To increase the adoption rate of Lotus Notes. To find out more about our Lotus Notes archiving and e-discovery systems, please CLICK HERE.


Eugen Tarnow


    Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    Eugen Tarnow  March 29 2012 10:22:16 AM
    Yesterday we lost a client who went to Microsoft.  This client is a very smart IT professional.

    She told me that "Lotus made a classic error in the mid 90s" by having the same version of Notes work on all platforms instead of making it a native Windows application.  As a result the performance is slow "even on 64 bit machines with 16 GB of RAM.  The main thing that Outlook offers over Notes is speed, intuitiveness (as a native Windows app) and consistency with the whole Windows/Office experience. "  

    Nevertheless she is a Notes fan and said that "Notes is technically superior and a vastly wider product ..."

    Here is my suggestion:  Perhaps now is the time to rethink the interface decision.  Presumably the next version of Notes (8.5 is already 4 years old) would be much faster to develop if it used a native Windows design.  OS/2 is no longer in use, the MAC is of little importance.  Just as Microsoft has a separate team developing Office in the native MAC OS, a separate Notes client could be developed for the iPad, an excellent document reader perfectly suited for workflow applications.

    1Henning Heinz  3/29/2012 12:28:33 PM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    IBM has decided to go with XPages, a technology based on Java in the backend and HTML(5), CSS, Javascript in the front end and some funky XML.

    If everything is XPages there is no more need for a fat, native client although IBM will probably still deliver one.

    I always considered this a big mistake because limiting yourself to a lacking web technology while competitive software stacks offer more choices (desktop, mobile and web) is limiting a product, not enhancing it.

    It is a bit of a myth that Lotus Notes is so slow only because of Java. It is so slow because it is hard work to make an application perform and hard work cost time and money. To be fair compared to 8.0 it already became much better.

    And as someone who works on a machine of little importance. Lotus Notes on the Mac is even slower than on Windows and IBM cares even less.

    A Windows standard interface, as you name it, would not make much sense to me as long as you don't change the programming model by easily (and additionally) supporting development of modern, good looking desktop applications.

    For running browser applications there are already quite a few browsers that are slick and fast.

    I am a bit puzzled that you are back at controversial topics!?

    2Ed Brill  3/29/2012 12:35:25 PM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?


    A couple of things worth reviewing from your post.

    1) Have you seen the YouTube video of Notes 8 loading in three seconds?

    { Link }

    Notes 8 has been reported by some customers to experience sluggishness, but it depends highly on hardware and configuration. Tools like the Panagenda MarvelClient can help measure workstation characteristics and identify ways to improve the client. A 64-bit machine with 16 GB RAM should be an absolute screamer of a Notes client performer. Something isn't right.

    2) The Mac is hardly irrelevant. Apple's overall market share has grown significantly; we at IBM are (likely) one of Apple's largest commercial customers. I myself am a 100% Apple environment, and I think I'm a pretty typical executive.

    3Tim Tripcony  3/29/2012 1:23:25 PM  BYOD

    BYOD (bring your own device) is an accelerating enterprise phenomenon. More and more employees are using their own mobile rather than being provided one by their employer (myself included). And when BYOD is extended to the notebook, that D is often a Mac, especially for the younger generation that is now entering the workforce. Treating Mac as irrelevant would essentially tell that entire professional generation that Notes is irrelevant, which I'm guessing is the opposite of your aim with this article.

    I've seen firsthand the power and flexibility that XPages bring to the platform, so I'm unable to agree with Henning's criticisms of their implementation. I do agree, however, that the inclusion of XPages in Domino undermines the need for the Notes client: end users can now access functional and elegant Domino applications from any browser on any operating system. The "thick client" now serves (in my opinion) a single purpose: secure offline access. The instant a viable strategy emerges for ensuring that users can access XPages with no network connection but still using only their browser, and be confident that their data is still sufficiently secure, I suspect you'll see the Notes client vanish entirely in a rather short timeframe.

    Since you're revisiting the notion of a Notes client for iOS, it's worth noting that Domino now supports REST for generic data access to any application, as well as a component-based mechanism for defining entirely custom REST interfaces. As a result, a native mobile / tablet application that provides a visual interface for consuming these APIs is entirely feasible. But this seems to me to be a partner play, not an IBM goal. You'll probably see something of this nature emerge from someone like Teamstudio long before you'll see IBM take this route. I could be wrong (and biased, as my employer is a business partner), but some of Ed's comments at AUSLUG seem to validate this notion.

    Hey, you're a partner too, right? Why don't you develop "Notes for iPad"? I bet you could sell the crap out of something like that in the App Store. ;)

    4Michael G. Smith (@michaelgsmith)  3/29/2012 2:22:25 PM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    With a few XPages apps under my belt, and more on the way, I love everything about it. But there is still a need for the thick client in the XPages world to manage large data sets in the back end.

    5Henning Heinz  3/29/2012 3:44:24 PM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    There not much I have recently said about the implementation of XPages (although I probably could)!?

    If Domino would be one of the best web framework in the market there would be thousands of start ups developing software for this platform. The reality is that companies decide to reduce their platforms and Notes and Domino are victims of this strategy, not winners.

    It does not matter much what I say or think anyway. And I am very happy if you all sell XPage based solutions and make a fortune out of it.

    6Richard Schwartz  3/30/2012 12:01:02 AM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    Your client is wrong about the "mid '90s". Lotus clients were native on Windows in the mid 90s. They were native on OS/2. They were native on Mac. They were native on SCO Unix. They were native on all platforms until 8.0. The Java client strategy was first announced in 2005.

    And if Notes is slow on a 64 bit 16 GB machine... what that tells me is that the customer is spending their money on the wrong things. They should be putting it into an SSD instead of all that extra RAM.

    7Michael Brown  3/30/2012 1:31:56 AM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    Is your client happy to take on the fast approaching train wreck that is Windows 8? And if she's not, what exactly does she propose to do about it?

    Will she "do a Vista" and skill out a version, perhaps? Sorry, I don't think that's going to work this time; Microsoft's made it clear that, hate it or hate it even more, Metro is here to stay.

    Maybe she'll be forced to look at another platform. But that's okay, because her chosen client runs on Windows, Mac and Linux... oh no, that's the one she got rid of...

    8Michael Brown  3/30/2012 1:32:37 AM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    "skip out a version"

    9Ralf M Petter  3/30/2012 2:52:54 AM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    No the decision to use Eclipse RCP as the base of the Lotus products was not a fault. The idea of the Composite applications was a very good idea too, but the implementation and documentation of this features is the weak point of the whole lotus product range. We have tried, to implement an application with CAE, but failed. We have reimplemented this application on plain eclipse RCP APIs and run this Application in the Notes clients. This offers native Windows look and feel extreme fast performance and possibilitys which are never possible in a classic Notes application or in a xPages Application. So i really hope that IBM will not drop Eclipse RCP as a base of their client prodcuts.

    By the way: On my windows PC the Notes client with many additional custom plugins deployed starts in under 5 sek. The biggest problems with the performance of Eclipse based applications is always a running virus scanner. An Eclipse application consists of 100.000 files in compressed jar. If you have an online virus scanner, every jar is decompressed and scanned. So exclude the notes program directory from the online scan.

    10Henning Heinz  3/30/2012 4:05:21 AM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    I love it when people say that the customer is doing it wrong because the result in many cases is that the customer moves away.

    A couple of days ago I met with an IBM employee and his Notes startup took not 3 or 5 but at least 20 seconds to start. I admit that he was not running the latest release and his Laptop probably was at the end of its life cycle. He also did not say something negative about Lotus Notes either (they are smart people) but perhaps IBM is doing it wrong?

    My workstation has SSDs. Lotus Notes runs quite good (although Designer is still quite unstable especially while debugging) and a restart of the client is fast. I cannot confirm this on my Mac Mini that is still running with its slower 5.400 laptop harddisk. My fault and I am doing it wrong.

    And by the way as a 32Bit application with even some 16Bit core 16GB of RAM will bring you nothing for running Lotus Notes. Everything above 8GB will probably not bring any noticeable performance except you are running Virtual Machines.

    @Ralf I would love if more people would share experiences like this but as long as IBM does not incorporate it into the Designer client I think it will be geek stuff (at least in the Notes world).

    I would consider having to disable the virus scanner on a directory a design flaw. No matter how easy it is. Either you convince all major AV vendors that this is a default setting or you solve it by changing your software design (Notes is proprietary, IBM can change it any day).

    I don't think IBM has an intention to drop Eclipse RCP but with XPages it might become useless at a certain point.

    11Tim Tripcony  3/30/2012 10:24:11 AM  the customer IS doing it wrong

    One could also make the argument that the biggest problem with the software industry today is an unwillingness to tell the customer when they ARE doing it wrong. Every time a customer insists on receiving IE6 support for their web application, for example, and a vendor relents, knowing it will cost that customer far more than if they'd switch to a modern browser, instead of telling them, "it would be unethical for me to charge you what I would need to in order to deliver what you're requesting", that vendor is robbing the customer. The vendor makes more money, and the customer thinks they got what they wanted, so it looks like everyone wins. Except the unnecessary expense then has to be redistributed to the customer's customers. Everything they sell costs at least a little bit more than it would had they made a sound business decision based on sound advice.

    Were IBM to alter fundamental design strategies to counter the stupidity of antivirus programs scanning files that don't need to be scanned, that would make Notes even more expensive than it is, so all their customers would have to pay for changes intended only for customers who were running additional software whose poor design or implementation caused interoperability issues with Notes. That's a lot of distributed expense with practically no value, given that we already know how to avoid those interoperability issues.

    If a customer is told how to optimize Notes and they use those instructions as an excuse to migrate to Outlook, that customer deserves to fail.

    12Mike McP  4/2/2012 10:08:15 AM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    This change would be a massive investment in development, testing, etc. IBM is well past the point of no return on this one, so better to keep hammering on performance tuning and stability. Notes client is a complete pig, but it runs decently with 8 gigs of memory and a nice drive. Designer crashes daily, but the bang/buck in fixing that is minimal compared to the return on client stability.

    Also agree with the other folks that non-Windows user percentage is not trivial.

    13  4/24/2012 12:00:07 AM  Should Notes give up the JAVA client and go for a Windows standard interface?

    I'm an IBMer too and from what I'm able to infer from pre-meeting talk, Notes is generally accepted with the company by its employees and not much else (in fact most I know hate it). Over the years I've known many who have left the company and for the ones I still communicate with they frequently tell me how now it is not NOT being Notes anymore. It has so many odd interface quirks and very poor calendaring. Just today I unnecessarily rushed out of an airport because a meeting that had been cancelled still showed up on my calendar. If you do not explicitly open the cancellation notice (that comes to your e-mail inbox) then you get no indication that a meeting has been cancelled when you glance at your calendar. Problem was, I had about 75 message in my inbox this morning and didn't get to accepting the cancellation notice. I've complained about this behavior so many times on internal Notes sites but support couldn't give a damn. They politely tell you that this is how it's supposed to be and that's it.

    Recent Comments