Make Domino Great Again!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 7:49 PM UTC

IBM and HCL did their first webcast about the future of Domino V10. Yes, a real product upgrade and not another Feature Pack. This was a publicly announced event so I guess I am fine to post about details - and there were a lot of them!

The webcast with 1500+ 1900+ attendees (!) was hosted by some key people of the current collaboration construct announced in October last year:

  • Bob Schultz, GM IBM Watson Talent and Collaboration Solutions
  • Richard Jefts, GM and VP Collaborative Workflow Platforms at HCL
  • Andrew Manby, Director of Offering Management IBM Collaboration Solutions

It was announced as a review of what happened during the past months in the Domino2025 jams as well as in the community forums where ideas were collected and voted for. But it wasn’t that boring at all.

I only can speak (write) for myself but I guess I am not alone when I state that this was the most interesting and encouraging webcast from IBM regarding the platform especially from an application developer’s perspective - for years.

We saw many non app-dev feature plans for the upcoming release that is honestly planned for this year. I summarized them for you.

The Notes Client

Yes, there will be enhancements for the standard client as well. The customer base is so huge that IBM/HCL will invest in the client. 

The Mail template will support team calendars. Not sure if this is a feature we need as there are many great third-party solutions available for that (We4IT Groupcalendar, Ontime, Timeflex) but hey, it’s also good to have something out of the box.

You will be able to invite others to an appointment or meeting even if you are not the owner of the event. I guess this will be controlled via a mail policy setting as this might get out of control at some point. You don’t want any user to do this, right?

A nice feature is to collect invitations to events directly from your inbox to send them „as attachment“ to another person. Great for sharing e.g. public events like this webcast. Of course you can do this already but just with a single invitation mail that you just forward, but not with more than one.

Sametime

This is something I don’t bother at all as we stopped using it long ago but others still use the instant messaging solution on premises. Sametime will become persistent and across different client and platforms. This feature is a long awaited and wanted one. My hope is that at some point Sametime and Watson Workspace will melt down to a single product with the same apps.

The Domino Server

Oh my, this is the best product of all. We all love Domino for so many different reasons. Now it gets the makeover it deserves for years.

Since FP10 we have full Docker support for the pure installation. There were many blogposts about how to set it up. IBM now plans to deliver ready-to-go images to deploy on any Docker runtime. 

The NSF will be upgraded to handle more than 64GB - the new NSF-2 will support up to 256GB of disk space and other NoSQL databases like MongoDB (not sure if I like that though).

To handle those tons of data a new search engine will be introduced and I am very happy to see that: Elastic Search. No details available yet, but ES (or E-search as IBM called it) has some stunning features and the performance is awesome. Big data is introduced to Domino!

The server also will provide the Exchange Web Services (EWS) to connect to Exchange and Outlook clients flawlessly. A better integration of Active Directory will also be provided. I am not an admin in this particular area but from what I saw Domino was not the software that was „tricky“ to setup when it came to a connection to the Microsoft world… We are looking forward for new tools to make it easier for people not having any MCT certificates.

Application Development

Yes, this took my interest the most. We saw a lot of cool new stuff on an IBM slide that deals with Domino and Notes databases.

I remember the roundtable at Engage user group in Eindhoven back in 2016 when we sat with IBMers discussing the app dev path of the Domino ecosystem. At this time Niklas Heidloff asked the crowd about having other technologies like NodeJS on board the Domino runtime - and the feedback was just like „yeah, that would be cool to attract developers from outside the yellow bubble“. Today we’ve seen a real live demo on how this works. Sure, there were solutions to connect Domino and Node via the built-in REST API of Domino aka DAS but this time it looked more like a real built-in solution on the Domino side.

The demo also showed another component called LoopBack, a Node framework for documentation but also implementation of REST services in a native way. The Node community lives with that for a while and now we are going to get it on „our“ product, too - that’s awesome!

Open to others

One thing that also caught my interest: Open IDEs. For fucks sake, I so hate the Eclipse based Domino Designer every day screwing my stuff up, forgetting changes and dropping settings each time it crashes - and it does frequently. The outlook of being able to use any kind of IDE or editor I want makes me happy. 

For us Domino devs this means that using the NodeJS parts within the NSF we could finally use those great tools like VS Code, Sublime or any other editor that is extensible and fast.

Other stuff

In the Q&A section there was a question about Graph databases or - as we ODA friends call it - GraphNSF. This is a great idea. I used graph databases before (the ODA way) and I really love to see the OpenNTF Domino API (ODA) to be a part of the core product - like the Extension Library became years ago. So just reach out to the ODA gurus and get this thing to work!

Last but not least it’s almost mandatory that the „V10“ is also provided with the community edition of the Domino server.

Finally I see a strong emphasize on Domino on-premises instead of focussing the SCN (Smart Cloud Notes) way which is on one hand surprising but on the other hand very satisfying. Customers love to manage their own environment especially when it comes to application development.

BUT

Some things that bug me though: 

  • I understand the strong investments in the client but I really don't get it
  • We still rely on Eclipse technology for the basic stuff - just get rid off it please
  • the XPages runtime will continue to be closed source - please open it to have it as an optional plugin on any other runtime

Anyway, thanks to IBM and HCL for enlightening us with those insights of the current process. It was very interesting and encouraging. Also a big kudos to all who participated in creating ideas in the ideation blog and voting for them.

Make Domino great again! #domino2025

 

Official Blog Post: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/collaboration-solutions/2018/03/14/domino-webcast-synopsis/

Thoughts of others:





Latest comments to this post

Patrick Kwinten wrote on 01.03.2018, 07:44

Nothing really to get excited about as developer. Looking forward to your first blog about a Hello World NoeJs application on Domino though.

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