How to build a Saturn V rocket to pick up your groceries

by Volker Weber

In the final part of our article series on IBM Workplace application development, we develop a simple noteboard application for IBM Workplace. ... To keep things simple, we focus only on the application aspects that affect IBM Workplace and do not address in detail the problems that many J2EE applications must consider, ...

OK, here is the deal: One form where you can enter a subject and a description. One view, that shows all notes with subject, author and date. One button for composing a new note, OK and cancel on the form. How long does it take to build this?

On the positive side, the design and development of this application took approximately 30 hours of development work for one person, which is a relatively short time, and illustrates that the Workplace platform is easy to develop applications for.

30 hours? "On the positive side"? You have to read the whole thing to see how complicated you can make matters in this development environment.

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That has to be good news for IBM consulting :-)

Carl Tyler, 2005-01-07

I'm quite sure they mean the positive side of the ledger for the consultant involved, as there is no other positive side I can see.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2005-01-07

This paragraph has to be a candidate for most confusing paragraph of the year:

[Editor's note: IBM Workplace is synonymous with Lotus Workplace. In this article, we refer to IBM Workplace, or simply Workplace, but we refer to the Workplace Products API Toolkit 1.0 as the Lotus Workplace Products API Toolkit. Other products previously known by the Lotus Workplace brand, such as Lotus Workplace Team Collaboration, are referred to by Workplace: Workplace Team Collaboration, Workplace Messaging, and so on.]

Carl Tyler, 2005-01-07

Glad you're here to keep em honest...

Tony S Lee, 2005-01-07

I have been busy working with (and learning) Ruby on Rails and developing one big and some minor applications with it.

The example from IBM would take something like 10 minutes to do in Rails. My biggest application was developed over the last month on the train: 2 hours each day, about two weeks full time all in all. And it does quite a bit more than just "one form, one note"

Sheesh - Notes used to be a very productive environment back in the "old days", whatever happened to that?

Jens-Christian Fischer, 2005-01-07

And in Notes, it would take, what, 30 MINUTES?? If that?

Reminds me of a general session at IBM DeveloperWorks a couple years ago, in New Orleans. Senior IBM guy made a big deal about a J2ee app updating an employee record LIVE in SAP in GERMANY! Guy edited his phone number or something (LIVE! To GERMANY! SAP!).

Then he said that it "Only" took 2 Java developers 2 weeks to code it. The Domino people in the room (not many, but some) were rolling on the floor laughing.

Bob Balaban, 2005-01-07

I'm actually not surprised that much - as long as IBM refers to companies like Escada as being small customers (this was a product manager(!!!!!) speaking not too long ago) we should not be surprised.

From three years experience with (purely) IBM by now I would say, that IBM's paradigm of what a customer is is very different, than the one Microsoft, Apple and many other suppliers on this planet work from. It's "just" a focus on a different kind (size) of customers. However, I don't see that many customers of this kind around. Maybe that's part of the problem?!

I don't wish bad for IBM, but I think they would need to re-invent themselves upside down the same way, they had to when joining the PC market beginning of the 80s. And I don't see them there yet. They are still thinking in terms of 'products' and "doing it right". That's not what's required at this point of time.

Stefan Heinz, 2005-01-07

"And in Notes, it would take, what, 30 MINUTES?? If that?" yeah if you have a really bad hang over :-)

Carl Tyler, 2005-01-07

I DO have a BAD hangover, and it still only took 5 minutes. :-)

Henry Newberry, 2005-01-07

Lest we forget: It takes another 30 days to get the project funded and signed off. And it takes another 30 days to write the required documentation and procedures. And then another 30 days of educating the people who run the application. And this was only the developer and not the other people involved in phone conferences and meetings. :-)

Volker Weber, 2005-01-07

Don’t forget the required infrastructure changes as well: raising a request to open firewalls to the allow the Notesboard Service Delegator though and so forth... ;o)

Ben Poole, 2005-01-07

well, this isn't really a very accurate representation of what you'll be seeing displayed for the first time at Lotusphere.

I believe you'll see things moving in the right direction.

Andrew Pollack, 2005-01-07

Hey, this is MS talk: Yeah, the old version was kind of shitty. But look at the new one. That is really great.

Volker Weber, 2005-01-07


Can you say ActiveX controls? Just kidding.

Bruce Elgort, 2005-01-07

At the risk of getting flamed, I'll just say that you missed the point of the article, no? You could probably write this particular app in notepad faster, but it wouldn't be integrated with anything else.

@Bob - I was wondering if someone was going to bring that one up! I remember that, too. But, that's the story of a Domino developer - no respect!

You can talk to Hardy directly about it at Lotusphere, if you are going. He's a good guy and coming over from Germany to speak and take arrows in the lab. :)


Chris Reckling, 2005-01-07

But maybe this textfield can hold more than 15KB of text?

Tobias Mueller, 2005-01-09

There is a right tool for a particular job. It seems to me that Notes and J2EE are not meant for the same problem domain. The fact that people do apply them such only speaks to their misunderstanding of the tools (or the problem or both).


Slawek Rogulski, 2005-01-09

Back from Lotusphere, still alive, nobody shot me ;-)

Slawek, thanks a lot for your last comment. The articles are targeted at J2EE developers and are leveraging the lower level APIs and development tools available for implementing custom collaborative application components for IBM Workplace Collaboration Services. I have been a Domino developer for more than 5 years myself and I am well aware that the same functionality could be implemented with a few clicks in Domino.
BUT, the right tool at the right time. The Noteboard sample was not chosen to show how easy it is to implement the functionality of a Noteboard. It was chosen to show what it takes to build reusable custom application components for IBM Workplace from scratch.
With the IBM Workplace Designer we are providing a tool that brings a Domino Designer like development experience to produce complete collaborative application components for IBM Workplace. Building something like the Noteboard component would be a very simple job using Workplace Designer. So again, the right tool at the right time ;-)

Hardy Groeger, 2005-01-28

Hardy, it was good seeing you, although I was too slow to connect the dots before leaving the room. ;-)

And, of course you are right. Workplace Designer will change the landscape here, IF it does work as advertized. I am a little bit less excited than most others seem to be, because I have not used it so far. Past experience has taught me that (a) a 1.0 version is usually only a good concept and (b) to not trust demos. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2005-01-28

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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