Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Ugly Duckling

It has been a long time since I blogged. It has been a very busy late spring and summer. We are finally completing our IBF Portal module that handles all interactive between a user and the Integrated Business Framework components on the Domino server. For years now Notes has been the "Ugly Duckling" of the IT world and both pro and con Notes users have complained about it. The new Notes 8 interface will bring a great new look and feel that has been lacking for years in the Notes interface. However, the standard version of Notes 8 also has a much heavier hardware requirement especially with Vista. For companies that have older hardware or will not be able to have the necessary hardware soon, they can upgrade to Notes 8 basic but it still has the same interface that everyone complains about.

In the last beta, IBM has done a great job in improving the loading speed of the client but not as fast as the Notes basic client. But the Basic client has an advantage, speed. Since it is smaller and lighter than standard client, it runs faster and load faster even if you have older hardware. Given the size of the standard client it will be interesting how fast the Nomad 8 client will be. USB 2.0 is only so fast. Yes, it is true that the Notes 8 basic client can not provide you access to some of the new capabilities. This is a trade off that most organizations will need to assess in the future.

But not to despair, for current users using 6.5 and 7 and future users of Notes 8 basic, Notes does not need to be a "Ugly Duckling." It takes thinking out of the box and the understanding what Notes can truly do. When developing the IBF Portal, we needed to have an interface that worked not only for large Notes organizations but for small organizations whom might never have used Notes, but was familiar with Microsoft. We wanted an interface that could work with our IBF applications and with applications developed by other organizations. The interface needed to work in a hosted environment and on a local server environment. It had to run well not only in a LAN environment but also on the Web. And here is the results. I will talk more about the techniques and tricks over the course of the next few months.

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