Through eight or nine major releases of IBM Notes and Domino and over a period of 25 years, many, many new features have been added to the platform. In particular, the application development environment has changed beyond recognition from the early days of formula language only. Despite all of those new features being added, the platform has managed to maintain what’s called backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility means you could take any application that was written for Notes any time from 1991 to the present day, and run it, unchanged, on the latest version of Notes.
Backwards compatibility is both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, with some exceptions, developers haven’t had to change anything in their applications as IBM has published new releases of the platform. In particular, they have never been in a position where they have been forced to rewrite or make significant changes to their applications because of changes to the platform. Ironically, that means there’s a negative side, which is that there are literally millions of aging, customized Notes applications whose authors are now unknown, which have been prodded, poked, and tweaked by a succession of people over decades. Additionally, many applications have been built and maintained by members of workgroups, outside of the central control of the IT group.
Today, there are still millions of native Notes applications that require the Notes client. There’s uncertainty about the future of Notes and Domino as an application platform. There’s a web development skills gap in many Notes development teams, and, based on a perceived lack of commitment from IBM, an unwillingness to invest in XPages skills. So, after decades of Notes and Domino application development all over the organization, the party’s over and it’s time to think seriously about modernizing all those apps.
Many organizations are left feeling a bit hungover. The pain of this hangover increases for organizations as pressure on them increases to get rid of the Notes client and to retire what are considered to be their “legacy” Domino servers.
Our community has been trying to cure this hangover for a long time. The bad news is there’s no magic pill. There’s no machine you can feed your existing Notes applications into and get beautifully crafted, modern and maintainable web applications out of the other side. It just can’t be done.
The good news is there is a process organizations can apply to manage the problem. There are three parts to this process:
- Start with an analysis of your application landscape. Understand data like:
- How many applications do you have, and how complex are they?
- Which ones are being used?
- Who is using them and what business value are they getting from them?
- Triage your applications based on the results of this analysis.
- Then begin the work of rewriting, archiving, retiring, or replacing your applications.
This process is complex and intensely time-consuming. That’s why we’re very excited to debut a tool that simplifies and speeds up the decision-making process surrounding your existing Domino servers and Notes applications.
Teamstudio Adviser scans your Domino server catalogs and database designs, intelligently aggregates the data, and provides you with your unique roadmap to what’s next for your applications.
This tool will help you make confident decisions for your IBM Notes and Domino applications with comprehensive data analytics. The guidance module within the tool recommends a forward path for each application. It sorts applications into those that should be rewritten, archived, retired, replaced, or left alone, based on a combination of the business usage, design complexity, and business value of each application.
Armed with this information, you can begin the work of rewriting, archiving, retiring, or replacing your applications. Take a closer look at Adviser, and let us know what you think.