Ben Langhinrichs

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August, 2009
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.

Thu 27 Aug 2009, 11:06 PM
This isn't kind, but in some ways it is deserved.  In September 2004, IBM released Lotus Notes 6.5.3.  Five years later, IBM is on the verge of introducing 8.5.1.  Let's take a quick peak at what those five years of labor have produced in the way of email fidelity.  Instead of looking at more nasty images, let's look at a bit of HTML, specifically that generated when sending the two tables shown in my post earlier today, All your base are belong to 8.5.1: MIME rendering.  To help you understand the change wrought in five years (encompassing major Version 7, major Version 8, major Version 8.5 and now Version 8.5.1 beta 8), I have highlighted the change with a red arrow:

HTML generated by Lotus Notes Version 8.5.1 Beta 8 (circa Aug. 2009)

Output in 2009

HTML generated by Lotus Notes Version 6.5.3 (circa Sept. 2004) with arrow highlighting the break that was removed

Output in 2004

Yup, a single break was removed.  What will the next three major versions and five years bring?  Only time will tell.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 27 Aug 2009, 04:52 PM
As part of my testing for Notes 8.5.1 (Managed Beta 8 Refresh), I am simply re-doing earlier posts on email rendering with the Notes 8.5.1 beta to see if it has has improved matters.  My original post actually used the beta of Notes 8.5, so one might expect some improvement. since then.  Ironically, it looks worse, but this is Gmail's fault.

Translation can be funny, as when a Japanese game producer included the immortal words "All your base are belong to us!" as a translation of something that made much more sense in Japanese (I hope).  Translation, or any data conversion, is far less funny when it makes you look bad.  With Notes/Domino 8.5 due out in the not too distant future, I want to show a few different examples of how Notes/Domino 8.5 (beta) still translates poorly when sent outside to your customers and friends.

Part 1: Formatted e-mails sent to the Internet

It will come as no surprise that e-mail sent from Notes does not look the same as e-mail sent from other e-mail systems.  IBM is bashed about this all the time, and has been for a decade.  The really surprising thing is that so little improvement has been made in the past several major versions of Notes/Domino.  Let me show you an example that came directly from a customer to me several years ago.  The text has been made generic, of course, but the table has otherwise been left alone.

1) E-mail as it appears in Notes 8.5 (beta) 8.5.1 (beta refresh 8)

Original email in Notes 8.5.1 (Beta #8)

2) E-mail in GMail after being converted to MIME by Notes 8.5 (beta) 8.5.1 (beta refresh 8)

E-mail in Gmail after rendering by Notes 8.5.1 (Beta 8)

2a) & 3) Skipped steps that were redundant for this example

4) E-mail in GMail after being converted to MIME by iFidelity

5) For comparison, here are just the tables from Notes.  Compare with the tables from iFidelity above, and see how all annotated issues are addressed.

Original Tables

Conclusion: Notes 8.5 (beta) 8.5.1 (beta refresh 8) does little better at sending e-mail with full fidelity than it did in Notes R5.  iFidelity will allow your mail to go out looking the way you created it, not as translated by Japanese video artists might translate it.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 27 Aug 2009, 11:41 AM
One of the drawbacks of "cloud computing" is that you, the customer, often do not really control what happens up there in the cloud.  I had an eloquent, and unanticipated, reminder of this today when testing Lotus Notes 8.5.1 with Gmail.  Take a look at the following two images, and decide which look you like better:

Do you like this better?

Gmail rendered in January

Or do you prefer this?

Gmail rendered today

What if I pointed out that this was the same email (or at least sent at the same time with the same basic content except the name of the city), but the first was rendered by Gmail back in January 2009, and the latter was rendered by Gmail today?  I just went back and opened an old copy because I was confused by the boxy look.  Makes you think twice about switching to cloud computing, where the software in the cloud is controlled by somebody else?

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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