I decided to write a blog entry on the issue of migrating Notes application code when migrating Notes applications to DOCOVA.  When I say “code”, I mean the LotusScript and @formula language that is contained in Notes applications.

Now, I’ve seen some blogs and vendor web pages that espouse how you should NOT attempt to migrate the code.  These vendors typically want to convince you that you should re-develop your Notes applications on their platforms.  I get it.  That represents a lot in terms of billable services.  The bottom line, really, is that they simply lack the tools capable of migrating the code, so they try to convince you that you shouldn’t do it.

Part of the DOCOVA Migration Methodology includes the task of migrating Notes applications, including the code, to the DOCOVA platform.  Developing the tools to convert LotusScript and @formula language to other languages like JavaScript and PHP is not easy.  But, we’ve done the work.

In our research of business partners and organizations that still consult in or have Lotus Notes and Domino environments, we’ve found that they are looking for viable platforms to move their Notes applications to.  In companies that are still using Notes and Domino, the overwhelming consensus is that THE number one activity they DO NOT want to engage in is process re-engineering their Notes applications.  They want an efficient, cost effective way to convert their Notes applications to a new platform with as little interruption to their business as possible.  Once migrated, they want to be able to continue enhancing these applications while building new ones when they can properly plan the time, cost and resources to do so.

We have found that across the board, the vast majority of companies still on Notes and Domino have staff with skills that encompass the most popular browser application development languages in use today, that being JavaScript, Java, PHP and Python.  They all need their applications to be browser based and cross-device.  Also, the majority of these organizations already have and use Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle or PostgreSQL as database management solutions somewhere in their organization.  This market reality is exactly what we have catered to in developing DOCOVA.

The companies we talk to often have hundreds or sometimes into the thousands of Notes applications that they need to migrate.  To sit down with staff, dig through, revisit, re-engineer and re-develop these applications is a nightmare in terms of time and money.  The VPs, CIOs and Directors of these organizations understand that fact.

The vendors that don’t have code conversion solutions will argue that you can’t convert “old” LotusScript code to a new modern development language, like JavaScript or PHP, because you’d miss out on “new capabilities”, syntax and patterns.  Well two things.  First off, I agree, and of course this is why when LotusScript and @formula code is converted from your Notes application to DOCOVA, it is transformed into DOCOVA’s modern JavaScript/PHP object oriented API which leverages modern language constructs.  Secondly,  the last time I looked, LotusScript declared variables, used functions, conditional statements, looping constructs and class structures.  This hasn’t gone away in any language…and yes, DOCOVA converts all of this.  Moving forward, DOCOVA’s development environment is flexible enough to allow developers to implement whatever “modern” programming approaches they deem fit to leverage for their applications.

Vendors will also argue that companies shouldn’t try to convert their old, tired, bug-ridden applications to a new platform.  I kind of resent these pejorative assumptions. Although the Notes client interface for applications is dated, most of our customers take the workflow and business logic, “the code” of their Notes applications very seriously.  They use their applications on a daily basis to run their businesses.  To treat them as if they were “throw-away” is misguided.  That said though, it is true that sometimes, for some applications, companies would rather re-develop them.  This too is perfect for DOCOVA as it offers a comprehensive drag and drop, WYSIWYM (what-you-see-is-what-you-mean) browser integrated application design environment for building applications super fast.

With DOCOVA and our migration methodology, it’s NOT about keeping the old stuff old.  The import is about modernizing your legacy Notes apps into a new modern platform in an automated fashion.  Notes UI elements are transformed into new modern browser based UI elements and LotusScript and @formula language are converted to JavaScript/PHP and DOCOVA’s modern object oriented API.

So yes, if you’re looking to move off of Notes and Domino and are wondering what to do with your applications, we of course encourage you to seek out and review all of the Notes and Domino “migration” solutions you can find.  Then come and see DOCOVA.  Using this approach will help you truly appreciate what it has to offer!

Let us give you a demonstration.  Our experience in Notes application migrations will quickly become evident and you will gain an understanding as to why we boast the most complete end-to-end migration solution for your Notes applications.