Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Notes and Domino are often misunderstood


By Mick Moignard

There's been a ripple of interest since my article in August discussing the state of the Notes application development space. I'm not alone in the view that Notes still has a lot to give to so many organisations.

Damien DuBos wrote:

I am one of those high priced developers you refer to. Been doing it since V3. Although I have some impressive apps under my belt, the best ones are the simple ones. Often I am with a customer on one project when they mention a problem they are having with another process. I tell them I can have something for them the same day or the next and they are blown away. Granted its simple stuff, but it solves so many mundane tasks.

Others commented on how they're able to crank out well-formed and well-received Notes and Domino apps, only to have "upper management" pull the plug on future application development with Notes.

Yet others explained how the whole process of getting applications deployed now takes a great deal of time and effort, so much, that often the immediacy of the application need is lost.

This gets me wondering again where it's all going?

Are we building the right applications? Are we doing it the right way? Has the corporate IT model moved away from what Notes can do?

Let's discuss some of these points, and see what we can do about it all.

The types of application that Notes does well is, itself, part of the problem. Well, not the apps themselves, but the perception of them. They tend to be simple apps, quick and cheap to build.

They solve relatively simple problems, often for a small but concentrated group of people. This, in itself, is great, but it's also part of the problem. Firstly, while the pain these people feel clearly exists, it doesn't have any serious visibility outside the immediate vicinity.

That means that the pain gets no management attention -- and may as well be invisible.

Because of that effective pain invisibility, however achievable the benefits are, the benefits are not rising above the general noise, which, firstly means that the issue is less likely to come to your notice, and when it does it's harder for you, or those who feel the pain directly, or to get any sort of approval to fix the problem.

Indeed, you may well have difficulty in getting anyone to recognise that there's a problem that has an economic value in fixing at all.

What does get corporate visibility is larger problems -- especially those that affect or require work to be done on Line of Business applications. By LoB applications I mean the ones that actually enable the company or organisation to do what it's there to do -- make things, sell things, deliver services and so on, and which are the applications that are need to be available and working all the time that the company is actively doing what it does; a minimum of 9-10 hours a day.