Monday, September 29, 2008

Whatever happened to the Notes/Domino 8 Rollout?

The 8.0 Client
In previous years, I'd have jumped onto the new Notes/Domino within six months of release.

This time however, things have changed.

First of all, there's the fact that the whole Notes 8 client is a rewrite using eclipse. It turns the 18+ year old product into a version 1.0 again - at least for a little while.

My first attempts with the Version 8 client showed that the system was so slow that I could make coffee faster than it could start - and I mean proper plunged coffee,

I quickly realised that you could gain some massive speed improvements by turning off the anti-virus program - great... but is that really a good idea?

After a while of having both 7.0.2 and 8.0 on my PC, I found myself using the older client pretty much exclusively.

8.0.2 and Hard Drive Concerns
Ok, so there was an 8.0.1 but I blinked and it passed on by. At 8.0.2, I decided to give things another go. First of all, I tried installing the client on my PC.

I had almost no space at all left on drive C: but that was ok. I had another drive I wanted to install on. The Notes install would prompt me for install locations but would then screw up halfway through the install because it would use drive C: for temporary files - despite the fact that both my TEMP and TMP variables pointed to a different location and despite the fact that I'd told it to extract files to a drive other than C:

Ok, so I wasn't going to be able to install the client. I don't really blame IBM/Lotus for that - after all, it's Microsoft's install program that's really to blame.

Domino 8.0.2 and the Subforms Issue
Ok, so it was fairly obvious to me that I wasn't going to be able to use the Notes 8 client. Perhaps if I started with the Domino 8.0.2 server.

I did my first test but wasn't really expecting any problems. After all, I'd had no problems at all in the R6 to R7 upgrade.

Everything worked except my most business critical application. It had the same subform being used for both a header and footer on the web.

Sure, it wasn't such a big deal. After all, you only have to copy the affected subforms and rename them, then edit every form in the database which uses these sub-forms and change their footers.

Of course, modifying every form in a given database - particularly a critical one - means that there's also a proposal to be made, a test plan to be drawn up and followed and results to be checked.

Suddenly my little software upgrade project changed into an application modification project. It now needs to compete with our other schedules and It's probably going to blow out by a couple of years.

Thanks IBM - that one, I can lay the blame for squarely at your feet.

Clients again...
So, not giving up, I decided to go back to trying to get the 8.0.2 client to work. After a messy operation on my hard drive enabled me to free up a lot of space on C:, I started installing the client, only to be confronted with...

"The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable."

Yep. It was looking for my old 8.0 install files. They were long ago deleted. I couldn't proceed.

Again, this is a Microsoft Installer problem.

Luckily IBM had this documented for version 6 of Notes;

The Microsoft Windows Installer Cleanup Utility can be downloaded from;;en-us;290301

I've run it, killed off the old Notes and finally installed 8.0.2.

I'm running it, for the time being, without my Anti-Virus. I've still got to find a way to reduce its effects. Hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here - though I'll still have to go through a series of fixes for the Domino server upgrade.

IBM, could you make the next upgrade a bit smoother - and while you're at it... perhaps using the Windows installer isn't such a great idea after all.

1 comment:

Craig said...

Wow, you've had a fun time of it. I have to agree completely about the M$ Installer being a piece of garbage.
That's a case of it being a neat idea at 30,000 feet to use it, because it opens Notes up to using all the deployment tools that can deploy MSIs, but the practical reality is that it's trash, just trash.