REVIEW: Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 Upgraders Guide

I’m probably the last person to get around to reviewing the Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 Upgrader’s Guide from Packt Publishing. I’ve been busy, and the PDF nature of the review copy personally made it hard for me to get to until I got my iPad. Having an eReader was far nicer than having to whip out the laptop each time I wanted to delve in. Anyway, for those still wanting a review, here you go.

To refresh your memory, from this book you’re supposed to learn:

  • Explore the new features in Domino Designer 8.5.1 that help build business and collaboration applications quickly
  • Get to grips with features including security, mail, calendar, and contacts
  • Get solutions to issues that you may encounter during the upgrading process
  • Quickly examine coexistence issues involved in running Notes/Domino in a mixed environment and solve them efficiently
  • Discover add-on products such as Lotus QuickPlace/Quickr and Lotus Sametime for a typical Notes/Domino infrastructure
  • Review iNotes updates and explore its new features in full mode
  • Integrate Lotus Domino 8.5.1 with IBM servers and tools
  • Save disk space by managing attachments on a per server basis using Domino Attachment and Object Service (DAOS)
  • Integrate Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs) with Lotus Notes 8.5.1
  • Roll out your new deployment with ease by using enhancements, dynamic settings, and the Database redirect policies of Notes/Domino 8.5.1

To me, the book is a little uneven overall. I really like that someone has written a book for Notes and Domino, and I think there really is a lot of good info in here. But I think they really should have thought of this as a book someone on ND6.6 or 7 would be reading on whether or not to upgrade and really focus on ALL of the new functionality from 8.0 on. Maybe have a chapter each on what was new in Notes 8, Notes 8.5 and Notes 8.5.1. Makes it a little easier to breakdown. And, I’m really bummed that they didn’t focus on Widgets and LiveText in the book. For me, I run tons of widgets. The File Navigator from, Gist, TripIt, Tungle, and Linked-In. I use live-text all the time. To me, this is a huge omission. They really only mention it in policy and what user ID’s you are using.

They still also call Symphony the Productivity Tools, so you can tell that’s a little outdated. Some good info on it, but I would have liked to see the Symphony brand mentioned in there, if for nothing else than to keep the momentum going around that name. Also, Chapter 4 is Lotus Domino 8.5 Features, and Chapter 10 is Domino 8.5 Enhancements. I’m not sure why they split that into two chapters, and why even if they did, they didn’t put them next to each other. Just seemed weird to me.

That said, in Chapter 10, they did a great job on what I think is one of the defining features of these latest releases, and that’s DAOS, the Domino Attachment and Object Storage feature. They go into pretty good detail, and DAOS is pretty much a feature that justifies the cost of an upgrade completely on it’s own. They also do a really great job on going over the issues of coexistence between old releases and the ND8.X codestream. They even go so far as to teach you how to run both Notes clients on a workstation at one time. It could always be done, but it’s unsupported, so I thought it was really cool that the book taught people how to do it. It’s pretty useful information.

They do also have a chapter (Chapter 8) on What’s new in Notes/Domino Development. What I find curious is that the biggest feature is arguably XPages, and they don’t really give it a lot of in-depth coverage. I imagine you could write a whole book with XPages as the focus, so that could be the reason it is kind of glossed over. But still, the two biggest things with these releases are DAOS and Xpages and they do great on one aspect, and not so great on the other.

If you want to check it out for yourself, Packt offers Chapter 8 – What’s New in Notes/Domino 8.5 Development for free so you can download it and see for yourself.

Overall, the book is pretty good and if you ARE an organization looking to upgrade from 6.5 or 7, this will be a good thing to read through to see reasons why you would want to upgrade, and what the potential gotchas are. It’s good to see books like this on Notes and Domino in the marketplace again, and hopefully Packt can clean up a couple of the omissions in future iterations of the book.