The future of Notes, Domino, and Workplace ...

November 7 2003

If you have not read this interview with Michael Rhodin, please take the time to do so. It's a motherload of information. Here are some highlights that I think are important:

  • IBM Software is on a mission to connect the 5 brands together as much as possible, to leverage the features of each product
  • "Products" are still being developed, but all of the functionality is being developed as stand-alone or connectable components
  • While Workplace will leverage and be built upon Open Standards, such as J2EE, LDAP, etc, Workplace is being targeted to run on IBM software
  • A new "rich client" is on it's way. It will not replace the Notes client, but be positioned between the web client and the Notes client in terms of functionality
  • Workplace releases will be a release of the entire platform, not just a single product. This will keep the products and components in sync
  • Websphere Portal is the delivery tool IBM is standardizing on
  • IBM realizes the investment that customers and Business Partners have in Notes, Domino, and the addin products and there is no plan to kill those products.

What I took away from this is that IBM is on a very different path than it's competitors. Many of them kill their product line every 2 to 4 years, requiring complete rewrites or rearchitecture for an existing application to just run, not even take advantage, of the new platform. It shows they understand that customers are not going to just move to a brand new world of software overnight.

So for all of those of you that have to find scandal and conspiracy in everything (I only find scandal and conspiracy in everything the government does :), get over it. While the focus will move to the entire Workplace platform, Notes & Domino are still very much alive and well. Yes, someday, there will be a convergence of the current products and the new ones based on J2EE, but we are along way from that. I do not see that happening until migration tools are released and perfected, and the product feature sets equal out.

Personally, I am excited. This is a great time to be part of this process, at the beginning. We get to dirty our hands in the experience from day one. I for one, am looking forward to the journey!

Update: I got the idea for this blog from reading Ben Langhinrichs' of Genii Software two blog entries ("Rich clients all around" and "So, still worried about the barbarian's?")