Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What are your Developers Afraid of?

Or for that matter, what you afraid of?

I recently had some requests for Domino Web development work which were beyond my scope/interest and time due to some family emergencies.

What was interesting to me, as an admin and a business person, is how many people turned me down to do the work. And I know what's involved in doing it, and maybe you even had it done someplace, but nonetheless everyone I asked turned us down.

Paying jobs with have some trickle effect of business too I might add if anyone had said yes. I even offered a few people to take the time and do it, no rush and we would work out a deal.

This has me concerned. Now as an Admin I might not know how to manage an SAP environment, although I am sure I could manage if I needed to do so, and I would normally turn this down. However just because I haven't done any administrative work on a service(for 10 years or so), like MSD(Mobile Services for Domino) for example, I'm not adverse to handling it, especially if it is not an emergency, and even if it was I would still handle it.

So why aren't some developers as amenable to working on something new or at least different? Is coding for a Notes client application that different than coding for the Web? Is it Java/Javascript that scares you? Is it Quickr, Connections, Domino.Doc or Sametime code that has you afraid to touch it?

What do you tell the boss when they need something done or propose web applications?

Do we evolve? Do we stay in our comfort zone? Are we waiting for our company to get on R8.x before pushing ourselves to learn more?

In business, the best companies are the ones that not only expand their wings and try other venues of business but expand their core offerings as well. We spent some time looking at business and while it works for us, we have had to augment some parts which were not on the horizon, but now see how they will fit nicely.

Maybe this was a bad example and the reasons are much larger than they appear to me.

But what if this project, or a similar one, led to other work and a whole new line of business for you?

You will never know.


  1. I'm very surprised - unless there is a lot more work in your area than in the UK! We as a company have thrived on taking on new parts of the technology that we haven't used before (and new technology as well) - it's the only way to truly learn. I'm sure many people will say the same but do drop us a line if you need a second or third opinion on anything. Perhaps there was some risk from a project/proof of concept point of view?

  2. Slightly veering off topic Keith the last book on Domino Web Site development was for Notes 4.5 (maybe 4.6). Why isn't there books there more up to date books on this?

  3. @David, not my area, location is not important, but I didn't post it out to the world as it really was a minor thing.
    Just want to understand it. No risk really, if you are not a new developer that is.

    @John, that is an excellent question. My guess is more is being produced online than in paper form. Some excellent blogs, redbooks, wikis and code is available but as we heard the other day some books are getting published so maybe there will be a new upswing in it all.

  4. To be honest, and I probably shouldn't admit this as a developer, I'm just not that interested in any type of advanced programming. I like to use Domino because it's relatively easy to pick-up, easy to prototype, and I'm more of a business guy at heart. I dabble in just about every language, but I always fall back to LS. The only real reason I'm probably still programming is the ease and flexibility of Domino development....it kept me entertained!

    When you've been programming forever, you eventually hit a point where you're just 'tired'. It's no longer a challenge to learn a new language, but more of a chore, with virtually no advantages over the other dozen languages you already know. I find it more interesting now to write things that make folks look at LS with escalating respect.

    I'm going out on a limb, but knowing that most Notes developers are likely my age (mid 30's+), I'd be willing to bet that I'm not the only one who's starting get this mindset. Web services were the last thing that really floored me as a technology, and I've accepted them with open arms, but it's since been a bit of a dry spell.

  5. Was this a possible X-Pages App? Or is it a web app on an older than 8.5 server? I would think that there might be many people who would do an X-Page app who would not do an older Domino web design.

    At least that would be my reasoning, once i went X-pages i don't think i can ever go back!

  6. @Mike thanks for being honest about it. My thinking was somewhat along your thoughts but then as an admin it sounds odd, I would never want to learn about DAOS for instance or ID Vault which would not work for me.

    @mark not an xpages app, but not sure the people I spoke to would do that either. Just going to chalk it up to one of those things that happens sometimes.

  7. As an Admin/Dev I can say this:
    Admin jobs are usually more clean-cut than dev. It makes it easier to say yes. Development jobs can sound like one thing and turn into another, and can get a lot more complex than the original scope. I recently talked to someone who wanted me to call them about 'making us a web site', who turned out to be interested in creating 'the next big social media site'...and at the end of the conversation I wasn't sure if if he had a clue, or if he was a crackpot. I turned it down.

    Perhaps there were some red flags in the project description that made the devs feel this was 'one of those jobs'.

  8. @maria I agree scope creep can be an issue, but if you are getting paid for your time, even if my guess of a half hour is really 2 hours, I trust your judgement.
    It was for a Domino Companion product as I said.