Friday, March 16, 2012

Review of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.3: Upgrader's Guide

Packt asked me to review this book, they sent me a soft cover copy. I have been an author for them and reviewer in the past, just for full disclosure.

It was written by some IBMers named Tim Speed, Scott O'Keefe and Barry Rosen. The book follows the usual Packt logic and formats which have proven to be pretty good from my experience as an author with them and a reader/reviewer. Two of the three of these gentlemen previously published the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 The Upgrader's Guide as well.

The back cover says this book was written for power users, admins and developers looking to upgrade to 8.5.3. And additionally could be read by management looking for a high level understanding of the new options.

My feeling is the second half of that statement is the truth. The book goes into a reasonable explanation of the changes in the 8.5. series from a server and client angle. In fact that is the 1st 6 chapters alone as well as Chapter 9 on development topics. Chapter 10 is about the integration with other IBM products and Chapter 11 is solely about the DCT. Domino Configuration Tuner which Scott.

The 2 chapters dedicated to upgrading (Chapter 7) and co-existence among releases (Chapter 8) are a very high level overview. Given 2 out of the 3 authors are from ISSL, the IBM Global Services Lotus arm, we get the benefits of an outline or workflow to follow when setting up the project to do the upgrades.

Overall, an excellent guide to What's new in the 8.5.x stream and how they interact with the client and server from an admin, developer and user perspective.

Unfortunately, we get little around the actual upgrading process itself.While in general Domino upgrades go smoothly for experienced admins, there are countless issues to be discussed and the authors touch on some of these but without practical instruction leaving the reader to go look up more details. Names.nsf updates, templates, Traveler updates (and subsequent notes.ini and internet site documents which may need editing) among other basic issues receive little or no discussion. The 8.5.1 book appears to go into some of these topics in a little more detail but still not as much as a junior admin would need.

Smart Upgrade should have received more than a go look at the administration help link. It is not that simple as numerous blog posts from many of us in the field have shown. Policies receive better treatment.

As an admin, not much for us here, as a reference for clients looking to upgrade from older releases, this is a must have book filled with the WHY you should upgrade. If you are a Lotus Notes admin who has been away from it for a while, this will get you up to speed in a topical way.

A good reference to have on the shelf for clients, in fact I recommended it already to 2 of them because they do not have strong backgrounds in the infrastructure they have inherited or merged.