Your Development & Design Resource

Are you a Domino + BES shop? Part II

Asking "Are you a Domino + BES shop?" shed some light on several things that I'm both happy and eager to share with you:

  1. There are a lot of Domino + BES shops out there.
  2. Most people are using BES - which can be an amazing application platform that can be utilized to enable employees - only for messaging. (Where have we heard that before?!)
  3. Most people are too busy to learn Java, and feel as though that's the only way to put their business applications on mobile devices.

The real eye-opener here is just how closely Blackberry Enterprise Server + Mobile Devices parallel Domino + Lotus Notes. Most shops that are using it today use only a fraction of the capabilities of the technologies, and their business and employees in particular have grown dependant on those technologies. The technology is simple to setup, and a breeze to maintain, and JUST WORKS.

Sure, there are prettier technologies out there (like the iPhone), but for a dependable business solution - something that you would arm your employees with and feel confident that it's going to enable them to use the technology to do their job. And Blackberry Mobile Devices do just that - they let the user get their job done. Same with Lotus Notes.

But just like Lotus Notes, BES shops (at least that majority that I know of) have yet to fully appreciate the technology, nor fully get something back from their technology investment. Sure - my employees are "always on" with instant-access to their email, calendars, and task lists - but can they easily view a portfolio from their mobile device and show a potential customer a given product of interest? Can they lookup contact information in a vendor address book while on the road? Can they submit a simple sales order from the road, having just walked out of a customer's office?

When you hear these things, a lot of us probably think "well, that'd be nice - but I don't know Java". I know I thought that I needed all of these fancy mobile development skills to get my Domino and Lotus Notes-based applications onto Blackberry devices... but I couldn't have been more wrong.

The other day, I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss a few open projects with one of RIM's mobile application developers, who proceeded to take me to school! I learned how I could use BES built-in capabilities such as "Channel Push" and the MDS Studio to allow me to create simple, mobile versions of my Domino and Lotus Notes-based applications. And I want to share what I learned and what I'm learning with you, so we can all get more out of both our Blackberry and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino technology investments.

So, starting now, I'll be writing a series of articles on this site that cover mobile application development specific to RIM's BES and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino. And we'll start this off with the following two projects:

  1. Mobile Directory/Address Book.
  2. Project Showtime!

First, we'll create a simple Mobile Directory/Address Book that will act as a secondary address book or group address book on your Blackberry devices, with it's contents stored and managed in a Personal Address Book-based Lotus Notes Client Application. Getting this application onto the devices is where Project Showtime comes in. I'm currently developing a Lotus Notes Client Application that will facilitate the creation, management, and deployment of "Channel Push" Icons to defined mobile devices.

Once we have this up and running, we'll move onward with using Web Services in Domino to get more of our "beefier" Lotus Notes and Domino Applications onto our Mobile Devices via MDS Studio.

So - are you Domino + BES shops ready?

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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