Much ado about scripting, Linux & Eclipse: card subject to change

2007-08-27

Notes 8: Part 3: M'aidez!

After much digging and hacking I've found a number of places to go for help with the newest Notes offering. That's the good news. Usability score: +1

The bad news is that if you're like me and used to tracking bugs a la Eclipse Bugzilla or Sourceforge, you will be sorely disappointed with the options for bug reporting for Notes 8. Usability score: -1

I hate to bite the Big Blue hand that feeds, but there are much more efficient tools & processes to manage software development than the use of a discussion forum. Sure, it's a case of eating your own cooking +1, but I've used lots of Notes databases in my 8 years with IBM that were more user-friendly than this -1. Why is using Bugzilla (or sourceforge's tracker) such a big deal?

Well, for one thing, they're transparent, open source systems. For another, using a system like Bugzilla provides consistency across dev teams. Notes 8 is proudly 'built on Eclipse' +1 but hasn't adopted the Eclipse Way yet for issue tracking, so developers that work both sides of the fence (like myself) have to learn more than one system and in some cases, report issues in more than one place -1. So much for the mantra of 'do more with less'.

Anyway, here's a couple places to go for help, which it turns out are all linked from within Notes 8 itself under the Help menu (unless you're on the Getting Started page or a web browser tab, in which case they magically disappear) +1 -1.

  • Notes/Domino 8 Support Forum

    Well trafficked, but a bit of a pain to use -- cannot attach screenshots or log files without the use of some free service like imagebin.ca or pastebin.ca; cannot view an entire expanded thread in one page; follow-ups may be posted anonymously (as far as company name goes, anyway) so there's no enforced accountability; 4 different ways to search for my posts (only two produce results, albeit differently) +1 -4

  • Product Feedback Form

    This form proudly states "We value and review all comments, but cannot respond directly to them." +1 -1

Here's a few handy blogs +3:

Now, just in case it's perceived that I'm actively trying to embarrass or offend, I'm not. Let me clarify:

  • I blog to talk about things I like and things that bug me, with hopefully some balance between the two. By showing the things that bug me, it's my hope that those annoyances will be fixed, or that someone will share a hack / workaround, or prove me wrong. By talking about the things I like, I hope to encourage others to try those technologies or use a hack I've worked out. I'm a tester by nature, and I want software to work well. Think of me as the Penny Arcade of usability nerds, without the advertising, merch, comics, and clever dialogue. Oh, and the shipments of free software. And the write-ups in Wired. And 7-figure income. Yep, just like 'em.
  • I've signed up to be a Usability Tester for Lotus. Time will tell what that means.
  • And, as it's better than a boot to the head, I plan to hang out in the forum and try to help out as best I can. Of course this will also yield some of my own bug reports discussion topics from time to time, but it's all about balance.

As always, the contents of this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

3 comments:

Chris Aniszczyk (zx) said...

I agree with most of your sentiments... hopefully in the future the Lotus team will adopt something like Jazz.net which is kind of "the Eclipse way" but for corporations (at least that's what I'm trying to convince myself).

Mary Beth said...

Please keepan ey on the Lotus notes design blog as well!
http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/marybeth

Simon Scullion said...

Thanks for the link!