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Happy Happy 31st Anniversay - HCL Notes and Domino

Mat Newman  November 27 2020 01:00:00

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While 2020 is a year that most of us would like to forget, TODAY - the 27th of November - is ONE day that I like to recognise every year, because it represents a significant milestone in the software industry.

Today is the 31st anniversary of the Gold Release build of the software that is now known as HCL Notes and Domino, that was compiled in it's first iteration as Lotus Notes Release 1.

Yep, what you are looking at would be familiar to many veterans in the software industry, it's a Virtual machine loading MS-DOS, once the virtual machine loads, we need to change directory into the windows directory (CD windows), and type WIN to start windows, once Windows loads, we open the Lotus Programme Folder, Start Notes, and now lets check the About Notes option from the Help menu and verify the release date, yep there it is, November 27th, 1989.

Of course Lotus Notes Release 1 was brought to you from what was then Lotus Development Corporation. Lotus Development Corporation was co-founded by Mitch Kapor who is famous for not only the Lotus Software brands such as Notes and the groung breaking spreadsheet application Lotus 1-2-3, but also the browser that you may be viewing this video in if you are using Mozilla Firefox, where Mitch was the founding chair of the Mozilla Foundation.

in 1984, Mitch approved a proposal by an ingenious software developer - Ray Ozzie - for a new project that would become Lotus Notes. Ray is famous not only for his visionary work on Notes, he went on to become the Chief Technical Officer at Microsoft, and currently serves on the board of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

In 1995, IBM purchased Lotus Development Corporation, and for the next 5 years Lotus was run independently as Lotus an IBM Company, before being merged into IBM as the Lotus Software Brand. The biggest influence IBM had on Lotus Notes as a product was introducing the Lotus Software portfolio to it's thousands of enterprise customers world-wide, many of whom continue to use Notes and Domino to power business critical and situational applications that literally run their business that do everything from ERP and CRM to - in the case of some customers - literally saving lives.

In 2019, the Lotus software portfolio was acquired by HCL Technologies, who created a brand new company called HCL Software, where HCL Notes and Domino comes under the HCL Digital Solutions division. HCL Notes and Domino version 12 are to be released early next year, and we are already working on the product roadmap for the release after that.

Why do I love Notes so much?

Think about this:
  • Notes was the first widely available NoSQL database application, it was NoSQL before NoSQL was even a thing,
  • Notes was the first client-server based software to include Public Key Cryptography for authentication and encryption of Data,
  • Notes introduced a unique individual field-level syncronisation of data across distributed networks from server to server, and client to server, that is known as Replication. Notes Replication is a powerful technology that ensures that ONLY the data that had changed in a database - again, all the way down to an individual field, in a record, in that database - is actually transmitted across a network. This still blows my mind that two servers on opposite sides of the planet, that host databases that are Hundreds of Gigabytes in Size, will only replicate a few Bytes or Kilobytes of information across a network if that is the only data that has changed since those servers last Replicated.
  • Low-Code/No-Code application development was the major reason that Notes took off in so many organisations as users - Not Professional Developers - could create simple forms for people to fill out, and then organise that information using views to help navigate, collate, and report on that data. Of course, HCL Software has continued in the enhancement of these capabilities by introducing HCL Domino Volt, which means that users no longer need a rich Notes client to build apps, they can now use any web-browser on any device to build simple, powerful applications, in just minutes; even by just importing a spreadsheet to build an application.
  • Many users are familiar with Notes Databases that have been enhanced specifically to provide Personal Information Management capabilities: Including Mail, Calendar and Scheduling, Contacts, To-Do's, and Notebook entries.
  • Mobility is something that HCL have innovated within the platform by introducing the amazing HCL Nomad app for iOS and Android, that means an application that was built 31 years ago today can be accessed on any Mobile device.
  • Notes and Domino is still unique in the software market in the way that it includes a Directory Server for Security, Database Server for information storage, Application Server for Business Logic, HTTP Server for Web Access, and Mail server for communication. and all of these capabilities run within a single platform, and it will run on all of the major operating systems, whether it's Windows, Linux, System I, AIX and even in Kubernetes Containers.

Notes and Domino have served organisations all over the globe faithfully, securely, and reliably now for 31 years. And with the commitment and investment that HCL has put into the product, we are sure to see many, many more.

Happy Birthday Notes and Domino!
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Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

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Mat Newman




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