In just a few minutes, Ambuj Goyal will deliver the keynote session at DNUG/IBM Lotus Technical Forum.  Since I can't seem to get wifi to work for me in the Glashalle, and thus can't blog the keynote "live", I stepped out after rehearsal to pre-blog.

The main announcement in Ambuj's keynote is "Hannover", the code name for the next major version of the IBM Lotus Notes client (post-7.0).  "Hannover" has three objectives:

  • Deliver unprecedented productivity through a compelling, activity-based user interface
  • Introduce a new class of "composite" applications; delivering innovation by extending Notes applications in unison with a J2EE-based platform of packaged and custom applications
  • Build on fifteen years of Lotus Notes in-market leadership by protecting and leveraging existing customer investments in Lotus Notes and Domino.

    Image:"Hannover" -- announcing the next (post 7.0) version of Lotus Notes
Additional screen shots of "Hannover" are posted here.

I'm pretty jazzed about "Hannover".  First, it demonstrates that IBM is serious about continued investment in Lotus Notes.  The value proposition of Notes will expand beyond being a Domino client -- "composite" applications combine new and existing Notes applications, web services and WSRP, and a service-oriented architecture to deliver more capabilities in Notes than ever before.  Second, it shows that Notes has a long life ahead, and that Notes will continue to be a premier desktop application, with rich functionality and even better usability (and some eye candy for good measure!).  Third, the "Hannover" release will deliver new innovation, new business value, and new productivity by blurring the lines between communication and activities, truly moving towards the vision of "contextual collaboration".

OK, so now to anticipate a few questions --
  • "Hannover" is the next feature release of Notes after 7.0.  A ship date isn't being announced today.  Technical previews of this release are targeted for early 2006.  Notes/Domino updates have been shipping on a 12-18 month cycle since 6.0, and the intent is to continue that.
  • "Hannover" is targeted for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux client platforms.
  • "Hannover" is Notes, based on the IBM Workplace client technology.   We've been discussing this conceptually since Lotusphere 2005.  It will do everything that Notes has always done, but leverage the new client architecture.  This inevitably leads to questions about how customers will upgrade to that client environment.  It's too soon to lay that out in detail, but the intention is to make that transition seamless, using tools like the existing SmartUpgrade process.
  • A lot of what you are seeing in "Hannover" is evolution of the soon-to-be-shipping Notes plug-in for the Workplace client technology -- already part of Notes 7.0.  So even "today" (next quarter), you'll be able to integrate Notes with other Workplace client apps, including Activity Explorer, Workplace Documents, etc.  
  • No, you can't get a "Hannover" beta tomorrow and I'm not yet ready to do demos for your CIO.  But check out those screenshots, baby....
I'll post some updates later today after talking with customers/partners attending DNUG, reading some of the press coverage, and delivering the Notes/Domino strategy session here with Kevin Cavanugh.  If you are in Hannover, please be sure to say hello/"hallo"/"guten Tag"....

Post a Comment

  1. 1  Rob Novak |

    Wow - the client looks *amazing*! It is refreshing to see the type of consistent, continued delivery on the promise of contextual collaboration, and continuing investment by IBM in the Notes client.

  1. 2  Steve Castledine |

    It all looks great news for the future of the "Notes Client".

    It even looks great!

  1. 3  Gerco Wolfswinkel |

    Thanks Ed, the future sounds exiting! And the screenshots are nice appetizers, too :-)

    It's much appreciated that you keep us informed like this!

  1. 4  Ben Rose |

    Looks superb, a few comments here...

    Where are the smarticons? ;O)

    { Link }

  1. 5  Steve Castledine |

    I should add as well - it does give me some added confidence that as a freelancer I have a future in this technology.

    Nothing worse for us guys then rip and replace type stuff - it looks like we will be able to use out

    r existing skills and knowledge and "upgrade" at each version rather than the unpaletable option of ditching a technology set and starting over.

  1. 6  Darren |

    I think it's just as important as the look and feel to examine some of the new productivity capabilities that 'Hannover' will deliver. The one that strikes me most is the next generation of Workplace's Activity Explorer alongside Notes functionality. At the moment we tend to work with mail in isolation - mails pertaining to a certain project get shoved in a mail folder for that project. 'Hannover' will give you the ability to hang everything - mails, contacts, appointments, tasks, persistant chats, documents - off an activity, and therefore working on an activity becomes more contextual.

    However, the UI guy deserves a pat on the back as well, not just for the graphics and artwork but also from a usability point of view.

  1. 7  Duffbert |

    And I'm sure a certain analyst will say that this continues to reinforce the fact that Notes is a fading platform and that you'll continue to lose market share... :-)

    And for everyone else, very cool stuff!

  1. 8  Nathan T. Freeman  |

    Duffbert beat me to it, but...

    { Link }

  1. 9  Stu Mac |

    Awesome Ed. Everything we would want a future snapshot announcement to be. Class-leading collaboration tools on the Notes/Domino platform we all know so well, with a fabulous looking GUI.

    Well done all... Roll on 2006!

  1. 10  Chris Whisonant |

    Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Clause and he's delivering the next Notes Client... =) This is awesome!

  1. 11  Vilhjalmur Helgason  |

    Very cool:)

    Probably a stupid question, but does "Hannover is Notes, based on the IBM Workplace client technology" mean that the post R7 Notes client is built on top of the Eclipse platform?

  1. 12  Frode  |

    This looks awesome, thank you for listening to us!

  1. 13  Skid |

    Much better! Anything that gets us away from this:

    { Link }

    I like the CRM angle. Since all Notes-based CRM solutions happen to be priced in the $5,000-$10,000 range, I have no choice but to pursue other technologies, even though all my data is in .nsf's. I would buy Hannover in a heartbeat.

    And better yet, why don't you take this opportunity to drive a stake in MS' heart by polishing up your browser? I recommend taking a page from Opera, a much better product than Firefox. Apart from the features they share with Notes (e.g. tabs, email, chat, etc), they also integrate POP, password management, recoverable windows, fast loading & closing, predictive navigation, zoomable pages, download manager, popup blocker, inpage search, mouse gestures and yes, even contextual advertising is a useful productivity feature. I spend most of my day in Opera because of this richness and I don't see why Notes can't be the same way. If your M&A department needs a little nudge, I'm good for a few bucks.

  1. 14  Paul Mooney |

    WOW! Right Ed... come on, when can we get the beta! Really looks great but looking forward to getting to use it.

  1. 15  Ben Poole |

    @11: yes, that's correct. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Notes 8 would mean feature parity between the "traditional" Notes client and the Eclipse-based one. Is this still the case, or is it all-out for the Eclipse-based client? If just the latter, that's OK by me ;o)

    { Link }

  1. 16  Tim Leach  |

    I don't believe in style over content, but.....

    My God, what a sexy looking Notes client !!!

    Let's hope that we don't have to wait too long in 2006 before we can give it to our users. I'm sick of people complaining that the current client is old-fashioned looking, unintuitive and clunky. Depressingly, this often seems to be one of the reasons that companies migrate to Exchange/Outlook.

    This new client looks sleek, crisp, un-cluttered, and just plain elegant. It will be great weapon to defeat Exchange zealots with. Gimme !

  1. 17  Bruce Elgort |


    Will Domino Designer still be the development tool used to build Notes V8 applications? If not, what will it be?

  1. 18  Ed Brill |

    @11/@15 -- All-out for the Eclipse-based client. Trust us to do the right things as to upgrading, interoperability, compatibility, etc. As has always been the case for the 15+ year history of Lotus Notes.

    @17 - It's not necessarily being called "V8". For the next major release of Lotus Notes (post 7.0), Domino Designer will still be a component of the development environment. IBM Workplace Designer will be important as well, which is why I won't say Domino Designer will be "the" will just be "a" tool in the toolbag.

    The key takeaway though is that all those existing and many future applications built on the Notes architecture will be built and maintained with Domino Designer.

    @13 - interesting feedback, I'll pass it along. I believe the current Workplace client technology architecture relies on the installed browser(s) on a user's desktop. This could be an interesting future thought.

    @6 Daz, thanks. I knew I wouldn't capture every thought right at the outset.

  1. 19  Ed Brill |

    The reaction at DNUG/IBM Lotus Technical Forum was very positive during the keynote itself.... I'm sure I'll get more reactions after the sessions today. Ambuj did a great job of positioning "Hannover" and explaining where it fits in the Notes timeline as well as the overall Workplace family of products.

    CRN has a story on the topic:

    { Link }

  1. 20  Ed Brill |


    Alan Lepofsky

    "This is WIN-WIN all around. Everything people have loved about Notes for the last decade, and the elimination of the complaints about the Notes UI. I don't view this as IBM trying to "just keep the current customers happy", this is IBM clearly saying "Come on over new customers, Notes/Domino is the premier collaborative environment in the world."

    To all those in the press and analyst world that have chosen to write negative headlines about Notes/Domino in the past, let me offer you up some headlines you can use free of charge: "Lotus Notes Alive and Well" , "Lotus Notes Reborn" , "IBM 100% Committed To Lotus Notes"... "

    { Link }

    Rocky Oliver

    "I don't ever want to hear anyone in our industry say "Notes is dead" anymore, ever. The announcement of Hannover, along with the previous announcements and assurances of the future of Notes/Domino should put to rest once and for all any "sky is falling" handwringing going on in the Domino marketspace. Hell, Notes isn't dead - it is just the opposite, evolving with the market and even expanding onto new desktop OSes (Hannover will run on Windows, Mac, and Linux). "

    { Link }

  1. 21  Henning Heinz  |

    Just for the ones who are not in Hannover (and I do not mean this with a negative voice).

    How is this different from saying this is the Workplace Rich Client 3.0 displaying a Notes database?

    How much will I get/be able to use if I do not want a Workplace server (at least not as long as it has these hardware requirements)?

    I would like to read a more concrete answer about the Designer (17)

    Will the Notes core be rewritten so that it natively integrates with Eclipse or do take the "old" code and wrap Eclipse around it ?

    Will existing Domino applications break certain barriers (16 kB for Text, 64kB for a @DBColumn result set) in the forseeable future?

    Are there any plans to provide a lighter J2EE implementation approach for Domino (Geronimo comes to my mind)?

    If I design an Application in Domino Designer for the new Client will I be able to use all GUI elements privided with the screenshot?

    But indeed all this stuff is looking good.

  1. 22  Hosun Lee  |

    Holy smokes. Can we please get that now??? Forget Notes 7, let's get Hannover. This looks like the client that will finally make the UI on par with Outlook.

    I'll cry like a little girl if you tell me that the memory/processor requirements have been lowered.

  1. 23  Neil Wainwright |

    Wow. The UI design is very crisp. I see a lot of old stuff disappearing, which is good. It seems like a fresh group of UI designers are on the project, or the existing team has been released to be creative. It's a very good look and I commend the team who are working on it.


  1. 24  Ed Brill |

    I'll blog this as a new topic, but just to fix a comment I made earlier. There -will- continue to be a "traditional" notes.exe-type of client in the "Hannover" timeframe. It won't have all the features/capabilities of the "Hannover" Notes client, but it will be available to support lower-end hardware etc.

    @21 questions I can answer

    1) OK, more definitive -- Domino Designer will still be a premier development tool used to build Notes "Hannover" applications .

    2) You will not need a Workplace server to provision te Notes "Hannover" client.

  1. 25  Keith Nolen |

    Holey smokes, that's good stuff! I love the new look. Ed, I have to say it sounds like IBM is firing on all cylinders as far as the Notes client development is concerned.

    I know a LOT of people are going to be very happy with the Windows/Mac/Linux client platforms. Is that for ALL THREE clients, or just for Notes/Hannover?

  1. 26  Richard Schwartz |

    Question: In presentations over the past six months, there have been occasional mentions of "7.5" as a "client-focused" release. Is this one and the same as Hannover? Or has that desgnation (which I'm not sure was ever really official) fallen by the wayside?


  1. 27  Ken Porter  |

    If someone last year told me that I would someday have a sexy looking Notes client on the Mac OS which is running on Intel chips, I would have thought they had lost their mind. It is amazing how much can happen in a year! :-)

    This is very exciting news Ed; thanks for the heads up and the screen shots!

  1. 28  Declan Lynch |

    Trackback : { Link }

    With IBM WorkPlace moving to V2.5 many companies are looking at this technology, comparing it to other similar technologies and starting to make important stratigic decisions that will effect their business over the next few years.

  1. 29  Brian Benz |

    Trackback: { Link }

    <i>We the jury find the next version of Lotus notes and Domino.....Pretty damn cool. Finally, IBM started to copy the best features of .NET, which copied the best features of Notes in the first place, .....IBM and MS innovate by playing "features pong"! Hey, whatever gets us to better is fine with me.</i>

  1. 30  Daniel Wright  |

    Am I the only one that noticed proportional scrollbars in the "composite" screenshot showing an unmodified Notes application? I'm hooked already... ;-)

    I have long hated the fact that my technically superior mail/dev platform of choice was the UI equivalent of a Humvee. Looks like we're finally getting the precision engineered driving experience of a Porsche.

    My hat is off to the designers and UI team Ed, not only does it look good it's apparent that a lot of thought & effort has gone into making it work good. Great job so far.

  1. 31  Ed Brill |

    Wow, lots of comments on the screen shot page as well:

    { Link }

  1. 32  Ashish Sidapara |

    Looks great !!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  1. 33  George Chiesa |

    It does matter what you announced, but it also matters that you DID announce something. This will SELL notes domino SEVEN more than any feature in SEVEN... And will help sell MORE OF SIX too... Of course, this depends on each of us continue to push the CURRENT release as the MOST cool AVAILABLE technology on earth, instead of letting the customers "wait" for the next cool thing on the block. This is NOT about catching up features. For decades, Notes/Domino had helped people solve problems and save/make money. To show that Notes/Domino HAS a future is essential for companies to get the most cool AVAILABLE technology in the block:" Lotus Notes/Domino (latest RELEASED).

    We just must not fall in the trap of the real Notes Domino competition: which is "do notheing and wait for the next extra cool release".

  1. 34  George Chiesa |

    It does matter what you announced, but it also matters that you DID announce something. This will SELL notes domino SEVEN more than any feature in SEVEN... And will help sell MORE OF SIX too... Of course, this depends on each of us continue to push the CURRENT release as the MOST cool AVAILABLE technology on earth, instead of letting the customers "wait" for the next cool thing on the block. This is NOT about catching up features. For decades, Notes/Domino had helped people solve problems and save/make money. To show that Notes/Domino HAS a future is essential for companies to get the most cool AVAILABLE technology in the block:" Lotus Notes/Domino (latest RELEASED).

    We just must not fall in the trap of the real Notes Domino competition: which is "do notheing and wait for the next extra cool release".

  1. 35  George Chiesa |

  1. 36  Egor Margineanu |

    As I know it was a concept, now it's real. Looks very nice. Will be a Linux version?????

  1. 37  Damien Barnard  |

    Ed, (re @17) will the design tools used to build "Hannover" Notes based applications run on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux platforms?

  1. 38  Ed Brill |

    @36 - yes.

    @37 - Some of the tools, yes. :)

  1. 39  Norm Van Bergen  |

    Will the ADMIN tool(s) run on non-Windows platforms as well?

  1. 40  Nathan T. Freeman  |

    @39 The Web Administrator runs on all platforms where Firefox is supported, IIRC.

  1. 41  Hosun Lee  |

    Clarify something for me. This is a Workplace-based client for Domino, then correct? It is a J2EE based application and not a Windows exe application, yes?

  1. 42  J.G.  |

    @41 This is a Workplace Client Technology (i.e. Eclipse++)or Workplace Managaed Client (or whatever the heck IBM is calling it today) version of the Notes client. You will see a Windows package, an OS/X package and a Linux package for local installation similar to what you find here: { Link }

    However, there will also be server-managed provisioning features to distribute/configure these packages to clients in your environment.

    While the WCT/WMC contains a little bitty local app server/EJB container, I don't know if it can be called J2EE per se, and it's definitely not a browser-based server app if thay's what you're asking.

    Disclaimer: I am not an IBM-er and this is educated speculation/interpolation based on everything I had seen publicly disclosed at Lotusphere and elsewhere prior to and including yesterday's announcements.

  1. 43  Alan Lepofsky |

    @42 One clarification (as I understand it anyway!). WCT and WMC are not the same thing. Workplace Client Technology is the foundation (Eclipse, etc) on which "rich" clients can be developed. Two such clients that IBM's developers have (are) creating are the Workplace Managed Client (the rich client that connects to Workplace servers) and Hannover. Business Partners (or any developer really) can build their own "rich" clients using WCT. At least I think that is how it goes! ;-)

  1. 44  Ed Brill |

    Keith Nolen's reaction (Manual trackback):

    { Link }

    "One, Notes is most definitely not dead. Anyone who says that - especially you, Dr. Radicati - is simply confessing to bias, or a huge blind spot. I never want to hear that again."

  1. 45  Jeroen Jacobs |


    I got a question : since this version of Notes is based on the richtext client, what about API calls in our Notes databases.

    I have a few databases that rely on COM and various Windows API calls. Will they still work on the windows-version of this new Notes client ?



  1. 46  Hynek Kobelka |


    looks great, sounds great. Thanks IBM now we really have something to wait for !!!

    Moreover I would like to say that I appreciate that you share this information with us in such an early stage of development. I consider this to be a welcome change as it has not always been so, and I think it is the way to go.

    (Just remember last years discussion about a linux version of the notes client. At that time we heard a loud and strict "NO". Just imagine how many additional enthusiastic customers you would have, if it were possible at that time to say "We will try but you have to wait till 2006/7/8 ...")

    Thanks again and I am going immediatly to show these information around to customers. I bet they will love it.



  1. 47  J.G.  |

    @43 Thanks for the clarification Alan.

  1. 48  Frank  |

    Personally I don't see what everyone is getting so excited about. A couple of jpegs don't say much about a client application.

    As hard as IBM tries they just can't seem to make anything better than the original Notes WorkSpace created by Ray Ozzie. The WorkPlace idea is just too BUSY and the vast majority of Notes users don't like it. In fact almost every organization I visit as a consultant is still using the WorkSpace as their default Notes screen.

    Nothing IBM has done so far has managed to supplant the old workspace icons.

    When o' lord is IBM going to sit down and think about usuability testing for the new Notes client? These screens seem like the same old stuff to me. There is nothing new here!

  1. 49  Ben Poole |

    > Personally I don't see what everyone is getting so excited about.

    > A couple of jpegs don't say much about a client application.

    No they don't. But who's saying that a couple of jpegs is all there is? And have you been following what's going on in this space *at all*?

  1. 50  Ed Brill |

    @48/@49 - I'm tempted to just say "please do not feed the troll". Frank left an e-mail address that's suspect at best... I probably should have just deleted the comment.

  1. 51  Carlos Hernandez |

    First , Thanks Ed for the Screen shots. This is were Domino/Lotus should go. Finally IBM is doing what is suppose to do with the client, enough of end user complaining about the Notes client and favoring Outlook.

    For thos who still complaint about the new UI, let just said, Outlook don't come even close.

  1. 52  Deleted  |

    Deleted comment spam

  1. 53  Ngozi Pole  |

    I am curious about two things:

    In my current environment, we are using Lotus for Workflow applications and Exchange for e-mail (not my choice... I wish I had Notes for both). As IBM moves to this rich client model, will it be possible to allow a use to leverage data that lives on an Exchange server along with the data that lives in Domino (or whatever the back end is called). Who know's how people will think about these systems by the time Hannover is released, but when we first purchased Domino, the Enterprise folks complained about the fact that I would be running two mail systems. In fact now, I forget that Domino is a mail system at all. It is a real utility application for us. I can't wait for this to be released it will help our projects and it will help expand the Lotus /IBM footprint in my organization

  1. 54  Sim’ |

    With Portals as the cornerstone of user-facing integration, what you'll start to see more of (especially from IBM), is the concept of uber-portals, or a portal of portals. This means multiple back-end systems, and multiple TYPES of back-end systems (including non-J2EE portals such as Sharepoint Portal) - will all be aggregated together through a mega-portal.

    The rich client should then be able to start taking advantage of access to the data and applications that are served up to it through this portal.

    It's all about the integration.

  1. 55  passingby  |

    hopefully they fix the designer as well.

    visual studio's ide is alot more advanced.

    if ibm wants to keep lotus notes going, they will need programmers to create applications.. happy programmers that is :)

    with lotus notes, programmers are trained to write workarounds.. that makes us want to move to something else..