Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Power Of The Schwartz | The Notes Workspace Must Die

The Power Of The Schwartz The Notes Workspace Must Die: "The old-guard's refusal to give up on the workspace is holding back the product. By sticking with something that's the poster child for everything that's ever been wrong with the Notes client UI it is reinforcing a major element of the 'Notes Sucks' meme that we really wish would go away. "

Interesting debate. I disagree; I still prefer the "classic" Notes workspace, although I agree it needs to be more customizable and programmable (which I assume is part of the plan for Notes Hannover). Of course, I'm not unbiased, having used Notes on a daily basis since ~1988 (starting pre-1.0 at Lotus). It all comes down to fundamental metamodel issues -- for me the database/workspace containment level is a central part of the model, and portal-esque alternatives don't suffice.


Anonymous said...

Peter - my question to you, as a true power user, is: do you want your workspace to be managed by anyone but you? With the exception of server name changes, is there anything that you want administrators to do to your workspace or the icons on it? Or would it drive you crazy if they started putting things on, taking them off, or moving them around?

This is my real point. The power users who love the workspace and will never give it up don't need the manageability that Volker's post called for. To benefit the users who need manageability -- the bulk of the end-users -- IBM really needs to put their effort into improving manageability of the bookmarks interface. Improving the feature set of bookmarks, so that their folders actually exhibit the feature set that we've come to expect from desktop folders, would also be a far better direction for IBM than putting resources into the workspace.

pbokelly said...

Hey Richard -- thanks for the comment and for your provocative post. I can think of scenarios in which it would be very useful for others to be able to update my desktop, e.g., if I had a company admin workspace page (i.e., tabbed collection of databases) including assorted admin/company resources I might find useful, for example.

The conceptual models gets pretty deep in this context, but I don't think bookmarks are a viable substitute for desktop database icons -- there's value in the optional unread counts, the ability to toggle among database replicas, etc.

Tangent: Here's an attempt at capturing parts of the Notes application metamodel using Logical Data Structures, a useful logical data modeling/conceptual modeling technique. One of these days I'm going to revisit the draft model and expand it to capture more of the Notes app metamodel; it would be useful, e.g., to add bookmarks, anticipate the implications of Hannover composite apps, etc.

In any case, for now I certainly agree that there's ample room for improvement in Notes' use of bookmark concepts; I just don't see them as a replacement for database desktop icons.

Anonymous said...

Peter - bookmarks do have the optional unread count (and optional server names, too); and they also allow toggling between replicas with a right click.

Re your model... Thanks. That looks like it could be really quite a useful tool for explaining Notes to people who haven't got the innate understanding folks like you and I have acquired over the years. Steve Caudill used to do a really interesting (and popular) presentation at Advisor conferences with the title "The Notes Container Model".

pbokelly said...

Thanks again -- I guess I clearly need to explore the Notes client a bit more; I've never found the bookmarks to be useful, but I also didn't realize the feature included the ability to view unread counts, toggle among replicas, etc.

Glad you found the LDS diagram useful; I hope to revise it and complete a bunch of similar models over the next few months.