Microsoft launches WebsiteSpark for companies with up to ten employees

by Volker Weber

For the development tools they’ll get three licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, two licenses of Microsoft Expression Web, and one license of Microsoft Expression Studio. They will also get four processor licenses for production usage to Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available), and four processor licenses for production usage to SQL Server 2008 Web edition. ... there are no initial costs or obligations, though at the end of three years there is a graduation fee of US$100.

Now there is a thing Lotus could copy to help Domino as a web development platform.

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Would this change much? I mean there are a lot web development platforms available and if you don't have a deep investment in Lotus technology why would you use Lotus (just thinking if this is a small, big or management problem question)?
And what happens when the 3 years are over (besides paying 100$).Sounds attractive to everyone that fits the size and wants to use Microsoft anyway.

Henning Heinz, 2009-09-24

I am advocating (more than anyone, including IBM) the use of Domino web-based apps for SMB (and, the partner community) on the Lotus Foundations platform.

Take a look: This opens up a whole new market for SMB applications, and, Business Partner opportunites -- based on Foundations

Robert Baehr
The Unofficial Poster Child for Lotus Foundations, Lotus Notes, and Domino

Robert Baehr, 2009-09-24

Forget it. IBM can't even get the download process to work using DownloadDirector.

I've spent hours trying to get access to the software.

Fails with OS X (Safari & Firefox). Fails with Linux (Firefox).

Just about works with Vista (Firefox). Only some of the downloaded files report errors. Trying to re-download them is just the same problem. Every time it gets an error, DownloadDirector and the browser stop working and have to be killed off. On every single platform. Then one's lost the software selection, and has to go through the whole process of finding the software to download. I kid you not.

Why not just get the media delivered (the way Microsoft do it)? I ended up having to go with that. Only it looks like some of the software is not available on such media, so back to DownloadDirector, and back to the circus.

I doubt if IBM could match Microsoft if they gave the software away for free. If you can't get access to the software, it's useless at any price.

It's staggering that an organization of IBM's size can get something so simple, so wrong. I thought it might just be me, but as soon as I mentioned it to a friend, she said it mirrored her experience exactly.

Bernard Devlin, 2009-09-24

Bernard, while I understand your frustration with Download Director, you can also use HTTP for the download. That should work ...

Volker Weber, 2009-09-24

Ok, this is totally off-topic but I recently downloaded 8.5.1 on Snow Leopard using Safari and the applet nonsense (Firefox indeed did not work). And Microsoft cheats a bit too by using Akamai for high volume downloads (and indeed this works).
But the Microsoft Partner website really sucks without using Internet Explorer (and it sucks using Internet Explorer too but just in a different way).
Disclaimer: IBM Lotus Notes/Domino and Lotus Notes Traveler 8.5.1 is prerelease code and there are no guarantees from IBM that the functionality presented will be in the final shipping product.

Henning Heinz, 2009-09-24

Personal Opinion on:

@RobertBaehr - look, I'm a Notes cheerleader too (its my job), but even I have to admit that this program looks great for a small business, especially for kids in or coming out of college who want to start their own business.

Take my son for example: his college does NOT use or teach Notes (actually are there any that do? Bob Picciano, are you listening?) though only one college in the same NY State system that I know of uses it (Stony Brook). My son is looking to earn extra money by developing websites. He's been taught Java with some lame compiler that the Java book uses and now he's learning C++ and VB using Visual Studio 2008. (I don't have the time to teach him how to code in Notes/Domino or how to do Java in Eclipse, so don't ask).

For someone like him this is perfect. They get free stuff, TONS of connections into the world, lots of experience with world-class tools and only a $100 fee 3 years down the road! What young programmer wouldn't love this?

I'm not saying anything bad about Lotus tools (heck I use them everyday), but Visual Studio is what they teach with in the schools. All the new guys coming out of college or trade schools know how to use it. It's not until they get into a job where they have to learn the Lotus side do they ever see our little corner of the universe.

Answer this: Who has done anything to get even a Foundations server into the colleges for training purposes? Hey, if I'm wrong, please tell me, I'd welcome it! If IBM doesn't start penetrating more schools with Notes, Websphere, Eclipse, etc, they run the risk of staying the small player.

Remember everyone: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE APPS!!!! (don't believe me? go look at the growth of the iPhone)

Attention IBM (if you're listening): when are you going to start lending some of your programmers out to local colleges to teach Notes/Domino coding? You used to send IBM'ers out all the time to teach other subjects. Why not send programmers out to local campuses to spread the intellectual wealth? Set some of the colleges up with IBM technology and SEND THEM TEACHERS!! I'm sure they'd love it - revenue for them, future coders and future orders for you.

Personal Opinion off:

George Paglia, 2009-09-24

George, good post. And as you point out, Visual Studio is where it’s at: it’s a good IDE. Domino Designer** pales into something eminently laughable when you place it against a good modern IDE like VS, Eclipse, Xcode, whatever.

(** - I’m purposely ignoring Domino Designer on Eclipse (DDE) as (a) a decent version of it isn’t get Gold and; (b) it still has a long way to go).

Ben Poole, 2009-09-24

@vowe - I tried the olde worlde http method, and it did naturally work. But as I wanted to download the db2 related stuff for domino, there were many files to download, so manually clicking through it all would be too aggravating. I considered doing the whole thing with scripts and wget, but after a few more hours of fiddling and re-starting and downloading some files individually, I think I managed to get everything.

I do understand the problem IBM faces building an efficient and user-friendly download system - despite it's grand-sounding name, it really is just a business run by one guy out of his mother's basement ;-)

Bernard Devlin, 2009-09-24


That is exactly why my post read " am advocating (more than anyone, including IBM)... "

Robert Baehr
The Unofficial Poster Child For Lotus Foundations, Lotus Notes, and Domino

Robert Baehr, 2009-09-25

This is exactly what I love about the your site Volker -- political and useful. While making a point you provide a link to a great resource. I (Rockall Design) am now a fully-fledged Websitespark member and downloading the tools as we speak.
Will probably blog my take on this later.

Jake Howlett, 2009-09-25

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