IBM and Teamsolutionz workshop on Notes and Domino 8.5

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a workshop hosted by IBM Belfast and organised by Teamsolutionz. The focus of the workshop was the latest and I think greatest release of Notes todate – 8.5.1 and the new features of the product. For those that don’t know – Notes/Domino is an application development platform for windows/mac/linux and web applications. Its also a mail system with presence awareness and social networking tools tailored to business.

I have used Notes since version 4. I’ve written various applications – Helpdesk, Time Recording, Knowledgebases. I’ve taken data from mainframes and minis and presented it in a form that users could easily manipulate and manage and it hasn’t costs the earth of taken man months of coding effort. I’ve actually written barebones apps with clients in meetings to let them see the RAD aspects of the tool.


So yesterdays focus was on the new features – and I’ll pick two out of the masses to focus on – one for developers and one for system administrators



Wikipedia describes Xpages as


XPages are a design element of IBM Lotus Notes databases. They were introduced in Lotus Domino 8.5.0 which was formally announced at MacWorld 2009

Initially they provided a way for database developers to create web pages based on the database content. In Notes and Domino 8.5.1 released on 12 October 2009 XPages were extended to run both in a web browser and in the Notes client.

XPages work in parallel with the existing web capabilities of the Lotus Domino server, which were introduced in Domino 4.5 in December 1996.

XPages use JSF and the Dojo toolkit on the server, but developers create XPages with an Eclipse-based interface using both a GUI designer and XML-based “source” editor.

which in a kind way says that Notes has been sorely lacking in the area of tools that facilitate RAD for the web component side of development. With the addition of xpages in the Notes client application this means we have a “write web write once ” solution within the Lotus  Notes Designer that we have used to put together our applications to date. The significance here is that the coding / design complexities of decent web apps will change completely if Xpages delivers on its promises. So far I’ve heard some comments regarding learning curve and complexities versus using Adobe Flex as a GUI builder. So the challenge is get stuck into xpages and see what its likely for a confirmed part-time Lotuscript hacker.

The important things are twofold

1) Can xpages deliver ?

2) Now tha the Notes Designer is FREE – can IBM and business partners attract the new developers to this great platform?