Thursday, June 14, 2007

a month in my new job

Today marks my 30 day anniversary of changing jobs. I've been dismayed and overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done, and frustrated at the sometimes unrealistic expectations thrown at me. I just keep plugging away and doing what I can.

As far as the Microsoft environment itself... well I honestly think I'm in a poorly implemented one, and that's why it's been so frustrating. The guy I'm replacing was a brilliant security admin, a fair DBA, and a really really bad developer. So the security is draconian, the databases are poorly implemented, and the code makes me want to cry.

I've still not acquired a taste for Outlook (2003). I find it confusing and hard to find what I'm looking for. The toolbars are what drive me the craziest with their inconsistency. Trying to track down a full message thread has proven impossible. The interface is only customizable in predefined ways, so there's no going into your mail template and adding a button or changing the order of the left navigator. The calendaring is rudimentary at best, and resource scheduling is just about pointless since there's nothing on the server that checks resource availability.

On the app dev front I am still a fan of Visual Studio, but I'm bothered that deploying new versions of an application is an arduous affair involving a custom-written application update utility. I really got used to just updating a single file on a server and calling it done. Security is complicated, and pretty much an all-or-nothing affair. Doing granular per-user rights just isn't in the vocabulary of any Microsoft developer because it's such a huge pain to implement. Adjusting my way of thinking to that paradigm is proving incredibly difficult.

In a nutshell... I miss Notes. A lot. But I don't miss Domino Designer, even a little. Notes 8 is pretty, but I'm really waiting for Notes 9 with the updated Domino Designer. Maybe I can plug the holes with LCD in the meantime... In any case, for all the glitter on the surface this MS stuff is pretty rotten underneath.


  1. I am not sure if I would find the same words about my current employer but interesting to know anyway.
    At least you are brave (or already in a position where you have nothing to lose).

  2. Henning, my boss agrees with me on every point. :-) I'm still doing Notes development and have no intention of stopping. If Notes 9 delivers something like Domino Designer mixed with Lotus Component Designer I'll go back to full time Notes development.

    In the meantime I'm learning a lot about how the other half (meaning MS developers) live, and I have to say I pity them/us.

  3. But it's Microsoft! Doesn't that mean that it is good? :-) I still remember when a good friend was forced to move from Notes to Microsoft development. He would call, rant, and hang up. I would still be laughing. Testing your code? Isn't that fun?

    Good luck, and keep posting. I enjoy these. :-)

  4. Apparently I was wrong about the free/busy thing. The issues are 1) you have to add a resource from the address dialog [there is nowhere on the appointment to select it directly] and 2) I was told free/busy lookups only work for a few days before they break, so it's left broken.

  5. Full time Notes development again, eh? That sounds interesting (in terms of how you're planning on doing that). Pity me too - I'm beginning work on SQL Server - this from a die-hard Oracle DBA.

  6. Whoah! I sure didn't expect *you* to chime in. :-) Tony and I go way back... he's the one who got me started doing development (MS Access 2.0 in 1995).

    As you know I've had the joy of not only learning all this .Net stuff but also struggling with SQL Server 2005 and an incomprehensible data model.

    I'm not sure how I'll get back into Notes development, but I'm serious about doing it if the development tools improve. I'll have to show you sometime how slick it is. :-)