Notes and Domino have long been lampooned as a bad user experience. From an app dev point of view, XPages came along and gave us some freedom. Notes 9.0 gave us a fresh UI and some nice usability enhancements (Ctrl + v to paste as plain text, Quick Find box, Group By Date etc).
On slide 16 of my session with Mike McGarel I showed a Twitter conversation I picked up late last year. It shows how with Twitter Bootstrap a developer could create an application users didn’t think of as a Domino web app. That functionality is now available as a simple extension library on OpenNTF in the Bootstrap4XPages project. It also highlights why IT departments are shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t let their developers consume open source projects, but I’ll leave that for another post.
And one thing that maybe helped with the confusion is the name: IBM Mail Next. Maybe the name is driven by cloud first. But there’s no inclusion of the word “Notes” and “Lotus” is long gone. I was a big fan of dropping Lotus in favour of the IBM brand. I’m a bigger fan of dropping Notes for the email product. Notes is an anachronism in that context and it positions this product as the flagship IBM Mail product. The name should not make Domino people fear; it should make us proud, that Domino is front and centre in IBM’s mail product, for now and for the foreseeable future. Whether the name changes when it’s released in the on premises product, I don’t know. I’d like to see it stay.
It’s also important to hear emphasised during Ask The Developers that on premises and cloud mail is not a separate code stream. It’s the same. What’s tested and tweaked and proven in the cloud becomes part of the next on premises release. That’s not a case of on premises being the poorer sibling, getting hand-me-downs; it’s a case that companies are slower to deploy for in premises than a cloud vendor can be.
And while we’re at it, Ask The Developers brought some more great news. That the workspace is getting a makeover. I’m a big fan of the workspace but it’s largely unchanged since I started using Notes in the R5 days. I look forward to seeing what we get. Last year saw announcements bringing design front and centre for IBM and what I’m seeing with IBM Mail Next makes me happy. So I’m confident the workspace is in good hands.
For years everything Notes and Domino has been held up as a paradigm for bad user experience. And many companies have used that as an excuse to move mail off the platform. (Moving applications off the platform is much harder.) Admittedly I’m a back-end guy, but I think the future is bright for user experience with Notes and Domino.