The HCL Notes Workspace modernization behind Domino 12

For years, we heard negative comments about the lack of modernization/evolution of the Notes client. The weaknesses of this main entry point focus all the attention, encouraging customers to migrate towards others platforms.

The stagnation of the IBM years in front of the boom of web interfaces and the rise of the abilities of web navigators made the Notes client look like something obsolete and little in line with current standards, sending it with his templates and webmail to the ashaming category of “legacy software”. This negative comments was accepted despite intrinsic qualities and very high ROI. A 15 years long backwards compatibility is excellent, nevertheless, the lasting 2001 alike UX disqualifies the product.

The Notes client workspace, along with the mail interface, has been for years our daily companion, and the visible top of the iceberg for the user of the Notes/Domino platform, and one of the first place that new users will experience, which makes it, together with the mail interface, the most representative point of the Notes/Domino platform.

Although in last Domino versions, HCL effort is geared to present new products outside the HCL Notes client environment (such as HCL Domino Volt or AppDevPack), despite its technical debt, in each version they have added certain improvements in Notes client. Already in version 11, the possibility to modify the background and put a corporate image or of our choice was introduced. With version 12, the Notes Client Workspace modifies its appearance. It is the first time that the sacrosanct tabs structure is modified by placing them on the left side instead of the upper area. In addition, for version 12.0.1, the possibility of using high-resolution icons is announced, among other improvements.

Capture officially shown by HCL

It may not be a change of great impact, but it is only the first step on the journey of the Workspace modernization. HCL has promised that more changes will come, focusing on a more modern Notes client according to the needs (and competitors) of today and with changes not only visual, but also functional.

Next to the Workspace of the Notes client, mail is the other elephant in the room. The modern UX offered by HCL Verse is usually labelled as clean and orderly. It mixed a fast interface, with additional functionalities inherited from the GTD concept. An attractive product who made himself a top reason for end user’s balance to stay on the platform. Each quarter, HCL steadily release a new version of Verse on Premise, adding PWA capabilities and more functionalities.

In HCL published versions, the modernization does not imply only the visual aspect or functionality, but the opening to other devices. We already had available the Nomad client for mobile devices and, with HCL Domino v12, we can run our traditional Notes client from our web browser with Nomad Web. The Nomad client for mobile devices, and the Nomad Web for browser allow us to access our traditional Notes client from anywhere, broading the landscape of usage of our database

Slide shown at Engage 2020
In addition, we already have available PWA versions of all this software (HCL Notes, HCL Verse and HCL Sametime). HCL pushed for the PWA architecture in all his portfolio, so it is only one step forward towards what promises to be a unified and complete desktop experience that we will see in future versions.

I will be speaking at Collabsphere 2021: "How to make a hackathon-winner HCL Domino Volt application" Dominique Perarnaud, a new HCL Ambassador from Spain


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