Rumor about endangered LotusScript was false

by Volker Weber

Yesterday I asked, true or not. Although there is a grain of truth in every rumor, I can say with confidence, that the rumor about an endangered future of LotusScript was false. As always, I do not reveal my sources, so you have to trust me on that.

I have also been assured by multiple trusted and highly reliable sources that the new LotusScript editor will ship with 8.5.1 and that you will like what you will get.


Excellent news, thank you for the update!

Ben Poole, 2009-02-23

Maybe you should have asked those trusted and highly reliable sources first?

Ed Brill, 2009-02-23

I did. Yesterday. And I received answers.

Volker Weber, 2009-02-23

Well, you asked publicly first and received answers later. This false rumor would have had little or no visibility if you had asked privately before publishing.

Ed Brill, 2009-02-23

Interesting. Something the yellow bubble has been discussing for hours has little or no visibility until I ask if it is true?

Volker Weber, 2009-02-23

The interesting thing is perhaps not so much if the new Lotusscript editor for Exclipse will ship in 8.5.1 or in some later version, I never really doubted that, even if someone in charge of the actual language was laid off.
The interesting thing for me is the actual future and further development of the language. In Notes 6 we got some new functions like split(), join(), etc. But since then I don't think we seen any real changes in the language, or any new functions.
I am a hard-core Lotusscript developer. Yes, I use @Functions, but I don't do Java at all (yet). And at $DayJob I don't have time to learn Java.
So I would like to see some new functionality in the core Lotusscript language. Overloading of functions, for example. Possibility to use more data types as return values for functions, for example lists and arrays.
Why not allow arrays of arrays, or lists of lists without going through classes? Or, talking about lists, make complex lists more stable.
I am sure other developers can come up with some good suggestions.

When Damien Katz rewrote the Formula-language, he was able to add many new features. I would like to see a total rewrite of Lotusscript like that, removing some limitations, adding more core language functions, etc. Perhaps even increasing speed/performance?

Ed, can you comment on the future of LotusScript, the actual language itself? Is there a future, are there plans to further develope/enhance the language (in addition to just adding new classes to access Domino objects) and if so, what are the plans? Better OO support? New functions?

Karl-Henry Martinsson, 2009-02-24

I can’t see languages developing in Notes and Domino beyond Javascript. And maybe some Java tweaks: we now have a “parallel” Java engine in Domino, with the excellent XPages run-time.

Whilst many people would love the JEE engine used by XPages to be exposed to the Domino developer, I am guessing that IBM would hate for that to happen, for fear of cannibalising Websphere sales?

Ben Poole, 2009-02-24

@vowe I think I saw three people discussing it amongst themselves on twitter. As I am sure you saw, I chastised that group collectively for rumor-mongering as well. The question could easily have been asked privately to me or someone else and we would have tracked down an answer...maybe not on Sunday but in a reasonable time. Public discourse makes it a defensive situation and 140 characters is definitely not the way to answer rumors and half truths.

@Karl-Henry, not to cop out, but I am not responsible for app dev. I think it's fair to say that in the short term the emphasis of the Designer team is on building out Xpages and the committed Designer in Eclipse features such as Lotuscript editor and Java editor. There's lots more as was covered at Lotusphere and I can point you to those presentations if needed...

Ed Brill, 2009-02-24

Ed, I know you try to chastise people for discussing things without asking you first. It just isn't working.

Volker Weber, 2009-02-24

I think it's actually working just fine amongst 99% of the population who care more about answers than attention. And with that I go away again, realizing that once again, I shouldn't have bothered.

Ed Brill, 2009-02-24

Your chastising works fine with the 99% of the population who care more for answers than attention? Huh?

Volker Weber, 2009-02-24

Ok, DDE is is safe hands...

But from what I understand, one of the laid of people is Steve L. If that's true, then it's a sad loss for the community because Steve has always been a great of support and always ready to help around the web server, the JSP tag lib etc... I hope he'll be ok soon !

Michael Bourak, 2009-02-24

Michael, yes this is true. As for many other good people.

Volker Weber, 2009-02-24

So instead of answers, we now have active news management, where conversations on twitter are monitored, the people "chastised" if off-message. Especially at the weekend.

Welcome to the new open, business-partner friendly, transparent business process, blogging, twittering all singing all dancing IBM!

Thanks Ed, for clarifying the position.

Its a shame there's not some sort of Marketing VP who could do all this PR and public-facing marketing for you. Its gotta be tough pushing that boulder up the hill all the time.

I'm still surprised IBM feels that it has to lay off people given the profit announced last year. Especially from the Lotus division, given the continued record quarter-on-quarter growth. Look around the industry. How many people are HP laying off?

Its not just useless lawyers, invisible marketing people, replaceable project managers. Actual people with core competencies. People who stand on stage and talk about stuff that we all rely on. HTTP for example.

Perhaps this is why credibility took a nose dive.

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2009-02-24

I do not think HP is a good example. Mark Hurt seems to do a good job at the moment but imho the Fiorina years have been brutal. IBM's decision to lay-off some people seem to be related to massive off-shore activities.
Off-Shoring is a process that does not correspond to a financial quarter (or two) but probably take years and at the end may leave people that had to support the mission until it is accomplished. I don't doubt this is a difficult task for all involved parties.
For the discussion itself. It was quite visible already although only being on Twitter first (and I do not even have a Twitter account yet).
Generally speaking I think IBM does have good control over the Lotus community. The sites that do not follow the informal rules are sparse.

Henning Heinz, 2009-02-24

Great post... While the interpretation of the original information was not completely correct it did promote a healthy discussion amongst the development community about one important aspect of Notes that we are so passionate about but rarely seems to get much attention - LotusScript. It is an area I am very passionate about and it puzzles me that since the release of Notes 6.0 I have seen no public statements from IBM as to what, if anything, it plans to do with the development of LotusScript as a programming language. I can understand that the current focus is on DDE for LS and Xpages for the Notes client, but I think it would reassure all us Notes developers if IBM could simply say "and then after we get all that done we would really like to ....". (And say it out loud so we can all hear it)

Peter Presnell, 2009-02-24

I'm a big LS fan, but I've always taken the lack of information from IBM as "we're not changing it". Probably just as well, as I'd never move to Java if LS was just as functional. Odds are I'll probably try to do more in Java to see if it fills the gap. If no, I go back to LS. However, I do wonder how much man-power it would actually take for IBM to assign someone to advancing LS? We basically associate one guy with a huge re-write of formula language, which was a huge productivity increase for developers. If one person could write some functionality for LS inside of a year, that might be money well spent on IBM's part.

Layoffs as a reaction to immediate financial crisis within the company is a bad sign. Layoffs in preparation for possibly unavoidable worsening financial crisis in the future is smart business. I wouldn't say that IBM layoffs when they're turning a profit isn't could be that they're laying the foundation for a rough ride in the coming months.

Mike McPoyle, 2009-02-24

Re: LotusScript

The product strategy currently gravitates around Xpages. Next step is to bring them to the client, which means bringing the app server to the client.

Volker Weber, 2009-02-24

It irks me to no end that certain people at IBM/Lotus take pot shots at Microsoft for promising and not delivering, but they don't stand up and publicly take ownership (and lumps) for their own failures in meeting commitments.

I was also assured by multiple trusted and highly reliable sources that the new LotusScript editor would ship with 8.5. Now it's promised in 8.5.1. It may actually ship in 8.5.1, but if the R8 release in general is any indication of the quality we will get, I don't expect it to be usable until 8.6 at the earliest, and it might only crash three times a day by the time R9 rolls out.

Charles Robinson, 2009-02-26

Charles, the Lotusscript editor still doesn’t work flawlessly in 7.0.3 so I kind of took it as read that there would be bugs in the 8.x codestream ;o)

Ben Poole, 2009-02-26

Give it a few more years and they may actually get this thing to work without just re-parenting windows. :-)

Volker Weber, 2009-02-27

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