    But when the whole thing really catches speed, there are developers needed that do the apps and maybe also that do SUP development. Maybe this could be an alternative for you besides the Sharepoint stuff. Personally I also belief that Windows Mobile will be successful in the end. That also fits well with your .NET expertise.

    Maybe it is also time to get rid of all your hardware and servers. I think it is better to place all systems into the cloud and concentrate on software instead of playing around with hardware.

    I believe that this is a great time for doing new things and that you are in a very good place to take part of it.

    All the best for you, your family and Codestore


    • avatar
    • Carl Abrahamson
    • Sun 29 Apr 2012 03:25 PM

    I have replaced myself (Domino Developer) with myself (SharePoint Admin/Developer) at my current gig, and am very excited that my favorite site for well written, cogent technology articles is going to include SharePoint.

    Many times in the past I have found important bits of info at ye olde codestore. Something in the way you present things always sheds light on the things that matter (not easy to find out there).

    Taking some legacy Notes applications and re-purposing them in SharePoint is my current challenge. Sometimes it maps well... other times, well, not so much.

    I've said too much. Back to lurking.

  10. I like your style, and the challenges you face I think are common amongst many Domino developers. Most of the excitement is gone so the journey to find something else that will light the same spark is worth reading.

    I'm beginning to think that part of the problem is just age -- just realising that there are more important things in life than what tools you use to program.

    I also feel that IT in general is moving away from specialised solutions to general ones - businesses are less and less keen on custom software because they are frightened of the overheads. Products that let them start 'out of the box' and add customisation (even if they end up doing more dev in the long run) are easier for management to swallow, so skills around user interface, business process integration, etc are becoming more important as coding.

    Keep posting, there are plenty of us still reading.

    • avatar
    • Pablo Bermejo
    • Mon 30 Apr 2012 06:22 AM

    Still reading since 2005 even nowadays I am far from a Domino developer :)

    • avatar
    • Chris C
    • Mon 30 Apr 2012 11:24 PM

    Even though I'm still very busy with Domino work, I see the trend to move away from Domino. I've been doing much iPhone/iPad development on the side as my escape plan from Domino when it finally falls. I'm not planning on touching SharePoint, it makes me feel dirty.

    You should really give mobile development another try. So many small companies want apps created for them it is not funny. You can use your PHP and Java skills on the server end of these apps.

    Use the free iTunes U app to watch all of the free iPhone/iPad development classes out there. The ones from Stanford University and CMU are great!

    You already have a Mac and an iPad, so everything else you need is free (except for your time).

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Tue 1 May 2012 03:35 AM

      Going back to the idea of milking my earning potential while I can, I prefer the idea of specialising in a skill used primarily by the larger companies. I'm not sure what you mean by small companies though?

    • avatar
    • Ferdy
    • Tue 1 May 2012 09:49 AM

    Still reading, and will continue to do so. Don't mistake little comments from small readership.

    As others have mentioned, what I like about this site is that you have a great talent in making technology digestible.

    But it's not just the site though. After years of reading your blog people get to know you as a person as well. And what I like about your character most is your honesty. You openly state which technologies suck and which don't. You openly admit being a beginner in something. You openly document both wins and losses.

    I think it is this openness that connects developers to you, passing on a feeling of "being in the same boat". You are just being you, but being so open about life's choices, including your worries, is often disguised by others.

    1. Hear hear! +1

    • avatar
    • Phil Jones
    • Thu 10 May 2012 06:47 AM

    I've just come back to Notes development after just over 9 years away (running pubs, before you ask). The pub trade died, I was unemployed for 10 months, during which time I brushed up my Notes development at home, made my CV look all whizzy and dynamic, and applied for Notes dev jobs.

    I got one about 3 months ago, although it's 100 miles from home. I'm moving to a house 5 miles from the office in about 4 weeks as a result.

    A fresh start for me and my family - thanks to Notes :-)

    It was weird, but somewhat reassuring, to see your name again after all this time when I was looking for some advice on the different ways of accessing user roles.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 11 May 2012 01:41 AM

      Agreed. It is a bit weird that I'm still here.

      Good luck with the new job. Is the pub trade completely dead though? Seems to be boom time for "gastro" pubs.

    • avatar
    • Phil Jones
    • Fri 11 May 2012 09:49 AM

    Yes, there are lots of "gastropubs", but wouldn't call it boom time. I wouldn't call them pubs either, myself. I'm a real ale (and quality lager, world beer, wine & spirits) man, and unfortunately Britain now drinks less alcohol than at any time since just after World War One, and it's still going down. Not the best time to be trying to sell beer at £3, to make £1 gross profit, before paying £180 in rent, £50 in rates, £35 in gas/electric, £100 in wages. Before you think "that's not so bad" those figures are per day. £10k a week turnover wasn't enough to make a profit, so I jacked it in before turnover got too low. Best thing I ever did. now working 35 hour week for a reasonable salary, with weekends off, and 5 weeks' holiday. I don't know what to do with all this spare time :-)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Mon 14 May 2012 03:36 AM

      > "I don't know what to do with all this spare time"

      Drink ;-)

    • avatar
    • Lance
    • Sun 3 Jun 2012 08:11 AM

    Oh yes Jake, still readiing !

    • avatar
    • Lake
    • Thu 19 Jul 2012 03:22 PM

    Glad to hear that things are going well for you and family.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your Sharepoint adventures as my company is in the throes of implementing a chnge from Notes/Domino (mostly client amazingly) to Sharepoint. And so far it hasn't been pretty--

  11. Hi Jake, still reading too :) been busy of late, so a lot of posts to catch up on!. Cheers, Alastair

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

Your host is Jake Howlett who runs his own web development company called Rockall Design and is always on the lookout for new and interesting work to do.

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