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A "component"-wise extendable / partly enrich-/replaceable, and skinnable Notes client 
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: Florian Vogler97 21 Dec 2008
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Reading "Open Source the Domino product line" (http://ideajam.net/IdeaJam/P/ij.nsf/0/834A4BA0093A41F48625752600585353?OpenDocument) I thought about the following: What I could imagine to give Notes/Domino a huge boost (and to be possible for IBM) would be a mix between a closed core and parts of Notes being open for alternatives/extentions/adaption.
The following would certainly be a lot of work, but imo benefits would develop exponentially, as a many development areas would no longer depend on IBM entirely (and thus not happen at all - not meant blaming; with the vast amount of work on Notes/Domino things need to be prioritized if it's IBM "only" that does the work).
Imagine what would happen if companies could, for example, offer desktop/bookmark/replicator page replacements, customized template management (inheritance, control, creation from, ...) solutions (through round-trippable DXL for example), custom calendars (as a replacement for the one out of the box, or much better even an enriched one), custom user management functions, and similar client enhancements different from what's in the box by default.
As much as many things and most if not all of the above is possible with 3rd party solutions / applications / products, these applications end up being "outside" of Notes, rather than being / feeling truly integrated - as they run on top of / in Notes, but are not truly interwoven with Notes and its many parts/objects/features... .

An entirely extendable / partly enrich-/replaceable/reworkable Notes client experience is thus what I'd love to see happen - similar to the power of the Extention Manager, alternative and/or enriched "parts" would imo benefit both Notes customers, business partners, and IBM.
This is about much more than just "skinning" the Notes client with adjusted menus / just a different look and feel, but about possibilites to also enrich and/or exchange parts "underneath". Today one could only write a new Notes client in its entirety, or extend Notes 8 with rather disconnected plug-ins. Whilst I know that plug-ins can be very connected to Notes/Domino, they are isolated in a particular area in notes and do not allow for changes to the Notes client experience as such.

Things could really flourish if more / most / all of the underlying data structures were open and documented - be it ODS, the many Notes 8 standard client XML files, desktop*.ndk, bookmark.nsf, etc.

All I'd imagine this to boil down to
+) round-trippable, validatable/validated XML, so that it doesn't turn into a support nightmare for IBM,
+) a lot more documentation from IBM,
+) a lot more write properties (instead of many read-only, or "not visible at all" props),
+) fully controlable menus (add, hide, hide when/for whom, ...), options, objects (e.g. locations, preferences --> hide some, extend with other options/objects/...)
+) adjustable, replaceable UI parts (e.g. property boxes, what happens when pressing button x, y or z, ...)
+) "extention-manager-like"-integration points to have Notes read a 3rd party UI replacement/enrichment instead of its own parts, to have Notes run a different command/program/part/... instead of a "built-in" one
The result would be that
+) nothing related to intellectual property would have to be open sourced (not that I wouldn't like that, but I understand why that is pretty much impossible)
+) development of the Notes client experience (not the core / "backend", but front-end and what happens from there) would not depend on IBM alone, but could be customized / enhanced both by business partners, as well as customers --> the Notes client as such could be enhanced by IBM *and* the Notes community
A great many of the ideas on ideaJam could be solved if the Notes client experience could be customized from within itself - not just on top of it. To me, there is nothing more powerful than Notes/Domino, but its acceptance lags behind its possibilites as its frontend is in fact hardcoded.

1) Rob Goudvis6585 (22 Dec 2008)
Yes, yes and yes!


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