Next version of Notes – a killer app?

IBM have announced more news on the next version of Notes.  This for me is a step change from the present versions.  Bill Buchan has published many screenshots here from the recent DNUG conference (Paul Mooney was the photographer) >> thanks chaps!

So what are the big things in this client in my view:

  • The UI is the biggest step change.  It looks like IBM are fed-up of listening to people moan that the Outlook UI is better, so they’ve made key areas look very similar (contacts, calendar etc).
  • The Eclipse framework for development is important – however the end user (and to an extent myself) don’t care too much about that and care more the end result and the experience.
  • ACTIVITY EXPLORER!!!! (please IBM make sure this is in Notes!)
  • Open Document Format editors built into the client.
  • Composite applications

 Activity Explorer

For me this will be the killer application.  If there is one thing which will impact the way we share all the collaborative data for small tasks involving a few people then this will be it.  This article describes activity explorer much better than I could.  I just hope it does ship as until we see BETA code we won’t be 100%.

Open Document Format Editors

Well with this feature I’m on the fence at the moment.  This functionality must bloat the client.  Graham posted an interesting response asking whether or not this feature would suit the power user.  I have to say it will be great functionality for those who aren’t power users and would force most IT departments to think long and hard about their licence costs for office products.  For the power users this wont replace their office applications so the important question is how will the client integrate with the office products?  Can the ODF editors be disabled and the incumbent office application used to open attachments?  All these questions will be answered over time.

The competition

Well the biggest competitor to Notes in the corporate space is Outlook so how does what is planned for Notes compare with what is planned for Outlook?  Well I’ve been on the Office 2007 beta programme and use the Outlook 2007 beta client.  I’ll be honest and say it isn’t a step change from the Outlook 2003 client.  More interesting will be when Micrsoft reveal the real changes to Outlook when it becomes a collaborative application linking with sharepoint etc.  That will be the point to compare the 2 clients.  It will be interesting to see whether composite applications in Notes, built using the Eclipse framework, can be matched in the “Outlook Collaborative client”.  Both clients would appear from the marketing hype to be arriving in 2007.


  1. One of these days I’ll learn to communicate properly 🙂

    Actually my point wasn’t about Power Users. My point was actually about the user experience for any user. If a user has Word and has Notes why should they use Notes? They already know how to use Word. If you want to send someone an email with an attachment (because that’s what you do a lot of, right) do you send someone an ODF document or a Word document. Today you send them a Word document or an Acrobat document, ODF doesn’t feature because you don’t know whether the person at the other end can cope with it or not.

    I agree with you that the Notes change is a far more significant change than the Outlook change – but then it needed to be.


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