Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sloppy analysis at the core of another Domino vs. SharePoint report

FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

By David Gewirtz

I hate it when market analysts compare Notes and Domino to SharePoint, especially when it's clear they've got an agenda. Sometimes, I think they're more market anal-ists than analysts.

In this case, we're looking at an article called "The Difference between SharePoint and Lotus Notes" over on CMS Watch ("Get the real story"). I hate picking on these guys because somewhere on their site, I'm quoted as recommending one of their products -- but not this one.

The predicable "Notes is dead" statement

Although I have a disagreement with much of what Adriaan Bloem, Analyst wrote in the piece, there are two statements which get under my craw. Here's the first (and, yes, it's predictable):

CMS Watch: ...or the fact that IBM is slowly phasing out Domino in favor of newer platforms...

Sigh. No. No they're not. IBM is a big company. It can support multiple platforms. It amazes me when companies who make their living on what is supposed to be objective analysis spout crap that's completely unsupported.

IBM has supposedly been phasing out Notes and Domino since the late 1990s. I know. I've written the annual debunking article each year.

RTFM

The next part that frustrates me is when someone makes technical criticism based on something they know nothing about. Here's the quote:

CMS Watch: There is no way to do a JOIN with Lotus "tables" (they're called "views" in Domino). Really. It's impossible to do a look-up in a list field to another field in another list.

CMS Watch: If you think that's some incredibly technical detail that's not very crucial, well, try to create a view of all of your employees, with one field that displays their phone number (taken from another list).

OK, well, yes you can. That's what @DBLookup and @DBColumn are for. And there are about fifty other ways this can be done, both elegantly and hackerly.

CMS Watch: By contrast, SharePoint stores everything in MS SQL; it's really easy to do lookups within a list field.

Well, actually, Domino can use DB2. It's not exactly a new feature. In fact, here's a quote from an old Domino Designer 7.0 (from 2005!) features document:

A DB2 Query view uses an SQL query to populate its data instead of a view formula that selects documents from within the NSF file. With Query views, you can access non-Domino content. A Query view can also join data from multiple DB2 tables and views, allowing you to join data from two NSF files indirectly by joining two separate DB2 Access views.

So, yes, you can utilize fully-powered SQL with Domino. Not new. Not news. Adriaan Bloem, Analyst should have known that.

CMS Watch: You can't, and I've seen several Notes/Domino developers on the brink of a breakdown trying to get around this.

Good Notes/Domino developers? Nope, didn't think so.

I'm not against a company trying to sell $2,950 reports. We all need to make money. But a little fact-checking might go a long way. Heck, these guys quote me on their email archiving report and list me as the editor of DominoPower. So it's not like they couldn't find a source with some actual knowledge of, I don't know, Notes or Domino.

I hate sloppy analysis.