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Technical

Domino – Often Still the Best

In many cases, from a technical and financial standpoint, Domino is still hands down the best choice in terms of a platform.  The Domino server, with the database, messaging, web server and application server all tightly integrated makes it affordable and easy to work with. Its replication capabilities simply cannot be found in other platforms.  If you have any level of technical knowledge you can see why it is so hard to replace as an application platform.

It drives me nuts when I read articles like the most recent one posted in the UK Register around the arrangement between IBM and HCL and the continued development of Notes and Domino.  Especially the comments.  Sure, there is some love there, but the article itself and the majority of the comments are negative and show the authors are misinformed.  As Alan Lepovsky points out on his LinkedIn post around this same topic,

 “I get pitches every week for new products that can’t do a fraction of what Notes could do a decade ago.”

Notes and Domino did and still do provide incredible business value.  IBM purchased the technology for an astounding 3.52 billion dollars, and for good reason.  I have heard it reported that at one point in time it held an estimated 60% of the  Enterprise Messaging market. It was more than email, and as a result thousands of customers still have a huge inventory of applications running on Notes and Domino.

Rewind to 2006. DOCOVA came to life as a demo to show how customers could use our Web App Dev tools for Domino to create powerful browser based business applications.  IBM customers worldwide were purchasing our tools, but the applications they were building were not leveraging all of the capabilities.  DOCOVA proved there was a demand for good browser based document management system, and when Domino.Doc and Quickr were discontinued we found ourselves in the migration game and DOCOVA became our flagship product.

Unfortunately, despite all of its benefits from a technical point of view, Domino started to become a barrier when it came to closing sales.  We also found that existing DOCOVA customers were looking to move to other solutions because Domino was no longer being supported in their organizations.  For many of our customers DOCOVA was the only product left running on Domino. To mitigate our risk, we invested heavily in the creation of DOCOVA SE, the SQL Edition.  We retained several DOCOVA customers by migrating them from our Domino to SQL version.

The SQL platform has advantages, especially when it comes to large quantities of data and reporting, but Domino remains as one of the best platforms for DOCOVA.  The process of creating the SQL version really reinforced for us how good Domino is.

If the IBM arrangement with HCL works out, and Domino once again becomes a dominant player, nothing would make us happier.  It’s where we grew up.

 

 

 

By |November 9th, 2017|Technical|Comments Off on Domino – Often Still the Best

IBM Announcement – HCL to take over Notes and Domino Development

Last week IBM made the announcement they were entering into an arrangement with HCL. The gist of it is that they are using HCL to do future development on Notes and Domino and a few other collaboration products.

This news appeared on several blogs after it was announced by HCL.  IBM delivered the news to IBM partners October 26.  There were rumors floating around Social Connections 2017 that IBM was preparing to sell off Notes and Domino.  This seems to be the basis of those rumors.

Frankly, I do no think it really matters what IBM does at this point.  This could help customers and partners who are sitting on the fence about staying with the platform.  The problem is that most of the investment for a product is driven by new license sales, and when it comes to Notes and Domino there is not much of that going on.

It will be interesting to see how this announcement is interpreted.  The four year flip flop message around V10 cannot be helping customers or partners.

Notes and Domino are great products, which is the reason so many customers are still running critical business applications on the platform.  For DOCOVA, Domino provides significant advantages over SQL in a lot of ways.  Replication for example.

DOCOVA was originally delivered on Domino.  We invested in the development of DOCOVA SE, the SQL Edition, in reaction to the fear, uncertainty and doubt that surrounds the IBM platform.  Make no mistake, Domino is still an excellent platform.  The reason we now have a focus on converting Notes apps to SQL is not because of a technology limitation.  It is a reaction to demand from Notes and Domino community.

If the partnership with HCL results in Domino once again becoming a market leader, well, nothing would please us more. Time will tell.

By |October 31st, 2017|Technical|1 Comment

Moving to Microsoft – Sharing Notes Apps from the O365 Portal

If you have many complex Notes applications, and you have an understanding of both Notes and Microsoft development, you know you cannot move them to SharePoint without some serious business process re-engineering.  SharePoint and Notes are too different. The applications are going to have to change and in many cases it is not even doable.

DOCOVA will allow you to migrate those custom Notes apps to SQL, and provide the same level of functionality you had in the Notes and Domino environment.  For the most part you get what you had, functionality wise, but on the SQL platform. Sound too good to be true?  Check out this link.

DOCOVA apps do not have to live within the DOCOVA interface. You can present them standalone via a URL. That means users can access them via their O365 portal using a custom tile.  That provides an all Microsoft solution, at least from the user point of view.

Microsoft provides the following documentation and video clip on how to create a custom tile on O365.  That will get you there…well almost.  I spent several hours with Microsoft tech support getting it to work.  Hopefully I can save you some time.

The high level tasks are as follows:

  1. login to the O365 portal at http://portal.office.com
  2. click on the ADMIN icon
  3. click on settings
  4. click on organizational portal
  5. scroll down to add a custom tile and fill in the fields on the form
  6. click on the 9 dots icon
  7. go to the new tab and hover over the tile
  8. pin the tile to home

I say almost because there are a couple of things you need to be aware of in order to get the tile to appear.   In step 5 one of the fields on the form that defines the tile is a link to a graphic image. It has to be a valid link that your users can get to, and O365 will not tell you if it is or not. It will not display the tile until you get it right.  Since you are using O365 a logical place to put the image would be SharePoint.

Follow these steps to add a graphic image for the tile to SharePoint:

  1. create a SharePoint site or open an existing site
  2. click on documents
  3. click on upload to upload an image
  4. select the image
  5. click on share
  6. click on the anyone option

Great…but you may see that the “anyone” option in step 6 is grayed out.   If users are external to your organization, then you will have to generate an anonymous guest link, and to do  that you may need to enable external anonymous sharing on the SharePoint site, if your security policy will allow that of course.

To enable external sharing in SharePoint  do this:

  1. click on Admin from the main O365 portal
  2. cick on Admin Centers
  3. click on SharePoint
  4. select your SharePoint site
  5. click on Sharing
  6. click the option “allow sharing with all external users, and using anonymous access links”

A good way to determine if you have a valid link is to send the URL to a user. They can paste it into a browser and confirm that they can see the image.  To get the guest link for the image, highlight the image from your SharePoint site and click Share and Copy Link.

Is the tile still not showing?  Give it some time.  It is not instantaneous. In fact, you will probably have to log out of the portal and back in again before it will appear.

If you find this topic of interest and want to learn more, check out this weekly webinar.

 

 

By |October 31st, 2017|Technical|Comments Off on Moving to Microsoft – Sharing Notes Apps from the O365 Portal