My thoughts on Lotusphere 2010

Firstly, wow. It was an excellently ran event - again - and despite grumblings from old-timers like me about cost savings, no-one really missed the gold taps in the bathroom. I think the cost savings may have changed the plastic badge to paper - big deal - and a few less subsidised bars. The content - the stuff we came to see - was as good as ever.

Sandra and Kirstin did an amazing job again.

Now, about that content. I think its been said all over the blogsphere, but hey - guess what - no hard tech facts on Domino/Notes whatever-number-is-the-next-major-release. And - guess what - I dont care. Because in 8.5.1 (and soon 8.5.2) we have an excellent release right now, and it'll take us a year to implement, exploit and start asking for more.

My recommendation: Just upgrade to 8.5.1. Read all the excellent Lotusphere presentations - and you'll have to have been a very unpopular person indeed if you cant find them *anywhere*.

Codewise, I think its time for me to officially bless xPages - not that it needed it, of course. I'm just being an old curmudgeon. After disasterous Portal technology forays, I took the view that until *my* customers demanded it, I'd avoid new Lotus technologies. So I've managed to avoid investing large amounts of time in composite apps, db2nsf, and the Domino Designer for Eclipse. Those were the correct decisions on all three cases. DDE is *now* acceptible in terms of performance and of course xPages for 8.5.1 now works (for a distinct meaning of the word 'work') in the 8.5.1 notes client. This means that xPages is now far easier to design compelling applications in, for both platforms.

This lead to me hearing from Kevin Cavenaugh the phrase 'Its now possible to write an application once that works in both Notes Client and Web' for the second time in 15 years. Its been a long time coming, but I think its by far the best thing to have came out of the Workspace debacle.

My recommendation: Get your finger out and learn xPages. If your in London, there's an excellent one-day training course being held by Matt White - generally considered to be the nicest, best, and baldest xPages guru out there. (No offense to other xPages gurus - of which there are too many to name individually. I'm sure even they would agree that Matt is one of the nicest guys around).

Lotuslive. It's a cloud based platform originally thrown together by outblase in Asia, and was already a highly successful mail hosting platform. We mow have a vision of the cloud touching on-premise systems / which is awesome. Rumours abound about a domino software-as-a-service solution on the 852 timeframe which will integrate directories using active directory. But since I left the design partner program, this is based on discussions on bars and may be wildly innacurate. It *is* great not being held under Nda anymore.. ;)

Recommendation: lotuslive will be hot - keep an eye on it.

Social. This year I decided to grow up and not barfly the entire event. Staying offsite helped- and as a result lots of folks commented that I didn't look like death. Which was nice. And I didn't dance on the piano at jellyrolls on my birthday. Excellent.

Kudos to the blind drunk guy for climbing to the fish on the roof of the dolphin. You are very lucky you are not dead.

My recommendation: it's a marathon. Not a sprint. Respect the amount of work you will do. I wish I told myself this years ago. And as an aside, I think I had a touch of gout this year, thus making a three year run of serious medical illnesses!

Marketing. I've heard rumours that Germany will get the LotusKnows campaign this year. Good for them - Germany has always had a well-supported team looking after Lotus BP's and customers and this just extends their excellent coverage. I can only hope that whatever blockage exists for the UK LotusKnows campaign is taken outside and executed.

My Conclusion: Notes in the UK can only improve in terms of brand recognition. We've all given up seeing anything concrete, and this is nothing to do with the excellent work the Lotus team here in the UK try and accomplish with both arms tied behind their back.

Shatner. Shatner was fantastically cheesy. Next year- starsky and hutch?

Numbers at Lotusphere: I dunno - I thought they might have been up. Footfall in the BP showcase was definitely down on last year, but customer quality was up. So mixed review there, and I'm glad that we didn't invest tens of thousands of dollars as we did in previous years. Given the clear space down there, I'm guessing we weren't alone. Perhaps the IBM BP program - tasked with making BP's happier - might improve this year and give us Domino ISV's a shot in the arm. Again, its not something that I'm waiting on anymore, having wasted significant time and effort in trying to change IBM's mind on this issue.

Crystal Ball time. Is it getting better or will it get worse here in the UK ? We've haemorrhaged another couple of very large customers in the last 12 months, and I don't know of any huge gains. I do know a lot of folks who have left Domino, making it quite hard to employ highly skilled folks (which is good for our rates, but bad for the product).

I do know that the Lotus BP's I talk to - the ones still standing - are all diversifying out of sheer necessity. So thats not good.

Overall, I think Lotus has delivered an amazing technology platform for us to upgrade to and to exploit. Bang-per-buck, its awesome. Its pretty. Its fast. It delivers fantastic cost savings. And our product - FirM helps deliver even most cost savings on top of that.

We just need some mechanism to let the customers know.