Domino 12 Comes To IBM i

August 16, 2021

Alex Woodie

HCL Technologies, which now owns the Lotus Notes and Domino family, started shipping Domino 12 two months ago. Surprisingly, the new version is now available on the IBM i platform, where a substantial number of companies still run Notes and Domino applications.

Back in late 2017, you will remember, an agreement was struck between IBM and HCL Technologies regarding Notes and Domino, the groupware software that had languished on the Big Blue vine for years. HCL made development of Domino 10 a priority, and finally shipped the 10th edition of the product on IBM i in early 2019. That was followed with certification on IBM i with Domino 11 about one year ago.

That brings us to version 12. HCL wrapped up the newest version in early 2021, running a massive public beta for months. In June, the company announced that version 12 was ready, and formally announced the launch. Support for IBM i, which you can see on this HCL webpage, appears to have been delivered around the same time as support for other platforms (June-ish), which is a positive development.

Arguably the most noteworthy new features in Domino 12 is Nomad, the name of the new feature that lets Domino applications run in a browser. With HCL Nomad, developers no longer have to write and maintain separate codebases for Web and Notes client applications. There is just the one “zero footprint” HCL Nomad client that supports all devices, including Web browsers and mobile devices (including iOS and Android), to write to.

Domino 12 Comes To IBM i

The new Nomad Web client in Domino 12 eliminates the need to maintain separate Web and client interfaces.

“There’s no need to manage the desktop anymore,” says Barry Rosen, HCL’s director of product management for HCL Domino, says in a blog post from earlier this year. This is a radical simplification of a product family that had proliferated with many specialized clients over the years, which also is a good thing. (Traveler still exists as a separate product, however.)

HCL appears to have paid special attention to security and integration with Nomad and Domino 12, which adds support for biometric authentication with iOS and Android devices (including face and touch identification). “Domino applications can be directly accessed online or can be securely replicated to your mobile device for offline access when you are disconnected,” the company says.

Domino 12 now supports password synchronization with Microsoft Active Directory, as well as two-factor authentication. Configuration is handled with one configuration file, which will please admins. Users will be happy to know that, with Web-enabled Domino 12 apps, HCL is delivering integration with Microsoft Teams. Users will able to join HCL Sametime meetings on mobile using a simple QR code, Rosen says. “This will let you solve problems faster with persistent chat and meetings, in the context of the app,” he wrote in the blog post from earlier this year.

HCL also built out Volt, the low-code development environment that debuted with version 11. With the V12 rendition, Volt gives users a way to hammer out a variety of types of applications quickly, “from business-process apps to customer-facing mobile apps,” HCL says. Users can create apps from a “blank canvas” or start with a spreadsheet, and the Volt software will guide them through the process of creating the various stages of a workflow. Admins will appreciate the ability to lock down read and write access with a relatively simply GUI console, while analysts will appreciate the built-in data collection and reporting tools.

Domino 12 Comes To IBM i

HCL accelerates app creation by up to 70 percent with the updated Volt development tool.

HCL claims that application development gets done 60 percent to 70 percent faster with Volt (although compared to what, it doesn’t say). “Anyone can build . . . with no specialized IT or Domino skills,” the company says. However, those with actual Web and development skills (ahem) can still create apps, or extend existing ones, using industry standard tools and tech, like JavaScript and REST, HCL assures us.

On the deployment side, we mentioned support for IBM i, which at one point was one of the most popular server platforms on which to run Domino servers. In its June launch, HCL boasted that it has 15,000 customers running Notes and Domino around the world, which is a substantial customer base. Companies, including tech firms like LG, are not only using Notes and Domino, but they’re expanding their use, HCL says.

IBM i shops will need to be running IBM i 7.3 or 7.4 to run Domino 12, according to HCL’s system requirements page for IBM i. There are a bunch of other requirements, including PTFs for specific releases of the HTTP Server (the one from Apache), IBM Developer Kit for Java, IBM i Access, and others.

Outside of the i-sphere, however, HCL has gone full cloud with Domino 12 by adding support for Kubernetes. This will enable Domino to run as a “cloud-native” application, within a Docker container, atop the Kubernetes distributions offered by AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. And it will run on OpenShift, Red Hat’s Kubernetes distribution, which should give IBM managers something to cheer about.

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