Thursday, February 7, 2008

What I Got From Lotusphere 2008

As usual, there was a lot to see and do this year. But, as Gregg Eldred and others have said, the Lotusphere experience goes beyond the sessions, Product Showcase and receptions. It really is about the community: sitting at lunch with the people who develop the products, meeting people you have interacted with online, sharing knowledge to resolve that nagging problem. Maybe it’s because I am in a small shop, but knowing other Notes/Domino administrators and developers who I can bounce ideas off is really helpful. There may be communities around other software products, but it seems the bond is stronger within the Lotus community because “community” is what Lotus Notes has always been about.

So what did I take away from Lotusphere this year?

  • Developers need to learn Java or make friends with Java developers. That isn’t to say that LotusScript is going away – it isn’t – nor will it become a second-class citizen as an application development language – it won’t. It just means that taking full advantage of the Notes 8 client and the capabilities it can provide will require Java knowledge.

  • Widgets (and – maybe – Live Text) will go a LONG way toward making the Notes client the one application people live in all day. The thing I have yet to get a clear picture of is how they will function in a restrictive environment (eg. behind the firewall).

  • Designer 8.5 will transform how we develop Notes applications. Yes, there are some paradigm shifts and there may be some syntax issues (do we help Notes developers learn Eclipse terminology or change Eclipse to Notes/Domino terms?), but the tools and flexibility in the new Designer will be phenomenal. I should have spent more time looking at XPages but I think those will evolve into a powerful tool for client applications.

  • It will be interesting to see how Lotus Mashups and Bluehouse evolve over the next year. They looked pretty cool “on paper”.

  • SpeedGeeking is a must-see. It grew this year vs. last year and I expect it to grow more next year. It is a chance to hear knowledgeable presenters up close and personal as they shred their vocal cords. More importantly, you get a lot of tips on a variety of topics in a short period of time. It is well worth attending.

The last two years have seen IBM Lotus playing offense in a confident manner. There is a lot of positive energy around Notes/Domino 8 and the roadmap is clearer than it has ever been. To be sure, there are things that could be improved: make it easier to do advanced UI tricks (like using layers), control client and application appearance by merely editing CSS files, Symphony programming and integration (some improvements are coming). But overall, the future looks bright.

1 comment:

Steve Breitenbach said...

I, too, am interested to see how the Widgets perform under a restricted environment. We close things down pretty good around here, well, except for the IT department ;), and I'm sure, when we get to that point of putting Widgets into the Notes environment, we'll have some issues.