More on Notes sucking

And so the debate rages on — remember this site from a while back?

Uncle Dirtae: Lotus Notes sucks.

Well I can’t be bothered to set the record straight if people are ignorant enough to say stuff like “Only saw one person mention the support personnel needed for Bloats. Takes on average 3:1 over what Exchange requires.” or “Not being able to automatically deal with multiple time zones in calendaring is a serious shortcoming.” — but if you want to, be my guest. This one is a particular gem — from someone who sells himself as a consultant no less:

The MASS majority of the people that like this are one-trick pony developers and admins that don’t know better. Some of them have experience in other technologies, but are not technically capable of understanding them. Many don’t even have a technical degree, Notes was just something they picked up or went to a class and ‘poof’ they were a developer.

Heh. Oh, and by the way, if you’re from some marketing company who wants to sell your “Notes sucks” merchandise via this site: no thanks. I may be pissed off with Notes most of the time nowadays, but I’m not hypocritical about it: I still don’t see anything else out there that comes close in terms of what it does, so don’t worry about getting in touch any more. I would also include the charming “Gary” here, with his ever-so-useful (but funny) site… [smiley PokeTongue]


  1. "Bloats" ? Lol! :-)Colin Pretorius#
  2. I googled up a couple of searches on "outlook sucks" (1,710 results)and "notes sucks" (825 results). The interesting thing was the general tone of comments for the "notes sucks" results was vitriolic and for the "outlook sucks" it was apologetic and part of a more extended conversation. I guess Outlook is here to stay? I think too many people conduct their life out of an inbox. Goodness me it's just email in the final analysis. It's not world hunger, the health system, death or taxes, or one of the worst - moving house. People rarely show disgust about their phone, letterbox, TV. What they get through them maybe, but not the object itself. It's all too weird. I know the email concept probably rates about as high as you can get for a communication network but sheez, the "notes sucks" people need some perspective more than they need anything else in their lives.Bruce Langner#
  3. With respect to Gary's site, I'm not sure some one who designs a web site that, when clicking on a hot link you then have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the screen to see the result should really be throwing UI stones, but he does have some good points.

    I do like Notes and it beats the competition hands down. I've worked with Notes since 3.0 and currently plan to continue working with Notes and whatever it becomes for as long as possible, but I'm a techie. Notes has always been a product that seemed to be design by techie's for techie's. End users are not developers/administrators but the people who actually use the applications we develop/administer day in day out and don't care what platform it runs on so long as it makes their job easier. End users seem sometime to have been forgotten about.

    I've have a few more Why's when it comes to the Notes UI' which I've previously posted in LDD..

    1) Functions that I can see no practical reason for the general users:
    - View > Show > Hidden From Notes
    - View > Show > Pass-Thru HTML
    - View > Show > Java Applets Running
    - View > Image Resources…
    - View > Switch Form (how dangerous is this? I know you can prevent it by not having any forms in the Create Menu but why would you want a user to switch a form anyway?)
    - Document Properties > .. most of the tabs
    - Actions > Edit HTML Attributes (what is a user going to do with this option?)
    - File > Tools > Debug Lotus Script (I can give examples of a user with Client only (no designer) and Author access to a db who used Debug and modified variable values "because he wanted to see what it did" !!
    - File > Tools > Show Java Debug Console

    2) Functions that should be hidden when not authorised
    - Create > Agent…
    - Actions > View Options > Rename..
    - Actions > View Options > Design..
    - Actions > View Options > Move..
    - Actions > View Options > Remove View..
    - View > Agents
    - View > Customize This View…

    3) A designer/administrator should be allowed to block these Functions completely.
    (Private views are a maintenance nightmare and should be banned unless they are part of the original database design and can be deleted using GetView)
    - Create > Folder…
    - Create > View…
    - View > Go To > …. (Why when a designer has spent hours designing the perfect frames and outline would you want a user to the user View > Go To ??) AJP#
  4. Some great thoughts AJP, thanks.

    Re functions and end users, as we know Notes comes from a very strange place. People seem always to compare it with Exchange - to this day I have no idea why - and harp on about the email functionality within Notes.

    But that is not what Notes is about! Notes is derived from PLATO, a very different beast from email clients… and of course PLATO was aimed at people quite different from your typical corporate user (the current target for Notes).

    I've said it before, as have many others: if your organisation is using Notes solely for email, then that's totally inappropriate technology. Lambasting an application / platform for the failings in your organisation's IT strategy is stupid, to say the least.

    The origins of Notes lead to the mismatch: end users (not dedicated developers) used to do all kinds of crazy stuff with Notes (no doubt many still do), and on a very ad hoc basis -- that was Ray Ozzie's explicit intention with Notes.

    The problem nowadays is that corporate IT and applications are heavily controlled (often with good reason), thus Notes looks more and more like the anachronism it is.

    I get the impression that the forthcoming managed client for Workplace, with the intended Notes/Domino convergence, is the reason why some of the interface oddities in Notes aren't being addressed: why bother when the next-gen client will be far more controllable from the get-go?Ben Poole#
  5. I have to voice a rather strong objection to "the designer should be able to block" private views. That would merely encourage insecure development (using views/view restrictions as a substitute for Readers fields, for instance) at the expense of allowing users to see (and sort) data in the manner most appropriate to them. Whether AJP likes it or not, that is one of the principal aims of the Notes platform, and has been since the Plato days.Stan Rogers#
  6. @5 Stan, I agree there is no substitute for Readers fields and any developer who wants to use views/view restrictions to hide documents from end users probably should not be developing applications.

    I personally like and use private views myself all the time. They are invaluable for maintaining and troubleshooting database problems, but I am a techie and know (or at least should know) what I'm doing. I don't doubt that you and everyone else reading this blog has a pretty good ideal of how to create and modify views, but 90% (guesstimate) of end users do not.

    I'm not suggesting that Private views should be banned altogether (well actually I was but I've mellowed a bit). An ACL option "No Private views unless Private on First Use" would be fine.

    Lets face it who wants to support a user base that creates private views left right and centre. What happens when a database design is updated, field names change, form names change etc, the information the view is meant to display may no longer be available. There is no way of updating the private view design automatically, users probably will not have a designer client and often the database design is hidden. If all users are regularly having to create Private views then perhaps the database design should be updated to include the view as a shared view. The only time a Private view is needed is when data needs to be displayed based on the current user. (IMHO)

    I do like the principle aims of the Notes platform, I would not use it, develop applications for it or spend half my life fighting its corner if I did not believe in it. Notes has come a long way from Plato, and it has a long road ahead of it but, as Ben points out the Notes user base is now very different from that of Plato.


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