On being IBM certified and the new Lotus Notes

IBM CertifiedLast week. I passed the exam to gain an IBM Certified Associate Developer Lotus Notes and Domino 7 certification. I previously held a Notes 6/6.5 certification, but since IBM retired that test, I needed to get certified in version 7 in order to progress to Advance Application Developer status.

I have always pondered if focusing on Lotus Notes development was a correct career move for me. There are some companies moving away from  Lotus Notes as the industry perception is that Lotus is a dying platform (not necessarily the consensus). But, enter the newest version that turned gold this year, version 8.5. My biggest turn on was the decision to move the IDE into Eclipse.

Eclipse originally started with IBM, which probably contributed to finding itself in Lotus Domino development. It already was being used in Rational Software Architect which was a replacement for some of the modules of Rational Rose. This IDE upgrade provides a lot of  drag and drop functionality which can be edited on the code level. Not to mention the usability of Eclipse in terms of coding Java and JavaScript. The introduction of Eclipse to the Lotus Notes application development will certainly open a lot of doors for developers and adapters.

On the highly touted Xpages

Xpages are the new design elements introduced in Lotus Domino Designer 8. They are forms specifically (as of now) for web development. Here is as blog entry I read showing how to join data from multiple views on Xpages and I’ve got to say, this is very cool. XPages  will probably single-handedly propel Lotus development into the Web 2.0 generation.  Here is another blog entry showing what Xpages opens up for developers (just the mention of AJAX partial refreshes and joining views makes me drool).

So, I guess the idea of Lotus Notes and Domino is an old, clunky, severly limited platform is a thing of the past. IBM certainly did itself (and a lot of loyal developers who’ve invested decades on Notes) a huge favor in providing a better tool for better applications more suited for today’s technology trend.