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    It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    Bob Balaban  September 13 2008 07:40:07 AM
    Greetings, Geeks!

    I don't often do soapbox-type posts, but this one's been building for a while.  I've heard it said that most people who use Notes use it only for email (EdB: if you're reading, would you care to comment on the accuracy of that statement?). Assuming that's still true, then clearly IBM's competitive focus has to be on fighting the email wars with Microsoft and Outlook/Exchange (which is most definitely only an email system). That's where most of the revenue is coming from, after all.

    BUT, here's the thing: while nobody in her right mind would try to use Exchange for anything other than email, Notes/Domino is a great application platform for ALL kinds of things besides mail. Look at the list of "core strengths" people came up with over on Vowe's blog (take a look at the "core weaknesses" too, very interesting stuff).

    Why does this bug me? Aside from the fact that (evidently) relatively few users of the product realize what they could be doing with it, but aren't, it bugs me that the product doesn't seem to get the respect it deserves within IBM either. Sure, if most people pay you for an email system, you're going to focus sales and marketing effort around selling email systems, and you're going to focus a certain amount of development effort on making the product a better email system. Normal, heads-down, capitalistic behavior. But really, the product is a floor wax AND a dessert topping. Really.

    And, I claim, this really, really matters, and SHOULD matter, even to heads-down, capitalist bean-counters over at IBM. Why? Because there are lots and lots of accounts where applications  (not email) are the only thing keeping Notes and Domino around. Where, if email were all it did, it would have been tossed out completely.

    Notice that I am not calling the email wars over. I don't have access to the numbers, and nobody (nobody reliable, anyway) is publishing any numbers that mean anything. IBM win some, Microsoft win some, I don't really care who's ahead. OK, that's not entirely true, because I have a 20-year history with Lotus and Notes, and I emotionally want it to be successful (that's why I'm writing this post, after all....)

    But I'm seeing it more and more -- organizations which have had Notes/Domino for a while, and (for whatever reason) who decide to make the change for email, are keeping a few Notes desktops and Domino servers around, even after they stop using the product for email. Why? Because they have applications that they either can't get rid of, or which are too expensive to re-create on another platform. Applications! NOT email. These are often messaging-enabled apps, often workflow-oriented. They use email infrastructure, but only as a service to make the application better able to do its thing.

    And, lest you think I'm making this up, go on over to Wild Bill's blog and see where he says:

      ... we've found more and more customers who use Lotus Notes for applications, and Exchange for email. Or companies (through mergers and acquisitions) that end up with mixed environments...


    Yeah, I'm seeing that too. Does a situation where a given customer dumps Notes email seats, but keeps a few application seats (and servers) show up on IBM's radar as a competitive "loss"? I'm sure it would if that customer went completely over to the other side, but if IBM can still count them as a customer, does it watch the actual revenue decline (as long as it doesn't go to zero) and take notice? I really don't know. Sure, I worked there for quite a while, but I was never plugged into the sales and marketing side of things (Ed? Care to comment??).

    One has to wonder, then how product development investments are made in this environment. Naturally, there are way more cool features and ideas and widgets and languages and @functions that people within the Lotus Notes/Domino dev teams want to do than the company can afford to fund. That's true of every software company. But, like any software company, IBM has to "score" the relative worth of these ideas and measure them against the cost of doing them and the expected benefit. And the decisions get made based on the results of the scoring exercise, however that gets done. "Yes, we'll fund putting the Notes Client on Eclipse. No, we won't fund creation of a Ruby on Rails interface to the back-end classes, at least not right now." (I'm making up the Ruby on Rails thing as an example. To my knowledge, nobody ever seriously proposed doing that, at least not while I was working there. Of course, Sam Ruby works for IBM, but not for the Lotus division....).

    So, one wonders, in the meetings where these decisions are made, how does the value of an investment into Notes AppDev capabilities get scored against, say, a more efficient router? Furthermore, one wonders if the decisions might not go another way if the scoring algorithm used (and believe me when I say I truly have no idea how this happens "on the ground" in the conference rooms and offices at Lotus) took more account of the value to customers (and therefore to IBM) of Notes/Domino's application-not-email capabilities. Yes, they're putting Designer onto Eclipse in v8.5 (yay!!). Yes, they're doing a bunch of other great things to beef up "appdev" in the product. But, if the scoring algorithm were a bit more cognizant of the fact that "appdev" is the ONLY thing keeping the product alive in a growing number of customer accounts, would we have maybe seen all of these things (and more!) sooner? Better?

    Discuss!


    (Need expert application development architecture/coding help? Contact me at: bbalaban, gmail.com)
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    Comments

    1Volker Weber  9/13/2008 4:54:53 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    You just (almost) pre-empted my next posting. :-)

    2Ed Brill  9/13/2008 4:59:35 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    A customer that swaps out Notes for messaging may still be a Notes application customer for years. It does make the accounting for whether they are "lost" a bit murky, but we clearly want Notes/Domino to continue to be the best messaging platform in addition to a great place to build collaborative applications.

    I am very aware that commodity e-mail can be procured from many sources, and that without applications, Notes would just be another commodity e-mail product.

    At any rate, given the positions you've had inside IBM Lotus as well as the access you have through participation in things like the GCPC today, I am surprised you are asking the questions you are asking... perhaps they would be better phrased as "As IBM plans version 9 (or whatever they call it) of Notes/Domino, how should the app dev aspect of Notes/Domino be weighed against a .01% improvement in message delivery time?" (Not to pick too silly of an example) There's not much to result from dissecting how things got to today, but now would be a very good time to express thoughts about the go-forward view.

    3Volker Weber  9/13/2008 5:14:41 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    THAT is the nature of what I want to ask next.

    4Bob Balaban  9/13/2008 6:09:53 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    @2 - Thanks for the comments, Ed. I guess if it's "murky" for you, it's pretty darn impenetrable for me :-)

    I don't get why you're surprised at my questions, though. I ask because I truly don't know the answer, and I think the topic is important.

    I think your re-formulation is getting at the core of what I'm asking, and I won't argue that speculating retrospectively about past decisions isn't super helpful.

    As for "express[ing] thoughts about the go-forward view", well, that's kinda what I'm doing here, no? I'm happy to continue doing so, publicly and/or privately, as long as anyone is interested in hearing.

    5Bob Balaban  9/13/2008 6:10:51 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    @3 - Can't wait to see your next post on this topic, Volker!

    6Simon Mottram  9/13/2008 7:57:46 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    I think IBM are pretty much in-capable of either understanding the power of Domino app-dev capabilities, and this is combined with an unwillingness to deal with core designer coding. I get the 'feeling' that they are actually not that familiar with the base features and are very wary of delving into the legacy codebase. I know for a fact that Domino is considered by many at IBM as a bit of a joke, a 'toy' system.

    Personally I think x-pages is a symptom of that, its a flashy unrelated product bolted on the side that has little or nothing to do with the true nature of Notes/Domino, but that's a personal rant =)

    I have spent the last 15 years making Domino do all sorts of wonderful and totally 'out-there' things due to the huge options so the power is there, and IBM need to be kicked up the *rse into recognising that WebSphere should not be the dev platform of choice, Domino should be. Websphere should be brought in as the 'big gun' for HUGE applications. Domino is so reliable, so easy to develop in, so much can be delivered so quickly that it is a huge benefit to any company that invests in it.

    Trouble is, there has been little or no attention given to the core features of the designer in years, if not decades. The LotusScript editor has hardly changed and still remains a very poor product. The Java editor is simply appalling. There are worse examples in my opinion. Take the whole form model. Currently there is no real ability to define your notes forms and web forms in a pure 'style' based paradigm. Yeah I know styles exist, but they sit in your notes.ini of all places. What this means is that Domino cannot easily fit into the brave new world of CSS styling without huge amounts of custom html. If the form designer was brought into the brave new world of style based layouts, it would make designing well formatted web-sites so much easier, it would make the grail of notes-web compatible forms easier.

    Another HUGE feature of Domino, much maligned but in terms of power, simply massive, is the 'use javascript' feature. You can put buttons with @formulae on a web form and it all auto-magically, mystically works. It is JSF in a true form, long before JSF was imagined, it's better, cleaner. But will they switch it over to an AJAX model? Get rid of that page refresh? I doubt it. It's a simple awesome feature, ignored since it was first introduced.

    What I am rambling towards, is the need for the true core defining features of Notes development to be enhanced, we dont need MORE scripting languages, more design elements, we need the fundamental onces enhancing to the standards of the modern world.

    I think that is related to your post =)

    S

    7David Clover  9/13/2008 7:59:21 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    As one who bought into Notes in 1997 because of its superb application development features (which get better and better), and not at all for its email, I say ' hear hear'.

    I think that in the early days, nobody in IBM marketing really understood the power of the platform as a development environment, and indeed it was hard to explain to clients until they had racked up a few good apps in house. In any case, 'good' apps soon become part of the Corporate furniture and disappeared from consciousness which Email doesn't. In fact until this blog template came along, there weren't very many 'easy to use' apps shipped along with Notes. Those that we had were fairly 'geeky' looking even if they did work well and were ingeniously engineered. We really need an 'out-of-the-box' Media Wiki lookalike or similar to the same standard to complete the set.

    Whenever I am asked to provide an office solution, my first response is 'how can we use Notes/Domino for this', and the answer is always positive and the results are quickly and effectively achieved by my excellent development team (of one). Since these days they are often engineered as a web rather than a client app, its Lotus parentage vanishes immediately - but I know as Development and System Manager what it costs and what the benefits are to having it built in this environment - and they go very deep.

    Our most recent public website (we use Notes for web content management) is at http://primma.open.ac.uk and the client loves the ease of use he gets with it (which is because Online Solutions Ltd http://www.onlinesolutionsltd.com have built an easy-to-use content management system which is very easy to set up and extend - this was knocked up as a basic shell in 3 hours). The client had a good looking templated site populated inside a further afternoon, and it looks professional. Our Postgraduate Computing website at http://pgcomp.open.ac.uk is another professionally designed notes Web app with cascading content management as is http://www.mcs.open.ac.uk and http://crc.open.ac.uk

    So how to get leverage for Notes as a development environmet into places which only use it for email - and start getting the benefits that the Notes/Domino infrastructure can really bring. I suggest some substantial 'show and tell' activity which Marketing can use to sell it on.

    David Clover

    IT Development Manager

    Faculty of Maths, Computing and Technology

    The Open University

    Milton Keynes

    UK

    8David Clover  9/13/2008 8:06:26 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    I completely agree - as one who has been developing simple and complex things in Notes since 1997 - and hardly ever using it for email, we have a lot of apps and websites that show Notes off to great effect.

    How about a really good 'Show and Tell' example set - perhaps even deceptively simple things - which Marketing can use to make the point? Email is just another database app to me - useful and used for specailist purposes, but not at all why we have it.

    I've listed some of what we are doing on my blog (linked above).

    When I am asked to provide an 'office' tool, we always start by saying 'can we do this in Notes' and we always can.

    It's the Swiss Army knife of development for us - now how on earth did they sell that idea to anyone?

    David Clover

    { Link } (which is a Notes Content managed website naturally!)

    9Bryan Schmiedeler  9/13/2008 8:53:59 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    I agree very strongly with @6' comments. I would like to make some additional comments.

    First, vastly improving the email user interface was an absolutely necessary step. Bob, you are correct, for many or most users, Lotus Notes *is* email. How often have we all heard users say "I am in my Lotus Notes and trying how to do xxx" when they mean they are in their email database in Lotus Notes; I really think that for them Lotus Notes IS email. And the email interface as of 7 had lagged behind the "state of the art", and 8 is a huge and much needed improvement. This was for me a necessary but not sufficient condition for Notes continued success and growth.

    Second, I share @6's frustration with the development tools. Notes can do many incredible things, and that is why I am a passionate Notes developer, but the core features stagnated for a period of time. 8.5 looks to be a the developer overhaul of the product 8 was for the user interface, and I am very very excited about that. [As an aside to @6, the most exiciting thing in 8.5 for me is x-pages; I would appreciate it if you could share your opinions off-line ].

    Third, IBM Lotus have vastly increased the quality of their code and the pace of reference releases, and I commend them for that. But the reality is that it will take several years for this to really impact the vast customer base because companies are so darn slow to upgrade. My own company's servers are on 7 and we STILL have clients not migrated to the 7 client! This is not IBM's fault - I think that upgrading is really pretty straightforward - but it is IBM's marketplace reality (I believe there was a thread on this on some other blog).

    I notice this big disconnect between IBM and non-IBM Lotus users. IBMers have all the latest and greatest tools and are out there using Connections and working all day out of that wonderful portal built on WebSphere and using Quickr and C3 and on and on and on. And these are awesome tools, I am not being sarcastic at all. But I think that the culture and IT infrastructure and employee expertese in most companies is so vastly different from IBMs that the IBM people I deal with have difficulty understanding their problems.

    Examples. I work for a for the US branch of a fairly large, multinaltional with an installed user base somewhat below 10K worldwide. So while this is not GM this is also not a ma and pa operation. Teamrooms have finally caught on! It took a year, but now people finally using them, we get requests for new ones, etc. There is one Quicker test area and no one has any idea about Quikr. It has been so hard to get people to wrap their heads around what organizational problems TeamRooms solves and how to use them. I spent months on a team working with IBM to explore using Websphere Portal to redo our intranet. The product was good. The fundamental issue we had was that we didn't have our you know what together on our processes; how do you use the great technology in Portal if you don't have HR processes that are defined?

    I hope this hasn't disintegrated into generalized whining. IBM (nor MS) can solve the issues outlines above. So why do I mention them and what do they have to do with Bob's article?

    I guess to some extent I am saying get back to the business of improving the base product that I user every day. I understand Connections and I guess I am glad IBM Lotus is in this space as it will be important - maybe in a decade or so. But please don't ignore the type of issues brought up by @6 that can help me better evangalize Lotus now. You know what really jazzes up my end users; stupid things like sametime enabling forms and views. Making things that work well also look very nice (for God's sake I hope that 8.5 does for web development what it purports to do - it is embarassing to show people "raw" Domino web development). How about beautiful db icons instead of the 15 year old things we have to work with. I cringe as I write this, as I am afraid Ed or Bob or others will think I am an idiot - I KNOW it doesn't really make a hill of beans difference to how an app is written or functions, but it makes a TON of difference to the end users and to the execs. Get over it; people *still* use the workspace and *still* launch most dbs from the workspace, so make the workspace better and make it look great.

    I can't believe I just wrote that. It has been a long day.

    Bryan

    10Bob Balaban  9/14/2008 12:48:42 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    @6 - Great post, Simon, thanks. I don't really want to start an XPages debate (at least, not yet, maybe later!), but I will observe that there is always a tension in product planning around the fact that you always have to decide how much you want to invest in improvements in the base product, and how much you want to invest in "hot", "new", tention-attracting functionality.

    Clearly tipping too far to one side or the other is likely to be a problem, and equally clearly, striking the right balance is difficult.

    As for AJAX and JavaScript, lots of people are using asynchronous techniques in forms and views with Domino NSFs. It's true that it takes a bit of work, but it's really not that hard.

    Putting Designer on Eclipse is, IMHO, a huge step forward. Not only because the built in Java support is way better, but because ISVs will finally have the ability to create plug-in tools for Domino Designer (assuming IBM expose the right extension points....).

    People should go get the public beta release of 8.5, which has a lot of great new stuff in it.

    @7, @8 - David, I agree with you. And it's true that "selling" something like Notes as a "developer's toolkit" has always been problematic. Various efforts have been made over the years, some relatively successful, some less so.

    In recent years, Lotus has been pretty slow to update the templates it ships with the product, and even slower to create cool new ones. The community has had to rely on the efforts of others, such as OpenNTF { Link } ) to show what can be done. I have heard that 8.5 includes a new web template that was internally called "Discussion 2.0", and I'm told it's part of the 8.5 public beta, discussion8.NTF.

    A new Web discussion template would be a great thing to have, both for use out of the box, and for taking apart to see how it works, as a sample of how to do cool stuff. Unfortunately, if my information is right, the new template is based almost entirely on XPages. While I'm sure it's a cool app, my problem with basing it on XPages is that it doesn't help me figure out how to do great Web apps on Domino which aren't XPages, and it doesn't help me figure out how to apply cool new Web capabilities and techniques to upgrade my existing (non-XPage) Domino apps.

    Is it going to be the case that, in order to build better apps on Domino (especially web apps), we're going to have to start over with XPages? Gee, I sure hope that's not the plan. I guess we'll find out.

    11Axel  9/14/2008 1:53:53 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    Am going to spoil a bit the party, but only for

    a) the greater good and

    b) truely Notes-sympathetic intentions

    I've observed that the existing-apps-thing in some organizations turns out a wee bit problematic.

    Yes. This are mission critical apps that contain a lot of wisdom acumulated over years about the organizations business processes.

    Unfortunatedly when you get the job to add some stuff, you all to often find yourself in unnecesary complexities, because of poor or/and long-time outdated coding practices. They are developed 7 years ago and the defensive Notes department never ever even started the tiniest refactoring effort. Just added a field here, an else if there to keep the poor thing in an "acceptable" running state.

    They may fear to be shot by management immediadedly after delivering the bad news of some more extra-budget. I don't know.

    Such under-refactored apps are endangered species, because with next years budget plan some other team may come and replace it with their stuff.

    Notes would have a better name, if said heroic and constantly asediaded Notes department would be a wee bit more selfconfident in requesting budget for making existing apps easier maintainable and extendible with newer notes versions. As these apps are real assets from a purely functional standpoint, there are arguments.

    Again not all Notes departments act like this.

    I also don't fully buy in this often mentioned IBM marketing idea. Maybe management today trust more this smart young man over there with the java/jee experience gained in University who delivered that working app last month than Big Blue marketing. From a marketing standpoint the eclipsefication at least results in articles in quite often read Eclipse magazine (Germany). So this influencer crowd may get a bit more sympathetic towards this Domino thing.

    12  9/15/2008 11:55:38 AM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    Applications are Notes big strength. That is why for a long time I have believed that IBM needs to make a single user, redistributable version of Notes/Domino. It would be much easier to get a Domino foot in the door if we could write and sell a simple application. Then when a client wants a multi-user version, all they have to do is install Domino, and the application instantly becomes multi-user.

    13Rob  9/16/2008 1:13:34 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    I am a single-person company that develops web applications using Domino. I use Notes Mail for my company email but don't like it much, mainly because the web version isn't fully integrated with the Notes Client version.

    What I like about Notes/Domino is that it makes it easy for me to create fairly complex web enabled applications quickly and it facilitates maintaining these systems easily. I build administration features into these systems that let the customer manipulate the permissions and control group membership, etc. This keeps my administration workload low.

    The problems I see is that IBM has not done much to update the HTML generation to support the various Notes paradigms. (I'm on Notes v 7, I don't know how v 8 is.) Their CSS support is not very useful either. I've built my own work-rounds to these issues.

    The good thing about Notes/Domino is that they have provided enough flexibility for me to be able to live with the problems. The bad thing about it is that I don't think I should have to.

    I also realize that my kind of work and company size keeps me entirely off their marketing radar. The only way they will address any of my concerns is if they happen to be the same as some of their big customers.

    Peace,

    Rob:-]

    14Bob Balaban  9/16/2008 2:40:08 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    @11 - Axel, I'm sympathetic to the "outdated code" problems you face. I'll just point out, though, that this occurs with ALL kinds of software, not just Notes.

    @12 - Interesting idea, though I think the basic philosophy around single-user Notes is that, well, it's just not that useful. From day 1, one of the basic characteristics of "groupware" (as we called it way back in the early 90s) was that it became more useful as more people used it. I think that's still true. What good would a telephone be if you were the only one in the world who had one?

    @13 - Take a look at the "new" HTML generation capabilities in 8.5 (public beta is now available). I think you'll find that it's a LOT more JavaScript and CSS-friendly than before. For example, you can tell Domino to automatically add classnames to most of the output tags. Designer support for CSS-editing and deploying is also greatly improved.

    And, Rob, if you are who I think you are, HI!

    15Peter Presnell  9/16/2008 8:50:33 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    I would like to hear IBM clearly communicate what their startegy is for Notes development because it is not very clear to me from what I have seen in the past 2 yares (including 8.5 & X-Pages).

    16Scott Skaife  9/17/2008 12:58:24 AM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    The point of a single user Notes is that there are many applications that people THINK are fine as single user. Once they start using it, they realize that they want multiple people using it at the same time.

    Many of the applications I have written that fall into this category. Several appointment scheduling apps started with the spec that only the secretary was going to access the application. Then it moved to others wanting to view the schedules, and later moved to self help systems where employees all over the plant would schedule themselves. Now, I knew where it would go, but the reason the company had me write it in Notes instead of one of the other supported development environments was because it was the kind of app that could be written in a fraction of the time in Notes with proper security than in any of the other company sanctioned development environments.

    Another example is root cause analysis for plant injuries. Users were previously using a single user application. I rewrote an equivalent application in Notes because the injury reporting software was in Notes, and we wanted the injury reporting, root cause and corrective actions to be tightly integrated. It wasn't until after the users had the software that they realized how great it was for it to be groupware.

    Notes can be a good development environment for even single user applications. Having the ability to roll out a good single user application, and then being able to say, "You want it to be groupware? Just install Domino." would hold great value for me, and would make me a foot in the door for IBM.

    The key here though is that as developers, we need to be able to hide that the single user version is Notes. Notes is the application that people love to hate. (I have theories on why people unfairly hate Notes, but that is a story for a different thread.) If I could roll out an application that is written in Notes, but not tell the users that it was a Notes application until 6 months or a year later when they want to go multiuser, I would have an easier time selling the app to the users, and more users would come into it with an open mind.

    Also, it is perfectly reasonable to have only one person use multiuser software when it is the best tool for the job. The problem comes in when you try to have multiple users try to use single user software. Would you tell people that we shouldn't use Linux on the desktop because it is a multiuser OS?

    17Scott Skaife  9/17/2008 1:05:35 AM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    Oh, sorry. To answer specifically your question of what good would a telephone be if I was the only one who had one... Well, if it is the iPhone, it would be just a little more useful than the iPod Touch.

    18Bob Balaban  9/17/2008 11:09:03 AM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    @15 - Peter, so would I!

    @16/17 - Scott, your points are valid. I'm not arguing that you're wrong, only that *most* people don't think of Notes that way.

    In my company, we often go to Notes to build a UI for rather diverse types of back-ends (C#, Web service, win32...), just because it's easy and cheap to do, and the apps can be made to look good (not that it's as easy as we'd like, but at least it's possible).

    Re: iPhone, I'm a late adopter. I just upgraded my BlackBerry, and I'm just thrilled to be able to use it outside the U.S. (Easily pleased, yes I know...)

    19Scott Skaife  9/17/2008 2:02:18 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    No worries. I do think that you are looking at half the problem though. As you said, most people use Notes for Email. This is because most people think Notes is only an email client. Your perception that Notes is only good for groupware is the exact same problem as peoples perception that it is only email. I don't mean to hijack the thread into a multiuser/single user debate. I just saw your topic on the misconceptions of what Notes is for, and felt that the multiuser/single user misconception was relevant.

    Either way, I do agree that applications are what is important.

    20Simon Mottram  9/17/2008 7:25:06 PM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    @Bob

    Thanks for your comments, I do have one niggle tho

    "As for AJAX and JavaScript, lots of people are using asynchronous techniques in forms and views with Domino NSFs. It's true that it takes a bit of work, but it's really not that hard. "

    This is really my point, there is an inconsistency in the IBM position here

    a) IBM: Here are xPages WOW! They are all Ajax'ey and stuff. Welcome to Web2.0

    b) Bob: You can do Ajax stuff already, it's not that hard.

    Personally I have been doing Ajax stuff since way before Ajax existed (as a name) with hidden iFrames etc and more recently with prototype etc, You know the score. BUT, my point is that it should be part of the way forms work by design, not by adding custom javascript.

    I'm sure a lot of people would agree with me if I said that the only/fundamental reason the 'use javascript when generatiing pages' option is not well liked is because of the whole page refresh. Now, if there was an option 'Use AJAX when generating pages', that performed the same function _without_ a page refresh, you would have a hugely powerful feature. After doing a few applcations using Websphere / JSF, I realised how awesome it was to be able to stick @formulae buttons on a webform and 'they just work'.

    If AJAX out of the box is a selling feature for xPages then it must also be a selling feature for Forms.

    AJAX is core web form functionality now, it should be part of the core functionality of Notes forms. I don't think pushing it onto the devs is proactive, lets make Forms sexy again.

    Simon

    21John Foo  1/18/2009 11:28:20 AM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    Greetings.

    I have since 1996, been a Notes guy despite overwhelming negativity from ppl and media.

    Currently, I and 2 others support web apps running on Domino.

    Yes, for a multinational no less. And they wanted to shut down Domino in a few years time. Until cost cutting came on and grandiose shiny projects to replace Domino came to a grinding halt.

    I do not want to give more comments than that are already wonderfully and clearly given here.

    All I really want is support from IBM.

    Support from their marketing and tech ppl to change the mindset about Domino, which I am currently doing alone!!!

    I spoke personally to my central head, (levels above me) a ten sec sales pitch, which I hope to repeat when he flies down to my location soon.

    They have already shut down about 1/3 of the servers (costs again) and for now do not want to buy more.

    I am in full agreement here of what has been discussed here.

    But I need support.

    Any suggestions?

    22John Foo  1/18/2009 11:39:20 AM  It’s the applications that keep the product alive

    BTW, this company I work for has a Domino web app that gives full control to Outlook email users to create their own public/private mail distribution list, which also tracks the history (up to a point), control attachment sizes, subsrciption to this list, permissions to changing memberships, etc. Can MS Exchange 2007 do the same ?