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back to article IBM socialises Notes mail to stop your yammering

IBM has released its first Big-blue-branded version of Notes, emphasising its social-media-like features and the ability to create “embedded experiences” in a new email client that aims to let you spend more time each day doing email. Big Blue's desire to have you spend more time using an email client is not an act of sadism. …

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Joke

Curse you elReg

I can't tell if this is Apr 1 spillover or a real story!

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Anonymous Coward

I feel your pain

It's IBM and Notes ... It could be either ..

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Flame

Ouroboros

For seven looooong years I was condemned on pain of excommunication to use Notes [*] and a key use for chat and other social media then was to bitch about how freaking awful Notes was. So now IBM trumpets the fact that we can hate the thing we hate using the new hateful tools it provides to better share our hate ... so I'm unsure whether I hate this or not!

[*] to be fair in the hands of a skilled dev team very nice collaborative databases can be created. But skilled devs were thin on the ground so most of ours sucked, the basic email & calendaring sucked, the overall UI sucked, the client/server processing model sucked (basic searches resulted in sucking huge traffic)...the most fun to be had with it was replacing the sucky splash screen

http://macamour.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/lotusnotes_splash.jpg

with a more realistic one:

http://codinghorror.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a85dcdae970b0128776fca5d970c-pi

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Bronze badge

Re: Ouroboros

When I last had to use it a couple of years ago, the UI reminded me of old Win16 applications. It was a bit of a retro moment.

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Facepalm

Re: Ouroboros

The date on your splash screen image just goes to confirm how old your joke is.

If you're still using 10 year old software, I'm not surprised it sucks a bit on the UI side. Do you run it on Windows 2000 too?

No doubt there will be loads of Lotus Notes haters who drop by this thread today but, if they aren't using a recent version, their opinion simply isn't valid.

If you're going to compare Notes to Outlook, at least make them versions from around the same era.

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Re: Ouroboros

"If you're still using 10 year old software" then you probably work for the sort of enormous corporation that upgrades software as infrequently as possible... exactly the sort of company that uses Notes.

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Silver badge

"the sort of enormous corporation that upgrades software as infrequently as possible"

Notes/Domino upgrades are free for licensed users.

Historically speaking, it is a proven thing that upgrading is beneficial to performance and has minimal impact on application functionality.

In short, there is very little reason not to upgrade, and cost has next to nothing to do with it.

Of course, in a complex network environment, there may be more things to control in the prep stage, but in "enormous corporations", I don't think that is an issue in itself.

Speaking for me, I know of no company in my economic area that is using less than R7. All companies I deal with are on R8.5.2 at least, which means practically the latest build pre-R9.

But hey, Notes-bashing is a sport, ain't it ?

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Bronze badge

Re: "the sort of enormous corporation that upgrades software as infrequently as possible"

Inbuilt into Domino is at least four different ways to upgrade, you can deploy customisable installers.

The only issue I ever had was anti virus's refusing to close notes.ini (Thankfully more of the entries moved to registry in recent releases).

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Thumb Down

Re: Ouroboros

Is this a private forum for IBM personnel? The only people who like Lotus Notes are the people that administer it. The users can go and screw themselves. Notes was very good at that.

Phil.

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Meh

Re: Ouroboros

@Ben Rose - Those images came from an image search for "notes splash screen" - having happily parted ways with it four years ago I've now no idea what the newest version was. But the same joke splash screen BMP worked fine through all the versions I was exposed to; I didn't make a fetish of copying it over the real ones, just did it whenever something unusually awful happened.

Maybe it's chalk-and-cheese different now, but I find it a little hard to believe not least because every update that we got was trumpeted as being wonderful, and I'm sure it was for the IS dept or the people who designed the databases or somebody else I never met, but as a humble victim it seemed relentlessly the same: the gratuitously weird UI remained gratuitously weird. I remember when the animated graphics accompanying the password entry got updated - the general sentiment around the office was the effort could have better spent on other UI aspects.

And "sucks a bit on the UI side" really is underplaying it - I'm looking at my inbox, I hit "CTRL-N", what should happen? Right back to early Mac apps 20 years before the ubiquitous semantic is "create a new document of the type most relevant to my context" and Notes supports this too - it brought up the "Create Database" interface. I never decided whether this was the proverbial "foolish consistency" (since that is an action that can be performed in any context maybe somebody fantasised it would be less confusing for the user) or maybe for true Notes lovers this is the most obvious and routine thing to want to do?

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Happy

@ PhilBuk

A whiff of deja vu raised the fleeting thought that I'd just found the secret hiding place of my old firm's Notes admin crew - some of their replies also played really well in the calming tones of HAL9000:

http://www.moviewavs.com/php/sounds/?id=bst&media=MP3S&type=Movies&movie=2001&quote=hal-fool.txt&file=hal-fool.mp3

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Pint

@Mongo - Re: Ouroboros

Most of the UI issues here are familiarity. For years, refreshing a view in Notes used F9. All other apps used the same, I remember refreshing web pages in Netscape using the F9 key.

Then Microsoft decided to use the F5 key for the same function. No idea why, everything else used F5. Of course, for people switching from Outlook to Notes, this was a Notes problem. A problem that it used F9 for fresh for years before Outlook even existed. F5 was used to lock the session in Notes, so this caused more issues.

In the end, we've now ended up with two buttons for refresh in Notes. F9 is still used, for backward compatibility, but now F5 works too - to help the moaners who aren't capable of adjusting. Now, to lock the session, I have to use Ctrl+F5.

Regarding Ctrl+N, this could never work. Many databases have multiple forms, how does it know which form you want to base the document on when you press Ctrl+N? There are also many functions you may to perform at the time a document is created, which is why forms are often hidden from the Create menu. It's fair feedback from your end but, as an application developer, I know it just couldn't work.

The main issue here is familiarity. Back when I started working with Notes in the 90s, Outlook didn't even exist. For most, Notes was the only email program they had ever used. The didn't have internet at home. They seemed to manage with Notes quite well.

Since then, IT literacy seems to have gone DOWN, not up. Everybody has smartphones and computers at home and thinks they know what they are doing. Management think the same, so they train staff less. Staff don't like to admit they're clueless, so they don't call the helpdesk much.

I've turned a lot of people around from being Notes haters, simply by sitting down with them and showing them how it works. Showing them what it is good at and how it can work for them. In the majority of cases, it's simply fear of the unknown. Of course, for the MCSEs who work in a company that runs Notes on Windows, it will always been a bone of contention.

Beer - because people stress too much over this stuff.

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Anonymous Coward

Much as I dislike Microsoft

I'm not a big Microsoft fan, but...

Notes is an outstanding database replication engine with a mail engine hastily botched on top with duct tape and an awful user interface. Exchange & Outlook are respectively a barely working mail server with an outstanding client app. Sorry, but the Exchange/Outlook combination has no rival because I spend my day on the client side.

Lotus Notes was very good at creating database apps faster than the users could get bored of them. So you end up with thousands of unused databases but happy managers.

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Re: Much as I dislike Microsoft

They can keep selling server backends called Domino, but they need to market Notes under a new name. Nobody will willingly touch it with a bargepole.

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Happy

IBM - Lotus?

My last all in brawl with IBM was to do with Lotus...

I came into it with some older software / ?????? ? Magazine CD / ???????? - long time ago.

It lead through to about 20 circular route links, to software that actually didn't work...

It was a profoundly BAD effort in the utmost of corporate stupidity.

IBM and it's Lotus employees can suck my balls.

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Trollface

Re: IBM - Lotus?

My last brawl with Microsoft was to do with 640k memory limits in MS-DOS.

It's about as relevant as your antiquated story.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Too late IBM. We're moving to either Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365.

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Anonymous Coward

IBM does have their own OpenOffice managed distro called Symphony. It costs $0, including tax.

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Flame

Speaking as a Notes consultant and developer . . .

I hate IBM. Mostly I hate how IBM has buried Notes and forgot to ever mention it since it bought Lotus.

Oh sure, IBM made Domino R5 become a real server, robust and all, with real admin tools. Sure, IBM has made Notes/Domino evolve tremendously since the last R4 "Lotus" release, to the point that the R8.5.3 version I am working with actually has next to nothing to do with the good ol' R4.6 client I started doing LotusScript with.

But where are the commercials for this great (from a dev point of view) product ? Where were the seminars to bring in management and make them understand the power of this product ?

What little was done is now gone, companies are moving en masse to Outlook/Sharepoint because IBM wanted to push Websphere, of which they sold 20 copies (give or take a few). So not only IBM has lost a vast installed user base on a great product, but IBM has practically actively pushed them into the arms of MS who is only now offering a similar product with inferior capabilities.

Where I'm working now I hear the Sharepoint team (5 guys) quoting a dev time of no less than three months to do a library booking app. I took a look at the specs and I could do that by myself in Notes in about a week, tops, including user meetings with the inevitable "can we have this button here instead ?".

So I'm honing my Sharepoint skills now, and considering the definition of the term "job security".

No thanks to you, IBM.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Speaking as a Notes consultant and developer . . .

You notes guys never really uderstood how bad the mail client was and still is.

What's more you never understood how this colored the victims perceptions. You will always be the guys responsible for.the awful mail client - why should you be trusted with anything else?

And it really is still as bad as it ever was. I count over 60 buttons, tabs menus etc. On my mail screen. Many are too small to distinguish. The search function is worse than useless.

Have the notes developers ever seen gmail? Infinitely superior and all done with manuscript.

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Facepalm

Note Bloat

I hate Notes. Outdated and, did mention "outdated"?

This also sounds like the same mindset that thinks we can all pay our bills by just using Facebook, Twitter and on-line gaming, smarter.

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Unhappy

Build it and they will come...

Many years ago in Canada, I was leading a move off mainframe to Windows Client/Server and they wanted an e-mail in the target platform. against stiff competition, we installed BeyondMail and made its application the default desktop. When firing up the machine, Notes came alive and did a quick run round the email folders, each housing a piece of work in a certain flow state. Clicking each "to-do" mail item launched an app to deal with it - a simple mail enabled workflow.

The client was delighted with it and, until Banyan Vines bought BeyondMail and ruined it the same way as IBM did with Notes, they stuck with it.

Plus ca change....

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Go

The Enterprise Email Market is Ripe

I'd say there are plenty of enterprises out there who are thoroughly pissed off with Exchange server and users thoroughly pissed off with Outlook to create fertile ground for Notes to be a viable alternative. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Outlook. It has some great features but lately Microsoft has focused every new upgrade on moving the buttons around and changing the UI so that you have to re-learn everything (even eliminating my most-loved keyboard combinations such as Alt-E + S for Paste Special which is now Alt H S V for no apparent reason). Microsoft is clearly moving the Outlook client in the direction of being almost indistinguishable from the Outlook 365 web version running on a tablet. Unfortunately, I do most of my work on my tablet at my desk with an external keyboard and display, and I want easy keyboard navigation which is far more productive than taking your hand off your keyboard constantly to use the mouse. Also, anyone who takes longhaul flights knows you can't fully rely on web apps sitting in the "cloud" when you have no connectivity to the cloud.

So, lots of people are open to a new player. It really depends on how the new Notes works. The hype coming from IBM sounds great. I'm going to check it out.

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