HCL Turns Notes & Domino Up to Eleven as Beta is Announced

By Nigel Cheshire

HCL has opened registration for the beta of Notes and Domino V11. It will start in September and is open to anyone who’s a registered customer or business partner of HCL (so you’ll need a login ID to access that link).

As always, we take a developer’s eye view of these things, and we think there’s a lot to be excited about in the upcoming release. Yesterday, HCL held a webinar at which AVP of Product Management Andrew Manby stepped through the product strategy and many of the details of what’s included in V11. In this post, I’ve cherry picked a few of the things that I think will be important to Notes developers like us.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the strategy, from our point of view, is almost the opening statement in the webinar. HCL, Manby says, wants to get “back to its roots” in terms of getting people building apps again. That means investment in new tooling, new integration capabilities and deployment models.

HCL’s focus for V11, he said, is concentrated on three areas: allowing people to build more apps, giving them new experiences, and driving down the total cost of ownership. In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on the new elements of the application development strategy that are appearing in V11. Here are the highlights.

Business-User Led App Dev

A large part of the emphasis for the 2018 V10 release was focused on providing new ways for so-called “pro-code” app developers to build Domino applications using Javascript and Node.JS. With V11, the emphasis has shifted to providing new ways for business users to build apps using a low-code model.

HCL’s goal is, by the time of the V11 launch, to have a beta version of their low-code forms builder product, HCL Leap, running on the Domino platform. Leap is a web based forms builder with workflow capabilities, and is the product formerly known as IBM Forms Experience Builder. Significantly, the objective is to graft Leap directly onto the Domino platform, so that it’s generating Domino applications directly, with no dependency on Websphere. If they can pull that off, it’ll be a pretty cool way for business users to be able to build Notes apps without having to deal with the complexity of Domino Designer.

Thin Client Runs Apps Natively, Everywhere

The HCL Nomad thin client (the product formerly known as IBM Domino Mobile Apps) that already runs Notes apps (mostly) unchanged on an iPad is being extended to other platforms. To start with, it’s going to Android and iPhone - the beta is coming soon and the registration is here. The bigger news though, is that HCL is using Web Assembly technology to deliver that same thin client experience in any browser.

We think that’s a huge step forward from an app dev viewpoint because it will give a real boost to the ease with which business-user built apps could be deployed to users. Significantly, this seems like a much more coherent web-centric app deployment strategy than anything we’ve seen on the Notes and Domino platform before.

LotusScript and DQL Extensions

As with V10, LotusScript is getting some more love in V11, with the addition of the ability to perform CRUD (Create/Read/Update/Delete) operations on JSON documents, and additional mobile device support in the form of the ability to read GPS data from the device.

DQL (Domino Query Language) gets some improvements too, including the ability to create view indexes programmatically, as well as new support for full text search.

Despite the introduction of Leap for Domino, the current Domino Designer will continue in its current form (with enhancements), at least for this major release.

Other V11 Goodies

Although I’ve focused on the new features in V11 from a developer’s perspective, there are many other interesting things coming in the new release. Here are a few to whet your appetite:

  • Notes UI Update

    • The Notes UI itself gets a makeover and looks quite a bit sleeker. (At least in the slightly fuzzy screenshot that was flashed up during the webinar!)

  • Standard Template Modernization

    • The app templates that ship with the product (discussion, team room, etc) are getting significant makeovers of their own, which will make them look more at home in web and mobile environments.

  • Free/Busy time integration with other platforms

    • This will help with calendar integration with platforms such as O365, Exchange and Gmail.

  • Browser based lightweight client strategy for apps, mail and chat

    • Nomad for apps is part of a larger strategy to provide thin, browser based access to Domino apps and mail via Verse as well as Sametime for chat.


From a developer’s perspective we were excited about V10, but we think there’s even more to be excited about in V11. HCL appears to be delivering on their promise to make significant investments in the Notes and Domino platform and we really like their strategy for application development and deployment. We look forward to getting our hands on the V11 beta next month.