The History Of Lotus Notes

As mentioned in my last blog post, I have invested a lot of time recently building a clearer picture for myself of the history behind Lotus Notes, including Lotusphere. It has been a fascinating look back that really helps provide some clarity for the past few years. At Lotusphere/Connect the trend is obvious. The content at each OGS has proven to be a clear indication of where IBM’s focus has been at that time. At one stage Lotus Notes was front and center and application development seemed to matter. It certainly did to the audience. At this year’s event the product’s only mention was in reference to a bingo event. Times have changed!

At Lotusphere we have seen announcements about the next “big” thing that would change our life.

  1. Knowledge Discovery System
  2. Quickplace/Quickr
  3. Via Voice integration
  4. Domino Everyplace
  5. Domino Toolkit for Websphere
  6. IBM Workplace
  7. SAP Integration
  8. Foundations
  9. Symphony
  10. Social

If we look at the history of the product and the major releases we see a similar trend. Post Notes 6.0 all the major releases have focused on integration with other IBM products. The one exception being Notes 8.5 which delivered XPages and a better editor for LotusScript.

  1. Notes 6.5 – Sametime Integration
  2. Notes 7 – DB2 Integration
  3. Notes 8 – Eclipse
  4. Notes 8.5 – Pages
  5. Notes 9.0 Connections (aka Social)

Looking at the features announced at Connect 2014 for “Notes Next” (9.0.2) these are largely catch-up features for things we already find in competing mail products or other mobile/web development platforms. We are playing catch up using a platform that still has release cycles measured in years. If you look back at earlier versions of Notes and Lotusphere the message was more about innovation and how the competitors could reproduce what Notes already had. Lotus/IBM Notes has gone from being an innovator to a follower.

Peter Presnell
Peter Presnell
CEO at Red Pill NOW. Strategist, technologist, blogger, presenter, and IBM Champion 2011/12. For years many companies have invested heavily in the Notes/Domino platform and I see my role as helping to find paths forward for that investment.


  1. Carl Tyler says:

    Sametime Integration actually first shipped with Notes in version 5.0.2b. 6.5 introduced the entitlement license I believe, and inbox integration, but it was possible much earlier.

  2. Peter Presnell says:

    Hi Carl. If I recall, you actually helped fill a void between 5.0.2 when IBM first provided the hooks for Sametime and 6.5 when IBM made it a lot easier for the rest of us to do it. I know I struggled to get SameTime integration to work in my apps until 6.5 became available. Using IBM’s own documentation for 6.5 (below) item 2 shows they clearly saw Integration as being one of the main highlights for the release. As a developer it was really the only one thing of importance I recall that release providing me.

    1) Gives users a single access point to their most valuable messaging, collaborative and personal information management (PIM) resources through the new Lotus Workplace for Notes welcome page

    2) Integrates Lotus Instant Messaging functionality to provide presence awareness and enable users to initiate chats with colleagues—without launching a separate application

    3) Maximizes responsiveness through follow-up function and visual indicators to show users when they’ve forwarded or replied to e-mail messages

    4) Helps reduce total cost of ownership through minimal training requirements, end-user productivity enhancements and built-in management function like Smart Upgrade

  3. […] Quelle: redpill […]

  4. Denny says:

    Nice recap. As soon as I got to slid 13, I heard the Connect 2014 crowd cheer ‘RON!!!!’

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