Just forget about Notes 8 Classic

by Volker Weber

This is an opinion piece. And I am changing my mind. So, listen up. ;-)

The more I see of Notes 8, the more I am convinced you only want the full thing. Just stop thinking about Notes Classic. If you want to run this, just stay on Notes 6.5.

What's changing my mind is all the stuff that I see. Things that won't work without Eclipse. Kevin Cavanaugh just sat down with me, and we discussed this whole naming issue. I am more and more convinced that Lotus should play the Microsoft game. Minimum requirements 512 MB RAM, recommended 1 Gig and then install the whole shebang.

The current client looks reasonably nice, much better than the last demos I saw. I think there is still a lot of stuff that could be thrown out, like the icon left of the mail header, and that some new designs don't work for me at all. It just isn't done yet. If the design team would get a bit more radical throwing decoration out, especially on the calendar display, then things would improve even more.

Some of the improvements will not be available to you as a template developer. IBM is using Java components to render stuff in the mail template which you cannot use yet. The plan is to make them available post-Hannover, but for now you won't get them.

I also saw a very interesting demo of composite applications and how you wire them together. You wire a data source to a target action, and both are described as WSDL. Lotus will make PIM components so you can build composite applications which use your inbox for instance. Interesting stuff I will write more about.

Even if I repeat myself: You want the full Notes 8 client, built on Eclipse. If you don't — just forget about Notes 8.


That's pretty much where I'm at with this. Not all our hardware will support Eclipse satisfactorily, and I was holding off upgrading all my clients to Notes 7 to see how the classic client fleshed out. I'm going to go to Notes 7 and then budget upgrades for 2008.

Charles Robinson, 2006-11-14

I keep seeing this about Eclipse being required for the full Notes 8 client. What I haven't been able to locate is documentation that explains what is required, how do you install it, and how do you support it as an administrator. I hope they plan to put out such documentation BEFORE they release the product so we can plan our migration path accordingly.

Rod Westwood, 2006-11-14

I can just see Ed slowly banging his head on the desk after reading this :D

Kerr Rainey, 2006-11-14

Could this

"I think there is still a lot of stuff that could be thrown out, like the icon left of the mail header, and that some new designs don't work for me at all. It just isn't done yet. If the design team would get a bit more radical throwing decoration out, especially on the calendar display, then things would improve even more."

be a cultural thing? Germans (my sweeping generalisation for the day)tend to always have much cleaner lines in design and very rarely have something that doesn't have a function or purpose. Other cultures often view graphics usage very differently. Could one cultures clutter be another cultures design genius?

Like when the Mac design came out, when they first came out to most Europeans the styling was not very new at all as it had been the same design used in many appliances like kettles and irons. Here in the US though it was seen as a radical design.

Personally I like clean designs, but that isn't true of everyone.

Carl Tyler, 2006-11-14

Why is IBM even going to offer a 'classic' version? In our case we will want the full product and utilize everything it can offer. You of course have to think about the min. requirements, but everything now requires huge amounts of RAM etc. I can't wait for Notes 8.0.

David Russell, 2006-11-14

@Kerr - or reaching for some Tylenol. :-) As usual, nice analysis, Volker. I really appreciate your views on this and the discussions that follow.

Gregg Eldred, 2006-11-14

@Rod: I totally agree. What I would like to see is a simple list of what I need.
Today I have a couple of Domino servers in different branch offices, as well as a corporate server. They are runing Windows 2000 Server.

So exactly what do I need? What products? What comes on the install CD:s for Domino 8 and Notes 8?

Can I run setup.exe and simply select "Domino 8 Eclipse" and have the server setup? What all get installed?

What about the clients? They are running Windows XP Professional. Can I just install "Notes 8 Eclipse" from the CD and get everything I need installed?

I just know my managers will ask for this as soon as I start talking about Notes 8. Ed? Can you provide something that even an executive that know nothing about Eclipse, DB2 ("ah, that car James Bond is driving in those old movies"), frameworks ("is that something you use at construction sites"), etc...

Karl-Henry Martinsson, 2006-11-14

@Karl-Henry, tell your executives that they are upgrading to a new version of Notes.

Or point them here. It is maybe too high level, but it's where we are at documentation-wise at the moment.

Ed Brill, 2006-11-14


Can you post something about the performance? Which Hardware do you use? Is it "running" on your hardware? Or is a fast CPU and a lot of RAM needed?

Bastian Wieczorek, 2006-11-14

At the risk of fueling the fire, here is the general gist of comments made in various blogs:

1. There is one installer for Notes 8.
2. Expeditor (IBM's modified version of Eclipse RCP) will be installed if the features you select during install require it.
3. Everything you need will be in the installation package.

The issue comes in regarding how Expeditor impacts Notes, both generally and specifically. Ed has said a few times that they're working on the marketing message to describe this interaction. I really think we should hold off, let them get their ducks in a row, and when they come out with their official response then we can pick it apart. :) I'm not sure that we're helping the process by demanding answers right now (I'm including myself in that criticsm).

Charles Robinson, 2006-11-14

Java components in the mail template? Does this spell an even slower mail client than 6.x?

Ed Maloney, 2006-11-14

Java components do not necessarily translate to slow. Once a java virtual machine is loaded java applications work quite well, at least on modern hardware. Starting the client at all may take some time.
It is not comparable but the Sametime 7.5 client may give a good first impression about how an Eclipse based application works.
I still have at least some fear that fat will become too fat

Henning Heinz, 2006-11-15

Ed, when you read Java components you probably thought Java applets as they once were used in web applications. That is not the case.

Hannover has moved some of its user interface into Eclipse. Eclipse runs on top of a Java VM. So everything that is rendered directly through Eclipse is a Java component or an SWT widget. However, Notes still renders a lot of stuff directly. This is not a clean room re-implementation of everything Notes does on the user interface. So if your application uses a view and it was built in Designer, that view will be rendered by Notes (the C++ stuff). Lotus has started to build "cooler" Java renderings, and the mail template uses those. They just won't work automatically, and in the 8.0 release you will not be able to use them. Eventually you may find a checkbox which says "render in Java" or something like that.

Henning, that is one of the magic things in Expeditor. You can profile your application in an xml file, and that determines what is thrown into the runtime. The goal is to make it as small as possible.

Bastian, that is too early to tell. On a recent Notebook it look OK. But this is not the time to really speculate on performance. Notes 8 comes out next year, and my prediction is that it comes out at the end of the summer. We won't see large deployments before 2008. So a lot of the old hardware will be gone by then. If a computer can run Vista, it certainly can run Notes 8. I don't know if it can run both at the same time though. :-)

Volker Weber, 2006-11-15

OK, now I understand something about the architecture and requirements. I must admit that 1 GB is a huge amount that won't be available in an average PC in 2008 what we will have in 14 months.
Our average pc usage depends on the lifecyle of the OS, which was started with a mayor rollout in 2005 to XP. This OS will run for maybe 3 to 4 years and that's the minimum we use desktops right.
The standard machine has 512 MB and an upgrade is too expensive (not the memory but the coordination of the upgrade & installation itself).
So I won't notes 8 before 2009 in our company environment and maybe at that time everybody is talking about Notes 9 fat client. And I assume that the performance will also be low at 2 year old machines.

But I will take a look at both clients.

Wolfgang Andreas Bischof, 2006-11-15

Wow Volker,

That's as close to an "Andrew, you were right all along." as I think I'm going to get from you any time soon. :-)

David : The reason for a 'classic' notes 8 is that the full shootin match is going to have some significantly heavier system requirements when compared with the current Notes 7 versions. IBM can't just require everyone upgrade all that hardware across huge corporations before buying into an upgrade. It leaves clients unable to upgrade for months or years in some cases.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-15

"IBM can't just require everyone upgrade all that hardware across huge corporations before buying into an upgrade."

Yeah, that's Microsoft's Job :-)

Declan Lynch, 2006-11-15

Declan -- you're not wrong on that count at all. Microsoft and Intel are so closely tied together with each driving upgrades to the other that it isn't funny. Add ATI and NVIDIA to the mix because they do the same thing with the DirectX development and you start to see how insular the whole thing is.

Andrew Pollack, 2006-11-15

For installation: as far as I understood the concept you will be able to install the Notes 8 client (the one and only) using SmartUpgrade from your existing Notes installation.
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2006-11-15

With regards requirements, I can't conceive of anyone running PCs in two or three years' time with only 1GB of RAM or less: that would be crazy.

OK, so I'm a developer and have slightly higher requirements from my PC than a typical end-user, but I'm already running with 2GB upon my StinkPad, and could do with more than that!

Ben Poole, 2006-11-15

I agree with Volker. No need to upgrade to Notes 8 if you cannot meet the minimum Expeditor requirements. Why they even offer a Notes classic is beyond my understanding. Just stick with what you have.

Is there a migration path Classic->Expeditor in case you change your mind about all the cool new Notes 8 features?

As for our hardware: We just recently changed to XP and Vista is a non-event for us. In my last company they had Notes 5 on Pentium 3 running fine. Having to upgrade to 512MB or 1GB is certainly a massive slow-down for the roll-out.

As a developer I am unsure whether I should use Expeditor stuff or not. Talking about development. IBM says Expeditor runs on mobile devices. Does that mean my Notes applications will automatically run on them, too?

Thilo Hamberger, 2006-11-15

IBM does not say Expeditor runs on mobile devices. If they do, they try to confuse you. Expeditor builds runtimes that run on mobile devices. The components it uses must be able to run on the target environment. Since Notes does not run on them, your applications will neither.

Volker Weber, 2006-11-15

I have a branding idea see what you think:

Notes 8.0 (without the expeditor) - and you can apply incremental updates i.e. 8.01 for the future.

Notes 8.5 (the client with expeditor)

This is kind of similar to Notes 6 and Notes 6.5 - latter having the sametime built in. Kind of..

If used, please send donations too....

David Russell, 2006-11-15

Lotus Notes at the end of life time within Terminal Server Environments ?

With Notes 8 on Eclipse you can handle two or three Notes Clients per Terminal Server - this would finally kick out Lotus Notes from large infrastructures.

So is there a lack in the IBM Strategy ?

Matthias Hertel, 2007-01-03

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