Thursday, August 10, 2006

SNTT - Notes Community Template Project - Enough of the talk, let's do this

John Head made another posting about the community effort toward providing more and better templates for Notes. The reason we're having this discussion is because IBM is unwilling to invest in this idea and has suggested the Notes community pick up the banner. Bruce Elgort suggested we take the top 20 downloaded templates from OpenNTF and spruce them up. Others have suggested we work from the list of templates from Sharepoint. Since no one has taken the lead I am stepping up. My commitment is to:
  • Provide consistent Notes client UI documentation with recommended best practices based on the Notes 7.01 mail template. I don't do web development and would appreciate it if someone could do something similar for web applications. I will be posting my UI guidelines on or about August 26th.

  • Provide a framework for deploying these guidelines. The most likely vector for this is the excellent work of the openslice project.

  • Provide a best practices document for Notes development that discusses template-driven Notes development.

  • Provide nifty modules of code that encapsulate common Notes application functionality.

  • Work with any interested OpenNTF contributors who would like to apply these guidelines and framework to their own applications.
I am interested in participating in any larger movement that gets started and do not intend to cause conflict or discord. My intent is to start laying the considerable groundwork that will be needed regardless of the final direction this community effort takes.



  1. It is unfair to say that IBM is unwilling to show any interest in this. There is internal discussion happening in IBM, we just have to wait to see what they decide.

    You really should just hold off a little longer and wait till everybody has decided on what is going to happen.

    On teh day that John Head posted the original rally call I blogs about some templates I was gooing to release, all standard etc. I pulled that blog post so I could get behind the group, you should probably do the same and then if it all comes to nothing then release your templates. That's what I have planned.

  2. You're right, I jumped the gun and I should have waited before saying anything publicly. There is a lot of work that needs to happen in the background and I'll start on that while I'm waiting to see whether this grows legs.

    I didn't say IBM isn't showing any interest, I said they're unwilling to invest in it. Ed has said for three weeks that there are internal conversations about this. How long should we wait to see if that yields action?

    I'll be on vacation next week and have no intention of doing anything (I mean that literally) while I'm gone. Hopefully I'll be less keyed up after I spend a week relaxing in the Caribbean.

  3. Declan,

    I think that people can only saw it how they see it. We have not heard anything, nor seen anything, that would suggest that IBM is doing anything at all about this.

    They well be discussing it internally, but we simply do not know that. I am sure that there are many people in IBM who would love to progress things. I would suspect that the stumbling block may well be how they do this without damaging the saleability of other parts of their portfolio


  4. And if there is a stumbling block within IBM or the community effort disolves into nothing but talk then there is nothing stopping individuals from releasing their own stuff either on their blogs or on OpenNTF.

    I just want to wait and see what happens, if it all pulls together it will be good, if not then we have our own plans.

  5. Thanks, Declan. I made a somewhat snarky comment in an unrelated thread on my own site this morning. I am not sure what companies y'all work for, but things at IBM work differently. We build an annual marketing plan. We have specified targets and milestones. We have to figure out how to do things on a global basis.

    An idea was hatched a few weeks ago in the blog world -- mind you, it's only been a little more than two weeks for the current conversation. While Lepofsky, Oliver, myself are all having internal conversations based on it, we just don't have a pile of money and resource sitting around to take action on a community idea in two weeks time. I wish it were differnent but big companies take time to do things.

  6. Ed, thanks for the reasoned response and the explanation. I appreciate it greatly.

    Throughout this discussion I have admittedly had my petulant moments. I got over that, realized this isn't just about me, and I'm ready to give back to the community of developers who have given me so much. I'm not bitter, I'm not angry, and I'm not upset. I'm resolute in my determination to do something instead of just complaining about the situation.

    I agree with Declan and I'm willing to wait and see what happens with the community's plans. If they fall apart I'll do as much as I can on my own.

  7. Ed,

    This is a perfectly reasonable explantion. I can't understand why it wasn't a response to some of the questions on your site.

    I, like many others, are concerned about the upcoming Sharepoint release, and how Notes is going to look against it and the rest of the Office stack.

  8. As Ed said, Alan, Ed, and me (and quite a few others) are having discussions about N50. Positive discussions - people are interested. But, as frustrating as this is, these things do take time - especially in a huge org like IBM. Trust me when I tell you that a) things are moving forward, b) more will be told when there's good, solid information to tell, and also c) if it turns out to not be a player in IBM, one of us (Ed, Alan, or me) will let you know. We promise.

    Now, to get back to the topic of this post. It is funny that this should come up - Thomas Gumz and I had a conversation on Friday about this very topic! As it turns out he has a "base" template that they use on the server team for templates - nothing official, it is something they put together on their own. We reviewed it, and even talked about some other things we want to add to it (like some error trapping modules, similar to OpenLog, that Thomas uses for both Java and LS). We also talked about this template being a part of N50, should we get that effort going.

    But this is a perfect example of maybe why it would be prudent to give this a bit more time. I would hate to see a bunch of folks rush off to do a ton of work, only to find that it is redundant work. Give this a bit more time (say, another month) and let's see what happens. I know that there will be discussions with folks over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.


  9. Thanks Rocky, I'll table this for now and see where it goes.