Brendan McKenzie

Notes... has to go

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

I would like to hear from one person, who is not currently making or has not recently made a decent income from the Lotus Notes suite of products, who can strongly say they support IBM's Lotus Notes as a user-friendly, efficient, productivity increasing piece of software.

I don't know what my chances are of finding someone who can say such a thing.

Lotus Notes/Domino developers will defend it with their life. Lotus Notes users will loathe it like nothing else.

It is a well known fact that Microsoft release products with deficiencies, but the experience I have had using the Lotus Domino/Notes suite of products is nothing like the experience I have had with Microsoft products.

Innumerable times per day I am faced with productivity halting issues caused by flaws, oversights, omissions and what appears to be sheer laziness of developers working on these products.

Microsoft products are intuitive, they work the way users expect them to, because they work the way the rest of the environment (namely for this arguments sake, Windows) does. Lotus Notes is just YAMPA (yet another multi-platform application) and it is in this that I see it's greatest unravelling. The software is not intuitive, it does not work the way the majority of it's users expect it to, and last of all, it's down-right ugly.

Lotus Notes/Domino is a full-on collaboration platform "in a box."

To achieve what you have with Lotus Notes/Domino with Microsoft products you would require:


Neither option is cheap, neither option can be set up by monkies, so why go for the less-supported, harder-to-develop-for option?

There is also one more option one could explore, strangely enough the cheapest one, coming in at $0 - excluding hardware costs.

The open source option.

Complete off-topic but I felt it warranted a mention.

Granted with the Microsoft solution you require 4 pieces of software (5 if you include the operating system) compared to the Lotus solution that requires only Domino server and Notes client.

But what about the actual implementation and application of each solution?

To develop for Notes/Domino what are your options?

Thick client

All contained within the Lotus Notes client.


To develop for the Microsoft solution there is really no boundary.

Thick client


You can use whatever development environment you like, you are not locked into a small handful of languages, databases, libraries. The world is your oyster.

What follows are two words that have been killing me ever since I started with Lotus development.

Version Control

Where is it in the Lotus world? The only way to keep versions of your application in the Lotus world is to keep a template, a copy of the application in it's entirity for each "revision."

In the Microsoft world, and far more prevalent in the open-source world? Subversion, git, CVS, VSS, SourceGear Vault, etc... The list goes on.

No doubt there once was a time and place for Lotus Notes/Domino. But that time is over, the world is moving to software-as-a-service, and to develop and support development of such services is far too cumbersome to achieve in the Lotus Domino world.

Lotus, your days are numbered.

Love, your Microsoft (and open-source software) loving fan...