Domino, Notes and videotape
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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.

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Will HCL Places Replace IBM Notes?

October 8th, 2018 | Posted by elfworld in IBM | Notes - (0 Comments)

Tomorrow sees the first unveiling of IBM Notes/Domino V10. Personally I’m really looking forward to it and on October 23rd we will have our own unveiling in Norway, arranged by us in the Norwegian IBM Collaboration Software Group (ISBG).  Now that HCL has taken over  the development of the the IBM Collaboration Software portfolio, they have started slowly revealing their plans for the Domino platform.

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Ego in session

Photo: Kristoff Bruers

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.

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What’s in IBM Domino v10

February 28th, 2018 | Posted by elfworld in Domino | IBM | Notes - (27 Comments)

Domino 2025

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

Something a lot of developers and Javascript fans no doubt will cheer for is that Node.js will be added to the Domino development environment. This will make it much faster and easier to develop modern solutions, both in the Notes client and on mobile and web.

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 HCLIBM 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 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

SaphoFor 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.

Other news:

  • 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

SwaggerAs 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.

I spoke to one of the leading men in Xpages development, and he told me “Xpages is dead.” Personally I’ve never ever believed in Xpages, and I never bothered to learn it. “From now on I’m a web developer and a Javascript developer,” he said. And that is certainly what Stephen Wissel showed in his presentation, Beyond Domino Designer.

In the session he pointed out that you should leave the Domino designer and start learning Javascript frameworks like Angular, use Swagger as an API framework, become friends with node.js, make peace with command line tools, learn http and use clients like Postman to test http calls to REST APIs, separate front end and backend and test, test, test. This is pretty much how my previous employer modernised their IBM Notes solutions to lift them to the web and onto mobile.

Sapho 2The 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!

 

Still in the US, but in a new city, on a new date and with a lot of new things you normally don’t associate with Lotusphere, now known as IBM Connect. The city is San Francisco and the location is Moscone West, a gigantic conference center in downtown San Francisco.

As Roxette said: – Don’t bore us, get to the chorus. So, I’ll get right to it. The first session I attended was the brilliantly named session “Your Mail is in the Cloud, What About Your Apps?”

This is a question that a lot of people are concerned with, because IBM has been heavily promoting companies to move their email to the cloud, and then start using IBM Verse. But most of us have a lot of applications running in Notes, which means we still got to run and administrate local Domino servers. Can these be moved to the cloud? Yes, turns out that they can. And IBM showed us how.

Some important points:

  • Files must be moved to the cloud and keep their original file path
  • Servers in the cloud have their own naming convention
  • SAML is used for authentication
  • If you use LADP you got to set up a solution that makes it possible to send requests back form the cloud to LDAP
  • You’ll need ID Vault

The process for moving is described in these images (click on them for a bigger version):

cloudcloudcloud

Most of us are responsible for gigantic .nsf-files with huge amounts of data. Personally I’ve been responsible for databases with a logical size of 100 GB. This is of course only possible through the use of DAOS, which stores the attachments, since an .nsf-file only can be as big as 64 GB.

How do you move all this data to the cloud? You could use good old fashioned Domino replication. This is going to take time, but it’s stable and very reliable. If you lose your internet connection, it will just continue when you get your connection back.

FTP: Quicker than replication, but it has to be monitored. And if you lose your connection, you need to start all over again.

Physical storage: Moving data via a hard drive, which you then ship off to the data center where they will copy it for you. This will take quite a bit of time, but you won’t have any problems with network connectivity.

Moving data online can take quite a bit of time, days even, so this must be planned in detail. Users will experience quite a bit of downtime if you don’t take advantage of weekends or holidays.

IBM calculates that this will take a couple of days. Before you start moving you must analyse and plan what applications you need to move. Some applications might not be needed anymore, or they could be replaced with other solutions.

When you’ve decided what applications you want to move, you have to go through them and check for stuff like

  • Hardcoded server names or databases
  • DBLookups and DBColumns that might create problems
  • ODBC and OS calls from Lotusscript

IBM can assist with all of these things via specialized tools.

And yes: You will be able to do this, even if you are running DAOS.

7 Great Tips About IBM Notes

November 18th, 2016 | Posted by elfworld in IBM | Notes - (2 Comments)

The IBM Notes client is an important tool for a lot of IBM customers. It’s a powerful client (albeit a bit cranky at times), which has a lot of features that people don’t know about.  So here are 7 quick tips to make your work day even more efficient.

1) Find a Notes application/database quickly

There’s no need to spend time looking for a Notes application or database on your workspace or in the bookmark menu. Simply use the search field under the Open-button (or the binoculars if you have docked the Open list). Just start typing the name of the application and Notes will list all the applications containing the letters you are typing. Then you can simply just click on the correct one:

Search

No more time spent looking for applications!

 

2) Create a new email at any time

To create a new email, simply hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard and then hit the M key. A new email will open up. You don’t even need to have your mail application open!

 

3) Create a meeting out of an email

Sometimes an email discussion has gone on long enough. If you feel the time has come to have a meeting you can create a meeting out of an email by right clicking on the email and choose Copy into New -> Calendar Entry:

Copy into New

 

You will now be asked what kind of calendar entry:

Choose calendar entry type

 

Choose Meeting and click OK. A new meeting form is prepared. All people in the To-field will be in the Reuired field and all the people in the Cc field will be in the Optional field. All contents of the email, including attachments will be included (remove the attachments!). Now you can continue scheduling the meeting.

 

4) Paste as plain text

When pasting text from another document into a rich text field in Notes, all formatting from the original source is kept (colors, fonts, tabs and so on). If you want to paste the text into a rich text field, but remove the formatting from the source, simply hold down the CTRL and SHIFT keys on the keyboard while hitting the V key. Now the text is pasted as plain text, and it will be in the same format as the rest of the text in the rich text field. Easy peasy!

 

5) How is your day?

When you start your working day you want to know what’s on  the agenda today. No need to open your calendar for this. Simply open the right sidebar panel called Day-at-a-Glance:

Day at a glance

You can even look at other dates in the past and future as well.

 

6) Trace your history

Did you know that Notes keeps complete track of every single Notes application and document you’ve opened in the seven past days? It’s true! No more brain twisting trying to remember what you did yesterday! Simply click on History in the bookmark menu (under the Open button or under the binoculars if you have docked the Open list), then the date you want to check and finally the name of the application. Now Notes will list all documents you worked with in that application on that date:

History

 

7) Don’t develop a mouse elbow

We all use the mouse too much. But did you know that you can access any action button in a Notes document or view without having to click on them? Simply hold down the ALT key on the keyboard. You will then see a number in the upper left corner of all the action buttons. Simply click on the corresponding number on your keyboard (while still holding down ALT) to trigger the action button.

Example: If you want to send an email, you don’t need to move the mouse button up to the action button Send and on click on it. Simply hold down ALT and hit the 1 key on the keyboard. Neat, eh?

Hope you liked these tips. If you did, or want to add something, leave a comment!

No more NotesLast 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:

Notes9-thumbnailA lot has been said about the future of IBM Notes and Domino lately, but the truth of the matter is that there are still lots of Notes clients out there that are still heavily in use.

There are also IBM Notes customers who are using IBM Connections. Because of this, IBM has created a plugin that makes it easy for you to share content from IBM Notes and into Connections, and the other way around.

In the plugin you can post and interact with your activity (news stream), as well as with a persons profile and business card. You can drag attachments from emails and drop them straight into Connections (both into your personal files as well as as into a community’s files). You can also interact with, comment on and share files from the plugin.

Connections logoYou can also work with Activities directly from IBM Notes. Personally I prefer working with activities inside the Notes client to the cumbersome GUI in the web browser. You can drag and drop elements internally inside the activities, as well as drag and drop emails, Notes documents and attachments straight into an activity.

In short: The IBM Notes plugin for IBM Connections is a great tool, with a lot of great features. It has increased my own productivity in Notes and Connections a great deal. But I’ve seen a lot of people asking on Greenhouse and in other forums whether a manual exists. And it doesn’t. Until now.

I’ve therefore created a complete manual on how to use the IBM Connections plugin for IBM Notes. You can download it here.

Please let me know if you find any errors, spelling mistakes or things that are outdated because of upgrades to the plugin. Constructive feedback is welcome.