Friday, January 31, 2003

Familiarity, Contempt and Fear

Ben Poole makes a comment about the discussion surrounding the announcements at Lotusphere this week.
This is my original reaction to the announcements and my comments to Ben follow. I started by adding a comment on Ben's site, but just kept typing - so here is is - with a smidge of grammar/spelling checking.

I think a lot of Notes/Domino folks feel frustrated that IBM doesn't "get" Domino and the concept of integrated features in one product. I have seen the complexity of IIS/SQLServer/ServicePack/Younameit dependencies and the tricks sometimes needed to get it all to co-operate happily. I think there is some fear that a future Lotus/WebSphere/DB2/Tivoli solution will end up being as ugly and complex as a MS one.

On the other hand, we have used Notes for so long, and been so used to other "competitors" coming and going that we think Notes is the solution to all problems (dom.doc, pop mail relational dbms). We are in a very comfortable zone and would rather not shift.

I think it also depends on what sort of environment you are working in. My current employer has about 100 sites - each with a cluster pair of Domino servers, a previous employer has 430 sites with a single Domino box each. In each case the comms links are slowish and a local server with replicated data/mail/http is a great solution. Scalability is not an issue, replication, bandwidth and management are. A low-cost mail server supporting >10K users is no use to us - but a "large" US corporation with a campus and T1 links everywhere will presumably love it. It also gives IBM customers a less complex massaging environment if that is what they want - how many times have you said Notes is wasted if it is just for messaging.

So - in the end, there will be some Notes/Domino users who will welcome these changes and others for whom these changes move away from what they need. You can't please everyone.

We will continue to build classic Notes apps, as we have a full client on each desktop, but will also provide browser access to apps & mail for roaming users and external clients. We also are building servlets and skilling up on the Java/XML front.

Choices are a good thing.

Learning new things is also good.

I could start playing around with Java and XML/XSLT because I was writing Domino apps.

I'm using WebSphere Studio and JSP/Taglibs and still using a Domino server.

I'm just starting on the Upgrading to Lotus Notes and Domino 6 and Upgrading to Domino 6: Performance Benefits Redbooks (note the redbooks.nsf in the URLs- gotta love it). We'll be using Notes and Domino for while yet.

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