Further to my recent post, I was at CodeNode in London last Tuesday to check out this year’s Domino Jam v11. The event was again organised by IBM; however, HCL have committed to continuing the initiative following their acquisition of ICS, so this should be a regular event from now on.

First impressions were good, with significantly more attendees than the previous year. Format was similar to 2018, with a ‘state of the nation’ presentation and QA session, followed by working on some sticky-note-based ideas, which we then brought together on a whiteboard and organised in terms of area and priority.

Andrew Manby was there from IBM, and HCL’s presence was headed by Richard Jefts – an ex-IBMer who is the main person leading future Domino development.  Richard’s enthusiasm and vision for the product was infectious, and he has big plans for 11 and beyond.

Andrew and Richard’s presentations covered the following:

  • A large number of additional functionality in Domino 10 was implemented as a direct result of last years’ Jam.
  • HCL are making substantial investment into Sametime 10, including simplifying installation, persistent chats across devices, and improved AV capabilities. It will also achieve release parity with Domino by the end of the year.
  • A development of the ‘citizen coder’ concept, empowering users with little to no coding experience the ability to develop applications through drag and drop.
  • Application development options will continue to be flexible, ranging from (low/no code to high code) @Formulas -> LotusScript -> JavaScript/Node.js -> Java. They also wanted to emphasise there was a lot of commitment to Java, with Node.js being offered alongside it, not as a replacement.
  • Areas HCL are looking to evolve the platform in (*delivered in v10):
    • Collaboration & workflow integration
    • Open IDEs /JavaScript
    • AI, analytics and machine learning
    • Open email clients
    • Contact and calendar standards
    • JavaScript/Node.js*
    • Open standard technologies
    • Docker*
    • OAuth-base integration*
    • Domino Query Language*
    • REST APIs
    • Event publisher/search
    • Deployment options*
  • Version 10 was concentrating on the back-end, version 11 will have its focus on the front-end. To this end, HCL had a number of their UX designers at the Jam asking questions.
  • April 1st is the target date for completing their search/replace of the code and moving Domino from IBM to HCL Software branding.
  • Licencing’s likely to change from PVU-based, however that’s the only likely immediate change – everything else will continue as normal in the short term following HCL’s acquisition.

There then ensued a lot of writing on sticky-notes and note shuffling on whiteboards.  Here is a summary of the main ideas collectively put forward:

  • Better source control support (mentioned many times)
  • Better debugging capabilities
  • More open source – in terms of using it, and exposing modules to the community (e.g. XPages)
  • Better documentation and tutorials, including videos, and outside IBM/HCL (e.g. Udemy)
  • Updated templates, maybe made more modular and fully documented to help with training, along with creating new templates for common apps like holiday/sickness tracking, expenses, CRM, helpdesk
  • Selective updates of templates for version control of features rather then whole app designs (although this may be resolved through better source control handling)
  • Better reporting – maybe drag and drop of data sources for report creation (for end-users)
  • DQL everywhere – search bar of apps, etc. – and multi-database search
  • 2-factor authentication
  • Better management of SSL certificates
  • Thread separation of Notes/Admin/Designer clients
  • Make the client more ‘sexy’ – overhaul of UI
  • Easy adding of chat capabilities to XPage apps
  • App store for end users
  • Better workspace icon management – duplicate icons over tabs, selective replica icon stacking (rather than all or nothing), standard workspace settings for users
  • Tabs in Verse, more information on e-mails (headers, etc.)
  • Update of the Admin client, maybe including control of companion products like Sametime and Connections for a unified interface
  • Update export formats in both the Notes client and programmatically, such as PDF
  • Accelerate development of HCL Places
  • For low code apps – drag and drop creation of apps, and trivial integration with other systems
  • Give jQuery as an alternative client framework to Dojo

Last year’s Jam left me with cautious optimism… largely a case of ‘it sounds good, but I’ll believe it when I see it’ – especially with regards to marketing.  However, during 2018, I was surprised at how many of the ideas and initiatives mentioned by them and suggested by us that were delivered.  Based on this, and what they said at Tuesday’s Jam, 2019 should be a very interesting year.