DOCOVA: The first legit successor to Lotus Notes?



External ImageSo it's 2017 and despite plenty of marketing hype we're still waiting for Sharepoint or any other major vendor product to prove a worthy replacement for the power and flexibility of Lotus Notes as an application platform. There are countless examples of business-critical Lotus Notes and Domino apps that are still chugging away even after million$ have been spent on failed migrations (or hopefully because those millions remain wisely unspent). The reason for this is simple: Notes is special.

You see, there are two types of people in the (IT) world: Those that truly, deeply, get Notes. And everybody else. If you were expecting a successful migration of a complex Notes app and didn't hire someone in the first group to help, you were probably disappointed. If you were expecting a completely new platform to come along and truly replace Notes itself, you should likewise expect folks from the first group to build it. And maybe they just did.

If you yourself are among the group of IT folks who truly understand the capabilities and usefulness of Lotus Notes then you've probably bumped into John Ryan or Gary Walsh from DLI.Tools (aka Docova). As third-party tool vendors DLI.Tools has been a force in the Lotus Community for decades. These guys get it, better than you and I in all likelihood. The Docova product has for years been a sensible upgrade from a Quickr or Domino.Doc installation. Now with the release of version 5 of Docova, they are aiming a little higher. As John recently put it on his blog introducing the new release:

So, why doesn’t anybody out there have a true end-to-end migration solution for Notes applications like DOCOVA?  Two reasons, first, because it’s difficult.  Second, because it’s difficult.

Companies don’t want to process re-engineer their Notes applications on a “new” software platform because it can’t do what Notes did.  They need better.  That’s why we stepped into this arena.

I highly recommend checking out the Docova blog where John is currently up to part 7 in a 17-part Migrate Notes to DOCOVA Blog Series. You will also find links to a short youtube demo video that will probably blow you away. Watch this space...

Food, Water, Air, Ytria Tools for IBM Lotus Notes



And not necessarily in that order. Suffice it to say that Ytria's "Addiction May Occur" marketing slogan from a few years ago is spot on:


I kind of knew this already but a three-day spell this week spent waiting for fresh licenses really drove home the point. What's that you say? You're a Notes/Domino admin or developer and don't use Ytria tools? Don't worry, not all addictions are bad (see above list).

Link: Ytria Tools for Notes Administrators and Developers Why our startup has no bosses, no office, and a four-day work week



We couldn’t understand why people without technical knowledge had to tell programmers “what” to do and, furthermore, they had to supervise “how” programmers did it.

This article really resonated with me since I have frequently seen first hand how a lack of conscientious programming can cost an organization in the long run.Call me crazy but I have always taken the long view when coding since much of my work in recent years has involved unravelling the "shortcuts" and  sloppy work of previous programmer/developers. Why do so many programmers produce so much crappy code?

At big tech companies we frequently observed how programmers would do bad work in a short period of time and receive praise from their bosses. Over time, this leads to the standard: “let’s program with low quality but as fast as possible.”

So, blame it on the managers! Indeed after asserting that a developer needs at least a 4-hour stretch uninterrupted to be most effective, one of my favorite observations in the article neatly articulates the damage that even a "short meeting" can cause:

If for example, our boss assigns a meeting at 11am, then the morning is lost since I have to get ready for the meeting, attend the meeting, greet everybody, discuss the topics, then I have to go back to my desk and pick up exactly from where I had left off, see what I was doing and keep on programming. With all these activities, the whole morning is practically lost.

As the article points out not all developer/programmers are suited for a self-guided style of work, but I recently marked 3 years working almost entirely from home and have to agree that if you can pull it off, the benefits are tremendous, both in terms of quality of work and lifestyle. I believe my choice of platform (Lotus Notes) is also particularly well-suited to this style of work.


Tim Tripcony



The Lotus Community lost a treasured member with the sudden passing of our friend Tim Tripcony. I don't know what else to do but help remember him and found this clip buried in my archives. This was from the Design Partner party at Lotusphere 2009. Tim you will be missed...

Oct. 24th DCLUG: Ytria and Teamstudio Admin/Dev Toolfest Doubleheader



DCLUG MeetupPlease join the DC Lotus User Group October 24th to welcome both Ytria and Teamstudio to Washington (well, Tysons Corner actually). Well known for their sanity preserving admin and developer tools prized by productive and heroic Lotus professionals for many years, both vendors will be in town for our first ever *morning* DCLUG event. In addition to showing off their latest wares in back to back sessions, they will stick around for a lunchtime "Stump the LUG" session where we invite you to share your own technical pain points with the entire group and to discuss how you can address them (perhaps with tools you didn't know you needed). 

For more information and to RSVP for this event, visit our Meetup page.

Mark Roden to Headline DCLUG Meeting March 20th, 2013



DCLUG MeetupI can't think of a better reason to break blog silence than to announce the opening of a new chapter for DCLUG. In case you've been living under a rock for the last year (or like in my case had a new baby), you might have missed the many great articles that our adopted son Mark has been writing over on his blog. Well, Mark is also fresh off his debut at Lotusphere, er, IBMConnect this past January, where he covered the topic of JQuery in XPages, and he is going to bring some of that experience to Washington DC later this month. And I should mention that Mark is actually local to DC (don't let the British accent fool you) and is working to organize more DCLUG events in the months ahead. If there is a topic you want covered, let him know!

For all details check out his blog post here.

DCLUG Reboot - Join Us April 18th for Lunch (and Apps!)



DCLUG MeetupIf you are in or near Washington DC next Wednesday (April 18th) around lunchtime, the DC Lotus User Group (aka DC Lotus Professionals) is teaming up with to host what amounts to a "lunch 'n' learn" session you might want to check out. I will actually be the featured speaker and will be putting my own spin on a session originally put together by Bruce Elgort and Niklas Heidloff at Lotusphere this past January called "Apps, Apps, and More Apps: Meet the Very Best Open Source Apps from OpenNTF".

For all the details of what, where, and when check out DC Lotus Professionals on As this is the first DCLUG event in over a year, we will also be looking to bring on new members, including those with an interest in taking on leadership and organizing roles within the group. With both and IBM ramping up support for local user groups, this is a great time to get involved. Don't be shy!

IMPORTANT: You will need to register on our site in order to attend. Hope to see you there!

Is There Really a Shortage of Lotus Notes Developers? Take the Census!



Interesting year we're having, eh? Perhaps a bit more than the usual amount of consternation over the future of, well, everything Yellow. Amidst all the hubbub I thought I'd break blog silence to address one specific issue that it seems has been at least a contributing factor in IT decisions to move away from Notes as an application platform. I also set up a census/survey related to this question, but more on that below...

I was inspired to write this post after Lotus Developer and XPage Guru David Leedy last month sparked a vibrant conversation with his post Company might leave Notes App Dev (but not email) due to lack of developers about his former employer in Lebanon, PA. The issue at hand is the apparent shortage of Lotus Notes/Domino development talent and how that has caused this company to consider a complete shift away from Domino apps. That Lebanon is a relatively small market probably makes finding any kind of IT talent a bit harder than many places, but I've heard similar complaints from IT managers in big cities as well.

I don't know about you, but every time I hear someone cite a Lotus talent shortage for why it makes sense to move away from Domino (typically to Sharepoint /.NET), I struggle to reconcile that perception with the frequent complaints from fellow Lotus developers about the shortage of jobs. Clearly there is a disconnect somewhere, and I have an idea about its cause.  What I see here is a "vicious circle" meets "chicken and egg" problem, with a sizable pool of "hidden" Lotus talent sitting on the job search sidelines, too afraid (if they have a job) or too discouraged (whether they have a job or not, whether doing Lotus development or not) to post their resume/CV for potential (or current) employers to see. Employers in turn conclude there is a talent shortage and give up looking to instead pursue a new platform strategy.

It is worth noting that there is also a bit of a false equivalence when comparing the number of available Lotus Notes developers (and more so administrators) to the number focused on Sharepoint/.Net/ SQL/ IIS. Frankly, you need fewer bodies to maintain and develop for the Lotus platform (Feel free to offer specific examples or counter-examples in the comments). And considering how easy it can be to work remotely on Domino administrative and development tasks (even offline - thank you local replication!), Notes shops need not limit themselves to local talent.. Also, as was pointed out in the comments on David's post, you can grow your own developers by *training* them, and there is a ton of XPages training material out now. These points are. sadly, lost on many IT decision makers.

It's hard to dispute that Lotus Notes/Domino is struggling in the market when even IBM are actively downplaying the Lotus brand. It's very easy to rationalize an application platform shift in the current climate, but on this one point about a "talent shortage" I am extremely skeptical. Is there a genuine Lotus talent shortage?

I'd like to hear from you!

I would also like to invite you and any current or former Lotus Developer friends you know to respond to a brief Lotus Developer "Census" (i.e. survey) I set up to validate my "hidden talent" theory. The results of the survey will be shared publicly, but any personal contact info you choose to provide will be seen only by myself. I would encourage you to include your name and email though, as I am hoping this survey will prove a valuable recruiting tool going forward (especially for those of you who are unhappy or underutilized). Your contact information will also allow me to contact you to follow up on any interesting comments you may offer as part of your survey responses. I'm hoping this will be a learning experience for all of us. Thank you for responding and for helping spread the word.

Please Click Here to Take Part in the Lotus Developer Census

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