The point that is missed by the Lotus Notes advocates is that people want to be able to communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with anyone, not just those who are using the same programs as them. That's why email was the killer app of Web 1.0 -- it worked that way. And Notes has fallen by the wayside, an asterisk in the collaboration chronicles, but all being said, not really very successful -- aside from the acquisition by IBM as a counter to Microsoft's enterprise email dominance.An asterisk? How does a product get mentioned as one of the "ten most important products of the 1990s" if it is only an "asterisk"? And how could you describe a product that is growing double-digits (over the last several reported quarters), that has 61,000 global customers today, and that is the basis for literally millions of collborative applications as "not really very successful"?
Stowe seems to have missed the chapter in Notes history, ten years ago, where Domino made Notes applications available via web browser (and now, in Domino 7, via web services). It hasn't been the case for a very long time that it only works for "those who are using the same programs". The classic example, from way back in 1998, is Chrysler's SCORE application, which involved their suppliers in saving billions of US dollars. Many of the Notes successes over the years are extranet types of scenarios. There's also the element of surfacing Domino applications in portals or WebSphere applications, another way of extending them (which, too, has been available for many years).
Putting aside the past history, Notes is about to be reinvented, yet again, for the next generation of collaboration. One of the major objectives of Notes "Hannover" is a platform for "composite" applications, expanding its reach beyond Domino server applications. Notes, in this scenario, will be able to leverage/surface componentized collaboration services. You'll be hearing more about this (and seeing it) in the weeks ahead.
Now the last bit is that Stowe believes
The right thing to do is to build collaboration into the apps that people are using. Or build small, focused collaborative apps that do one thing right. This is one of the lessons of Web 2.0.Yes, the vision of "contextual collaboration" has been in the industry for several years now. Part of the promise of Web Services and SOA is to do exactly this. But building small, focused collaborative apps that do one thing right -- the industry actually tried that over the last several years, and it hasn't exactly worked out. Think of Zaplets, or Kubi's 1.0 incarnation, or Radnet, or tons of other single-purpose collaboration tools that haven't gone anywhere. I remain hopeful that it will come out of the current and future work from IBM, Microsoft, or left field -- but I doubt that the idea of a rich, integrated client will fade anytime soon.
Link: Corante Get Real: Lotus Notes sucks >