Notes 8 R5

by Volker Weber

This is the user experience you get if your mail file is on an IMAP server:

notes 8 r5

Smells of R5. If you look at the templates, you will find many generations. Only a few have been ported to the Notes 8 look:

notes templates

What is the reason? Not enough talent to get it done?

As expected the Workspace does not look anything like this:


This is the Workspace in the standard (New Coke) configuration:

notes 8 workspace new

And this is the basic (Classic Coke) configuration:

notes 8 workspace classic


Volker, as usual you are right, and it's your job to be critical (or at least analytical) of new products.

However, I can't help but wish you would leave it at least until after the weekend to pick the bones of the Notes8 release! Somehow seems mean to be pulling it apart so soon ;-)

Stuart McIntyre, 2007-08-17

Hey, I have been keeping quiet for months. ;-) Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who sees these things.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-17

THAT is shocking.

I had assumed that each "built-in" template would be brimming with 8-Client functionality to showcase just what's under the hood.

Are they going to rely on the Lotus Blogging Community & OpenNTF for EVERYTHING?! ;-)

Chris Toohey, 2007-08-17

I seem to recall coming across some templates in 7 that were still R5 designs so I'm not the least bit surprised. The admin stuff in particular has been horribly outdated. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some of those have been largely untouched on the UI side since R4.

Charles Robinson, 2007-08-17

Is it just me or are you getting more and more cynical? You sound kind of frustrated. I hope you'll get more than just frustration from Notes 8 ;-)

Martin Hiegl, 2007-08-17

Not frustrated at all. I don't have to work with it. Just looking. What you find cynical is just the difference between what I see and what I am supposed to see.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-17

That critic is absolutely correct. R8 has tons of new great features and it is still an awesome release, but already during the betas it became clear that by far not everything has been redesigned to match the same new UI. (Well not even all forms in the mail-template and the private addressbook-template are updated).
I personally can't really understand this, because most of these redesigns would not take a long time and it has been declared that the UI-redesign is the top priority of R8. I would have rather prefered that some new feature would have been skipped or the release would have been delayed only to get it perfect this time. (There is a huge difference between 99% done and 100%) :-)
Well at least this is something that can be fixed in the 8.0.1 version, but once a reputation of a release gets scratches, then it is so much more difficult to repair them then before.
Why oh why does IBM give the Notes-haters still so many sticks to beat them. :-(

PS: This issue has been already raised during the betas here

Hynek Kobelka, 2007-08-17

Only fair I do this Volker. A slight UI issue with your blog :-)

Enter a comment, and instead of pressing the submit button after entering the confirmation number press the enter key and you get a weird screen returned...


Carl Tyler, 2007-08-17

This is odd. I try to reproduce the error, but I can't.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

One thing I notice is that you are still showing the cgi script in your address bar, when you should be seeing the individual archive entry. That does not happen when I hit enter instead of clicking submit.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

My CIO will give me a wearly smile and say: "Outlook can ...."
IBM, sorry. 2 years just for showing us how it could look like ?

But nice program icons ;-)


P.S.Apropos New Coke

Sascha Troll, 2007-08-18

@Hynek: I beg to differ a little. In my experience, re-skinning Notes database templates can take a lot longer than you'd think—all those pesky action bars, buttons here, there and everywhere, clever (but involved) hacks to produce rounded table corners, and so on and so forth.

(Although if the template team use things like the Ytria tools that would make life easier).

However, given the lack of progress with templates in time for the 8.0 release, I wonder whether the Lotus Template team actually exists now?

Ben Poole, 2007-08-18

There's some very valid points here.

I am, however, inclined to think that using Notes for an IMAP server is akin to ordering a Big Mac without lettuce, cheese or onions.

Ben Rose, 2007-08-18

I know in the Beta, if you went to File - Preferences - Basic Notes Client and unchecked the "Textured Workspace" option, the workspace looked a bit nicer (I still work entirely out of the workspace -- let's not start that war again...).

Not quite as nice as the "expected" workspace you show above, but a little more modern.

Julian Robichaux, 2007-08-18

It probably depends on whether you buy IBM's gospel of being "open" and "standards". IMAP servers work pretty much with all mail clients. Including Outlook.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

Julian, funny how the old 3.x Workspace looks more modern than the 4.0 one. :-)

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

@Hynek & Ben P.: Don't forget the QA impact, multiplied by two versions of the client, multiplied by three platforms.

Richard Schwartz, 2007-08-18

Two for Windows, one for Linux. Next year one for Mac.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

Shouldn't you be able to update the template design no matter if you only use IMAP or not? Mail files do not get automatically upgraded (at least not with the default settings).
The final behaves much better than the first public beta and I do understand that for the installed base this is a major improvement at least if you have the required hardware power. I am curious about the feedback of potential new customers and companies that have already moved mail or are considering a switch.

Henning Heinz, 2007-08-18

RE Workspace: well, it's not nearly as bland as the Notes 3.0 workspace, and it's actually got nice rollover effects and rounded edges and whatnot.

Besides, retro is in style. ;-)

Julian Robichaux, 2007-08-18

I "re-skinned" the journal template to look somewhat like the "Basic" version of the Address Book (open NLNOTES.exe instead of NOTES.exe to see the basic version instead of Eclipse). I didn't java-enable it, but it looks MUCH better. I should post the template sometime... The to-do forms are also unchanged. Maybe I should re-skin those too.

Funny that you're griping so much now about things with the client but I don't see that you've posted anywhere in the nd8 beta forum where you could have provided this input prior to the release. And from reading your blog it appears that you've never used any of the betas and that you're just all of a sudden shocked from looking at 8 month-old screenshots of the mock-ups/wishes the beta team had.

Chris Whisonant, 2007-08-18

OK, I have refrained from taking the bait all day, but this comment on the IMAP client template is too much.

Would anyone here like to guess what percentage of the millions of Notes users use the IMAP client template?

Now guess the percentage of the millions of Notes users that use the regular mail template, which is now merged with the DWA/"iNotes" template.

Pretty lopsided, isn't it.

I don't have a problem with leaving a template design that is primarily historical in nature alone. IMAP for rich clients/interactive access is a declining protocol and access method, being replaced by web-based mail access. Notes as an IMAP client (as opposed to Domino serving an IMAP mailbox) is an even smaller fraction. I'd be happy to hear from those who actually use this template to determine the relative need.

As for the Workspace, you're right, and Mary Beth acknowledged months ago that we weren't going to get to the Workspace redesign originally envisioned for "Hannover". It's old news.

No software vendor is capable of addressing everything in a software release. Sometimes it means features get dropped, other times it means features do not get updated. There is a plan to update more of the templates to the "new" look in 8.0.1. But we still won't get to them all, because some of them just aren't used enough (nor are projected to be used enough) to merit the kind of effort that, as Ben Poole indicates, isn't entirely trivial. And I'll still sleep OK tonight knowing that we have had so many positive comments about the new Notes release today, even if we missed on the IMAP template.

Ed Brill, 2007-08-18

No, what you see is correct and your critic is absolutely just. That's what I find cynical
Not enough talent to get it done?

Martin Hiegl, 2007-08-18

Ed, I did not try anything nefarious. For a real test I need to move tens of thousands of messages from my IMAP server into a Domino test server that I have yet to build from scratch.

I installed Notes, pointed it to my mail server and found myself back in R5. I am using the setup wizard that IBM provides. What I am not showing here is how many other things this breaks, besides looking somewhat quaint.

IMAP seems to be the protocol of choice for people migrating from proprietary closed platforms to open systems. In many ways it has standardized things which used to be only available on those closed platforms like mail folders.

Yahoo has a couple of millions (is it hundreds?) of IMAP mailboxes, so has 1&1. The popular iPhone uses IMAP, and basically all Linux mail servers competing with Microsoft Small Business Server.

I understand that Lotus has a hard time cleaning up all the legacy that has accumulated in the template code. It's a lot of work to keep your applications updated to the latest release. What it probably should not do though is to break some of the new code if I just follow the simple configuration wizard like so:

Steps to reproduce:

Clean install
Do not connect to a Domino server
Connect to an IMAP server
Click first button in Basics Home Screen (or any other in the left column)
Switch to the My Works Home Screen

Then try the same thing with Outlook. Do not connect to Exchange. Connect to an IMAP server.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

Martin, it may sound cynical, but it isn't. A few comment writers have said that keeping those Notes applications up-to-date is a lot of work. If you only have a few months (after the design freeze) you need a lot of talented people to get your applications fixed.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

Henning, what you are referring to is accessing Domino from an IMAP client.

The scenario here is different, because I was accessing an IMAP server from Notes. Notes is using a somewhat outdated template to set up local proxy to cache the messages coming in from the IMAP server. Besides looking quaint, it does not seem to work with the rest of the client as you can see in the two screens above.

Julian, ask Jess about her Mini Cooper. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

Chris, I have not participated in the beta. It probably would not have made any difference, since I am neither a business partner, a design partner nor a customer. I do discuss things that I see early on. About nine months ago I discussed some of the things I am saying today with the person responsible for the development of this release, and he made it quite clear that Lotus has other priorities. And I respect that. I still can't help describing what I see and what I find odd about it.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

@Ben Poole - OK you are of course right that the whole redesign of all the missing templates does take some time. But there are really some where the efford would have been minimal and you would get a huge effect. (The Journal.ntf is the most trivial db possible. (4 forms, 4 views) And it is so visible to the users ...)

@Ed - Yes the IMAP db might be something most users will not notice, but what about the Journal.nsf ? This is accessible via one click from the default homepage. What about the to-do form in the mail-template, this is something everybody uses. Or in the personal address-book, what if the users selects the "Advanced"-Views. These all look like R5. Or the log.nsf is used also used quite often, why don't give it a fresh look.
And new customers very often start using standard template dbs like "Discussion - Notes&Web", "Microsoft Office Library" or "Doc Library". None of these have been touched at all.

But besides all these I don't want it to sound like R8 is a bad release, whereas the opposite is true. It is in fact so good that most users who tested the beta did not want to go back to R7 only after a few days.
And the good thing is that these redesigned templates can easily be delivered in the next 8.0.1 release (which most customers will use :-))

However the most important thing in this discussion is now to point IBM at
this problem, so they really DO fix it. (I would hate to be in the same position next year with 8.0.2 or 8.0.3 and still the same templates.)

Hynek Kobelka, 2007-08-18

Hynek, no arguments there :o) I agree that it’s important to release good-looking templates to really get that “wow” reaction from users. But hey, maybe that’s next. I still don’t know whether IBM really have a good-sized templates team to address this stuff. My feeling is that they don’t, given the neglect that the templates have had over the years.

Ben Poole, 2007-08-18

Volker - you need to deselect "Textured Workspace" in the preferences to have the updated workspace look, so that's why your image is showing with the older workspace.

You also have an option to "Dock the Open list" so it appears as a permanent "tool bar" down the left hand side.

Steve Castledine, 2007-08-18

Steve, I remember having seen that before:

Not pretty, but does not stick out that much any more. "Designed by an engineer". :-) IBM should really make it the default. I left the "docked" option on for the picture, but I like it better without.

Volker Weber, 2007-08-18

For those wondering about the "template team", please head over to Rocky's blog to answer What templates do you want today?

Ed Brill, 2007-08-18

Nice poll about using Notes 8.
But I'm not sure, what to choose: "ASAP" maybe this year or next year - we are using Lotus Notes in the company, I work.
Well, I hope, it's as soon as possible. ;-)

Thomas Langel, 2007-08-19

Yep, not enough talent (or imagination). Oh wait, no imagination relates to doing all this new fancy fluffy stuff with Eclipse rather than C++.

If my first day of using the fancy pants slow eclipse based client is anything to go by, this will be the death of Notes I tell ya, the death of it!

Colin Williams, 2007-08-20

So let’s re-visit this: whither the template team??

Ben Poole, 2008-06-10

I think it's a shame that the IMAP template is an R5 mail design. There's no way to add a calendar to this template / design? I'm new to Notes (on my Mac) and this was the first thing I noticed. How do I connect my Google Calendar without creating a new NSF with R8 design?

Jeff Dembinski, 2011-01-26

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