The original spec for Lotus Notes

by Volker Weber

In what was clearly my 5 minutes of Internet fame, Mitch Kapor quoted a tweet where I picked up Ray Ozzie's celebration of the 0x20 (decimal 32) year anniversary of the original seed funding of Iris Associates, where Notes was developerd. He followed up with this more important tweet:

This lead to Mitch posting the original spec for Notes (pdf). If you are into NoSQL databases and see yourself at the forefront of development, you have to read this. It's still relevant today.

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Really interesting stuff / description nearly 10 years before I got in touch with it. And that paper from the year of the LA summer olympics was written even 4 years before I bought my first PC, a 80286 AT 16 Mhz if I remember right, a toshiba laptop.

Wolf Fischer, 2016-12-10 16:07

Thanks for sharing Volker. This is absolutely actual.

Just by going by going back to the founding priciples and making those real and up to date IBM could re-boot the future of Notes/Domino.

The current state of things is the effect of resistance to innovate (and abandon some dead legacy) of the last 10 years.

I look forward to the real application modernization path IBM will decide to take.

This is IMHO the very last call and the opporunity for the re-naissance of notes as defined in the original document.

Daniele Vistalli, 2016-12-10 21:39

I know you aren't doing Facebook much anymore (and I am not blogging anymore so we are even) but some good discussion of this document has taken place on my FB page:

Ed Brill, 2016-12-10 21:48

PS that whole thing led to a little squee when I followed the tweets back to Ray and saw this: "@rozzie FOLLOWS YOU" - I did not realize this. Soft spot in his heart still I would think :)

Ed Brill, 2016-12-10 21:51

Yes, I am no longer on Facebook and don't care for what happens there.

And re: Ray following you, you are a good source of what is happening with his baby.

Volker Weber, 2016-12-10 22:43

Volker, thanks for this remarkable catch, a must read in deed.
I first got in touch with the Notes project in 1989 and one could truly sense the gold rush feeling in those days.
It is further striking me, that certain key elements described by Mitch eventually took very long to enter into the product, take the calendar for example. The expert system capability obviously made it tacitly into the Notes scripting language with some resemblance to LISP, which appeared a bit odd given the limitations all around it, but never went anywhere beyond.
Interesting his remark about ECHO project - what ever happened to this?

Mitch's wish that Lotus might supersede Notes with an even greater innovation wave: we all know the history too well...
Eventually, the concentration on Notes as an email product (after cc:mail integration) and the proliferation of web-based applications dragged the Notes project into a different direction.

One lesson learned here is that an innovation such as Notes is best possible "somewhere west of Lotus" in a somewhat autonomous company.

Wolfgang Bosch, 2016-12-12 09:12

Ah, brings back fond(?) memories of Ashton-Tate also.

I'd somehow managed to go for most of this century without thinking about good ol' Framework.

Nick Daisley, 2016-12-12 10:14

Great spec :)

"If Notes works it too will be surpassed in time" - Yep.
"One hopes we will do the surpassing" - Nope.

Andy Mell, 2016-12-12 12:31

A shame IBM pushed clients to replace cc:Mail with Notes. Otherwise, it could still have had a huge marketshare for email today.

Craig Campbell, 2016-12-14 09:59

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