Yesterday IBM held a presentation about the continuous road map for Notes. Highlights: Cloud customers, you are no longer forgotten and you will get all the good stuff! Oh, and: Bye, bye Eclipse. Bye, bye Xpages. Bye, bye iNotes and hello IBM Verse on Premise. Bye, bye Verse app on Mobile and hello lightweight web-version for mobile. Hello different Notes clients. Read all about it here.
The webinar I attended was called Let’s get real: What’s in Domino V11? It was held by Andrew Manby, product manager from IBM Product Management and Richard Jefts, General Manager/Vice President from HCL Collaborative Workflow Platforms.
First a summary on the result of the Notes/Domino V10 launch:
The latest release is V10.0.1 and has containted the following:
- Notes for Mac OS and Windows V10.0.1
- AppDev Pack 1.0 eGA
- Verse on Premises 1.0.6
- Domino on IBM i
- Community Server 10.0.1 (Windows and Linux, English Only)
- Community Client 10.0.1 (Windows, English Only)
What’s coming soon:
- Notes Fix Pack 1 and 2
- Group 1 languages re-released
- Xpages V10 regression fixes (Yes, we can hopefully start running native Xpages apps in the Notes client again!)
- Notes Fix Pack.Next
- Group 2 languages
- Japanese Era support
- AppDev Pack on Windows
- Verse on Premises 1.0.7
Oh, and look how awesome the upcoming Sametime chat looks:
It will contain persistent chat (you can start a chat on one device/computer and then continue the same chat on another device or computer), group chat support and much easier configuration for administrators.
Good news for cloud users
For cloud users there are really good news: During 2019 the updates for on prem and cloud customers will happen simultaneously. No longer must we cloud Verse users sit idly by and look at all the functionality the on prem users have, and which we don’t have.
Speaking of Verse. Here’s what’s coming for Verse (Notes webmail). Make no mistake: V11 will contain the very last version of iNotes, the regular webmail from IBM that has been unchanged for almost a decade. From V12, it will only be support for Verse for webmail. That is a cause for celebration!
Here’s what’s coming for IBM Verse:
- Attachments made easy
- Intelligent folders for mail
- Working across time zones
- Customizing the Verse experience (your own design templates and functionality(?))
- 30 days of offline mail
Sample of the major features once Verse on prem and Verse on cloud are in-sync:
- Overhaul of the Calendar experience
- iCAL import
- Mail Rules
- Verse Web on Mobile
Be sure to pay attention to that last point. The Verse app for mobile will be discontinued (a date has not been given, but it’s not yet) and you will instead be using a mobile web version. This means you will be using your cell phone’s web browser for email instead of a Verse app:
For iOS-users, this might be good news. You will finally have week numbers and the possibility to make private calendar entries. It will also be cost effective for HCL, as they no longer have to contend with different Android OS version and all the hassles that Apple throw in your way when you create apps for the iPhone and iPad. It will also be much easier for Domino administrators now that they no longer have to struggle with the Traveler server, and loads of Verse apps on their users devices.
Even though the focus is on the Domino server and technologies, there is still a business case to be made for the Notes client. For V11 there will be a new client, with a complete overhaul of the user interface (see the top photo). Personally I’ve been involved in a test group giving feedback on the design, and I have to tell you: The new mail and calendar interface looks gorgeous! Hopefully the feedback from the test group will make it into the product.
During the presentation it was said that there would be more than one client. There will be “a new desktop client for mail and apps (or just apps),” as the presentation said. This will be in addition to the full Notes client. When I asked how many Notes clients there would be, and if we could get more details, I was asked to contact them directly after the webinar. Which I did. I will of course blog about the answers I get, so stay tuned!
There was only one mention of the Designer or Administrator. However, what was said with certainty was that HCL will also get rid of Eclipse.
Getting rid of Eclipse this is of course mostly a good thing. However: It also creates a challenge, especially for companies like my employer, that has developed several Xpages applications which are running inside the Notes client.
Also: Xpages has no future! It will still be supported (kinda), but the message is clear: Start converting your Xpages applications.
My company is already experiencing challenges because of this. There are so many problems with Xpages in V10 of Notes and Domino, that we still haven’t upgraded our customers from 9.0.1. IBM and HCL said during the webinar that these Xpages bugs would be fixed in the upcoming fix packs for V10. But if Eclipse is removed in later versions, there will be no Java framework for my company’s applications.
The main reason for us running these Xpages applications in Notes is that the customer is depending on being able to work with applications that are replicated offline. Also: The web engine used by Notes is so out of date that running it as a web app in the Notes client is not an option. So if Xpages and the Java framework are history, we have two choices:
- Hope that HCL comes up with the possibility to use Xpages applications via an updated browser which also gives us the possibility to work with applications that are replicated offline
- Develop our applications on another platform or with other tools
Option 2 will be time consuming and expensive for us.
The way forward for Notes/Domino development is Node.js. That message is clear, and I agree with that strategy. So far Domino Query Language has failed to impress me much. It’s cumbersome to use and I don’t think it’s that fast. But with the modernised API for Domino, you can use Node.js for both the upcoming Notes client, web and mobile. And if you want to use Angular or another JavaSCcript framework for web and mobile solutions, go ahead!
HCL’s goal is clear: They want Domino to be a serious contender when it comes to low code. And with the developer pack coming for Windows too soon, I’m happy to be a part of that journey.
Stay tuned for more updates from me!
Any thoughts or comments? Leave them below.