It’s a little over a week now since ICON UK and a couple of weeks until the Domino V10 launch, so it’s a good time for a review. ICON UK was a very busy time for me. This year as well as speaking and being involved with Intec as Platinum Sponsor, I was also Development track manager so helping out with the setup.
The event was not as large as Engage, but the timing always makes it a key event in the Domino calendar. That was even more true with the Domino V10 launch date announced shortly before the event. The OGS from IBM cemented the message on Domino with a focus on the launch of V10 and the build-up to Domino V11. There is already work happening on V11 and a clear theme around what I’ve seen. The jams that will be coming later this year (November, I believe) will double down on that. But I fully expect that new areas in V10 will be matured during that timeframe as well.
The Intec sponsor session was an interesting one to be involved with. As a services company we don’t have a product to push per se. So it was good to discuss concepts around the customer journey. Whether it’s analytics, applications or chatbots, I personally favour a bespoke approach. Domino has benefited from being able to build custom applications to fit bespoke business processes. There are some business processes that can be more off-the-shelf. But the ones tied to your business’s raison d’etre will typically be bespoke because it’s your bespoke processes that give you your competitive edge. With chatbots, your business language and tone is specific to your business. So for all of this, the RADD benefits of Domino for pro-code development and low-code development, make a lot of sense.
The other key session was the HCL keynote with Red Pill Now on HCL Places. It’s great to see this has evolved even further than what was shown at the HCL Factory Tour. It was also amusing to see the functionality in the context of ODA (OpenNTF Domino API). There were a lot of aspects that were familiar, like use of the message queue, server-wide indexing and graph database concepts with likes, shares, comments etc. Yes, there’s a lot of work yet to go, after all it’s still currently Java behind the scenes. And currently there’s no way with the message queue system, AFAIK, to get an event for a document modified on a different server – the save events (yes, there are two!) only trigger on the server the save occurs on and the replication events don’t seem to pick up updates pushed from another server. That I’m sure is something the server guys can fix at a micro level with macro impacts. But the product is making good progress. The commercials and admin aspects are still unclear, but as a client (as I said in the Ask The IBM Champions session) it offers strong benefits as a client to customers. It will be good to see how it develops alongside parallel work on the Notes Client user interface. It was also interesting to get a deeper understanding of the way HCL want to work with the community on the products.
The “Ask the IBM Champions” session was also very interesting. I do get a little self-conscious in these sessions that I give opinions on a lot of questions and hopefully other Champions feel they also have a chance to have their say. But it’s always interesting to see the questions raised. And I’ll always look for an opportunity to say “We’ll take that back”.
In terms of the dev track sessions, it was a hectic schedule with some key topics. One session I particularly wanted was Theo Heselman’s session on modernising Notes Client apps. Theo and those who helped him did a great job on giving a facelift to his wine app at the HCL Factory Tour and afterwards, and it’s great that he’s also going to open source it on OpenNTF. The work he’s done is great. It’s a big deal that HCL Nomad will allow Notes Client applications to run on an iPad and in the future we’ll have support too for Android tablets, plus Theo also demoed the app on his wife Hilde’s Microsoft tablet. It means those applications can be used on new devices with zero additional cost. But I’ve been very vocal that companies should take some of that unexpected and massive cost saving and invest in modernising the look and feel of their Notes Client applications before deploying them to iPads. An application that is five years old on a desktop looks five years old, but it’s also working alongside applications that only work in Internet Explorer in compatibility mode. But put those same applications on an iPad alongside what else only works on an iPad, and it will feel a lot more than five years old. Spending nothing will mean they’ll work for the cheapest possible cost, but there’s a reason the word “cheap” is often paired with “nasty”. Learn from the kinds of things Theo’s done, use some imagination and make your apps shine!
— Paul Withers (@PaulSWithers) 13 September 2018
All-in-all it was another very enjoyable, very interesting conference from which I got a lot of information, had some very useful strategic discussions and had the chance to re-connect with a lot of friends. These are interesting and busy times. Next up is Social Connections in a few weeks, and hopefully that will equally give good news on the products.