Over the last few days I’ve had the pleasure and honour to be at the CWP Factory Tour at HCL’s new offices near Boston, MA. Even before the event kicked off, those of us who arrived early had the opportunity to meet up with some of the team thanks to a dinner hosted by Uffe Sorensen. I was fortunate to talk in depth over dinner with Andrew Davies, Dan Dumont and Brenton Chasse of HCL. This was just the first chance to get techy with the engineers who build the product, and that was without doubt one of the priceless benefits of the event.
The event itself was started with a leisurely breakfast in the sunshine at the new offices, before a “photo shoot” on the stairs. Then came the stunning opening as we all walked into the factory engine room being applauded in by all the engineers that were there. It was an unexpected pleasure that everyone I spoke to appreciated greatly.
The opening session itself brought another big new announcement, DGQF – Domino General Query Facility (working title). This is a strong, flexible way to query Domino data programmatically from not only the DominoDB node module but other languages. We’ll hear more about it as time goes by, but this is an amazing delivery by the team so new the keyboards are still recovering!
What followed were a number of breakout sessions on various aspects of Domino V10 giving people a chance to get more information and give more feedback. What came through the whole day was the openness, transparency and enthusiasm of all involved. This is what has brought a renewed vigour to the (core) community and we’re already seeing some delivery with the beta. Not everything is available at the same time, but we’re seeing a commitment to deliver with Domino V11 already building up its focus.
Day one ended with testing and a hackathon, before the remaining hardcore crew were told to leave at about 10pm!
Day two was a special day, John “Pags” Paganetti’s 25th anniversary of starting with Lotus Notes back at Iris. Don’t let anyone tell you HCL don’t know anything about Notes and Domino, a large number of very experienced engineers have come across from IBM and some newer faces have added their knowledge from outside the yellow bubble. Yes, there are some areas where knowledge is lacking, but there is a great deal of expertise combined with vibrant new approaches.
The day began with a summary of the feedback from the breakout sessions. The agenda was also tweaked to allow an intro into Node.js development with Domino, which also highlighted that there are broader questions about when and why, as well as what. There are already thoughts about what can be done to help those who wish to investigate this new area. After lunch we had presentations of the three very different hackathon outcomes. All were great and I’m sure we’ll hear more about them as time goes by.
As well as hearing about what else is planned by HCL to support the community, we were fortunate to speak with Darren Oberst, who leads the Products and Platforms part of HCL. I’m sure this was beneficial for all involved and it reinforced the commitment from HCL for the long term with the products. Lastly, the first Domino V11 jam happened. For certain we’ll see more of those as time goes by and I look forward to the community building the future with IBM and HCL.
A final reception gave brains a chance to relax from an intense two days. The overall feeling was one of energy, engagement, enthusiasm and optimism. It was great to be able to make some great connections which I look forward to retaining as time goes by. This was just the first factory tour, with ideas already for future events. The business benefit of these events – for business partners and particularly customers – cannot be over-emphasised. I spoke to some people who had been uncertain about the agenda in the build up, but all agreed it was very worthwhile. This was an immense opportunity and I’m sure the audience will vary as time goes by. If you have the opportunity to attend one of these events, I would strongly encourage anyone to do so. The size of the event encourages all to get involved, to give feedback and make connections. And the benefits – for HCL, for IBM, for those attending – will show as time goes by.