Friday, April 07, 2006

A Skinnable Lightweight Notes Client? Yes, Please!

John Vaughan recently wrote about how cool it would be if Hannover was skinnable. You never know...since it's based on Eclipse it might just be possible to do. Something I'm sure we'll all have fun looking into.

John's main point was that the Notes client offers so much incredible power and functionality, but that its interface gets in the way. Boy is he right. This reminded me of something I have wished for from Lotus for a long time...a lightweight Notes client. Think something along the lines of the free "reader" programs that many software companies offer for interacting with files created in their "big brother" versions. A sleek and streamlined Notes client, with a lot of the bloat and unnecessary functionality stripped out...this would be ideal.

Before you rush to post a comment along the line of "Hey's Domino...just use a web browser", let me say that there are many situations we encounter in our corporate setting in which the web browser is impractical or not possible. When we deploy the Notes client however, I often see the same thing as John, the look of despair on the user's face when they see it...even 6.5 has waaaaay too much stuff that just takes up space but doesn't provide value. I recently started a lunchtime seminar session to introduce users to different functionality in Notes that they might find useful. Over 90% of them didn't know how to create a basic table! With the exception of our power users, most of the client functionality that is exposed via menus and toolbars could be stripped out completely and we would be fine. If we could box up all the good stuff...robust security, replication, rich text, etc., in a clean and SIMPLE interface, I think we'd have a lot more passionate Notes users. Hopefully Hannover and the future incarnations of Notes start to take us down that path. In the meantime, there's a lot you can do as a developer to help your interface "stay out of the way". I'll explore this more in my next post.


jonvon said...

hey chris, welcome to the blogosphere! man, i just saw this post!

thanks for the trackback sir. glad to meet someone like minded... :-)

Jon said...

Chris, I found your site quite by accident, but boy am I glad I did. Regarding your request for a lightweight Notes Client, I remember something from the this years Lotusphere during the opening session they mentioned "your total note experience on a thumbdrive".

So, yeah, we have that going for us...

Chris Blatnick said...

Hi Jon,

Welcome...glad you could make it. Notes on a thumbdrive will definitely be VERY cool!