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Finally, some meaning to that tired, useless mantra "Its standards based" from IBM trying to get me to try the new products

By Andrew Pollack on 09/22/2004 at 11:45 PM EDT

Ok. Very little has irked me more in the marketing diatribe about the newer products than the hollow "Its standards based, Domino is proprietary" argument. It comes as dogma, to be accepted without further explanation as if it were obvious in the way gravity is obvious but very few people can actually tell you what it is (in fact, it is a perceptive manifestation of the logical effect of curvature in space/time around mass, but that's beside the point).

Here's what they've been trying to say -- or rather, what one person who really did try to say something meant when he said it, and then had it repeated without understanding by a thousand others....

Its not that open standards are inherently better, and its not a specific standard that isn't being followed. Rather, is the open interface that allows a single concept to be used with many other things. In specific, consider this logic.

Fact: The browser is not a rich enough U.I. to satisfy the needs of most users for full scale applications.

Fact: A rich (in comparison to the browser) client side tool can provide a higher level of security and usability

Fact: The Lotus Notes client is a Rich Client

Fact: In addition to Domino, there are many other server back end architectures -- the server part of Client/Server

Fact: The Lotus Notes client can only talk to ONE back end architecture (with small mini tools that use others, admittedly)

Fact: Not every application can or should be built in Domino

Conclusion: There remains a need for a Rich Client for many other kinds of back end architectures, and the Lotus Notes client is not at this time going to be able to perform that role.

That statement, that conclusion, is what the real meaning of "its not standards based" comes down to.

I'm still entirely blind as to what I can and can't say about what I've now been privileged to see in the new Rich Client from IBM. Suffice it to say that I was utterly convinced that it has the potential to become the "IBM Universal Rich Client" -- and act as a fully functional client for Domino, for Lotus Workplace, and also for Tivoli, Rational, and DB2 tools that require a user front end. And in fact, it may be able to do all those things at once.

I think "Standards Based" is very poorly chosen as an explanation of that -- I do think that the inherently open and flexible nature of the Eclipse framework, combined with the yeoman's work I saw from the folks working on making the new Rich Client a valid Lotus Notes client (and it is really getting there, boy oh boy it sure is).

As soon as Terri tells me what I can and can't say in specific, I will say more -- I can hardly wait to tell you about it. In the meantime, the only thing I can say for sure about that old "Standards Based" dogma is that I've run over it with my karma.

There are  - loading -  comments....

I can't wait to hear what you can talk about ...By Neill Laney on 09/23/2004 at 08:36 AM EDT
Our WebSphere User Group in RTP has been talking about the Workplace Rich
Client for a year now. I know it's available today with some base
functionality. I haven't seen it yet, although since it's EMF, anyone can
download Eclipse 3.0 to get an idea.

Our Lotus Notes User Group meets tonight. It'll be the first one I've attended
in months, but even the LNUG recognizes their professional future lays with
J2EE, whether they rise to the challenge or not, doesn't change the facts on
the ground.

I'm excited about the new technology, and it's success depends more on market
determiners. As Ambuj Goyal has stated, it requires thinking in terms of
selling solutions, not products. Workplace is an extension of the legacy Domino
apps, not a replacement.

Yes, I know I used "legacy" and "Domino apps" in the same sentence :)

you're falling into the same trap I did -- and its wrongBy Andrew Pollack on 09/23/2004 at 09:41 AM EDT
Your professional future with Domino skills is very very safe. You may have
reason to add to those skills -- if it were me (and it is) I'd be looking at
learning to make java plug ins and using SWT with Eclipse.

The raw J2EE backend stuff is another market, another skilset, and another
direction -- but by no means the only one.

The marketing is finally getting around to realizing that J2EE is one small
part of a bigger puzzle -- and its too granular for developing a whole
solution. JSP was an attempt to resolve that, but its not the real deal.
I think it's interesting that ...By Sta on 09/23/2004 at 04:33 PM EDT
IBM can essentially create a technology (SWT, which is really a Java API to
OS-native widgets) specifically for the rich client purpose, then by throwing
it out to the public domain can claim that they've done nothing that isn't
standards-based. Microsoft can claim exactly the same advantage by virtue of
having an ECMA number attached to the IL and infrastructure of .NET. The term
"standards-based" is still an empty buzzword; I wish they'd throw it away. What
is important is that the framework is open, accessible, and expandable.
I think we agree.By Andrew Pollack on 09/23/2004 at 05:09 PM EDT
I've never like the term at all -- and for years when the ibm people called
their portal 'standards based' I kept asking if that mean the "Websphere"
standard or the "DB2" standard.

I really didn't get it at all until I saw the new tool and realized they've
been saying the wrong words. Standards have nothing to do with it.

Open and extensible, with documented ways for accepted languages and
programming techniques to interface -- that's the key.

They've made a Notes Client that's truly extensible, and then one of the
extensions they've made is a whole additional client for their workplace portal
(I think they meant it to come together in the opposite order, but the Notes
team has a massive head start in the way Notes is already finished, and was
built from day one to be able to easily port to new platforms). I think
they'll use that same framework for many other things.

BTW: Some things in workplace portal will definately add value. Some
customers will absolutely run portal and rich client and not domino. I think
though, to my shock, that we'll be seeing domino servers with rich clients even
without portal server.

From a marketing standpoint, that message has been too poorly delivered so far.
killerBy jonvon on 09/24/2004 at 09:55 AM EDT
i think this thought, which was inferred in your original post, was a big part
of why i got excited about this:

"BTW: Some things in workplace portal will definately add value. Some customers
will absolutely run portal and rich client and not domino. I think though, to
my shock, that we'll be seeing domino servers with rich clients even without
portal server."

this is absolutely where they need to go. they have been saying that it is all
about choice, and this is the proof. portal definitely solves an interesting
set of business problems, but not everyone is or will be ready for that. but we
are certainly ready for a more extensible Notes client.

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