IBM Domino v10 is being released. That’s a long way from the original Lotus Notes, itself the grand-nephew of Iris Associates’ Notes.
When Lotus bought IA, I was their Country Manager for Italy. We (like all the PC industry) were selling spreadsheets and word processors at the time, simple stuff which did well one simple thing on a single PC. Well, Notes was not like that at all, and despite trainings and brochures, most of us could NOT effectively explain what Notes did and therefore why customers should buy it.
So I did the only sensible thing for an ex-nerd: ripped open a box and installed the damn thing on my machine and (without reading a single line of the manual) started playing with it.
Within a week or two I had familiarized myself with the programming language of Notes and developed what quickly became the most used Notes application in Italy: JOKES.NSF where people would write silly jokes and others could comment.
This may sound like nothing today, but we are talking early Nineties here (I left Lotus in 1993): other software companies didn’t have a clue about network-based rapid application development, so it was pretty advanced stuff. I remember that we struggled to define a new software category (“groupware”) which for years included only one product
The Jokes database was by default included as a sort of general demo on every installation of Lotus Notes in Italy, and was used by so many Sysadmins that our own systems engineers posted there tech messages because it was the best way to make sure they would be read quickly.
There might a few people among my contacts who remember Jokes.nsf and if you are an early adopter of Lotus Notes a copy of this social network ante-litteram could lay dormant on your servers, waiting to amuse you.
Therefore I salute Domino 10: this is my small tribute to one of the best pieces of software I ever came across.