Many Pies

Many Pies

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

RIP Lotus Notes

I am shortly to have my mail client changed from Lotus Notes to Outlook. When I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators back in 1998 Notes was our system for information systems development. Not long after that though a strategic decision was taken to move away from it. It remained as our email client though, as there was no good, easy alternative.

The email client always felt like a bit of an add-on to the rest of the system, rather than being designed specifically for email. However the rest of the system was pretty impressive at the time. There was no need to create a database when starting an application, you just designed a form and the data was stored magically somewhere. Things like security, encryption, access control and replication Just Worked, without too much effort, so it seemed. You could point your web browser at the Domino server and you got a basic web version of your application without having to create extra stuff. However it never really took the corporate world by storm, although I can imagine there are a lot of committed users.

Ray Ozzie, the man behind Lotus Notes (that article needs a lot more filling out, doesn't it?) has an interesting career. Notes was bought by IBM. He left and created a similar-but-different product called Groove, which was bought by Microsoft. Now it exists as Sharepoint Workspace.

Things I won't miss about Lotus Notes email (at least in v6.5 which we are using):
  • The way when a new email arrives it puts a little button at the top of the email folder to say "click here to see your new messages". I don't want to have to click, I just want to see them!
  • The way when you log in it tells you about all the reminders it's already told you about for the past few days, not just the ones since you last logged in.
  • The way you can't open two emails side by side.

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