The road back from “lousy”

Bruce has posted a quote which got me thinking….

“No IdeaJam is not the issue, just people afraid of Domino applications as they have only been exposed to lousy ones in the past”

Putting it mildly I’d say!

I’m a strong believer that the “bad reputation” suffered by Notes is far too often due to shocking Notes app development. That can include every aspect from programming to UI. All too often this is extended to Domino apps, aided by the mess that Domino makes of web development if we leave it to its own devices.

So a question for you. How many times have you seen an experienced web developer brought in to help on a Domino project? Exactly! Time and again its the original Notes developer asked to “put that app on the intranet”.

And I’m not trying to say that a PHP developer or the like could come in and work magic with Domino. Just that good results depend on the Notes developer adding new tools to the toolbox. At the same time, employers need to recognise the breadth of knowledge required to be a competent Notes Domino developer with the latest releases.

Xpages can save the world!

Bruce goes on to ask whether Xpages are the answer. In one word, No. The introduction of XPages, like composite apps, and even web services before it, just add to the problem IMHO.

If Notes developers aren’t already up on their CSS, Javascript, etc, then they’re not up to building respectable Domino apps, let alone taking advantage of XPages.

I’m not so sure it can be solved simply providing CSS themes or samples either. There are plenty of examples out there. Notes Domino developers need to be prepared to explore new areas, outside of Domino Designer, and then come back and work in what they have learnt. Those doing this are ready for XPages, like any of the new features that have come before.

I’ll sum it up in one word. Attitude.

A penny for your thoughts!

So what can we do about it? The Lotus blogsphere is only the tip of the iceberg. We all recognise that there are far more developers out there that don’t even read the blogs or forums, and aren’t privy to all our ranting and raving! We need to reach them to solve this problem.

Sample apps with a few “Wow, how can Notes do that!? Can I have it in my XYZ app?” features, to help push these developers into pastures new can only be a good thing.

But if Lotus were to show users and management what all this new “stuff” is really capable of, with some must-have, must-use, out-of-the-box templates, that really demonstrate the capabilities bringing a benefit to the business, then that would certainly help.

As Bruce’s quote attests, in today’s economic climate, business will not invest in new product, let alone new features, if they don’t see a clear benefit. Something only compounded if they have been scarred in the past.

Notes and Domino developers need to be forced out of their comfort zone, pushed by business drivers demanding functionality delivered through the new features. Lotus for their part, need to regain the confidence of the developers with a polished product, avoiding some of the disappointments and frustrations in prior versions.

My money is on it taking some time.

PS: One more thought, do other technologies suffer the same problems?


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