If this blog is tl:dr then here’s your takeaway
I can’t thank everyone at HCL enough for throwing open the doors and leaving them open. Together we will continue to innovate great things for customers
Last week Tim and I were invited to the 1st CWP Factory tour held by HCL at their offices in Chelmsford. “CWP” stands for “Collaboration Workflow Platform” and includes not only the products HCL took over from IBM late last year such as Domino, Traveler, Verse on Premises and Sametime but also new products that HCL are developing as extensions of those. These (that I can talk a little bit about) such as HCL Nomad (Notes for iPad) and HCL Places (a new client runnvetaing against Domino 10 and providing integrated collaborative services such as chat, AV , web and Notes applications) will be leapfrogging Domino far over its competitors.
I want to start by thanking HCL for inviting us inside to see their process. We met and made our voices heard with more than 30 developers and executives, all of who wanted to know “do you like this?” “what are we missing?”. I came away from the two days with a to-do list of my own at the request of various people to send in more details of problems or requirements I had mentioned when there. John Paganetti, who is also a customer advocate at HCL, hosted the “ask the developers” impromptu session (we had so many questions so they threw one into the agenda on day 2). We were told to get to know and reach out directly to the teams with our feedback and questions. If you don’t have a route to provide feedback and want one then please reach out.
Back in February I attended a Domino Jam hosted by Andrew Manby (@andrewmanby) from IBM in London. These were held all over the world and attendees were pushed to brainstorm around features that were missing or needed. That feedback was used to create priorities for v10 and many of the features requested at my session and others have appeared in the current beta and are committed to a v10 release. At the end of the 2nd day of the factory tour we again had a Domino Jam hosted by Andrew Manby but this time for Domino 11 features – wheeeeeeee! With the Jams and the Destination Domino blog as well as the #domino2025 hashtag activity, IBM are really stepping up to the products in a way they haven’t in several years. I want to recognise the hard work being done by Andrew, by Uffe Sorensen, and by Mat Newman amongst others, to make this IBM/HCL relationship work.
So what was the factory tour? It was a 2 day conference held at HCL’s (still being built) offices. I am pleased to say it was put together very informally, we were split into groups of about 10 (hi Daniel, Francie, Julian, Richard, Paul, Nathan, Devin, Fabrice!) and one by one the development teams came and took our feedback on the work they are doing. We worked with the Verse (on premises) team, the TCO team (looking at the Domino and Sametime servers), the Notes client team, the Nomad team and the Application Development team. It was an intense day in a good way with so much information being shared with us and questions being asked of us. It was also good to be told that the majority of what we saw and discussed could be shared publicly.
A few highlights (out of many) from the two days that were new to me:
- The new database repair and folder sync features in Domino 10 (shame on me for not remembering what they are called). The database repair feature will detect when a database is corrupted and replace it whilst the server is running with a new instance from a working cluster mate (another good reason to cluster). The folder sync feature will keep any Domino database files or NLOs in any listed folders in sync. This stuff is so cool and exactly what Domino clustering needed so we asked for them to extend the sync feature to include any files in the HTML directory such as HTML CSS and CGI scripts and they are considering that (v10 is a tight delivery timeline right now so no guarantees of anything).
- Some very candid discussions (I think repeated multiple times by everyone there) about getting rid of WebSphere for Sametime in the future and how to better provide Sametime services purely under Domino.
- HCL Places looking much evolved even in the few weeks since it was first shown at Engage – this is going to be a game changer client when it comes out.
- The Domino General Query Facility (DGQF) available in Domino 10 is the biggest investment in Notes/Domino code in 10 years. A query language accessible outside Domino that doesn’t require any knowledge of Domino design by a developer. Using DGQF you can rapidly query collections of documents represented by any criteria not necessarily views or forms. Using DGQF a regular web developer would be able to build a Node application, for instance, using back-end Domino data without ever having to learn the structure of the Domino database or touch Domino Designer. Here’s a sneaky picture I took of the positioning for DGQF.John Curtis who is the lead designer behind DGQF has been very responsive on twitter to questions about how it will work (@john_d_curtis)
- A lot of stuff Nomad and Node related which is still NDA but you’ll hear more about them at Collabsphere in Ann Arbor – HCL will be out in force as will IBM speaking, showing and listening so if you can you need to get yourself there. Turn out and turn up – there’s still time to get your voice heard.