I wouldn’t want to start doing Notes now…

Well actually I would – I love the product but this morning after seeing a developerWorks article titled “Using and understanding Reader Names fields in IBM Lotus Notes and Domino” I caught myself thinking: “Who actually reads something as basic as this?”

I only just finished the thought before realizing that although I have been with the product for a LONG time and consider most of the features well known, many new developers are coming to Notes each year. I wouldn’t want to start now because where do you start?

When I started with Notes I think there were about 3 different courses available with nested @If’s and understanding the difference between @DbColumn abd @DbLookup being some of the most advanced topics. I haven’t counted but my guess is that there are a hell of a lot more courses now! 🙂 Where do new developers begin? Is the scope of the product now such that the developers who will become the “jack-off-all-Domino-trades” are gone? Will new developers have to specialize to actually grasp the product and be productive? How long will it take before they are actually able to contribute to a decent size project? With quality design elements that is… Not just forms with a couple of fields or views, designed in a way that would make Nathan Freeman and Chris Blatnick scream! Quality stuff ready for prime time…

It’s a whole different ball game now. New technologies. Different platforms. Different languages. Different vocabulary; Notes, Domino, Eclipse, RCP, Expeditor, Form, View, Script Library, PostOpen, WebQuerySave, Design Synopsis, Principal field, Amgr task, Composite application, web service…. Considering that I already used Notes and Domino interchangeably above, although the words mean totally different things, doesn’t make it easier.

When were the last time you started a new junior developer off in Notes/Domino development? How long did it take before he/she was productive on his own? My guess is that it took a long time. I’m not saying that it is impossible, but I find it very hard to get new developers going in Notes. There is just so much stuff you simply have to know before you can produce anything that is off value to the customer (whether he be internal or external to the company).

I guess you have to start with the basics and just accept that it takes time.

Simply having to know a lot of stuff and starting with the basics concludes the rant and takes me back to the article on reader/author fields. Good thing these articles are still being written – where would we be without them… 🙂