Forms Forms Forms

Notes and Domino have become quite famous (or infamous) for their simple and easy application development environment.  The build in support for simple forms, workflow right through to more complex lotuscript and java integration made them a firm favourite with power users and developers alike.  You’d have thought by now that this would have removed the need for paper based systems in most environments…..well no, not really.  My workplace is still full of paper based forms …… or even worse in my view a form written in word which then gets emailed round a chain of people many of whom will then unpoductively detach the form and save it somewhere.  Several products are on offer at a desktop level, infopath is an example.  I’d love to see forms and the ability to create them passed back to the user in some form of rapid application development enviroment based around the browser.  I’d love to see a common standard for forms and workflow built on XML.  I’d love to see easy to use gui’s for users to create flow charts and forms with approval cycles.  Lets face it that is the only reason we bother to fill a form it …. I’d like that please give it to me!

Maybe I’m wrong but most vendors are going along the route of needing an application developer to produce the workflow forms etc.  I’d like to see us go back to the days when power users could create the applications they needed within their environment.  Yes us techies would lose control and things would be harder to manage ……. but user satisfaction is the key here.  The power user will soon hit their limit as the application got to the end of their understanding.  Give the power back, lets have some open standards for workflow and form creation (someone will probably now point me to the aforementioned wish!).

2 Comments

  1. But to do that, you really have to trust that the people creating the forms will be playing by all the necessary rules. Your line of thinking is very much in line with what I heard coming out of Ray Ozzie’s mouth at Lotusphere ’05. But I think that you and Ray give the common user way too much credit. I don’t think that they can truly conceive of what it means to create even a simple workflow application. I’ve done enough Requirements gathering meeting in my day to know that this is true.

    What you are talking about taking things back to the V2 and V3 days of Notes when power users developed most of the applications. Have you ever taken a look at some of those apps or, even worse, had to support them. If you think people’s family home pages are bad, just wait until you let them create applications. I can guarantee you that each one with have a red form. LOL

    Just as I don’t think that people in IT should create their own advertizing, I don’t think the admin of the PR group should be creating workflow applications. Polls on a MySpace site, sure. Business critical applications, no.

    Sean—

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  2. I can agree with your point. The point I forgot to mention in the post is that the user will find a way to do it on their own if easy tools are not available. And then we see the office document, email, print and file processes which by now should not be necessary.

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