I was having a conversation recently and there was a couple with no kids who were annoyed that their friends were saying “the club scene is back!” when in their mind, it had never left. They pointed out that it was the other couples who’d left the scene to raise children and that now that those kids were old enough to stay home on their own, they were able to return to the club scene. It was not “back”, THEY were back.
It’s like the concept of object permanence doesn't apply. People assume that things are long gone, simply because they personally are no longer using them.
No, it's not dead... in fact, we’re still developing in it now and its future today is much more assured than it was five years ago.
The fact is that the model still works. The access controls on domino databases (nested groupings, database access controls, reader and author fields) run rings around most other systems. Sure, the user interface is "clunky" at best but the model still works very well indeed. Even IBM Connections, the most likely successor has far less functionality and much more inflexible security than domino. Connections is good but it's never going to be a complete replacement.
A State of Change
Over the years, there have been a few half-hearted attempts to re-skin the interface (Notes 7 and 8) or to produce "lightweight" versions of it (iNotes and the Firefox plugin). These have inspired developers to produces equally half-hearted attempts at porting apps to the web - and I've seen some shockers. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've been responsible for more than a few of those "shockers".
To everyone’s surprise, of all the interfaces, it was Traveler that caught the imagination. IBM jumped off the Blackberry ship at exactly the right time. Far enough in front of the iceberg that by the time Blackberry was sinking, most of us had a pretty effective upgrade path.
It's no exaggeration to say that Traveler almost single-handedly decided IBM's current path.... Mobile FIRST!
Then there’s Verse, IBM’s revamped mail which simply couldn't get here fast enough. If you haven’t tried it, you really ought to. It’s great. There’s still a lot of features missing but it’s getting there.
What’s really funny is that people at work are pushing me to get them off that old clunky mail system and onto Verse. I no longer try to explain that they’re the same thing, I think that the rebranding is a very good move.
Speaking of rebranding, I've noticed that IBM is increasingly referring to Domino as "NoSQL". That's what they seem to be calling it on Bluemix.
I can remember having to write papers to justify building databases on Non SQL platforms. I explained that SQL is only good for certain types of data. It was hard work and everyone was focussed on this “newfangled SQL”…. until finally I mentioned that SQL was in fact invented by Edgar Codd of IBM back in 1970. It wasn't “newfangled” and it certainly wasn't "Microsoft’s idea".
Finally, Finally!!! IBM is getting it. The Notes client is dead. It’s fine as a development tool but it’s dead as a user tool. The engine is still Domino NoSQL and the future is web and apps.