Why Domino Is Not “Alcatraz,” My Continued Kitchen Saga, and Why I Want Your Opinion

24. Januar 2022 Posted by Henry Bestritsky

If you haven’t done so, please read my first blog in a series about low-code called, “I Remodeled My Kitchen, and I Joined HCL. (One of These Things Was a Bad Decision.)” to see how Domino relates to me and my decision to get a new kitchen.  Yes, this time , I was going to write about the Ford Pinto and how it relates to Outsystems (read previous blog), but something happened during the last two weeks that I had to write about. And, frankly, I need your advice. 

We had waited for four months for the final two appliances for our new kitchen — a coffee machine and a dishwasher. When we called for an update from the company, we were told that shipment was delayed until February (the global supply-chain issues discriminate against everyone). So, we canceled the order and decided to keep the appliances we had — ones we’d had for years and were high-end when we first got them. We called a technician to see if someone could inspect them to make sure they were still in good working order, and upon inspection, everything turned out to be in perfectly good order. We were told they needed a bit of regular TLC and that they would last forever because they were designed and built to last.  The kitchen still looks great, and we saved thousands of dollars. 

The combination of the old and the new made me think about how the parallels could be drawn between my kitchen and HCL Domino. Just like my older appliances, Domino was built to last, has been rock-solid from the beginning, and when it’s integrated with more modern technologies, it produces an IT solution with amazing results — that is far less risky than a whole “rip and replace” — with an overall lower total cost. 

As I research Domino competitors such as Mendix and Outsystems, one thing becomes very clear.  They are not, in fact, a “full kitchen” solution. They are merely a “single appliance.”

Those companies are basically one-trick ponies with one product, while a company like HCL has dozens of products that can be integrated together to build an amazing “kitchen” that’s exactly to your specifications.  This means that companies like Outsystems and Mendix need to rely on third-party products over which they have no control, which makes them inherently insecure, and we all, unfortunately, know what can happen in that scenario.

For example,  Outsystems is a 20-year-old company that decided to leverage the Apache Cordova plugin framework to support its core technology. This is a direct quote from their website: “Since our applications are built using Cordova, you can either use one of their many available plugins or build your own.” The problem is that today Cordova is pretty much going into retirement and is fundamentally risky, and by its plugin nature is susceptible to hacking.  For example, it was found out in 2020 that Android applications developed via Cordova are vulnerable to illegal configuration alterations. 

In short, Outsystems uses an antiquated plugin framework that is inherently insecure, which brings me back to HCL Domino and HCL Volt MX both owned by HCL and both have rock-solid security.

Volt MX which is not based on Apache Cordova — is HCL’s multi-experience low-code platform that is high up on the Gartner Magic Quadrant and directly competes with Mendix and Outsystems.

Imagine having tighter integration between Volt MX and the legendary Domino, so you can easily create mobile and progressive web apps (or even wearables or kiosk experiences) that connect to your essential core back-end business apps and workflows.

Imagine quickly and effectively modernizing and further extending your existing Domino apps by allowing your organization to create apps of the future on any device with Volt MX — which leverages all modern technologies — while still being able to rely on the security, governance, and workflow of Domino.

As I brought this up to my colleagues, some of them wanted to put me in front of a firing squad, screaming heresy! Yes, we have a lot of “yellow tree huggers,” as I call them, and we should.  Their reasoning is that we have invested a ton into the product in the last few years, and a heck of a lot more is coming.  I don’t disagree in the least, but, let’s face it, thanks to Domino’s previous owner, there are quite a few companies out there that still view Domino as if it were an aging prison like Alcatraz: stuck in the past and if you try to escape, you will have more than a bad day!

I see Domino has the critical power behind a composable, modern “kitchen” with the addition of some key, amazing “appliances” from HCL’s extensive product line to really elevate your game and get your business “cooking.”

This powerful combination would create a key competitive advantage.  More importantly, I want to excite any IT decisionmakers who may have given up on Domino, or are still on the fence, and show them the bright Domino future that we all know exists. 

Well, that is exactly what HCL is able to do.  Check out how Domino forms convert to Volt MX forms and how Domino data can be accessed and surfaced (as can any other data source)We are escaping Alcatraz!

Tighter Integration Between Volt MX and Domino

All of this leads me to my humble request from you.  Do you think that Domino and Volt MX is a good idea?  Please answer the LinkedIn Poll question below and please, please, please put something into the post’s comment.  As you probably know, you can see the poll metrics in real-time.

What do you think about using Volt MX, HCL’s Gartner Quadrant multi-experience low-code platform to modernize Domino applications?

Thank You!

I Remodeled My Kitchen and I Joined HCL. (One of These Things Was a Bad Decision.)

9. Dezember 2021 Posted by Henry Bestritsky

My wife and I wanted a new kitchen — even though our ten-year-old appliances were high-end Subzero and Wolf that we acquired when we bought the house last year. So, we paid a ton of money for the most modern and popular replacement appliances that money could buy, and we could control by apps on our phones — and, of course, are Alexa connected.  Two months later, our fridge broke, and when the repairman (after waiting three weeks) came over, he said with a smile, “this kind of stuff does not break with the older ones.” I also smiled because the day before, I had joined HCL and was going to be able to work again on one of the classic technologies of the world — Domino. Another kind of “old stuff” that just doesn’t break. 

I want to be clear, I’m not a nostalgic person when it comes to tech (I do get nostalgic, however, when it comes to people, and over the years I’ve worked with some of the smartest there are.  If you think you are a ten, surround yourself by twelves, I always say.) To demonstrate this, I first worked for many years at Binary Tree, which was a top partner to IBM and helped organizations adopt Lotus (which would later become Domino) for automating their business processes. Once Domino stopped being innovated and invested in, I moved over to Microsoft when Office 365 came on the scene. I probably helped migrate millions of people away from Domino and onto Office 365. After getting many people for years to adopt Domino, I then made a living literally getting people off it. This wasn’t how it should have had to be! 

Frankly, for years, I have tried to find a replacement for Lotus/Domino.  I was like Indiana Jones looking for the Holy Grail.  As time and technology progressed, the words, “low code” and “no code” started popping up onto the scene from companies such as Mendix and Outsystems.  Other players more on the no-code side also appeared, such as Airtable and Formstack.  IMHO, I think that Airtable is an amazing tool and wish that our previous Domino owner could have created exactly the same thing. 

Even though Airtable is an uber spreadsheet on steroids, it is still not Domino.  Frankly, I have concluded that nothing is.  Nothing compares to what Domino can do. That is why companies are still running it, producing products, helping people, and making money.  Ok, it sounds like I am pushing Domino, well, maybe a little.  How could I not?  Don’t you smile if someone asks you what your first car was?   

This is the first installment in a new blog series, called “Henry’s Hot Seat. The Low-Code Lowdown,” which will delve into the low-code/no-code market and the products that support that market — providing cost-benefit analyses, risk analyses, and opinions on security, market trends, and the massive digital transformation companies are experiencing due to the pandemic. And, I will show you why Domino still dominates after 30+ years.  

And I will talk about the low-code companies that are out there, such as Mendix and Outsystems. And I’m going to ask you tough (but basic) questions like: If you think that Domino locks you in and constrains you … why the heck would you want to go with those guys?  I’ll put that question another way in my next blog: “You Want to Migrate from Domino to Outsystems? I Have a Ford Pinto to Sell You (Or, for you Millennials, Let’s Talk About Solarwinds).”