Lotus Forgot Series: Add basic development functionality back into the Notes client.  
Use this IdeaSpace to post ideas about the Notes Client.

: 32
: 38
: 6
: designer, web 2.0, notes client
: David Hablewitz15116 13 Mar 2011
: / Email
We don't need a Designer client for the Mac or Linux. We need one for the people.  
Yes, make the Notes client as it once was in the days before R5 when the ability to create applications was an integral part of the Notes client.  What would it include?  View development (which is already there), Formula language (which is already there in some capacity), and form development.  Some agent development probably too.  Provide people with enough to be able to serve their own basic needs without overwhelming them with complexity. Why do this?  Simple.  Empower the people.  Power users have always existed.  They were what made the early versions of Notes so successful.  It was easy for them to create their own tools in Notes and they loved it.  LOVED IT!  I can recall many times in the R3/R4 days when users came to me with a database that they had created or made a copy and modified it and wanted to share it with other people on their team.  I took it, maybe cleaned it up a bit, and put it on the server where their whole team benefited.  This was the root meaning of collaboration:  Not just sharing data, but sharing solutions.  By the users, for the users.  It was truly Rapid Application Development (RAD).  Before they had Notes, people were doing this in 1-2-3, Access, FoxPro, etc.   It is no coincidence that the Notes client began losing favor among end users as soon as they lost their ability to explore what Notes can do by creating their own applications.    The greatest advocates of Lotus Notes are those who can create applications in it.  
People did not stop creating their own applications when the designer code was removed from Notes.  But now they just do it in other tools like Access and Excel.  Sure, there is also Sharepoint and Quickr, but those do not provide for PERSONAL tools.  People will not "play" there they way they do with other software.  Sadly, while users today are far more computer-savvy than they were in the 1990's, they are being denied the opportunity to apply those skills to their job, at least where Notes is concerned.  As a result, Notes has lost its appeal.  Users have been driven away to other tools and no longer know (and have no motivation to learn) what could be done in Lotus Notes.  To them it is no longer a PERSONAL productivity tool.  Now the only way to get an application in Notes is to request it from the gatekeepers of I.T.  It's like building a Lego kit and giving it to a kid and then saying they have to bring it to you if they want to build something different with the pieces. Sure, the designer client is "free", but it is not given to employees and for the most part they don't even know it exists or how to get it. If we are sincere in our belief that the power of collaboration and Open Source is truly for the benefit of all, then it should be made accessible to all.  It should not be hoarded by the professional Domino developers of the world.   It should not be locked out by the administrator who doesn't want the additional work to manage the applications nor the I.T. director who doesn't want to deal with losing control of application development process and his feeling of importance.  Do not waste time defending this practice with the "good ol' boy" mentality claims like "But the users don't know how to create good applications." or "their rights must be restricted for their own good or for the good of the company."  This is Social Business.  This is the definition of Web 2.0. (See video below)   Eliminate the hierarchy, eliminate the red tape.  Empower the people.  The more you empower the people around you, the more successful you will be.  The more they must depend on you, the less you will be able to achieve.  It's the axiom of good leadership. IBM may never feel justified in creating a full-blown designer client for Mac OS or Linux.  They may never go back to having the simple developer client for the masses that was so successful.  So while you wait for IBM to decide what to do, I suggest this:  Let your people know the designer client exists.  Make the designer client available to anyone who asks for it.  I would even encourage them.  If you have any programmers in the company that code in other software, be sure to give it to them. Notes was founded on the principle of giving people the ability to create and share their own custom applications.  (The History of Lotus Notes) http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/lotus/library/ls-NDHistory/  That principle has clearly been forgotten.
More discussion on this was started at my blog: http://blog.thenotesguyinseattle.com/2011/03/12/lotusforgot-designerforpeople/

1) Devin Olson980 (14 Mar 2011)
Designer client is FREE. There is no need for IBM to spend any effort on trying to push it back into the Notes Client.
2) Peter Presnell28487 (16 Mar 2011)
I am not sure what it is exactly you are asking for? Are you suggesting that organizations consider installing a modern Eclipse client to run mail and modern IBM Lotus Notes applications using XPages, Composite Applications, Java Views etc. and that they ALSO install a Notes basic client that would allow them to develop Notes classic applications using the old (Pre Notes 8 interface)? While I agree many power users are lost to DDE I doubt too many organizations are ever likely to support that scenario. Nor do I see IBM diverting its attention in developing XPages as a modern Web 2.0 RAD platform.
3) David Hablewitz15116 (16 Mar 2011)
I'm saying that once upon a time users could create their own tools to meet their individual needs. When that went away so did their personal interest in the software. Give them back that power. Give it back in a form they can use (not the full blown designer client.)

Web 2.0 is all about empowering the end users to help themselves. Ironically, just as that trend started was when Notes stopped doing it.

If the concern is that organizations would be giving up control, that is a moot point. People already have the power to create their own personal tools like Excel applications, Quickr sites, and even personal websites using whatever tools they find. This is the direction of social business and social media. Some organizations may fight losing control, but the reality is they already have. The idea here is to channel that energy into Lotus Notes where it will increase the appeal of the software to individuals for personal productivity. I want to be able to provide a light version of the designer to users. The current version makes Adobe Photoshop look simple and intuitive.
4) Bruce Lill10666 (18 Mar 2011)
I have a customer like that, they like to build their own apps. They use the R7 Designer Client to do the development.

When they can't use that any more they will most likely migrate to a different platform. Not everyone needs or wants web accessible apps.

Then all you needed was to place fields, learn some @formula (and it was like 123 and excel) to build an app. Now you have to know HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Lotuscript.

This is no longer the tool for a manager to build a small app for his team.
5) Eric Lohry2745 (18 Mar 2011)
I think the concept should center around an easy platform with limited functionality and access to ready to use templates. You don't have to be a programming wiz to tweak an existing database.
6) Vlad Sh10679 (21 Mar 2011)
> We don't need a Designer client for the Mac or Linux\
That's not true.
7) David Hablewitz15116 (21 Mar 2011)
Well, right. We do. If you were at Lotusphere and attended the Ask the Developers or the Ask the Product Managers sessions, then you know I was the one who asked for the designer client for Mac at both of those sessions and it was met with a loud, supportive applause from the 500+ in the audience.
8) Bill Malchisky12192 (06 Apr 2011)
@7 my supportive blog entry on the subject generated a lot of comments as well. (As some of you know--including David) . { Link }

Regardless, Lotus needs to advance the cause for Designer to keep it on the eyes of the enterprise managers while still having an option to make great simple apps for teams, departments in those large firms, or small companies in-town (harder now to justify with the ill-fated decisions on Foundations, but I will avoid going further down that path here).
It is possible, but I do not think they will do that. Formula language is a valuable component to the Lotus RAD history and design of today.

Having stated that, I am hardly opposed to the Mac offering, but there are two areas of strength Lotus application development { Link } has and neither should be neglected.

{ p.s. Listing blog URLs as the post's author did...not hawking my blog, just contributing to the discussion, in what I hope to be a productive way. }
9) David Hablewitz15116 (06 Apr 2011)
By all means, Bill, hawk your blog! It's of interest to this group and very relevant to this topic and broadens the reach of the conversation. You can go into much more depth on your blog than you might do here and it generates more dialog (people don't have to register to comment there.) This is the definition of Social Media. Besides, no one's going to click on the link anyway. ;-)
10) Mark Demicoli10736 (06 Apr 2011)
Well the title of the idea implies there is an underlying, immutable benevolence. Are you kidding? It's business. Does anyone still remember the "They're Going to Kill Notes" saga that went on for a good, I dunno, 10 years? Look here. IBM Workplace never died, they simply put lipstick on the pig and stuck it in a frock. It's called it X-Pages. The ignorance was so deep at one stage that there was even an "Import Lotus Notes Design" feature being built. Lets not kid ourselves, the global movement to centralised Everything, trust Nobody is utterly pervasive. Step back and smell the communism :)
11) Mark Demicoli10736 (06 Apr 2011)
Just wanted to add another thing. It's NOT going to work, and the evidence is everywhere. Browser-based applications are idiosynchratic beyond belief, x-pages or not. Am I wrong here, I tried to seep x-pages into my apps a few times only to hit a bit of a RAD roadblack. Is it just me? Data, VIew, Form, Agent was, is genius.
12) David Hablewitz15116 (06 Apr 2011)
"People don't need rocket ships to get to work. They just need a reliable car."
13) Mark Demicoli10736 (06 Apr 2011)
Confucious say: "Give one bananna to a crowd of monkeys, and they will fight to the death. Dump a truck of banannas on a crowd of monkeys, and a few power monkeys will fly to the moon." :)
14) Kenneth Axi2537 (03 Sep 2011)
I simply don't understand what You are asking for... The Designer client is free and is built on a open environment (Eclipse). Anyone can download it and use it. There is no turning back here - and no need to.
Users can create databases with the Eclipse designer and then share it with the rest of the company or community. The new designer doesn't stop that from happening.

Sure, the designer client is a bit more complex than the built in designer in R4/5 was, but You have to face the fact: Business is more complex today than it was 10 years ago. Therefore - in order to support solutions for todays business - you need a tool that can handle the business complexity. The Eclipse designer can. The built in can't.
15) Doug Finner248 (26 Sep 2011)
16) David Vasta2524 (04 Nov 2011)
The Domino Designer is not available on Mac or Linux and it' needs to be and the best place for it would be the Notes Client.

I have said for years, and Lotus scoffs at me, but you can't complain about how much you dislike Microsoft, then perpetuate their business model by creating a server that runs on Windows and tools that only run on Windows Desktop! Why Lotus refuses to push the Designer and Admin client to Mac and Linux is just nuts. If you want Microsoft to go away and for them to not have money to push things like Sharepoint, then you starve them in the Windows Server and Desktop market.....fools!


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