Back at the beginning of July, I wrote a piece about the future of Notes/Domino. Although I tried to make it balanced, I received some feedback about that article that suggested that perhaps I was overly pessimistic about what IBM and HCL are doing with the Notes/Domino platform. Perhaps it was painting Notes as an elderly gentleman being wheeled into a nursing home that did it.
So to balance the scales a little bit, I should say that I actually think that there is a lot to be optimistic about in terms of what is planned for Notes and Domino, especially from a developer's perspective (which is the way we see most things). So the purpose of this post is to lay out what those things are and say a bit about why we're excited about them.
First though, if you are outside or on the periphery of the yellow bubble and you just want to get a general sense of what's going on with Domino 10 and 11, there are three places you should look:
- The IBM Collaboration Solutions blog. This is good for getting a very high level look at what's going on, although I get the sense that it's only updated when someone remembers to do it and so, like buses, the posts tend to appear in packs. (Nothing posted for a full month after June 13, but three posts appear on July 16.)
- The #domino2025 hashtag. This is the other end of the spectrum compared to the ICS blog. Here you'll find anything and everything that anyone tweets and appends the hashtag that's been adopted by the Domino 10+ movement.
- Product Ideas Forum. Although the previous product management regime implemented IdeaJam back in 2007, the new team has decided to set up a new system to collect product ideas. That's probably smart, based on the number of ideas collected over 10+ years. And it also means that the new system is a relatively manageable place to go look at what ideas are percolating in the new world.
Of course, there is also the official home of Domino, at IBM.com.
So that's where to go if you want to find out what's going on. Back to the title of the article: what is there for developers to be cheerful about as far as this new direction for the platform? Here are some of the things that have caught our eye in recent announcements:
If you're not sure what Node.js is or why you should care, I think Tim Davis of The Turtle Partnership did the best job of explaining it in this post. Most of the middle of Tim's post is a walk-through of writing your first Node app, but if you read the whole thing you'll get the gist of what Node is and how it will work with Domino 10.
Nomad is the name currently given to the mobile Notes client. This has been demo'd running on an iPad, and by all accounts is quite impressive. The promise is that you will be able to run any Notes application, unchanged, on the Nomad iPad client. Of course, we took our own approach to running Notes apps on mobile devices as long ago as 2010, but that was back in the days when people thought that XPages was going to be the future of modern Notes development. Of course that never came to pass.
Low Code/No Code
This is nothing more than slideware at this point, as far as we know, as it's included under the Domino 11 (2019) heading. But it's intriguing nonetheless. HCL is talking about "engaging the citizen developer" with new ways to build low code/no code apps. This concept was always at the heart of the Lotus Notes value proposition, so it'll be interesting to see what this is all about.
Intertwined with the other announcements have been a number of small extensions to LotusScript. For example, there will be support to access mobile device capabilities such as the camera and GPS, and HTTP extensions to web enable LotusScript code. Conspicuous by their absence are any additions to XPages, implying that that technology will fade away over time.
But there have been several references to LotusScript recently that give the impression that it's being looked on favorably again, which bodes well for older Notes/Domino apps in maintenance mode.
This is just a short list of some of the many enhancements that are being promised for Domino 10 and beyond. But we think that, as a developer, there are certainly reasons to be cheerful about the future of the platform. There will be more ways to access your Domino data and long-awaited enhancements to the development environment coming in the relatively near future. The release date for Domino 10 is widely thought to be on track for the end of 2018, and Domino 11 is promised for the same time one year later.
As always, if you have thoughts about this, or you'd like to talk about how Teamstudio can help with the forward path of your IBM Lotus Notes/Domino applications, then feel free to contact us. We're always happy to chat!