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We need to address some biases here.
IBM has made a deal under which the Notes & Domino software and intellectual property is now being developed and maintained by HCL America. HCL America is part of the very large "HCL Technologies" company that has grown from its roots in India to become an 8 Billion Dollar company with a global presence in the IT Industry. You could be excused for initially believing, as many people do when they hear this, that "they've outsourced the code to India where they'll milk it until its eventual end of life."
You would be wrong. If you're still thinking of Domino that way, it's time to rethink your position.
The work is being done in the USA, just a few miles down the road from where it has been all along. Pretty much all of the team of developers -- all the names you know (admittedly except one) -- have been hired by HCL to continue to lead the development effort. HCL has acquired a large office space, hired hundreds of people from IBM, and opened new-hire positions to increase the team by more than 25%. They're filling those positions just as fast as possible. Most of them are US based. This is not the kind of investment you make to wait out the end of product's life span.
I was able to hear a talk by HCL executive Darren Oberst and talk briefly with him and I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to actually agree with the executives making decisions about this software. It's been a very long time since I could say that. From a strategy perspective as well as in his views on "The Cloud" vs. "On Prem" offerings and the direction the industry is likely to move, this is a no-excuses strategy willing to disagree with what's trendy to do what actually works.
This is not a "winding down" strategy
New features, many of which have been asked for over the last decade, are finally being put in the products. Virtually all aspects of the product are being improved. There are scale improvements, performance improvements, usability improvements, administrative tool enhancements, and reliability improvements.
They've got a new mobile strategy that no competitor can come even remotely close to. By itself, the new mobile strategy that brings existing applications to tablets with full fidelity without any development effort at all, is enough to justify getting current with your licenses. I've been lucky enough to have hands on with this stuff. Using my own iPad, I opened an application that was built in 1991 and hasn't been modified since 1993 that was sitting as reference on my own current version server and it was fully functional. No changes. No code. No special configuration required. That's 27 years of backward compatibility on an iPad. I wish I could show you a screen shot because many of you would recognize the application. The NDA will be lifted on that and soon you'll be able to try it yourself.
Entirely new kinds of development
On top of all the general improvements, they've introduced full integration with node.js. Developers who have never seen Domino -- indeed many of them are younger than the product itself -- will be able to use the Domino server as a database with node exactly the same way they do with couchdb, mongodb, and other nosql sources. They'll get the advantages of replication, fail-over, scale, security, back end processing, and management tools. This will let existing applications in Domino become the direct source for new web applications built by people without a background in Domino or Notes, but it will also let new applications be built entirely using new frameworks and treating the Domino server as a secure, reliable, high performance database.
Welcome to the NERD stack!
(N)ode (E)xpress (R)eact (D)omino
Coming to your servers this fall.
What comes next?
The deal between IBM and HCL covers not just existing products, but allows HCL to go to market with entirely new products based on existing code and technology. These derived products are the long term future. The mobile products you've been hearing about are in this category since they didn't exist as products under IBM. That's just the start. Realistically, HCL has gone all in with this venture and will do everything it can to make it take hold and grow for at least the next two years. After that, I'm sure they'll make a decision on success. I've heard privately some hints about what their target goals are for these first steps and they are very reasonable. I believe they'll meet those goals and far surpass their own expectations.
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