Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lotusphere 2012: Notes, Domino, and Project Vulcan convergence


By Mick Moignard

Lotusphere 2012 showed that there is still life in the old dog yet, but the newcomers are snapping at its heels. The newcomers are, in IBM's eyes -- if not those of many of the attendees -- getting all the attention, too. Last year's Lotusphere was straplined "Get Social, Do Business". This year's was little changed with "Business. Made Social". It's the same theme, only more of it.

You can see reasons for this. We all know about Notes and Domino and the rest of what used to be regarded as the Notes family: Quickr and Sametime. The businesses that we work for by and large feel that they know what these products offer.

The same can't be said for the whole business social software theme, and for IBM Connections, so I don't think we can blame IBM for spending time and effort evangelising their key social product offerings rather than spend time on Notes and Domino, sad though that might be for those of us who've spent so many years with the ND family.

But as I said, Notes and Domino aren't going away, so let's talk about them first. This is, after all, DominoPower Magazine. Yet, strangely enough, the first thing to discuss is not directly Notes/Domino, but a new feature in Connections. Stay with me, though.

Connections "Next", which should be in beta sometime soon, will have a new Connections Mail feature. This is a simple interface to get to our mail from Connections without leaving Connections. It appears as an always-there Mail menu item, and when clicked, shows you your inbox as a start point to interact with your mail.

What's nice about this from the Domino point of view is that Connections isn't going to have its own mail server, but will instead use the Domino mail infrastructure that you have in place. It's also, for the many Microsoft shops that also use Connections, going to be able to use Exchange as a back-end too.

What this leads me to think is that IBM are comfortable with Domino as a mail server and don't see a need to create a new one, and for the longevity of Domino as an enterprise mail server, that's good news.

I'll also offer some personal speculation here: could we see that the Domino server will be shipped as part of Connections, even embedded in it, in some future release? So, Connections mail, then, isn't a new product from the mail server perspective. It's just a new mail client, built with modern componentry such as Dojo widgets and the use of the latest CKEditor, but working with the familiar old dog Domino under the covers.

Now, back to Notes and Domino themselves

There's no new major release announcement as such, but what they have announced starts to look like one, from many angles. I'm assuming that you're all reasonably familiar with the 8.5.3 release, and I'm saying this because of a show of hands in Ed Brill's Messaging and Collaboration strategy session.