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It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for others

By Andrew Pollack on 06/11/2008 at 10:47 PM EDT

I've enjoyed watching the reaction to the Notes 8.5 beta. As a member of the "Design Partner" group, it is very easy to loose perspective when we're discussing things over time and making predictions of how this feature or that lacking will be received. I've been right in my predictions but wrong in the volume and criticality of those reactions. I'm glad about that.

What has me a bit concerned though, is that I'm hearing some otherwise rational people being critical of some fantastic features just because the features they wanted aren't there. Are there things missing from 8.5 that piss me off? Yep. I'm pissed off about the lack of a serious Lotuscript editor in the 8.5 client. I've been pissed off about it for longer in fact, because I've known about it for longer. I'm also pissed off about XPages not being supported on the client yet. Finally, I'm really pissed off about not having a bookmarks and workspace replacement -- and by the way, Mary Beth -- I swear I didn't know about the database explorer thing until the recent how-to post on getting it to show up in the 8.5 beta. I must have missed that call.

Still, these things being missing do not for a minute take away from some powerful new stuff that's going to really help out a lot of customers.

DAOS is going to radically slash storage use and save a ton of money -- and probably performance as well.

XPages are going change the way Domino Web Applications are built. From the minute you start using them, you'll never build a web application in Domino without them -- unless you're stuck with a pre 8.5 server of course.

There are a lot of things in 8.5 that are going to help us all out a great deal. We don't need to run these down just because we didn't get our Lotuscript editor. I don't know about you, but I'm perfectly capable of keeping up a nearly continuous foot-stomping rant over the missing editor even as I use XPages to completely re-face this blog next week.


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re: It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for othersBy Dwight Wilbanks on 06/12/2008 at 01:27 AM EDT
I've never had any doubt that "not notes" has value and cool stuff, but, IBM's
Lotus brand is producing two destinct beasts. There is "notes" and there is
"not notes".

"Notes" users HAD brand loyalty. "Notes" is dead. IBM does not seam to
realize that in the "notes" market, they had a monopoly. In the "not notes"
market there is a lot of competition.

IBM's stategy of going to large corporations and telling them to throw away
thousands of perfectly good computers so that they can be replaced by state of
the art new computers, that can run the new softare, is going over about as
well as Microsoft trying to do the same thing with Vista.
re: It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for othersBy Nathan T. Freeman on 06/12/2008 at 06:24 AM EDT
"I'm hearing some otherwise rational people being critical of some fantastic
features just because the features they wanted aren't there."

Really? 'Cause all I ever hear from IBM is "we had to pick one or the other."
Which means that the reason that some feature that you or I or anyone else
really wants isn't there is because of the features that ARE shipping.

It seems pretty rational to look at a list of feature priorities for a given
release and say "if you didn't make a priority out of X, then you'd be
delivering Y -- so therefore I'm disappointed that X is coming instead of Y, no
matter how great a piece of technology X is."
And you believe that?By Andrew Pollack on 06/12/2008 at 07:02 AM EDT
I've talked to lots of different people who agree that statements about how
many other people you've talked to without any quantifying information
justifications rather than reasons.
re: And you believe that?By Nathan T. Freeman on 06/12/2008 at 07:07 AM EDT
Huh?
re: And you believe that?By Nathan T. Freeman on 06/12/2008 at 07:11 AM EDT
I've read that 5 times now, Andrew, and I can't make heads or tails of it,
except that you're addressing it specifically to me -- which suggests that I'm
the target of your original point. In which case, can you please just say so?

For the record, I take all statements from IBM at face value. Perhaps that's
naive of me, but I can't imagine any other way of working with them. So when
you ask "and you believe that?" my only thought is: "what would you expect me
to believe instead? That there are no such thing as resource constraints."
no, not addressing it at you --By Andrew Pollack on 06/12/2008 at 09:13 AM EDT
I'm poking a bit of fun at the "...we've talked to a bunch of other people"
line that we hear sometimes from IBM.

That just isn't something I believe. Nor do I believe that canceling one
effort would mean those resources go to another in equal measure. Available
resources isn't the issue above the level of a specific team. The application
of additional resources is easily done -- provided the drive to do so exists at
a management level. There was drive for xpages enough to justify a lot of work
on the designer. There doesn't seem to have been enough drive for an LS editor
to drive more resources to that tool.

I am still hoping to see that change with Brent having replaced Mike at the
top. I think we'll have to wait and see if it does.
re: no, not addressing it at you --By Nathan T. Freeman on 06/12/2008 at 09:31 AM EDT
Thanks for the clarification. :-)

And I think you mean "Bob" rather than "Brent." As far as I know, Brent didn't
suddenly leap 3 or 4 levels and become GM of Lotus.
re: It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for othersBy Henning Heinz on 06/12/2008 at 07:00 AM EDT
Maybe one problem is that for many demands the excuse is always lack of time
and resources while at the same time other stuff gets in that hardly anyone has
asked for at least if you follow public sources.
Don't buy into the zero sum game beliefBy Andrew Pollack on 06/12/2008 at 07:05 AM EDT
If you believe that canceling something like XPages gets you the resources to
do something like the Lotuscript Editor you're falling for the zero sum game
trap.

For a hot project that management wants, there are always resources. For a
project management does not want, there are never resources.

The Lotuscript editor clearly falls in the middle somewhere, but clearly (at
least under Rhodin) it was much closer to the latter than the former.

Its probably a safe bet that if it weren't for XPages and portal-esque wiring
stuff that Designer wouldn't even be close to having been moved to Eclipse at
all.
re: Don't buy into the zero sum game beliefBy Henning Heinz on 06/12/2008 at 12:28 PM EDT
I am not a developer so what I believe or not is not important. If it is so
hard to get development resources for Domino at IBM then how does this fit into
the 14th consecutive quarters of growth story?
The two PHP developers that are sitting next to me for porting Domino apps over
are not so happy that their vendor (Zend) is moving its IDE to Eclipse. Again I
am not saying that Eclipse is bad (I know too little about it) but maybe it has
more to do with politics and cutting development cost than with the advantages
of the platform itself.
re: Don't buy into the zero sum game beliefBy Paul Gagnon on 06/12/2008 at 02:29 PM EDT
maybe I'm way off base here, but from the outside looking in, this is what I
read between the lines:

Sometimes, I just think that the whole Notes 8 on eclipse thing is really just
the end product of making lemonade with lemons (workplace). Sure we'll end up
with lots of shiny new things, and thats great, but the way we got here sure
was a bumpy ride. No surprise that a lot of people are disappointed, probably
sick of being disappointed.

So the question is: Is there going to be an LS Class browser in the 8.5 gold
release of the Eclipse Designer or not?

Also, what is Maureen working on these days? Last thing I remember was some
xpages stuff on her blog back in January.
re: Don't buy into the zero sum game beliefBy Nathan T. Freeman on 06/12/2008 at 08:22 PM EDT
"Is there going to be an LS Class browser in the 8.5 gold release of the
Eclipse Designer or not?"

According to all statements I've seen in public from IBM, there will NOT be an
LS Class browser in 8.5 GA.

"Also, what is Maureen working on these days?"

Maureen (and her entire team) are working frenetically on getting all aspects
of DDE up to gold quality. There are a lot of new features, including
instantly being able to search an entire template for a string and treat design
elements as individual file resources within the Eclipse programming model.
re: It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for othersBy Wayne Sobers on 06/12/2008 at 10:48 AM EDT
I'm happy for new features, it shows that the product has a future and a
direction. Problem is, they're building a brand new city over there and leaving
unfinished rooftops over here.
I came to Notes from a Foxpro/Access development platform. That meant data
entry masks, character by character input control and multiple ways of
displaying list information.
For a product that is 20 years old and still not have these rudimentary
features is bizarre.
I've seen companies that have grown on spreadsheet and Access databases that
could easily use the Notes/Domino combination as a replacement, but won't
because of interface design challenges.
As an outsider, it appears to me that developer features arise from either new
additions to the mail template, or the pursuit of the enterprise IT department.
re: It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for othersBy Nathan T. Freeman on 06/12/2008 at 08:23 PM EDT
"That meant data entry masks, character by character input control and multiple
ways of displaying list information. "

Some of these capabilities are surfaced in xpages. Certainly you have access
to key listeners, so from there, you can at least construct your own JavaScript
libraries.

xpages, of course, only work on browser clients so far...
re: It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for othersBy Charles Robinson on 06/13/2008 at 11:20 AM EDT
I still can't get over the feeling that I've been looked in the eye and lied
to. I went to every presentation Maureen or Marc Jourdain did at Lotusphere
2008. In nearly all of them there was a promise to deliver a LotusScript class
browser and an Eclipse editor for LotusScript. Both of those were cut.

Had they not stood in front of so many people and repeated these promises
confidently and consistently I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it. I'm
not upset with Maureen or Marc, I'm thoroughly disgusted with the management
that rolled over and allowed this to happen.

As someone else said, they're building all the shiny new stuff and leaving so
much other stuff undone. Now they're promising shiny new stuff then ripping it
away at the last minute. I have absolutely NO FAITH in Lotus to do anything
they commit to. I'm just going to tune out the promises, because those largely
become lies.
Oh, I agree. The time & money should have been spent or 8.5 should have been held. However,By Andrew Pollack on 06/13/2008 at 11:51 AM EDT
I want to avoid the seeming recent trend of running down otherwise good stuff
as if some kind of payback is going to help anything.
re: It isn't necessary to run down some features to make the point for othersBy Karsten Lehmann on 06/17/2008 at 08:21 PM EDT
"Database explorer"? I also must have missed the call. What is means by this?


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