PermaLink I continue to be astonished10/21/2008 10:08 PM
One of these days, I'll have to tell someone "no."  but in 15 years, it hasn't happened.

About two years ago, at my day job, we had some contractors in to do what seemed like a fairly simple task. They were to build a system to track some executive documents, stuff related to strategic planning and task management.

Months later, and a good bit of money later, we had a system. They'd done it in ColdFusion and SQL Server, and... it was a piece of crap.

Searches had to be phrased in nearly native SQL query syntax, which of course all executives know cold.

There was no delete function (you didn't tell us to write one). Deletes had to be done out of the SQL tables by an administrator. It couldn't hold anything but text, so no attachments.

Worst of all, it was essentially unmaintainable. A year or more went by, and every time users -- and these are executives or their minions, mind you -- asked for a change, they were told basically that the system couldn't be modified even in fairly minor ways to meet their needs.

One of these executives, one we happen to work directly for in my area, finally had enough. She asked that we build something else to replace it. Unfortunately, we had around one month in which to do this, since a major update to the organization's strategic plans were in the works and everything needed to be edited to suit.

"I've got a solution," one of my Domino contractors told a worried midlevel manager tasked to accomplish this, "but you won't like it."

This is a manager who's been skeptical of Domino and keeps making mutterings about "migrating to a standard platform" and things like that. After last year, I assume he no longer means ColdFusion and SQL Server.

"I don't care, tell me," he said.

"We can do it in Domino," my guy said.

So, we did. He had a prototype running in days, and even though, over the next few weeks, said manager seemed to issue conflicting "requirements" every other day, and at one point these demands required that I nearly gut and rewrite the app. The bunch of us performed minor miracles of Javascript and Lotuscript and in a remarkable amount of time produced a truly amazing application.

Tomorrow, the piece of crap gets turned off. We migrate the data into Domino, and Thursday, we light it up for business.

It's modifiable, extensible, works smoothly, looks cool, and the users who've seen it like it.

Don't ever challenge me or my team with doubts that Domino can do something. My stock response is, "name that tune."

Fifteen years now, and I've never had to tell anybody "no." I just wish they'd ask more often. And it helps when they're desperate, because then they listen more carefully.

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1. Paul Mooney10/22/2008 06:57:44 PM

Ah now c'mon.. .be realistic.

SQL and Coldfusion..

You could of and SHOULD OF done it using WAS as the platform... sure thats how applications are supposed to be built sir..... Jesus... don't you understand how much more money would be made if it wasn't done in domino? Are you nuts????? ;)

Simply put... its why I keep coming back to Domino. It does what you want it to do. If you are not talking millions of records, it will do what you want it to do.

Maybe thats why I get in troube with large consultancy firms from time to time

2. Chris Toohey10/22/2008 10:28:54 AM

I - and I know this is common - run into two problems:

1) People don't ask - they just take their departmental budgets and bring in consultants to write applications in Excel or go the SaaS route with the Department Manager's neighbor's brother's cousin who's on the Helpdesk/co-Owner of the company providing the SaaS services.

2) Certain "subject matter experts" that are more interested in playing with the latest/greatest vendor technologies instead of looking to see what can be done with the current technology investments, more to build up their resume for their next job than help their current employer.

It's always good to hear stories like this - true wins in the field!

3. Chris Mobley10/22/2008 08:28:51 AM

I just love stories like that. This is exactly why I have stood by Notes/Domino for 15 years as well. Sometimes I wonder if my (or Notes's) reputation gets tarnished by saying "Notes can do that" too often. Sometimes I find myself underplaying the power of Notes just to make it believable!

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