Wednesday, November 1, 2006

DocLogic and optimizing the UI in Domino applications

THE DOMINOPOWER INTERVIEW

By David Gewirtz

We continue our series of interviews with Lotus Business Partners. This is the second part of our interview with Marek Szymanski and Scott Tomlinson of DLI.tools. Marek's the Product Development Director and Scott's their Marketing and Alliances Director.

In this in-depth interview, Scott and Marek take us through their DocLogic product and help us understand how they approach the development of an intuitive user interface for Domino applications.

David:

You've mentioned your DocLogic Document Manager solution. Why did you build this on Domino, as opposed to IBM DB2, SQL or an open source database?


"Are you going to end up in workaround hell?"
Marek:

There are two reasons. First, Domino is what we specialize in -- the core of our senior technical team has been involved with Notes and Domino since 1993 -- so we know the technology in-and-out.

Additionally, by leveraging XML in a big way, some of which we've talked about here with AJAX and RSS, it has allowed us to create something that we can retro-fit with other platforms using different approaches. We can't really talk much about what we are working on for other platforms at this time. Suffice it to say that we have always had DB2 and other platforms on our radar.

The second reason we built this on Domino is because of the market opportunity. With some 43,000 organizations that leverage Notes/Domino for application development, there was a surprisingly small selection of sophisticated document/content management solutions available on the Domino platform.

We found there was a big gap in the SMB space for a compelling solution for document management for Domino. Solutions were either cost prohibitive or they were single solutions aimed at one type of functionality or another.

Coming from a consulting background, we know how companies have to do more and more with less resources and time. We targeted those issues. A surprising thing is that large companies are approaching us to handle big implementations, which we are happy to do, but it was that SMB gap that we first recognized.

David:

Why does the Domino community need DocLogic when Lotus Document Manager is already available?

.A Marek

The feedback that we received from Domino shops is that Dom.doc is all they knew existed, meaning there was no real alternative available in their minds. It was Dom.doc or nothing. The feedback that we received from Dom.doc customers is that it was fine initially, but once their users started asking them for more functionality, it wasn't so easy to come by. A lot of work was needed to customize it and it wasn't exactly simple to do. People were also citing usability issues, how it functioned, how intuitive it was to use.