I just got back from Lotusphere 2007 and really enjoyed it. I spent the better part of this past week in Orlando, Florida.
I was first staying at a dive called theÂ “Grosvenor Resort In The Walt Disney World Resort” which showed a 3-star rating in Orbitz (3.6 out of 5 by the user score). This place was a dump, the lobby smelled funny, everything was tired and the people there, well.. let’s just say that I was woken up several times throughout the night by thoughtless revellers. To their credit, they are currently undergoing renovations, but I was not aware of this before I got there. Also, there was no Internet connectivity in the rooms even though it was one of their touted features. If this is 3 stars, I NEVER want to stay at a 2 star hotel :(. Anybody who knows me will know that this says a lot.
So I re-booked myself across the street at the Hilton which had a 4-star rating in Orbitz (4.6 out ofÂ 5 by the user score)Â and was much happier.
The place actually had soundproofed walls. It was a little pricier, but it was WELL WORTH the extra expense!
Lotusphere itself was great, theÂ Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin resorts do a first-rate job of organizing and maintaining a venue supporting over seven thousand attendees in addition to normal hotel guests and any other conferences that may have been going on. Meetings started on time, they ended on time and there were very few technical glitches – and any that *did* occur were fixed, literally, in seconds.
I’m a hybrid kind of geek, I do mostly administration work for my company’s Lotus Domino infrastructure, but I also do a fair amount of programming to create and maintain utilities and applications in support ofÂ automating the routine tasks and processes that allow the infrastructureÂ to function smoothlyÂ – an area that most technical systems could benefit from. Usually the administration folks are very good at “administering” but possess little programming ability, and the development staff has that programming ability but don’t really understand what is needed for administration. And since IT tends to be a cost center rather than a profit center, not a lot of internal development goes on to help keep an enterprises core infrastructureÂ systems humming along smoothly.
So my attendance at Lotusphere ran the gamut from “best practices” sessions, to “Hands On” labs through the “administration overview and deep-dive” sessions. There was so much that I wanted to see, my calendar was literally double booked for every time slot and quintuple booked for some. There were some hard choices I had to make in terms of which sessions I would attend and which I simply would not be able to make it to.
Hopefully most of the sessions that I missed will have DVDs available.
I also has a chance to check out the usability lab and was able to offer some input into the latest release of SameTime 7.5 so hopefully those ideas will make it into a coming release.
The “Birds-of-a-Feather” session that I attended was not as productive as I had hoped but at least I was able to see that I’m not alone in my template issues. The topic was on trying to find ways to preserve template customizations across new releases of the template code.
I had very little time to attend the exhibitor’s exhibition, I popped down a couple of times, but it really isn’t my favorite way to do research. I think, if I was earnestly evaluating a product and already knew a lot about it, then the showcase would be more relevant to me as I’d be able to get hands-on with it and perhaps even get some of my (usually) myriad questions addressed or at least acknowledged. As it is, I still do not have enough time to get my head around all of the offerings of the base product much less the plethora of third party tools that spring up to fill niches and needs that the larger product cannot effectively address.
I came away from the event brimming over with new ideas and approaches for our Domino environment and with a very positive outlook for the future of Lotus Notes / Domino. The past few years have not been bright ones as IBM/Lotus reeled under the assault of Microsoft Exchange’s dominance in the email market. But Microsoft really has nothing cohesive to offer in the application space where Domino’s strength lies. With its growing front-end flexibility and “cooler” mail interface and functionality, I believe Domino and Lotus Notes will be able to hold their own within existing companies and, for those that look beyond the hype, can establish new footholds in new and existing companies who want a standardized, secure development platform.