Ed posted a blog entry about PKF dumps Lotus for Exchange last week. The comment thread went the route of 'Notes needs better sample applications, like the Nifty 50 of old.' It is a good conversation to have, even though I do not think the Nifty 50 would play the same role as before. Below is the comment I made:
I think that one thing that everyone is forgetting is the difference between an application on OpenNTF and something that comes in the box. On OpenNTF, there is no statement of quality or testing. Yes, people fix bugs and all that. But people do not test a template on every version of Notes & Domino (OS, Server platform, language). IBM has to do testing on all the platforms. They also have to do the language conversion.
Now, I am a huge supporter of OpenNTF and folks like Steve Castledine before he joined IBM (PSC does host OpenNTF for free), but its not apples to oranges.
Would OpenNTF developers be willing to stick to the blue rinse UI guidelines that Steve had to convert dominoblog to? I am not sure.
This does not even cover the legal issues ... if IBM puts an OpenNTF app in the box, or even something built for free by partners, IBM still has risk of being the target for a legal fight if something goes wrong.
I remember the Nifty 50 very well. They were great 'see, this is what Notes can do' before LotusScript was added to Notes in 4.0. I also remember the Business Partner forum and L-NotesL email list talking about how no one used them in the real world ... there was always changes and tweaking. There was also a Business Partner contest where applications were built on 4.X. The winners won a Satellite for the TEN broadcast of the old LotusVision broadcasts. I know because I wrote one of the apps that won ... and Artron got the satellite. Its been a while, but I never heard of anyone using those apps in the real world.
Would another Nifty 50 bring more customers to Notes? Not sure. Would OpenNTF having a matching app for all the Sharepoint apps help? To some extent yes. I think IBM is better of focusing on "> 7.9.9 | < 8.0.1" then on these. If everyone in this thread took one of those apps, built a first version, got it on OpenNTF in the next week, and we all starting collaborating on testing, comments, and translations, then this might turn into somethinig. I will even committ to the "Legal Document Review Workflow" one ... anyone else?
I thought this might generate more discussion then it did, so I decided to blog about it here.
I believe the reality is:
1) IBM is so focuses on Hannover that this will not get addresses in the time frame where it would be useful.
2) IBM has to do so much stuff (translating to all supported languages, testing on every server and client configuration, etc).
I really believe the best option here is for the community to come together and build a bunch of these. We could pick the 20 or so that are at the top of the list, get a couple people per template, and go for it. We could also use the 'Blue Rinse' UI that Steve Castledine used to update Dominoblog to the IBM Blog Template for 7.0.2. Maybe we can get some of the folks who made the awesome applications on OpenNTF.org to update their applications with this common UI. If we put it together in a package, I am sure we could get it linked and into the hands of the right people ... people doing demos and downloads. Inside PSC, we have a saying "Do not complain about a problem without at least one possible solution." We can all complain about what is not there, or we can try to do something about it.
I would be willing to help organize it. What we need are people to step up and participate. Anyone interested?