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12:10:06 AM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : IBM Lotus Notes And Domino
Location : Nashua, NH

Via Volker Weber, with a detour through Technorati and Barry Briggs, I found my way to former IBM Lotus executive Cliff Reeves' new blog, where there's an article of interest to the Domino blogging community.

Having met Cliff years ago, there's a couple of things I know for sure. He's not shy about his opinions, and he relishes a good debate. Even though he's gone over to the dark side, I think he's a great addition to the blogosphere. Although Volker takes Cliff to task for having chosen to comment on the infamous recent article from the infamously multi-biased Dan Lyons, I note that Cliff isn't particularly kind to Dan. In fact, he says that Dan "misses the point", which I entirely agree with, and I think that Cliff's comments about Notes and Domino are mostly well-balanced. He is advocating a very different direction than most of us Domino bloggers would, but that's completely to be expected.

There's only one sentence in his article that I take very serious issue with:

But a drastic change of platform -- with no forward compatibility for applications or skills -- is taking its toll on the Notes community -- IBM's only base of real end users.

Cliff... that's just not true. There is forward compatability of applications even for customers who do embrace Workplace, as the Hannover announcement proves, and beyond that there is siginficant forward compatability of skills as the Workplace Designer is being being modeled around the same familiar concepts and even a very similar syntax that Domino Designer community has been working with all along. I have lots of doubts myself about certain aspects of the Workplace strategy, but there's one thing that I know for sure: IBM is not abandoning, orphaning, or obsoleting Notes and Domino. (Actually, there's another thing I'm sure of, too. Activity Explorer is going to rock the world!)

But this is the essence of debate. It is the essence of a competitive business environment. I welcome Cliff to the blogosphere. If all of his articles are as balanced as this one, even while advocating things I disagree with, I think it's going to be a good thing. Being able to point to Cliff as a Microsoft executive who exposes and admits to the flaws in the many far more biased viewpoints that are out there is a good thing.

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Comments :v

1. Cliff Reeves09/12/2005 12:45:41 PM

Richard ... I appreciated your comments and this post. If there's a peevishness in my post it's based on two missed opportunities
-- The Notes database and application object model are jewels that haven't yet made it to DB2 or Websphere. You could say that Lotus put the nFS in WinFS, if you wanted to be cute ... and accurate. That's one reason I like Adesso so much ...
-- There was a point where IBM could have led its directory strategy by building off the NAB. It's not the technology so much (the NAB isn't a directory) as it's the names that matter anfd there was a point in teh late 90s when there were more names in NABs than any other single directory, including NDS. IMHO, despite advances in federated identity and authentiaction, directories will be one of the biggest influences in platform choice in the future.

As to the point about forward compatibility and skills, I stand by that. IBM has done a commendable job in carrying forward the Notes environment, but they haven't adopted the app/object models in Workplace. Richard has asseretd they will. I have my doubts and I think it's too late. Frankly, I think its value is little understood outside the Notes community.

In the "balanced and and fair" department, you could say the same thing about VB and VB .NET. Of course VB apps still run, but migartion requires a new object model. I.e. no forward compatibility for applications or skills ,,, however, the .NET framework is a significant improivement in almost all areas. Is that true for Workplace/Websphere compared to Notes?

And there's one more thing that irritates me .. it's the relentless cheeriness and lack of balance in the posts and many of the comments at I guess I shouldn't let it get to me, but every time I read the nattering there I just want to say "wake up, darlings ..."

Oh, well.

Thanks again for a balanced and insightful exchange, Richard.

2. Richard Schwartz09/12/2005 09:57:30 PM

Cliff, your comment about WinFS and NFS tells me that you and I think alike about many things. Have you seen my recent posts on that very subject?

Moving right on... as I'm sure you know, there has been a strong Notes community for far longer than Ed has had a blog. We're no different from any community of enthusiasts for any product. We have our zealots, and we have our moderates, and we have quite a few "tough love" critics in our community, too. Zealots and tough love types both have a tendency to be more vocal than moderates, and are certainly more memorable in what they say most of the time. We have our share, and I feel no need to apologize. Microsoft's various products have their own share of each type -- and the Exchange/Outlook zealots are at least as prone to denigrating Notes as we are to denigrating Exchange and Outlook. And their criticisms are oftentimes oh so enlightening, along the lines of "Notes sucks because the user interface is different from what Microsoft does".

I'll not comment about Ed himself, apart from saying that he's an advocate. That's what he's supposed to be. That's what everyone knows he is. And although, IMHO, Ed remains balanced on many things at least to the extent that I could expect any advocate to be balanced, and the tough love contingent also helps keep his blog balanced. But the question really is not whether he's balanced. (That's a phrase that has had much of it's meaning stripped in recent years, anyhow). It's whether he's truthful, whether he's ethical, whether he's consistent, and whether he's engaging constructively with the community. IMHO, he is on the right side on all of those points.

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