vrijdag, augustus 17, 2007

Lotus Notes 8 built on Eclipse. So what?

I have been a user of Lotus Notes since version 4.6 and like most other Notes users I have cursed many of the quirks of the product. I'm not talking about some bugs in the applications (database templates) that come with the product. No, I'm talking about fundamental usability issues, often the result of using non-native widgets. If you're unfamiliar with Notes just look at this (old) Interface Hall of Shame to get the idea.

I have also done my share of Notes development in the Notes Designer. In the beginning it was great because it was one of the first IDEs I have ever worked in. When you're coming from notepad anything that does syntax highlighting is a major step forward.

But... ever since I started using Eclipse (version 3.0 at that point) I have become more and more frustrated by the limited capabilities of the Notes Designer. Once you get used to Eclipse's power and extensibility, developing in anything else no longer qualifies as 'fun'.

When the first rumors about Lotus Notes 8 (Hannover) appeared - more than 2 years ago - I was thrilled. It would be based upon Eclipse!

Today Lotus Notes 8 is shipping. Ed Brill - prominent Notes/Domino blogger from the IBM software group - makes an important statement to all end users:
Users that are unhappy with Notes need to know that their issues have been addressed [...]
And most importantly:
[...] in the long term, Notes 8 has to deliver on the transition from pure Notes/Domino applications to composite applications/mashups, and the value of Eclipse.
Ok, so Lotus Notes 8 is built on top of Eclipse. Great. But what does that really give me? Does it give me the same power as Eclipse? Does it give me the same flexibility? Does it give me the same extensibility?

So far I have not yet used Lotus Notes version 8 but please excuse when I say "I'll believe it when I see it".

Rob Ingram asks on his blog:
Now that the product is out, I hope to have some time to blog more about some interesting features in Domino 8 and answer the popular questions I'm hearing from customers. What Domino related topics would you like to know more about in this blog?
Well... here are a couple of questions that I have about the Notes Designer:
  1. Notes supports 4 programming languages (@Commands, LotusScript Java and Javascript) but none of these allow you to do everything you need. You always need to mix languages. Can I now use Java to do all my Notes coding?
  2. Does the Notes Designer offer decent code completion (Ctrl+Space)?
  3. Does the Notes Designer offer code refactoring for all four supported languages?
  4. Is the LotusScript debugger smart enough to not step into the mail handling code when a "new mail" dialog pops up while debugging code?
  5. Does the Notes Designer still delete lines of code when you save your code? (Reported here, here, here and here.)
  6. Can I choose my own JVM or do I have to stick with the one shipped? (Reported here.)
  7. Is the documentation of the Java classes in Javadoc format? (Reported here.)
As I said, I haven't tried Notes 8 yet and I'm really curious. But... it would really surprise me if all these items were fixed.

Feel free to prove me wrong...

2 opmerkingen:

  1. The objective of the 8.0 release was to move the Notes client to its next generation architecture. In the next major releases, the application development model will get additional attention. You should definitely follow Bob Balaban's blog (www.bobzblog.com) and get involved in the discussions there.

  2. I'll keep an eye on that blog. Thanks for the feedback.