About six weeks ago, I posted a graphic that showcased the "OneUI" look of the Notes 8.5.4 Social Edition client as a teaser of the work going on towards this year's new Lotus Notes/Domino release. The feedback was a little surprising, though consistent with a thought I had started to hear on the road.

Put simply, the strategy of releasing both a Notes/Domino 8.5.4 "maintenance release" and a Notes Social Edition "feature release" simultaneously was confusing. Questions abounded as to the difference between the two, how many times you would have to touch the desktop, why separate them at all?

Our logic at the time was, the 8.5.4 maintenance release would be the most stable Notes/Domino 8.5.x release for those who just wanted a quality version update. Notes/Domino Social Edition would deliver the "Project Vulcan" vision, including the updated UI, embedded application experiences, a great update to iNotes, an incremental Notes set of features, and the Notes browser plug-in.

About the same time, internally we were facing a few decisions about the new release. A new introductory experience, called the "discovery" page, looks awesome but we were struggling with how to set it up for 8.5.4 users versus Social Edition users. Other new features were taking extra effort to keep firewalled between the MR and the feature release, vs. the general attitude we have had since Notes/Domino 8 of shipping the new features without requiring them to be enabled. Everyone kept calling the thing "8.5.4", though my team had worked hard to establish Notes Social Edition as a stand-alone name for the new release.

In short, I called time out. Based on your feedback here, similar comments in Design Partner reviews, and some challenges we were having with explaining the whole thing to our extended IBM team, I revised our release strategy.

The new version of Notes/Domino shipping later this year will now be a single Lotus Notes/Domino Social Edition 8.5.4 release. As an administrator, you will be able to configure the code to deploy in the manner in which you intend. If you want it to just be a maintenance release, you won't have to enable the new features. If you want the new stuff including embedded experiences, you'll be able to deploy all of those components. If you want something in-between, that will be an option.

The code drop 4 beta that we just delivered to design partners and beta customers still maintains the separation between the MR and feature release concept. Going forward we'll still likely have a separate download for embedded experiences code; that will allow us to iterate on that quickly as a single component rather than having to update the entire Notes/Domino release to provide new embedded experiences features. Otherwise, though, you'll see one name marketed and one name displayed in splash screens and the like within the product.

Beyond this release, it will be time to end the confusion. Our next feature release, planned for another 18 months or so past Notes/Domino Social Edition 8.5.4, will definitely increment the first digit. Whether that is a 9 or something funkier, we'll just have to see :-)

Post a Comment

  1. 1  Ken Yee http://www.keysolutions.com/blogs/kenyee.nsf |

    Thanks, Ed.

    I found the separation totally confusing as well...glad you guys listed to the customers an DPs ;-)

  1. 2  Volker Weber http://vowe.net/about |

    Good decision. May I _strongly_ suggest you come up with something 'stronger' than x.y.4?

  1. 3  Alan Head  |

    @Volker, easier to sneak it under the radar as a point release ;)

    Agree that this is good news though, otherwise we'd be getting in to a Metro/Win8 world of confusion.

  1. 4  mark hughes  |

    @2 i like IBM Notes SE(Social Edition)

  1. 5  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @2 we took a run at calling it something else. Though the reasons for not doing so are primarily internal to IBM, one consideration was that we felt if we called it 8.6 or 9.0, that customers would wait for a "dot oh one" release before deploying moreso than 8.5.4 which can be a non-impactful maintenance release.

  1. 6  Stuart McIntyre http://blog.collaborationmatters.com |

    Fine decision Ed, and thanks for listening.

    I'm ok with 8.5.4, as long as the next release gets a completely new name and brand - put your efforts there I'd say.

  1. 7  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @6 why do you think the next release needs a new name and brand? Why walk away from 22 years of brand equity, what would the incremental advantage to that be?

  1. 8  Keith Taylor http://www.babcockpower.com |

    IBM Lotus Notes 'Wicked Fast' Edition +1

  1. 9  Sean Cull http://www.seancull.co.uk |

    IBM Lotus Notes 'Wicked Fast' Edition +1 with added XPages go faster stripes

    A fairly typical IBM name I would say

  1. 10  JFranchetti  |

    Very good decision.

    I would have called it Lotus Notes 8.6, and then just leveraged a tagline along with it, such as "Social Mail for the Enterprise." Then force out an 8.6.1 within 45 days and everyone is happy.

    I believe the OneUI refresh is the best improvement by far. It has a much more peaceful and modern feel to it. And has some synergies with iPad and Android type clients.

  1. 11  Thomas Duff http://duffbert@gmail.com |

    @7 - I suppose you could go with !Notes9 to make people happy... :) (I'll let the attempt at programming humor just sit there...)

  1. 12  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @11 and spell out the English word "nine" as the German pronounced "nein", that would *really* do well in the market. ;-)

  1. 13  Thomas Duff http://www.duffbert.com |

    Brilliant! (pun sorta intended)... think of all the great column inches you could get in those "worst product name translations" articles. :)

  1. 14  Daniel Brix http://www.dbit-consulting.de |

    Very wise decision to put both versions together.

    Much easier to explain to the customers - just one strategy: go next ;-)

  1. 15  Volker Weber http://vowe.net/about |

    Isn't it kind of sad you have to sneak in your biggest update to the Notes UI and your delivery of Project Vulcan under the radar, only to make sure nobody notices? And it does not matter what you call it, I would not deploy the code before the first or second maintenance drop. Fixpack 1.

  1. 16  Fredrik Malmborg http://www.replikera.se |

    Almost vacation time, so I vote for a little more sexy versioning

    Notes 8.5:)3>=

  1. 17  Fredrik Malmborg http://www.replikera.se |

    @15 if you wait a couple of weeks after the release it is not more risky to install a .4 than a FP. Even FP got bugs.

    Since a couple of years I have never feared to upgrade Notes/Domino. Of course it is stupid to upgrade a production server the same day it is released. If it does not fix an urgent problem you already got.

    I do still remember when MS sent an updated that disabled Domino.

  1. 18  Jens Overgaard Dinesen http://www.ontimesuite.com |

    I can not wait for the great stuff in the "next version" however IMHO naming it 8.5.4 really understates the major changes this version signals. This said I could not be more thrilled that this change is coming :-)

  1. 19  Erik Brooks  |

    @15 +1

  1. 20  Andrew Pollack http://www.thenorth.com/apblog |

    Good decision. I hope as much time and effort went into stability and performance as it needed.

  1. 21  Matteo Bisi http://www.msbiro.net |

    Great news, more easly embedded setup on Notes will be easly to deploy. Great decision

  1. 22  Theo Heselmans http://Www.blug.be |

    Ed, Thanks. Combining them is a great idea, but, being a beta tester too, I think this release deserves better than an 8.5.x. Especially the OneUI theme makes it look like a major overhaul. I too would suggest 8.6!

  1. 23  Martin Jinoch http://jinoch.cz |

    @22 that would still have problems with German language, but "notes eight sex" IS funky name indeed :-)

  1. 24  Fredrik Malmborg http://www.replikera.se |

    Hey, a version number is not a selling point !

    If IBM could get better to show and tell what they got then it could be version 0.7.3 HF28 and still sell more.

    In Sweden the IBMSmartCloud is still totally unknown for the common IT-workers. Because it is not seen, they do not even know that it is an option.

    When I tell the about what IBM offers I get strange looking faces wondering why IBM does not tel everybody about it.

  1. 25  David Winter  |

    How about IBM Notes, lets drop the Lotus altogether!

  1. 26  Henning Heinz  |

    You should rethink your decision because I quite like it ;-)

    I don't think the version number is that important. If the new UI is as good as in your recent screenshot it won't take long to explain the difference.

  1. 27  Brett Hershberger  |

    Neither! It doesn't matter, prospective clients will never see it until they buy it. Who's going to buy it sight unseen?

    So here you have a great (possibly the greatest?) new release of the Notes client, yet you are going to bury it in a dot whatever release number?

    No matter what it's called Ed, "Notes SE" or "Notes 8.5.4" or "Notes with Cherries on top" how is anyone else going to see it, outside of the yellow bubble?

    Are there plans in place to "show" it to anyone else besides the choir?

    This does seem to be the IBM way though, make something awesome, then promptly bury it and don't show it to anyone.

  1. 28  Andreas Walter http://www.timetoact.de |

    You could call it S/Notes.

    You could keep the numbers "below the line" internally for reference (like ANDROID or various LINUX distries) and give it funky names like "S/Notes Chicago", "S/Notes Toronto" or "S/Notes Vulcan".

    If You want to show what it does call it "S/Notes Leatherman".

    And note the subtitle: "Leave nothing undone".

  1. 29  Mat Newman http://www.matnewman.com |

    Excellent decision Ed, the inclusion of the new features without a re-badge makes it easier for an Admin or User to understand.

    Although asking someone whether they have everything enabled may take a few questions while on a support call to identify if they have Notes 8.5.4 Standard Basic or Notes 8.5.4 Standard Social running ;-)

  1. 30  Andrew Pollack http://www.thenorth.com/apblog |

    Sure. In keeping with @28 Andreas...

    Just call it: "The New Notes"

    I think some other company just did something like that...

  1. 31  Mat Newman http://www.matnewman.com |

    @30 "It's Notes, Jim ... but not as you know it" ;-)

  1. 32  Michael Bourak  |

    Good News ! A little funk in the naming would be appreciated already at this stage.

    +1 for a much funkier name for the next release : 22 years of brand equity is good, but getting new customers is hard -despite the enormous qualities of the prodoct -with a name and brand that relates to the past and to poor user experience...(be it for wrong reasons).

    Ideally it could be a name that loyal customers would recognize and trust and that others would find new enough to give domino & xpages a well deserved new look and re-consideration

  1. 33  Fredrik Malmborg http://www.replikera.se |

    Whatever name you choose do not take after Gillette.

    Their latest product name "Gillette Fusion Proglide Power" makes me laugh.

    Imagine "Lotus Notes Slim Social Fusion Hardware Surfer"

    And yes it is good to have less versions/expansions available in parallell for the users.

  1. 34  Nick Halliwell  |


    Whilst I fully understand the 8.5.4 bit, I think that it would be better to release it separately for the 8.5.4 code stream and then have an 8.6.0 release fairly soon after the 8.5.4. with it included in the basic install in the same way as Sametime is, as you have said for the 8.5.4 release.

    Notes SE is a fairly big thing and I think administrators in this initial 1st release should see it as a add on product not inclusive. After all business will need to decide about using it and funding training etc. So that would be better as a separate product in the 8.5.4 code stream. Also by including it in 8.5.4 I feel it devalues it as a product.

    Tell administrators that it will be included in the 8.6.0 release that will come out in 3 months.

    For me the name is irrelevant.

    But I do agree with other who have said that the marketing of Notes sucks.......

  1. 35  John Foldager http://izone.dk/ |

    Just call it "IBM XClient" indicating XPages, cross-integration etc. Drop Lotus and emphasize IBM instead. Drop "Social Edition" - it will be something else in a year or two anyway. Replace "lotus-" with "oneui-" for OneUI CSS.

  1. 36  Oliver Regelmann http://n-komm.de/blog |

    I agree with vowe. Give it a higher version number. And drop the "social" buzzword.

    Clients always waiting for the first maintenance release would wait for the FP1 anyway.

  1. 37  Julian Buss http://youatnotes.com |

    First, it's a good descision to have one install.

    Second, me too fail completely to understand why such a big update needs to go under the radar. For customers, it looks like you are frightened to show the new stuff.

    Yes, a 8.6 update may cause more planning efforts, while a 8.5.4 just sneaks in. But naming it 8.5.4 fails to tell the market that Notes actually envolves at all.

    In the market, this update can quickly be seen as "see, Notes IS dead when IBM only delivers a maintenance updates and no new features."

    To show the market that Notes still lives and envolves, you need to name it AT LEAST 'Notes 9', or IBM Notes 9 or something like that. What a pity That IBM does not want that.

  1. 38  Jan Van Puyvelde  |

    @37: "frightened to show"

    Has that not always been the problem?

    I think that "the market" would not care about version numbers (or names) if it was clear how the product evolves and keeps up.

    Does IBM believe in the product, as a PIM app and/or as a development platform ? If so, show it off. It's the only way to create a counter-movement to the Notes-haters within an organization. You know, the ones who simply do not CARE what the product is capable of and get their way because everyone else does not KNOW.

  1. 39  Frank Buffold  |

    Sorry, but I do not understand ... are you really thinking that the name of the product is the focus point for the problems of the notes / domino in the world?

    Guys we are in the year 2012!

    IBM has run to develop the next release R9 to be lightweight, powerful, and even if the Notes client will be... easy for an administrator to centrally manage.

    In 18 months the world will change again!

    While the technology continues to run...IBM seems always one step behind.

    IBM has to change ... still seems like a big elephant to get moving.

    I'm sorry for this negative comment, but I think many people agree with me

  1. 40  Klaus B├╝cher  |

    IBM and the Lotus brand: Welcome to the fine art of stealth marketing.

    @12: yeah, that could become a funny thing here in germany.

    But whatever you'll do:

    a) keep the name short enough to have it displayable in one line

    b) keep the Lotus in it

    Thanks for litstening

  1. 41  Vijay Pandey  |

    It will be sugestible to release 8.5.4 as MR and SE as LND8.6

  1. 42  Lukas Malina  |

    Just call it "IBM Notes X" ... X can stand for the xPages feature and you can skip "nine" -> NEIN (german) -> NO (english) ... and it's a fancy cool name!

  1. 43  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    @32 and backing up to @6 again - how are you doing with IBM XWork Server?

    @42 you're not far off from our thinking for the next major release.

  1. 44  Mike McP  |

    @15 Not the biggest update to the UI...that would likely have been the Eclipse migration.

    Good idea on the single install...thanks. I don't care about version numbers, but agree that you need to show what the complete package can accomplish in your Marketing.

    I like the Lotus name, and hope it sticks. Love it or hate it, when I tell people we run Lotus Notes, they know what I'm talking about. If I tell them we run IBM Notes X, vendors will be completely confused.."Sorry, we don't support that. Is that Mac only?".

    That problem could be addressed by good Marketing...but the Lotus Marketing department will be running the show;) I would imagine the product will get renamed on some web pages, an infographic will be made, and 50% of the people will call it Lotus for 10 years until everyone is completely confused.

  1. 45  Steve Medure  |

    I say pull a Fire Fox and got strait for Notes 9 with this release, then Notes X for the one after that. Either way, regardless of what is decided for a name, I agree 100% that it should not be spilt into 8.5.4 and Social Edition. It does make much more sense to have everything included, good choice.

    I would agree with some of the others, drop the Social Edition part out of the name. Yes we get it, IBM has software for Social enterprise, but that doesn't mean every product made has to have the word Social in it.

    With the Lotus product page already having 19 occurrences of the word social on the page, not including the graphics, adding it to another product name just seems like a bad attempt at search engine optimization.

  1. 46  Stephan Bartholome http://www.itbalance.de |

    Hi Ed,

    the new UI looks great ! A question many of my cutomers asking is if the new UI will be more tablet enabled?? -> Windows 8 and Metro design...

  1. 47  Thomas Leriche  |

    We don't use Notes for mail anymore, so I'm interested in seeing what other benefits are in store for the 8.5.4 version. There are a growing number of companies that don't use Notes for mail, but have plenty of Notes databases. The Notes database browser plugin looks like it may have some promise.

  1. 48  Michael Bourak  |

    First xWork customer signed, in production end of the year ;p

    And clearly, this customer "listened" to us because we said "we use IBM XWork application server" (they used to be a notes shop 10 years ago and kept a bad image out of it...)

  1. 49  Hynek Kobelka  |

    Good decision. The fewer versions there are the better.

    The screenshot looks promising but i hope that new design goes even further and touches all the ancient stuff (desktop, replicator-page, FT-search-bar, personal NAB). I really do.

  1. 50  Harvey Pope  |

    IBM have made huge leaps and bounds with Lotus Notes 8.5 codestream! Our customers really appreciated deploying one code set and being able, at a flick of a switch, to use either Basic or Standard. It would be great if the "flexibility" in flavors could continue!

    The idea of a new name is good to demonstrate the major steps forward and would suggest "IBM Notes-Flexi".

    Dropping the Notes part in the name can be decided later, depending on market feedback and IBM's politics.

    PS Please keep "Notes Browser Plugin" separate and suggest Version1.0

    If a "sexy" name is requested then Flexi not far off :-)

  1. 51  Kit Davis  |

    While big organizations that have to deliver a corporate blessing to each new version will care but I don't think the version number matters at all in the SMB world. It seems every time your PC is booted, Firefox, Adobe Flash or Java prompts to tell you a new version has been installed. Most people seemed to be conditioned to expect monthly or weekly updates and they have no idea or care for which version is installed. As techies we care because it is important to us from a support standpoint, but clients rarely do. Most don't even know the name of the program. I have learned that when I get told that someone is having problems with their "Lotus" or even with "IBM" they mean Notes. My guess is that once 8.5.4 comes out when I ask the question "What version are you using?" they will say - "Oh I have the Black and Blue version of Lotus" of something similar.

  1. 52  Travis Hiscock http://www.kelros.com |

    The CD4 Notes Browser Plugin now blocks mailfile access using the incredibly crude method of looking for a ($Inbox) Folder or a ($Calendar) View design element. Please remove this ASAP! We have (and we are not alone in this) dozens of bespoke applications that use both of these design element names as part of Mail-In/Calendar enabled applications, all of which worked perfectly in CD3, but now fail in CD4!

    In fact, drop the idea of blocking mailfile access in the Browser Plugin altogether. Give me the choice of using the snazzy iNotes interface or the old basic client mail interface if I want (I may have very good application integration reasons...).

  1. 53  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    Travis, you need to post this feedback about the beat in the beta feedback forum. The beta program itself is still under non-disclosure...

  1. 54  Travis Hiscock http://www.kelros.com |

    Sorry Ed, I have now posted this in the Beta Forum

  1. 55  Rob Hayden  |

    Ed - you can in all honesty call it whatever you want as long as the message gets out. Maybe a big internal PR campaign and open beta asap to get as many IBMers as possible impressed and talking about this release with their customers and partners.

    And more importantly, as long as Middle Click closes a tab.

  1. 56  Jeff Keiffer  |

    How about calling the next release IBM Notes 2012 (or whatever year it is due out)?

  1. 57  John Piscitelli http://www.lecroy.com |

    Hi Ed.

    Will this be addressed in 8.5.4 for Mac?

    Do you know what lotus will do and when to fix the issue with this? Seems for whatever reason Lotus decided to name the lotus notes app file notes.app. However in Mountain Lion, Apple created a notes app called notes.app. I have manually renamed notes.app to Lotus notes.App before upgrading. It worked so far in Lion so I think it will work in Mountain Lion.

    Looks like all it requires is the rename but I want to ensure future releases of lotus notes are easy to upgrade. Any ideas would be helpful, also thought that Lotus would have a developer copy of Mac OS especially since I thought I heard alot of Lotus employees are running it on Macs..

  1. 58  Ed Brill http://www.edbrill.com |

    As I noted in email, I will blog in the next day or two about the Mountain Lion situation. We have acutally been working the issue with Apple for several months.

  1. 59  Chris Boote  |

    It doesn't matter what it's called, until IBM marketeers sell Notes, my Notes life is goping to be another round of contracts decommissioning it

    IBM UK doesn't EVER pitch to an account thinking of dropping Notes (and we're talking big blue chip clients, Hearst Magazines, Waitrose &John Lewis, University Colege London - the list goes on)

    The number of clienst whose IT director thinks that Notes is just email - and so goes along with the Mickeysoft maerketing and orders a switch to Exchange staggers me

    In the last siz years, all of my long-term client work has been for clients mmoving away from Notes and it really hacks me off

    Notes is SO MUCH MORE than Exchange plus Sharepoint, and yet no one in IBM UK seesm to even want to talk to customers who are being lured away by MS




    It's one of the greatest products in the world, with the world's worst marketing and promotion

  1. 60  Ken Adams  |

    Add to this another over 10000 seats moving to Exchange. Main reason? IBM wasn't interested in making a deal, Microsoft threw in Exchange/Sharepoint for free...

    The lack of Notes/Domino marketing is appalling, IBM!

    Anyway, I'm off to a Sharepoint course now!

    Adios, Notes. It was emotional.

  1. 61  damo http://www.idgglobalsolutions.com |

    Just cant help but add to this, we are also moving to Office 365, we've been an IBM lotus house since 96, such a shame.



  1. 62  Moorthi Daniel http://www.moorthidaniel.com |


    Is there any plan to release domino designer for linux os like ubuntu and RedHat? Thanks!

Discussion for this entry is now closed.