My RSS search feeds pulled in several articles in the "Notes Sucks" vein in the past few days. I detected a sincerity in the author, one Gary Fleming, due to the fact that he freely admitted that he was stuck on R5, so I decided to engage him. I pointed out that some of the points he made in the two posts are indeed fixed in more recent versions, and some of his points probably related to behaviors in custom applications built with Notes rather than in the Notes product itself, and that one of his points may just be due to a configuration error in his Daylight Savings Time settings, but some of what he says is definitely valid. I'm sure many of you will agree that his opinions are valid - even when you disagree, like I do, with this one:
Email programs are data editing programs, you're very obviously editing data. All programs should guard against careless loss of productivity, as you put it, regardless of the type of data. Email is nothing special. You can, of course, phrase the question in a 3 button context like most mail clients do. Thunderbird, for example, uses something like "Message not yet sent. Do you want to save it as a draft?" with "Yes", "No" and "Cancel". Not hard. Anything more complex is bad.
My view is that more often than not, the desired action when a user exits from an email message is really to send the message -- certainly for anyone who has long experience with Notes and knows that pressing Esc + Space is a easiest way to close and send your message. Gary's preferred behavior would not suit my preferences at all, but he may be right about what the majority of people expect, and it may be reasonable to consider this question: should the behavior when a mail-enabled form exits be customizable by a user-settable preference? I.e. by default new users of some new version (7.5?) of Notes could get this:
Users upgrading from older versions could see the larger dialog with all the options to Send, Send and Save, etc., and a little hotspot that says "Click to Hide Some Options". The choices made by clicking the hotspots would stick, and also be adjustable from the user preferences dialog.
In any case, I encourage folks to pop in on Gary's blog and check out what he's saying. There's a third post in a similar vein by someone else that I didn't respond to. It's not as specific as Gary's post, plus I know the writer on this one... but really the reason why I didn't jump in with a response is that Duffbert already did.
1. Duffbert10/20/2005 02:37:09 PM
Thanks for the reminder to check back on that post. I responded to his answer...
2. Jim Minatel10/20/2005 09:17:25 PM
Richard: Hey, it's great to see you and find your blog! Small blog world. You've got a ton of interesting stuff going on here. And you shouldn't let the fact that you know me prevent you from commenting on my Notes frustration. :)
Soon, I'll post a couple of specific frustrations and I'd love it if you, Duffbert, Rocky, Brian or anyone else in the Notes world would set me straight.
3. Richard Schwartz10/20/2005 09:36:39 PM
Hi, Jim. Nice to have you drop by. I'm glad you like what you see, and I hope you'll come back regularly. I think I still owe you a drink or two, and if you're still out in Indianapolis I'll probably be visiting in late December. Maybe we can arrange it. And I'll drop back in on your blog, maybe leave a comment or two, and see what's going on in other threds.
4. Nathan T. Freeman10/21/2005 09:56:24 AM
Smells like a nice enhancement to the OpenNTF Mail Experience. Go contribute, Rich. Money where your mouth is and all that.
5. Richard Schwartz10/21/2005 02:37:27 PM
@Nathan: what I'm talking about is the generic dialog generated by the Notes client when you close a mail-enabled form. It doesn't come from code in the template. I guess that code in the template could over-ride it, but that wouldn't help other mail-enabled apps.