Migrating Domino or Lotus Notes applications

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It can be quite a challenge to migrate ANY application to another platform. A few of the most difficult topics when migrating are to preserve most of the functionalities people are used to, and to migrate the existing data.  Lotus Notes applications are usually used for many years and hold a lot of valuable information, making migration a not so easy task.

In the current IT landscape, moving applications to the Cloud is becoming the norm. The question that arises is: “Can we move our Lotus Notes application to the Cloud?”

And the short answer is “Yes”. But you probably do not want to use Lotus Notes clients anymore.


Moving Lotus Notes applications to the Web

What if you move your Lotus Notes application to the Web first? This would give the users a modern web application, making this platform and device independent and cloud-enabled.

If you have a Domino environment, and you are considering to migrate, you need to look at all your options. And moving applications to the web is quite a good option.

Personally, I developed a lot of applications and a lot of different platforms and to be honest, I really like the Domino server a lot. Yes, the platform has disadvantages, and some odd things too, but it is worth it to at least consider a path to migrate applications to a web frontend.


Some of the Domino advantages:




* Very robust

In comparison with other platforms, I find the Domino platform far ahead on this topic. You really need to do stupid things or throw a lot of data to cause issues. This also helps a lot to reduce the overall running costs.


* Easy setup

The administration and setup are not that hard. And the development environment is pretty straightforward. I saw other platforms that take days to set up a correct working development environment and had a lot of dependencies on components/programs (dependencies tend to make things fragile).


* Low on hardware costs

This topic is usually underexposed, but I think those costs could really matter. If I compare the domino platform with other platforms like Microsoft SharePoint, or web environments like LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP/Python) Domino is doing a great job with fewer costs.


* Rapid Application Development

This is something I want to emphasize. If you know some tips and tricks on how to develop Web applications for Domino, you will be able to make huge steps in a small amount of time (I made a JSON API with 10 small lines of code… that is just WOW).  If (web)developers can think out of the box and do not use some of the default Lotus Notes components, they can really bend this system in every way they want.


rapid development


* Out of the box default features

A few standard features that are just great are: Security, replication across multiple servers, full-text indexing, speed, templating capabilities.


There are disadvantages too:


* “Not sexy”

The domino platform is often seen as a legacy platform. And yes, this is one of the biggest downsides of using Domino. This “feeling” is not easy to ignore and does not go away easily. A fact is that the decision making persons often take the safe path, and do not want to be associated with anything that feels like a legacy.


* IBM’s progress with the Domino platform has not been something to be happy about

I do feel that they are making progress now because the development has been assigned to an external company called HCL, but that needs time. The new version has out of the box JSON API’s and can run Node.js.


* Good developers are not always web developers

Good Lotus Notes developers are NOT by default good Web developers. Web development is quite different. You need to train developers. But this is a common issue. Good developers are hard to find anyway (on any platform). Despite this, a lot can be achieved with training.


Migrating a Lotus Notes application to the Web is certainly a way to preserve your data and to be more future proof. There are many suppliers on the market that offer toolings or help you to migrate your application to the web. Or you can do it yourself (you may want to consider training if you do). But if you see the advantages that the Domino platform has to offer… then it should be a real option.


“At Silverside we strongly believe that you should use the things you have to the maximum”