Jamesway Incubator, located in Cambridge Ontario, manufactures and sells incubators worldwide.   For years they have used IBM Notes and Domino collaboration products to automate business processes and share information with a staff located all over the world.  However, like many in the Notes and Domino community, a corporate decision was recently made to switch to Microsoft based technologies.

Replacing Notes based email is relatively easy, since the migration tools and processes are well defined.  Migrating Notes based applications is much more difficult.  Fortunately, Jamesway implemented DOCOVA as a document management system almost a decade ago to manage corporate documents, and the new version of DOCOVA (V5), has been specifically designed to migrate Notes based applications to SQL. DOCOVA V5 understands the design elements that were unique to Notes, and knows how to handle them when moving to SQL based technologies.

Jamesway contracted DLI to perform the Notes application migration.  DOCOVA App Importer did the heavy lifting by automatically migrating the application design from Lotus Domino to DOCOVA, leaving the developer free to adjust and tweak the migrated applications. Without App Importer to take care of the grunt work it would have taken 6 months instead of 3 weeks to transform these applications.

The DOCOVA migration methodology (Analyze, Plan, Migrate, Manage) has guided this project.  The initial analysis provided us with key information so that we could provide a quote for the migration and identify resource requirements. In discussions with Jamesway, the migration plan was developed, which in this case was to migrate off the Notes client first, keeping the Domino backend, then move the migrated applications and existing Document Management system to the DOCOVA SQL platform.   Since the DOCOVA UI is the same regardless of the backend platform, Jamesway could spread the migration out over time to be better able to handle the resource requirements on their end.

The applications migrated included maintenance management, requisition systems (purchase order, cheque, etc), as well as reference/document repository applications.  Utilizing App Importer, the developer doing the migration didn’t need to know what the application did or the business logic behind it, as it was all migrated intact.

All aspects of the design were migrated (Layouts, Pages, Views, Calendar Views, Forms, Subforms, Agents, Script Libraries, Images, Folders) as well as the data, including profile documents.  What about security? Yes, that was migrated too, including document level security (authors/readers/controlled access sections). As for the LotusScript, that was automatically translated to Javascript.

Being an early release of DOCOVA V5 there were hurdles to be crossed and issues to be addressed. In some cases application logic just doesn’t flow the same way in a browser as it does in a local Notes client (eg. dialogs, prompt boxes, etc), requiring some adjustments/tweaking by the developer post migration. Luckily the DOCOVA Application Analysis process flags these cases for us.  We are also constantly improving App Importer to address new scenarios, which means that if we were to repeat the project with the current version of DOCOVA V5, it could be completed in even less time.

The Jamesway project has now moved into UAT. After we showed IT management the migrated applications and they saw how the business logic and UI have been maintained, they were quite comfortable taking on the UAT step, since there is little to no training required. Users just need to be shown how to access the new platform and add their applications to the workspace.

While we still have some work to do to complete the migration to the SQL platform, we’ve been able to take what could have been a very costly re-development project and deliver results in a short period of time, at a reasonable cost.