Yesterday IBM Notes/Domino V10 was unveiled to the world in the first of a whole series of launch events around the world. We in the Norwegian user group, in cooperation with IBM, is doing the Norwegian launch in Oslo October 23rd. One of the biggest features (among a whole list of cool features like auto repair, Domino Query language etc) is that you now can use Node.js to develop solutions for the Domino platform. And ISW has now done something awesome that can give your Notes app increased life, even if your company has moved to Office 365.
I’ve worked with IBM Notes/Domino (formerly known as Lotus Notes/Domino) since 1997. In those years, the death of Notes/Domino has been predicted so many times. But it hasn’t happened yet.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it could have been at better health than it has been for years.
But as I’ve written several times in this blog, a new initiative has been started, lead by HCL taking over the development of the platform. And they’ve got hundreds of people working on it.
In the past weeks I’ve been part of a group of people who have given input on the design of the user interface for IBM Notes v11, which most likely will appear next autumn. And it looks very promising.
However, there are plenty of new stuff coming for Domino v10 as well. I’ve summed that up in this blog posting. Check it out for all the goodies.
If you need need an expert on IBM Notes/Domino. Or if you want to know anything about the future of Notes/Domino v10 that is out in October. Or if you need a skilled Notes/Domino developer. Or if you need help with your licensing. Or maybe you want to webify your notes applications and make them available on cell phones and pads? Or do you simply want to make your native Notes applications look more modern and sexy?
We in Brainworker can help you. Please get in touch!
Look, I even got a certificate to prove it:
As I wrote in this blog posting, IBM and HCL presented what was new and upcoming in IBM Notes and Domino v10 and 11 at the Engage conference at the end of May. Domino is the server, which they now hope to people will start using as an open development platform with the help of technology like Dokker and Node.Js. Notes is the client, where users traditionally have used the applications developed on the Domino platform, as well as using the email and calendar features the client offers.
They also announced new functionality for the Notes client, but I was very disappointed that there won’t be a new user interface in v10. Instead, HCL and IBM are going with the same design that the six-year-old v9 already has. But on the other hand, what future does the Notes client really have?
In this day and age, a heavy client is not something you want to have to deal with. I have great love for the Notes client, and I’ve defended it against haters several times. Yes, it can be cumbersome to administrate, but the Notes client has an undeserved bad reputation.
The conference IBM Think was held in Las Vegas from March 19th to 22nd. Over 30 000 people were there, and the conference covered subjects like collaboration, IBM Connections, blockchain, cloud, encryption and artificial intelligence.
As I’m an IBM Champion for ICS and the leader of the Norwegian ICS usergroup (ISBG) I was mostly interested in the portfolio of IBM Collaboration Solutions. As I wrote back in October 2017, HCL has taken over the development of the ICS portfolio, except for IBM Connections, while IBM will still be handling sales and customer contact and support. The most surprising revelation that came out of this is that we will get a Notes/Domino v10, and IBM and HCL has already started delivering demos of what they have promised so far.
However, even that news was eclipsed by the demo showed at Think. You can now actually run Notes applications on you Ipad, without any development, what so ever, needed!
You can simply run them on the Ipad, and all functionality will work as if you were in the Notes client. This includes Lotusscript and the Formula language!
Don’t believe me? Take a look at this demo, provided by Alan Lepofsky:
It really seems like IBM & HCL has set a pace we haven’t seen from IBM since…since… a long time. They are even going to do marketing! Now, if this only could be followed by actually talking to and meeting with customers, we might have something. Anyway, that video is awesome, and I can’t wait to show it to the Notes/Domino customers I have left.
As for Connections, on the other hand, it was peculiar how little news that came out of IBM Think. Last year, everything was all about IBM Connections Pink. This year there were a few sessions about IBM Connections Engagement Center, but so far I haven’t seen any announcements about how the development of IBM Connections is coming along.
It’s no secret that when the Norwegian user group have seminars or webinars about Connections, the interest from our members is considerably lower than when we have presentations about Notes/Domino. So I’m wondering about what will happen on the platform. My guess is that it won’t be long before HCL takes over Connections as well. Especially since IBM seems to be focusing everything on Watson Workspace and Watson Assitant. Not to mention quantum computing and big data analysis. Time will show.
Anyway, the video is just awesome. I can imagine the applause in Vegas when it was demoed.
IBM and HCL, who took over the development of the old IBM Collaboration Solutions portfolio a few months back, minus IBM Connections, held a joint webinar today to present their plans for IBM Notes/Domino v10. You can see the recording of the webinar here.
The people who held the webinar were Bob Schultz, GM IBM Collaborative Solutions & Talent, Andrew Manby, Director IBM Product Management Collaboration Solutions and Richard Jefts, GM/VP HCL Collaborative Solutions. The idea is that contrary to what IBM did before, the whole process towards a finished release of Domino 10 will be transparent. And this is just the first part of the new regime of information. There will be more webinars, blog postings and information sessions at the IBM Think conference, as well as at user group meetings.
The main points of what is coming in Domino 10:
- Slimmer, faster and better looking Notes client
- Missing mail features will be added
- Better Microsoft integration for mail and productivity applications
- Use of modern development tools and frameworks
- Better core performance and functionality
- Easy to use authentication and administration
- Even better integration with Outlook and Sametime
- There will be a lot of new development on the mobile experience, both for mail and apps
- The Sametime client will from now on give you persistent chats through all platforms (about time!)
The most important details they gave us about Domino:
- Active Directory integration made much simpler (how I wish that had been the case 3 years ago)
- 256 GB NSF-files!
- Automated database repair
- Replica and synch-up and currency monitoring
- Full text auto update on search and resilience
- Docker Enterprise Edition images will be available
- ID/Vault management improvements
- SAML IPD upgrades (including ADFS4.0) for single signon
- A much improved API which makes it easier to read from and write to NSF files
- Exchange Web Services to connect to Exchange and Outlook clients in a much better way than today
We were given a short demo of some of the Notes functionality, but thus far a new design of the client was nowhere to be seen. New Notes functionality highlights:
- You can edit rich text fields in Word instead of Notes
- You can schedule (ie: delay) emails
- You can mark several emails and send them as attachments in a new email
- You an now invite other s to an appointment or meeting
Jason Gary then did a guest appearance and showed how he used Node.js and the REST API to write and read from a very simple nsf-file.
Domino 10 will be released in the second half of 2018. And yes, there will be a beta plan announced. I’ll sign up for it, no doubt.
So, what do you think? Will this make a difference? Will Notes/Domino still have a future? Leave your comments and feedback below.
IBM made some pretty big announcements tonight. First of all, Notes and Domino will have a version 10 released in 2018. Yeah, I know. I am as shocked as you.
Secondly, IBM is now leaving all the development of the platform to their partner HCL. IBM has already a partnership with them on several other products in their portfolio.
So what does this mean? It means that the platform is not dead, something which we’ve heard since around 2002 from people.
It also means that for the customers, there will be no change in their relationship with IBM. HCL will do the development, and maybe a times help out IBM. But sales, support, PMRs, licensing, Passport advantage will all still be done via IBM.
So the biggest change is that HCL takes over the development. IBM and HCL are committed to make sure that support, development and continuation of the platform will not be disrupted.
The journey starts now, and thus far the next version of Notes, Domino and Sametime is going under the name “Proejct Sapphire.”
Other stuff to look forward to:
- Domino will now support the Mail client for Mac as they already do for Outlook via Exchange ActiveSync
- There will be constant development for the Domino platform, so that it will be easier to integrate with other platforms and solutions
- IBM will hold jams (currently called Domino 2025) for ideas about the future of Notes/Domino where people will have meetings, talks and other ways to give IBM feedback
- IBM Champions and the user groups will be invited to be much more involved in the future
- The Think conference (taking over for Lotusphere/Connect) will have a much larger presence for Notes/Domino than what we feared
And just to be clear: This covers the entire family of IBM Notes, Domino, Sametime and Verse, both on premise and in the cloud.
Here’s the portfolio that’s a part of the HLC partnership:
IBM Notes and Domino
- IBM SmartCloud Notes
- IBM Notes Traveler
- IBM Mobile Connect
- IBM Verse
- IBM Mail Support for Microsoft Outlook(IMSMO)
- IBM WISPR
- IBM Enterprise Integrator (LEI)
- IBM Sametime portfolio
- IBM Connections Chat/Meetings
- IBM Client Access (ICAA)
I was today on the IBM Champions call where we were introduced to this. And some of the questions raised in the Q&A was: Is this too little too late? Will we be able to get customers to invest in Notes/Domino? Will the platform be relevant?
Let’s find out. The journey is #2025.
I’ve heard since 2002 that IBM Notes and Domino was dead. And while the platform is certainly an endangered species these days, there’s still stuff happening on the Domino front that companies and organisations contemplating on leaving the platform really should pay attention to.
IBM has now launched a service that makes it possible for you to upload and run your IBM Notes applications in the cloud. This will become a very important addition to IBM Connections Cloud and SmartCloud Notes. It’s also something a lot of IBM customers and partners have requested for quite some time.
The service is called IBM Domino Application on Cloud (DAV) and all maintenance and servicing will be done by IBM. Ed Brill announced this in Tokyo during IBM Notes/Domino Day (isn’t that a wonderful name for a day?) on Tuesday September 19th. The service will be launched in October, so set your clocks!
DAC will be using CENTOS and Docker. The latter is something IBM has said they will be relying heavily on in the future. This will therefore be included in FP10 for IBM Domino 9.0.1, which will be released soon.
The data centers will be placed in the US, Europe and Pacific Asia (Japan). Australia, China and other locations will follow suit.
To use this service you must have your own IBM Notes/Domino license. The maximum size of any given .nsf file will be 25 GB.
The following functionality is promised:
- A Domino environment built around your organisations cert ID
- Users can deploy their own custom built .nsf applications
- The .nsf files will be available both via our IBM Notes client, ICAA and via web browsers
- The data will be encrypted
- Mail agents and scheduled agents will function as they do on your local server
- You can replicate between the cloud and your local servers
- All server upgrades, maintenance and backup will be done by IBM
- You can have a Domino cluster if you choose
- You can have DAOS if you wish
- Domino Access Service is optional
- You pay a monthly license pr .nsf file ($27) and you must signup for at least a year
- You can have more than Domino server if needed
- Monthly reports about all your Domino applications
- A tool that analyse your applications so that you can decide what applications to scratch, which you want to keep locally and which you will move to the cloud
Thus far IBM has only offered a cloud solution for email and calendar, via IBM Verse, så a lot of people began cheering when these news were unveiled.
Here’s IBM’s video presentation of the new offering:
I promised a summary of the second part of the Opening General Session. And I will include it here, but this posting is mostly about the future of IBM Notes and Domino. It’s based around four separate sessions and lectures about the strategy around and development on the Notes and Domino platform.
First things first:
- Yes, IBM will continue support and come up with upgrades and new functionality for the IBM Notes client.
- Yes, IBM will continue supporting Domino but forget what you know about app development on the platform if all you know is the Designer
- Yes, the Domino Designer is set to become a thing of the past
- Yes, Cognitive, Connections and Watson will play a huge part in this
- Yes, in my opinion Xpages is dead (but see the discussion in the comments field who says I’m outright wrong about this)
- The APIs for Domino will be improved, expanded and upgraded
For the first time in years IBM Notes and Domiono was, once again, the center of attention during an opening session. A lot of time was spent on it during Ed Brill’s presentation in part 2. He announced three partnerships with the companies Darwino, Aveedo and Sapho. All of them makes it possible to extend and refresh Domino applications. All of these give you the opportunity to stay on Domino, as well as combine your Domino app seamlessly with applications on other platforms without the need for development. I was especially impressed with Sapho.
In the session about the future roadmap for Notes and Domino, IBM also said that Notes and Domino would be updated via Feature Packs from now on (which basically means no Notes 10, folks). These will come out 3-4 times a year, and extend the features of both the Notes client, as well as the Domino server. It will be optional whether you want to install these and whether you want to enable the new functionality that is added in the feature packs. Security upgrades and bug fixes are also a part of the FPs.
- No more Notes client for Linux beyond 9.0.1 FP 7
- 32 bit droppet for AIX and Linux servers
- Template upgrades will be available as a separate download, so that you can use them without having to install the latest FPs
As for what is coming for both the Notes client and the Domino server, I will refer you to my blog posting about the very same subject from last year’s Connect. Yup, nothing has happened since then. But this year they actually showed us demos of most of the stuff you can read about it that blog posting. Last year they only talked about it. FP8, which will give you the ability to show email addresses as internet addresses, support Java 8 in the Eclipse framework and include email template upgrades will be released in March.
As you know, I love the IBM Connections plugins for IBM Notes. My 250 page long manual for the plugins will now have to be updated since CCM will get it’s own plugin! Yay! There’s even a plugin for Box, which I haven’t tested yet.
The most exciting thing I saw when it comes to development of Domino based solutions was a product called Sapho. The product delivers a Facebook-like feed of data from your applications, both on Domino and a host of other platforms. I was amazed that every time someone asked the question “what if I need to do…,” Peter Yared, founder and CTO of Sapho, did it live, in the presentation, there and then! The product was incredibly easy to use, and you could fetch data from all kinds of data sources, including Domino. And you could of course write data back to the source as well.
So what does this mean? It means that you don’t need to migrate. You can keep your data on Domino, but at the same time add functionality to a Notes application which will run on web or on a mobile device. Or you could replace an entire Notes application, but still keep the nsf file on Domino. This is the future of Domino development folks! Spending loads of man hours on using the Domino REST API with Swagger, Angular and so on is incredibly complex, time consuming and complex. There are of course instances where you wouldn’t have much choice, but I think in most cases, a product like Sapho will solve your business needs.
I’ll wrap this up now. But you can still keep the Notes client and Domino, get new functionality, keep your applications and at the same time modernise them. In addition, you can give your users a choice when it comes to mail. They can use Notes, they can use iNotes (webmail), they can use Verse or they can use Microsoft Outlook. The mail is still in the same .nsf file on your Domino server.
IBM is opening up more and more to the outside world, and that is the main strategy these days, also in the future for Notes and Domino.
Stay tuned for more blog postings about stuff I’ve learned here at Connect 2017!
Last week there was an online presentation co-hosted by TeamStudio and TLCC where IBM presented their roadmap for IBM Notes/Domino.
I didn’t listen to the whole thing, I skipped some parts, because I could basically read the slides. In addition, they didn’t present anything new that they didn’t present at IBM Connect 2016. Nothing! Except one thing: You can now also use Outlook 2016 with Domino. Yay…
To paraphrase a friend of mine in the Domino community: “They are killing it, man.” And I find it hard to argue against that. For the past three years, I’ve been telling people who said that Xpages was going to save Domino that they were wrong. And this latest roadmap (which is the same as it was in January in Orlando) makes me ask: Is IBM interested in saving Domino?
Now, the Notes client was never going to be saved. We all knew that, even if IBM never comes right out and say it. But when it comes to email, they want you to start using IBM Verse or they actually want you to start using Outlook. In a world where people want to run light clients and use handheld devices, a huge bloated client is not the way to go, so I’m not really complaining about that. But the seemingly lack of commitment to the Domino platform is glaring.
It’s time to start delivering on your promises when it comes to Domino, IBM. But what’s happening is just one slow and drawn out torturing of a dying beast. If you’re not dedicated to the platform, at least come out and say it. “It will happen at Connect 2017,” they say. What will happen? That you will say the exact same things you said at Connect 2016? And the Java version running on the platform now isn’t just outdated. It’s a sediment on the bottom of the ocean which still hasn’t turned into black gold, and never will. We have been promised a Java update for a year now, and it still hasn’t arrived. Neither has any of the other stuff they promised.
One of the things that makes me want to say that “this is it, folks,” is the way IBM now lets you use Outlook with Domino. What’s basically happening is that IBM is saying: Connect Outlook to Domino, have the entire .nsf mail file downloaded to an Outlooks .pst file and then you can just move that pst file onto an Exchange server or up into the Office 365 cloud. They are even eliminating the need for a huge migration project, like a move from Notes to Outlook used to be.
My employer is, like 99% of the rest of the world, using Office 365. Mail is a part of the Office license, which basically means we are currently paying for two different mail platforms. In a time where we are struggling financially (I’m currently made 50% redundant), and we have to cut costs, what do you think we are going to choose? Staying on a platform where the company making it won’t make a commitment? Or go with the company which is constantly developing and refreshing their platform, and also makes integration and single sign on between all their products a default functionality?
Domino will remain in my company as an application server, because we are still running lots of Notes applications. However, we are currently webifying them and using anything but IBM technology to do so, apart from the nsf files which, for the time being, still will be on Domino.
Oh, well. See for yourself, and tell me if I’m wrong:
And here are the slides:
IBM finally released IBM Verse on the world back in April, after much hype beforehand. In short: IBM Verse started out as IBM Notes 10 but evolved into a web mail client which offers a whole new way to sort, search and keep track of emails, appointments, contacts and content. This video gives a nice demonstration:
I’ve got an IBM Verse account, but since it’s not integrated into our solutions at work, nor with my private email, I really haven’t used it that much. The strength of IBM Verse is that it’s tightly integrated with IBM Connections and IBM Sametime. All are tools that we use at our company.
At work we are using IBM Notes 9.0.1 for a lot of things, including email and calendar. However, I’ve been testing the Outlook 2016 client, and it blows Notes mail out of the water. It’s really, really good. Outlook calendar has been better than the Notes calendar for years, but even the email part is now quite excellent in Outlook. Also the web version, not to mention the mobile app, are very good.
Why am I mentioning this? Because the integration between Outlook, Skype for business, Sharepoint and other solutions, combined with their new mobile client will make it even harder for IBM to both counter the moving that a lot of companies are doing from IBM to Microsoft. It will also be much harder to convince new customers to move over to IBM.
In that light, it’s not a smart move to:
1) Not deliver what we were promised with Verse (as this article from Red Pill points out).
2) Still use the standard web version of the calendar instead of the new Verse interface.
No matter how much I love Domino and old IBM products, the world is moving on. And I’m an atheist when it comes to my tools. If MS comes up with a better client, with a good mobile app as well as a nice web interface, I can’t keep my users in the dark. Especially now that we are moving our Notes applications to the web, where we only use the .nsf files for data storage while the web interface are running on other platforms. We are also contemplating moving from Sametime to Lyn…sorry…Skype for business, but IBM is actually doing an effort to keep us on Sametime.
IBM has a lot of challenges ahead. IBM Verse shows good promise, but promise ware is not good enough. The only reason Microsoft got away with promise ware for so long was that they managed to get into a monopoly situation in a time where that was actually possible.