While in Chicago, I met up with Ed Brill, former head of Notes/Domino and IBM Collaboration Solutions, and got him to tell his side of the story.
The superlatives and positive messages about the Norwegian user group’s (ISBG) launch of IBM/Notes Domino V10 in Norway yesterday has been pouring in all morning. As the leader of ISBG, this makes me immensely happy. And it gives bright hope for the future, and we will use this momentum when we’ve now started preparing for the spring seminar. Read on to see what happened at the launch!
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.
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.
A week ago today the annual Engage conference started in Rotterdam, on one of the most amazing conference venues I’ve been at so far, the ship SS Rotterdam, which is a permanently moored hotel ship in the harbour. Theo Heselmans put on a stunning conference, where over 400 people attended. They were IBM Customers, end users, IBM business partners, members from other user groups, people from IBM and I’m sure there were other representatives as well.
As a part of the Brainworker consultant pool, I was treated to this trip by Arne Nielsen, who footed the bill. We did a road trip from Norway to the Netherlands, via Sweden, Denmark and Germany both to and from the conference. It was a nice trip, but I think we will fly next year…
I also did a presentation at the conference called “30 tips about IBM Verse.” I was so nervous that nobody would come, but it turns out I got a full room with 50 people. And the feedback was great.
Milan Matejic wrote: “Nice Session for everybody who plans to use Verse Client on a regular basis. Packed with lots of information delivered in a funny and energetic manner.” Aww! Thanks!
Notes/Domino v10 and 11
IBM presented a lot of things around IBM Notes/Domino v10 and v11. I’ve written about most of the Notes 10 stuff in this blog posting, but I will mention the new stuff they presented at Engage about 10:
- Support for unlimited documents in folders – This really means nothing to me
- Enhancements in Domino Cluster Administration – This was about time
- Cluster configuration document – This means you have a place to you configure the files and directories, which have to be clustered
- Domino statistics and monitoring via New Relic – Great for administrators
- A lot of self repairing and self healing on the Domino server
- Roll out automatic updates of the Notes client from the Domino server – Oh yeah!
- Forwarding multiple mails in ONE EML-file including attachments and formatting – Yeah… Outlook could do that ten years ago
- Scheduled mail delivery – Have to send out an announcement tomorrow before lunch, but you won’t be at work? Schedule it!
- Mail policy checks BEFORE the mail is sent to the server – This one I liked. You can actually prevent people from sending out confidential emails
- A new “Team Calender” – This can also be used as a Team Mailbox. But most important: You can overlay the Team Calendar over your personal one! Yay!
- Forwarding meeting invitations to other persons – Should have been made 10 years ago. But it comes with a twist that the competition doesn’t have: You can set up when you create the meeting whether people should be allowed to forward the meeting invite or not
- Persistent chat – This means you can log off Sametime in your Notes client, and then continue the conversation, uninterrupted, on your mobile client. And vice versa.
- Nothing new here, but it was strongly hinted that when the lacking functionality in IBM Verse is in place, Verse will replace iNotes as the Domino webmail platform.
- What’s Nomad? It’s the ability to run your Notes applications on an Ipad, without the need of any coding! Everything (except mail and calendar) will work! I got to do testing with this on an Ipad, and it worked beautifully
- This was the biggest news. Turns out that HCL, who took over development of the ICS portfolio (except IBM Connections), have started developing an alternative to the Notes client. It is more reminiscent of an application with feeds, but it’s still early days.
The first beta of Notes/Domino 10 will be out in June, and the second one will be out in August. We did get to se the new Notes 10 client, and I was severely disappointed. It looked just like V9, but Feeds, OpenSocial Component and Composite Application Editor will be removed. This an attempt to make the client lighter. It also stems from customer feedback that almost nobody was using these features of the client. You can also change the colours of the client in totally different ways than before, but a visual impression is so important, that I really wish the design of the client had been changed.
Notes/Domino v 11 will be out already next year. That version will have a much tighter integration with Active Directory, so that you will be able to create Notes users in AD, and then they will be automatically created in Domino Directory as well. Another vision for Notes/Domino 11 is that of low code. It will be even easier than it is today to set up applications, both for mobile, web and the client itself.
Also, the Domino Designer might get killed off, so that you can the Visual Studio Plugin for coding instead. The idea is that anyone should be able to code a Domino based solution, without much, if any, knowledge of the Domino platform. With new and improved APIs they will be able to read from and write to Domino. Personally, I hope they also get rid of Eclipse.
It was also revealed that over 200 developers (TWO HUNDRED) were working on the next versions of IBM Notes/Domino. And at one of the presentations, the lead developer agreed with me that Xpages had been a blind alley. Thank you! I’ve been saying that for years. And: There’s no end of life date for Notes/Domino.
There was also talks about IBM Domino in the cloud. You can already today move your Domino applications to the cloud or run them in a hybrid environment. This will be made even more easy in the future.
Phew! That was quite a lot about Notes/Domino 10 and 11. What else did we learn?
IBM Watson Workspace
Watson Workspace is something IBM is pushing really these days. They have already made templates for various types of businesses, that will make it easier for organisations to have spaces where teams can collaborate, and have their data analysed in ways that will make it easier for you to make quick business decisions. At least that’s what IBM says. It can also be integrated into IBM Connections Cloud. Contact your local IBM sales person, or partner, to give it a try.
I also attended a few sessions where organisations did presentations on what they are using IBM’s Watson technology for. I especially liked Margo van der Stam’s presentation about what the Dutch tax office is doing by automatically processing letters from the public. It was very interesting to hear about the challenges they have by making the automatic process recognise things like addresses, censoring the names of the sender and decide on the right cause of action. It’s all still in being developed, so there is a manual review as well.
I also saw demos on how to make scripts and customise the templates so that you can add your own actions that you can trigger Watson to do. It is a very promising technology.
Sponsors and partners
The sponsor room was great, with a constant stream of food, snacks and drinks. It was also nice to talk to several of the business partners and sponsors about that they could offer for Office 365, Notes/Domino and IBM Connections.
And speaking of IBM Connections. There was nothing announced about Connections. Less than a year ago at Social Connections in Vienna, it was all about IBM Connections Pink. Now? Quiet. The only times it was mentioned was whenever IBM denied they were only thinking about cloud customers, or when it came to integrating IBM Watson Workspace into communities in IBM Connections.
In addition, I attended a couple of sessions about how to leverage your Notes/Domino data by using various types of technologies and development platforms. Especially Paul Withers talk about Node.RED and the Domino APIs was great. I’ve worked way too little with stuff like this and should really get my act together.
The people that you love
And that was the technical stuff. Another important part of the conference is the social bit. On Tuesday the sponsors and speakers were pampered to a great dinner, with tribal drumming and didgeridoo playing, on the deck of the SS Rotterdam. In beautiful weather, I might add.
The next morning Arne and I drove back, and thanks to lots of road construction work on the German Autobahn, we weren’t home in Norway until 3 in the morning. And I had to be at the train station at 04.20…
Once again, Thanks for a great conference, Theo. You give us other user groups something to really strive for! And thanks to all the attendees, especially my fellow IBM Champions and the other speakers, for helping to make it great. See you all next year!
You can see my entire photo album from the conference here:
Other people’s blog postings:
- Rainer Brandl
- Martin Pradny
- Gabriella Davis
- Milan Matejic
- Daniel Nashed
- Andrew Magerman
- Matteo Bisi
- Paul Withers
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 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!
The 2016 autumn meeting in the Norwegian IBM User group (ISBG) was held on November 30th at BI (Norwegian school of finance) in Oslo. Even if I wasn’t second in command for the user group I still would say this: It was a very strong and varied agenda! Here’s a summary:
Salesforce App Cloud and IBM Domino – same, same, but different
First one out was René Winkelmeyer from Salesforce.com. He’s a former star in the Domino environment, but left for Salesforce last spring. He works there as a Senior Development Evangelist. There were those who questioned why ISBG would invite Winkelmeyer to give this lecture. The reasons are that IBM has bought one of the largest Salesforce consultant companies in the world. In addition, Salesforce is very compatible with the IBM Collaboration Solutions.
Several people who used to work with Notes/Domino are today working with Salesforce, and there are also those who work with both platforms. Winkelmeyer explained the differences and similarities between the platforms.
- Salesforce is cloud only
- Salesforce does not have email but you can integrate email functionality into your applications
- Salesforce is based on relational databases
- You are automatically prevented from publishing bad code
- The structure is similar: Organisation, database and forms
- Security model similar. You can control access and permission all the way down to fields
- Salesforce has its own versions of forms, views and Xpages
- Both have variations of agents
- Both have validation and rules
Winkelmeyer then did a demo where he showed how a Salesforce applications worked seamlessly inside a community in IBM Connections, including sharing of files. He then showed how he could copy an email from IBM Verse and into an application in Salesforce. This is made possible via the APIs in Connections and Verse.
Winkelmeyer’s main point was that the philosophy where you bind yourself to one system or platform doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Today everything is about integration, not to mention web and mobile based solutions.
Finding Your Way out of the Domino Maze
Julian Woodward is a legend in the Notes/Domino community. In the past few years he has worked for LDC Via, a London based company specialising in helping companies lift their data out of Domino. In his presentation, he walked through the challenges that comes with such a migration, whether you want to leave Domino completely or stay on Domino and only move out of the Notes client.
The challenges are both technically and for the business. For the latter you have to consider budgets, strategies, politics and infrastructure. Very often the organisations are very surprised about how tightly integrated the Notes applications are in the daily business, and how vast they really are.
On the technical side the challenge is that IT wants more standardised applications and systems and less specialised systems that are developed in house. This demands a lot of restructuring and in a Domino environment this can be especially challenging. You have Notes agents, server integrations (both between Notes applications but also with other systems and platforms), APIs and server add-ons. Scheduled agents are especially tricky as no other systems have that.
Woodward then presented a series of scenarios for moving from Notes or Domino. All based on his experiences in his work in LDC Via. These scenarios included everything from starting all over on a new platform to archiving data from Notes and use lookups to find information. His main advice was:
- Find out the scale of the project and then do one thing at a time
- Map out what the most important applications are
- Both interview and observe the users while they are working in today’s systems, this will help immensely in determining the scope of the project
- List the reasons for moving
- How long will a new application last? Is it really worth it?
Judicial demands for cloud services
Grete Funderum Stillum is a lawyer and partner with Brækhus Drege Lawyers DA. She gave a session that many were surprised was on the agenda. This was a about corporate law and not technology. The feedback afterwards, however, was great. People found it very interesting and felt that we should repeat it during the spring meeting. She received a lot of questions during the presentation, so it was clear that she struck a nerve with people looking to move into the cloud.
Funderum’s point was that organisations often forget the judicial demands coming into play when moving into the cloud. Her message was that this should be one of the main concerns already from the start of such a migration project. One of her examples was that standard agreements with cloud providers very often were non negotiable.
She also pointed out that you are responsible, and not the cloud provider. However, it was very beneficial for a cloud provider if they had expertise about this so that they could guide the customer.
Personal data is something that the law is very strict about (but strangely not when it comes to cookies!) and it’s also a difference between sensitive personal data and regular personal data. The Norwegian watch dog Datatilsynet has specialized forms and guides on how to take care of this.
In May 2018 a new EU regulative will come into play. This will make it necessary to document your internal control on data security in your organization.
Time for the Digital Workplace
After a lovely tapas lunch it was time for a presentation from Swede Erik Näslund. He works in EGBS which specialises in transforming IBM Connections into a social intranet with focus on user needs. Their philosophy is that if you need to train your users to use a system, you’ve failed.
As an example, he used his cell phone and Ipad. Most people are able to start using them without any form of training. Why aren’t your tools at your workplace like this? In the future robots and automated processes will perform more and more of the routine labour we perform today. We should therefore concentrate more and working with knowledge and creative jobs. Instead we are using a lot of time on chores like registering hours. Näslund says this is completely unnecessary. – My cell phone already know I’m in Oslo, when my plane took off and when I’m back at the office. I still have to register this manually in our internal systems at work. This should happen automatically.
He pointed out that even if the death of email was greatly exaggerated, people still don’t read their emails. They only read the first four lines. The solution is very often to install IBM Connections and share information there. The result is that 10-20% of the employees adopts to using Connections. This is not productive.
So then you start training your users and start choosing super users and so on. You then end up with a 40% adoption rate. The reason is that people are not interested in learning about files, communities, profiles etc. The way we think when we want to introduce a collaboration tool is completely wrong. The processes and people should not have to adapt, it’s the product that should adapt to the users way of doing things.
Digitalisation of the workplace is not an IT investment, it’s a continuous project. Adapt the technology, not the users!
IBM Softlayer in Norway
The first thing Kjell Langeland from IBM Norway pointed out when he started his session was that even if Softlayer was the foundation of IBM’s new data centres, the service is now called IBM Bluemix. This autumn they opened a new data centre at Fet in Norway. Such data centres are called Bluemix Data Centre and what used to be called Softlayer is now known as Bluemix Platform.
The customer can rent a physical server. With the help of wizards she can set up and configure the server (operating system, surveillance software and so on). You can also rent on an hourly basis pr month.
IBM and VMWare is now conduction a strategic cooperation where IBM can rent out VMWare licenses in Bluemix.
So far the Norwegina data center has gained 100 customers, and a lot of well known platforms and companies are using the service.
There was a big interest in this session, and Langeland received a lot of questions.
Updates from IBM Norway
Vidar Svendsen and Emmar Hoel from IBM Norway then showed us what the latest news from IBM are. Main points:
- Watson Work
- Box as a file service inside IBM Connections
- The cooperation between IBM and Cisco which makes it possible to use WebEx as web meetings inside IBM Connections. You can also use Jabber and present Files and files from Box inside WebEx meetings
- Information about IBM Connect 2017 (previously known as Lotusphere) which next year will take place in San-Francisco
Competition and pizza
We finished up with a Kahoot quiz which this time was a pop quiz. I won but as second in command at the ISBG board I only won fame and glory. Julian Woodward got away with the prize.
After a raffle and some more prizes Hogne thanked everybody for coming. He then asked for help in promoting ISBGs activities and said that the board of ISBG appreciates any feedback from their members about the future of ISBG. It’s obvious that the bar is set higher these days for traveling to conferences. All ideas are welcome.
The day was rouned up with IBM Norway treating us to pizza and drinks, so we all went full home. Full of both knowledge and food.
The next ISBG meeting is the spring seminar in June of 2017, but you shouldn’t be too surprised if there are other activites before that. Stay tuned!
A huge thanks to BI for lending us a conference room and for a splendid lunch, and heart filled thanks to IBM Norway who always are supportive of our conferences.