Magic XPages converter

I attended the webinar yesterday organised by the LotusUserGroup. I was very curious about the responses from the attendees since I did not really get a hard-on from what I saw.

  • You do not buy a product but a service, how that service will result for you (in money) depends on your case
  • Not all items can be converted so you get a log file with items that could not be converted. So this requires manual work.
  • OneUI principles are not applied, so for a more attractive look you also need to apply manual work.

In general, as a Notes customer, I was quiet disappointed after the webinar. For each webification of a Notes application you still need to check if things work and apply some work to make the application fully work on the web. I also foresee that my customers want to apply so re-design when making an old application available for a browser so why not pay a little extra and get things done right?

What are your opinions?

 

UPDATE

I received a demonstration video from Nathan that gives a much better impression of the Transformer tool. I would like you to ask to wait untill that video becomes publicly available. For me it gave answers on many questions I had and it changed my perspective on the technical part.

I still have questions if the offering of a service in stead of a product (you can run yourself) is a proper solution. We have many databases installed, we do not know how many are candidate for web enablement and when customers will place an order for this. Performing an ad-hoc transformation (also for sales demo purposes) via an installed product would be a much better fit for me…

 

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22 thoughts on “Magic XPages converter

  1. Julian Buss 2010-November-18 / 10:16 am

    I have exactly the same opinion.
    The main problem is that with the converter, you convert the old school Notes UI to a modern browser environment – where users expects the UI do be different.

    We just have a customer for which we create XPages UIs for many old Notes Apps, and this customer decided to do things right from the beginning and not doing some automatic conversion approach.

  2. Miguel Angel Calvo 2010-November-18 / 10:40 am

    Hi,
    Transforming apps from one technology to a different one is quite a challenging topic. But, after attending two presentations of Transformer I haven’t seen yet the results of the transformation, I mean the real XPages code. As far as I know there is not yet a compatibility list of everything that can be converted, and in my opìnion this is the most important thing.
    So, I can not express my opinion yet. I think the idea is quite good but in a beta state right now.
    In any case, about the final result, if functionality migrates ok, I guess that aspect can be easily transformed to fit in a CSS framework. It’s just XML.
    I’m looking forward to next presentation of the product.

  3. Paul Withers 2010-November-18 / 1:23 pm

    I was curious to hear more about the tool after missing the session on this at ILUG. The reproduction of UI didn’t inspire me. If you’re updating an application and using XPages, chances are it was created some years ago and you want to update the UI. If you’ve done a bit of development on XPages, chances are you also want to change the navigation model. With the PAB application of groups and contacts, wouldn’t you want to navigate between the two? This work would still have to be done manually. You might also want to change the underlying document model, e.g. splitting a single document across hierarchies. Certainly development techniques (or hacks!) for the Notes Client are not always appropriate for the web.

    I also wanted to hear about how script libraries / agents were converted. From what I heard from attendees at ILUG, they are converted to Java, not Server Side Javascript. But I wanted confirmation of that. If so, it will have significant implications for developers and employers.

    Taking into account the other limitations, knowing that no one in my team has Java knowledge (not unusual for Domino developers in my experience), and bearing in mind you can manually update an application to XPages without needing to know anything about Java, I would probably prefer the manual approach. But I would welcome being convinced to the contrary.

    • Patrick Kwinten 2010-November-18 / 2:50 pm

      same rule applies here (little Java knowledge among Notes developers)…

  4. Brent Quick 2010-November-18 / 2:37 pm

    The presentation was a train wreck (to put it nicely) and the product seems to be half baked (based on what what shown) so while there are a number of problems and issues the transformer product idea seems good. Even if all it does is give you a very advanced start on the conversion it may eliminate the most mundane part of a conversion. It is really not appropriate for a “uplift” of an old application, but it is a start. I hope to see the “canned” version of what they intended to show, but if they want to make me consider the product they should provide a free “convert one” and send me the converted db and the logs based off one db I send them or one of the simple (old?) standard templates.

    • Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 3:50 pm

      “The presentation was a train wreck (to put it nicely)”

      No point in arguing with that. 🙂

      “and the product seems to be half baked (based on what what shown)”

      Based on what parts were visible in the train wreck, I have to agree. 🙂 So our number one priority right now is to show all the ways in which its a lot more baked that the crashing webinar portrayed.

      “so while there are a number of problems and issues the transformer product idea seems good.”

      Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

      “Even if all it does is give you a very advanced start on the conversion it may eliminate the most mundane part of a conversion.”

      We agree. If you want to use Evolution to simply get you past the tedium of porting your Form layouts, but then write all your own business logic, that is just fine. You’re getting XSP source code, so you can change it in any way that you see fit.

      “It is really not appropriate for a “uplift” of an old application, but it is a start.”

      I hope you’ll see it as more than a start when we get the video out of what you should have seen in the webinar. But if you still think it’s only a starting point, then it might be a good way to get started with the large number of applications that you aren’t prepared to invest in a manual refactoring of right now.

      “I hope to see the “canned” version of what they intended to show, but if they want to make me consider the product they should provide a free “convert one” and send me the converted db and the logs based off one db I send them or one of the simple (old?) standard templates.”

      I’d quite like to do that. There are some business considerations obviously, but talk to a Group sales person to explore this idea. We’re not saying no at all. 🙂

  5. Julian Buss 2010-November-18 / 3:18 pm

    Brent, was is a “advanced start” good for when you start workin on the manual part, and recognize then that you’d like to change parts of the UI anyway, which renders much of the automatic converted stuff useless?

    I have the highest respect for Nathan, Tim and the other devs working on the transformer, but I believe that the manual conversion process – based on advanced frameworks with many ready-to-use code and components – is the better approach.

    It’s pretty similar to the days where the Domino HTTP server came into the game, where Lotus said something about “every Notes app is available in the web now, automatically…”. It was true, much functionality was there without any coding. But it looked and feeled ugly, and once you started on making it better you saw that you have to code the whole UI again anyway to make it look and feel good in the web.

    • Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 3:55 pm

      “I have the highest respect for Nathan, Tim and the other devs working on the transformer,”

      Thanks Julian. Back at you.

      “…but I believe that the manual conversion process – based on advanced frameworks with many ready-to-use code and components – is the better approach.”

      Our computer program isn’t smarter than a human being. It’s just cheaper and faster. So if your definition of “better” is strictly based on quality of the result, then I would agree with you. If your definition is based on ROI, then I think there’s some room for comparison.

      And make no mistake, the converted application makes HEAVY use of components. That’s why we’ve been testing and contributing to the Extensibility library on OpenNTF. This is absolutely core to the operation of a converted application.

      It’s pretty similar to the days where the Domino HTTP server came into the game, where Lotus said something about “every Notes app is available in the web now, automatically…”. It was true, much functionality was there without any coding. But it looked and feeled ugly, and once you started on making it better you saw that you have to code the whole UI again anyway to make it look and feel good in the web.

      • Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 4:50 pm

        Oops…. I forgot to reply to the rest of the comment.

        “It’s pretty similar to the days where the Domino HTTP server came into the game, where Lotus said something about “every Notes app is available in the web now, automatically…”. It was true, much functionality was there without any coding. But it looked and feeled ugly, and once you started on making it better you saw that you have to code the whole UI again anyway to make it look and feel good in the web.”

        What a great reminder that I need to get the videos out. We’d like to at least achieve comparison to the iNotes (DWA) experience!

        Again, we’ll always lose in a comparison between the automated results and the human results. That’s not the objective. The objective to an effective alternative to the cheapest solution of all: doing nothing!

  6. Patrick Picard 2010-November-18 / 3:30 pm

    Having dealt with GROUP re: Transformer, i think I can shed some light on the questions.

    @Brent, part of the evaluation with group, they will take 2 of your templates and run them through and show you the results and the exception log. Jennifer Meade did speak to that at the end of the webinar

    The transformer process is 2 steps:
    -Put the NTF thru the transformer (this is a service). This step is advertised at $899 down to $499 per template based on the volume of applications you wish to convert if i recall correctly from the webinar. The more you convert, the cheaper the cost per application. If you convert a template that is used by many applications, you only pay once
    -Services – The exceptions are fixed either by GROUP or a business partner. You are free to take care of them yourself if you wish AFAIK

    GROUP has provided me generic costs for my application portfolio and it is fairly reasonable when comparing to doing it manually. I won’t give out the details here as I believe this is confidential between us and GROUP. You have to look at it this way, when you are doing renos in your home, theres a ratio of material costs to services costs….the ratio is similar with this.

    For organizations with small budget, it might be tough to swallow. But for our needs, I think we can live the costs and avoid going to a different technology altogether.

    @Patrick The code is indeed Java. I have not seen it yet either. SSJS is only used for hide-when and trivial code in the form. Logic is converted to Java. So for Java averse yellow people….it is time to look at Jeremy Hodge’s videos on Java in XPages and his entries on XpagesBlog. With this conversion, you will need Java knowledge to maintain the applications going forward, no if’s and but’s!
    I am not sure yet if the code is fully converted by the transformer, or it is the code monkeys 🙂 (good ones!) that do it in the background

    re: look of output. I was hoping for OneUI as well. To my knowledge, this is something they are working on to provide different output looks. A standard look can be put in place in the services portion. Personally, I definitely want a consistent look and not my currently shitty look of my apps !

    As @PaulWithers said, some applications might be better off to have some stuff fixed prior to going through transformer. This is something GROUP has discussed in the webinar as well.

    • Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 4:03 pm

      Thanks for the answers, Patrick.

      “…SSJS is only used for hide-when and trivial code in the form.”

      Not 100% accurate. SSJS is used any place @formula was used before. So if you have a button or field or event that runs @formula, that will run SSJS instead. This SSJS generally looks just like the original @formula, unless you had a lot of UI interaction in the original code block (like 10 YESNO @Prompts in a wizard sequence) and then we have to set up a number of callback points to make the code reentrant.

      But we actually tell you even prior to the transform that this is going to happen. Formula and Lotusscript code that is going to generate cumbersome behavior in a web browser is flagged for consideration. It still converts and it still runs, so you can ignore the flag if you want. But if you want to take steps to improve the experience early on, we’ll point you to the right places.

  7. Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 3:39 pm

    Allow me to see if I can address some of these concerns.

    “You do not buy a product but a service, how that service will result for you (in money) depends on your case”

    Well, yes and no. We aren’t selling a supported plugin that you can install and use at will. There are several reasons why, but the shortest is simply that we can’t support the execution of the process on an arbitrarily configured machine. For instance, the conversion of date literals in @formula code requires that you have your OS in US date-format with 24-hour clock.

    However we’ve discussed a number of delivery vectors for what you DO get. The only one that’s certain right now is “send us a template and we’ll run it through.” But we’re looking at appliance, VM and cloud implementations as well. So if some particular delivery vector is important to you, let me know.

    “Not all items can be converted so you get a log file with items that could not be converted. So this requires manual work.”

    I really need to purge this out of the sales presentations. The set of stuff not included is generally marginal. We don’t convert layout regions, for instance. I bet your production applications don’t include layout regions. 🙂 They might include COM integration, which we don’ convert, but as a developer, I’m sure you already know why we can’t make Google Chrome talk to MS Excel.

    “OneUI principles are not applied, so for a more attractive look you also need to apply manual work.”

    Not totally true, but I didn’t get to show this due to the web meeting difficulties. You can apply any theming you like. So if the oneUI styling floats your boat, you are welcome to use it.

    What we don’t do is restructure the application experience. If you had a 3-pane UX, you’ll get a 3-pane UX. This is a fundamental design philosophy. We don’t believe you should have to retrain your users. And honestly, do you think the oneUI style, where you see at most 15 lines of information on a screen at a time is suitable for a CRM?

    “In general, as a Notes customer, I was quiet disappointed after the webinar.”

    As a presenter, I very much agree. You should be able to see some videos later today that provide vastly more detail.

    “For each webification of a Notes application you still need to check if things work…”

    True. We don’t automate the QA of your custom application, though we do flag for you stuff that we know might have issues. e.g: You used a hide-when based on @ClientType for a button when the whole point is to provide that button to web users.

    “…and apply some work to make the application fully work on the web.”

    Not true. Watch the videos later today. You can deploy applications with ZERO post-transformation effort.

    “I also foresee that my customers want to apply so re-design when making an old application available for a browser so why not pay a little extra and get things done right?”

    If your customer is ready to pay for a service-based revision of their application to XPages, by all means: TAKE THE MONEY AND DO THE WORK. The point of the Transformer is not to replace human skill and ingenuity in redesigning applications. The point is to replace the practice of doing NOTHING.

    It may be that the Transformer can help you get there faster. But by no means would we ever suggest it’s the only way to get there.

    “The main problem is that with the converter, you convert the old school Notes UI to a modern browser environment”

    Absolutely true, Julian. The goal is 100% functional fidelity, so there’s no retraining burden. We do allow you to strip the styling so that you can apply a global theme to your applications, though. So while a 3-pane interface is still a 3-pane interface, you can use CSS to set global standards for your label and cell colors instead of relying on the localized setting in each and every template element.

    “…where users expects the UI do be different.”

    Our own experience with customers is different, but I understand exactly what you mean. When you’re dealing with an advance application like YouAtNotes, then no automation is going to beat the talent and design you can bring to table as a vendor. But when the customer has 1000 different Notes apps built by 15 departments over the course of 18 years, the costs of individual refactoring are astronomical. It makes the process basically cost as much as switching platforms.

    “We just have a customer for which we create XPages UIs for many old Notes Apps, and this customer decided to do things right from the beginning and not doing some automatic conversion approach.”

    That is excellent news and i congratulate you. Again, I would never ever claim that Evolution does a better job than a human — particularly one as skilled as yourself, Julian. If your customer has 10 applications and they’re paying you for XPages versions, I wish you the greatest success in the world, and I hope you’ll be able to leverage some of our contributions to OpenNTF.org to get there.

    If the customer has 500 applications, and they’re paying you for XPages versions on 10 of them, I hope they’ll consider Evolution to bring value to the other 490 that they have chosen not to invest in. That’s the point where we are bringing value. This isn’t a solution targeted at your actively maintained, professionally designed applications — those are almost definitely really good already, and if they’re not, then you’re typically investing in them so they could be.

    Evolution is targeted at Notes applications that aren’t being actively maintained; that are known pain points for users; that were state of the art in 1997 and haven’t really been touched since then. It *can* be used on every application you have, but our focus it to being value to the applications you haven’t been investing in lately.

    “But, after attending two presentations of Transformer I haven’t seen yet the results of the transformation, I mean the real XPages code.”

    This is partially addressed in the forthcoming videos, but I can also address it for you in more detail. The short version is that it’s almost always a one-to-one result from the original node. A text field in Notes become an EditBox in XPages for instance. We make extensive use of the Extensibility Library for XPages, which is one of the reasons we worked with IBM from the first day to make contributions to that project.

    We also use some of our own component constructs based on the Extensibility API, such as with Framesets.

    “As far as I know there is not yet a compatibility list of everything that can be converted, and in my opìnion this is the most important thing.”

    I’ll have this on my blog by the end of the day.

    “So, I can not express my opinion yet. I think the idea is quite good but in a beta state right now.”

    We are absolutely still in testing.

    “In any case, about the final result, if functionality migrates ok, I guess that aspect can be easily transformed to fit in a CSS framework. It’s just XML.”

    Full-fidelity support is our #1 goal. There are some places where this is impossible (e.g: client-based embedded COM scripts) and some places where we need a little time to determine customer priorities (e.g: multi-document printing procedures.)

    “I’m looking forward to next presentation of the product.”

    I hope we’ll have something more for you to see today.

    “The reproduction of UI didn’t inspire me. If you’re updating an application and using XPages, chances are it was created some years ago and you want to update the UI.”

    I couldn’t agree more. That’s why we focus removing the element-local styling and give you a way to apply UI rules at a server-level. What we don’t do is change the fundamental layout and entry point vector. While part of me is tempted to do that, there are two fundamental barriers: 1) it requires retaining of users, which means the value proposition changes substantially; 2( many Notes applications rely on view-based browsing for content as the UI entry vector, and just flipping to block-based view rendering like a discussion forum isn’t going to present the information users need.

    “If you’ve done a bit of development on XPages, chances are you also want to change the navigation model.”

    If you’re ready to redesign all your applications in XPages, chances are you don’t need to talk to us. While we’d love to have your business, if you’re prepared to invest in a fundamental UI change, in support of an XPages version, then I have little doubt you’ll get results more directly suited to your needs. Of course, this is true of any refactoring investment, isn’t it?

    I should note that even if you want to change the navigation, you might still get value out of the automation that Evolution brings to your forms. You can always just delete or suppress the frameset elements that Evolution generates for you.

    “With the PAB application of groups and contacts, wouldn’t you want to navigate between the two?”

    Oh, you can. Just like you do in the Notes client with the left-side outline. You get a left-side outline in the resulting application that controls what dataset is in the right-side view. I’m really, really sorry that I wasn’t able to show this in the webinar yesterday, but I assure you it works with matching behavior to the client. I’ll be happy to arrange a more direct demonstration for you if you like.

    “You might also want to change the underlying document model, e.g. splitting a single document across hierarchies.”

    Absolutely! Again, if you’re ready to make an human-based investment in your application, you’re going to get great results. And if you’re ready to redesign your data model, then the possibilities really open up. We deliberately don’t touch the data at this time, because we believe that trying to automate data conversion is the highest-risk category of change the customer can make. A smart human can manage this risk. We are not trying to teach a computer how to do the same at this time.

    I will admit that we have some ideas on how to automate data model improvements in XPages apps (think automatic reductions in redundant view counts) but automating those is definitely not our immediate goal.

    “Certainly development techniques (or hacks!) for the Notes Client are not always appropriate for the web.”

    Not always. And where they aren’t, Evolution gives you a real XPages app that you can modify as needed. But where they are, then you’re already done.

    “I also wanted to hear about how script libraries / agents were converted. From what I heard from attendees at ILUG, they are converted to Java, not Server Side Javascript. But I wanted confirmation of that. If so, it will have significant implications for developers and employers.”

    Script Libraries are converted to Java. Agents aren’t converted at all unless they need to be. If you have a scheduled Lotusscript agent that integrates your Notes app with your Oracle database, we don’t want or need to touch it. Because the result is a Domino template, we don’t need to mess with it.

    “Taking into account the other limitations, knowing that no one in my team has Java knowledge (not unusual for Domino developers in my experience), and bearing in mind you can manually update an application to XPages without needing to know anything about Java, I would probably prefer the manual approach. But I would welcome being convinced to the contrary.”

    Nothing about the Evolution process forces you to use the business logic that results. If you want to process the template, then manually rewrite all your Lotusscript buttons, you are more than welcome to. You get the full XSP source code, so it’s no problem to do it.

    But if no one on your team has Java knowledge, I’m curious what your plan for the manual approach would be. SSJS libraries? While I’m the first to acknowledge the amazing power of SSJS in XPages, you’re going to have some problems here based on the language choice. The logic in your libraries won’t be usable in background processes, since you can’t run SSJS in an agent. You don’t get OOP features, since Javascript isn’t really an OO language. Because it’s not strongly typed, many bugs that would normally be picked up by the compiler can now only be discovered at runtime. And SSJS is a runtime interpreted language, so it’s considerably slower in execution than Java.

    We picked Java instead of Javascript as the target for Lotusscript not because we love Java, but because that is the best way to achieve feature parity.

    Again, if you’re ready to make a refactoring investment in every one of your applications to bring them up to speed on XPages, then you really don’t need us. Between what’s available in the base product and what’s available on OpenNTF, you have a brilliant set of resources.

    The objective of Evolution is to provide a third option between a complete refactor and doing nothing at all.

    • George Paglia 2010-November-18 / 6:08 pm

      Sorry, but our most mission-critical app in Notes has layout regions (don’t shoot the messenger, I didn’t write it….:( )

      • Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 8:48 pm

        LOL. Well, you can always take a copy of the template and redesign the layout regions with simple tables. Or you can add to our pressuring of IBM to get a DXL representation for layout regions. Or if the project is big enough, we might be convinced to break down the binary output for the layout region and convert it to a simple DXL block with the contents but no layout and then convert THAT.

        This last technique is what we’re doing with Navigators, actually.

  8. Andrew Pollack 2010-November-18 / 4:05 pm

    I wouldn’t expect anything else, personally, from any tool that is designed to do what this one does. The promise of cheap (relatively) and easy conversion that you can just “touch up” afterword is a fantastic siren song to management and project directors, and may even be helpful to provide some initial direction to junior developers or people new to XPages — but from the perspective of the long term maintainability and design of the new application, it sends a shudder up my spine.

    I can’t speak specifically about this one – but as a professional programmer with 20 years experience in half a dozen or more languages, any tool that attempts to move a serious workflow application from one technology to another would be a major red flag for me when it came time to bid on taking over support, extensibility, or maintainability on the application that resulted. If a client came to me with a traditional Notes Client or Domino Web application they wanted “updated”, I’d probably estimate higher if I had to get the application after having been through a transformation process like the one described and then “touch it up”. I’d estimate far lower if I could have the existing application and meet with a sample subset of the users to understand it and they go off and do the updating myself. This of course is a bit biased because I have confidence in my ability to do the code work.

    • Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 4:15 pm

      Andrew, I am completely comfortable saying that our software is not smarter than Andrew Pollack. There’s a lot of room between “Hello World” and your inventive brain. 🙂

    • Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 4:58 pm

      Also, Andrew, I want to point out that we do absolutely nothing to alter the ORIGINAL design. So if you want to go back to the Forms, Views, Outlines, Framesets and Script Libraries to discover what the application does, all of that is still there for you.

      Our value proposition is not to generate a result that’s better than what a knowledgable, experience developer such as yourself would produce. It’s to generate a result that’s better than sitting still, but not as costly and time-consuming as an expert refactor.

      If a customer said “we have 500 applications, and we’d like to transform them all right now, and then take each one and have Andrew Pollack redesign it by hand over the next 3 years” we would absolutely support that decision. And if you looked at, say, the generated SSJS code and said “this isn’t readable” then you could always look back at the original Form or Action or whatever and see what the Formula code was. I’m pretty confident the need to do that would be the exception, but I would never claim that machine generated code will ALWAYS be as readable as human-written code. I just want to make sure you can see both when you need to.

  9. Joe Litton 2010-November-18 / 5:50 pm

    Personally, I was amazed (in a good way) at the presentation, in spite of the glitches with the webcast delivery.

    I suspect my situation is similar to many:
    The number of our Notes apps is “too many to count”. I have built some rudimentary Xpages as a learning exercise, but have lacked the time to really dig in to serious production apps and try my hand at refactoring them as XPages apps. I can’t remember the last time my work week was only 40 hours, and the ‘day job’ keeps me more than fully booked with a solid stream of tasks, all of which are “highest priority” and needed before they were requested.

    SO…I see Transformer as worth serious exploration. I would not expect to be able to convert 100 (or 1000 or more) apps and just start using them in production (although that might be doable with some with minimal tweaking). But I do see this as an opportunity for incredible time savings vs doing it manually, and that is how I would hope to justify the cost.

  10. Dan Sickles 2010-November-18 / 6:13 pm

    @Joe – also think about having an application that you know inside-out converted as a learning experience for XPages and Java. If I were teaching XPages, I would want this technology at my disposal.

  11. George Paglia 2010-November-18 / 9:05 pm

    As a customer (please don’t everyone start calling me up and ask for consulting gigs – if I get enough money to get to Lotusphere you can bug me there) I saw some positives and negatives.

    On the positive side:
    1) it makes my job of keeping the number of developers that we have on staff full time down to a bare minimum. Don’t take that the wrong way consultant guys-and-gals; if I don’t do that I might as well give up since I’ll have no money at all left since the economy is still recovering
    2) Assuming what @patrick said is correct about the price and if I heard correctly that for an assessment it was $10,000 + $500 per server(or was it app?) with a soon-to-be-gone $10,000 discount, then it’s a no-brainer. I take my most mission-critical apps, do the conversion and clean them up myself (yes, I know some Java – read on).
    3) From my point of view, this is a fast and easy way to get Notes databases to the iPads that we are rolling out. Since they said it converts old navigators (though we didn’t actually see it) it makes it that much more valuable.

    On the negative side:
    1) From what I saw, the apps are ugly after a conversion. They absolutely require rework – my users would never accept them in the state that we saw during the demo.
    2) To the presenters: An ASSESSMENT should always be free. If Group wants to charge for this going forward, I see that they are going to run into issues. As an SMB, we just won’t go for a paid assessment, period. We’ve turned down plenty in my 10 years here, I’m sure we will turn away more in the future. I’m not paying for vaporware, period, with or without a consultant involved in the project. If you can’t SHOW me what your product will do for me for free then you need to rethink your sales model. It’s called MARKETING and it’s really necessary when dealing with non-Goliath companies. We don’t have the deep pockets to afford to make mistakes.

    Oh, and as far as Java, why don’t you guys try what I did. I went to the local Community college and took the beginners Java class just to get myself started. As it was, I wound up helping the teacher in the class with the younger crowd (read just out of high school) who “know” a lot of languages, but have absolutely no idea how to develop. It was cheaper (my boss didn’t have the budget so paid for it myself) and allowed me to take the time to learn it vs. covering it all in one week…..

  12. Nathan T. Freeman 2010-November-18 / 11:36 pm

    “1) it makes my job of keeping the number of developers that we have on staff full time down to a bare minimum. Don’t take that the wrong way consultant guys-and-gals; if I don’t do that I might as well give up since I’ll have no money at all left since the economy is still recovering”

    We think the ability to do more with less and do it sooner is really the key value proposition.

    “3) From my point of view, this is a fast and easy way to get Notes databases to the iPads that we are rolling out. Since they said it converts old navigators (though we didn’t actually see it) it makes it that much more valuable.”

    To be clear, the *extract* of the Navigator is complete, however we don’t yet emit them into the XPages application. That’s under development. We’re just deciding whether we want to use an HTML5 Canvas or not. It sounds like in your case that would work well, since iPads like HTML5.

    “1) From what I saw, the apps are ugly after a conversion. They absolutely require rework – my users would never accept them in the state that we saw during the demo.”

    I hope you’ll watch the videos, because there are multiple examples of resulting XPages with varying degrees of styling applied. If you have very precisely stylized Notes applications to start with, then you can retain the styling. XPages in general also make it very easy to apply styling to an entire server at once, instead of on an element-by-element basis as the Notes client forces you to do.

    “2) To the presenters: An ASSESSMENT should always be free.”

    I’ll forward your reply to our marketing team. I’m sure you won’t be surprised that this isn’t up to me. 🙂

    • Patrick Kwinten 2010-November-19 / 8:29 am

      for companies who want to move away from the Notes client and do most things via a browser I think Transformer is a viable tool…

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