Genii Weblog

Are we ready for the noobs?

Tue 21 May 2019, 09:21 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
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I've noticed a few times recently something we haven't seen much in a while: new people needing to learn/understand Notes admin or development, or just needing to understand what Notes/Domino is all about. If all goes well, this may happen more and more. But we need a better answer than suggesting they go out and see "all the content online". We need to start thinking about being more organized. With luck, HCL and partners like TLCC will offer the right courses or content, but right now the content out there is often dated, obsolete, too advanced, too confusing, or lacking in context for a new user. 
We need to ask ourselves, what should an admin, developer, or manager read first? What provides enough roadmap that they'll understand the context of all that information. We don't have an amazing resource like Saleforce's Trailhead that is already highly organized and streamlined, so we're going to have to play catch up. Saying "there's lots of great content online" is useless to people starting out who don't know where to start, what to trust, and how to focus. As ISVs and BPs, and for those who work for HCL, these are our potential customers, so helping them is also a first step to building relationships with them. We've been an old buddy network for so long, we aren't always prepared to welcome and guide the newbies. But doing so will help all of us, so let's get prepared. Put together a solid resource sheet ahead of time, and you may develop a relationship with a customer that needs you as much as you need them. If you offer training materials, courses, etc., make sure it is clear what is needed for someone either new to Notes/Domino (and Sametime, etc,.) or who has not used it in years. Also, spruce it up and make sure it is up-to-date.
Have you ever thought about the fact that the word noob is just the word boon turned around? If we can turn around these noobs, they can be boons to our business and the community. 
Of course, if any of you can build a magical experience like Trailhead for Notes/Domino, do so and I'll happily send people to you. In the meantime, let's do the best with what we have.

Copyright 2019 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

1104.1. Richard Schwartz
(05/21/2019 10:08 AM)

One of my most-upvoted answers on StackOverflow pointed out that with 25+ years worth of information online, it's very hard to know what's still current. In that answer, I recommended Bob Balaban's old book, which he's posted online. Even though it's very muchout of date, it's really good introduction to basic concepts as well as the Java API. I also pointed put the critical thing not in that book, though: the recycle() method, because it hadn't been invented yet.

1104.2. Kevin Pettitt
(05/21/2019 12:16 PM)

Well said Ben. While Salesforce is definitely the leader in this space with Trailhead, I'm also impressed with how Mendix (which is another leading low code platform) has put together an entire university course that some intrepid professor could jump on for free:

It's also worth mentioning that there is a new site that seems to aspire to the goal of consolidating these kinds of resources.

1104.3. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/21/2019 12:17 PM)

Richard - It's an interesting challenge. Unless HCL itself comes out with more definitive materials, even adding new content that is up-to-date doesn't mean it is the content people will find when they search. (Not too many software products have to deal with this, but a few others do and more will over time.)

1104.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/21/2019 12:21 PM)

Kevin - I'll have to look into Mendix. Aspiring to be Trailhead is a tall order, but something like might work if the people behind it can figure out a way to stay on top of inevitable changes in V11 and beyond, and to get others to contribute content. It can be a challenge to monetize, but if you don't, it can be a challenge to keep pouring resources in.

1104.5. Kevin Pettitt
(05/21/2019 12:56 PM)

Some thoughts on "Key Developer Adoption Criteria":

1. FREE TOOLS. Developer tools should be free to install and/or use.

2. FREE ENVIRONMENT. Developer account should entitle user to non-expiring free cloud environment which allows for multiple "test" users such that the environment will support training activities described in the Learning Paths.

3. FREE TRAINING. "Learning Paths" should be provided for free and be version specific and kept updated. Video lectures are great. These should tie into various certifications, e.g. Admin (Beginner/Advanced), Developer (Beginner/Advanced), etc. Training progress should be gamified via badges and/or points which can be shown on admin/developer's "social profile".


5. ONLINE COMMUNITY. Social network, support forum, resource library to tie everything together.

USER GROUP SPONSORSHIPS. Vendor should provide funds to support monthly meetups in major cities, where possible in coordination with local business partners. Vendor should regularly send ambassadors to such events to present quality content, and record such presentations for Youtube.

1104.6. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/21/2019 01:10 PM)

Kevin - I'd mostly agree, though I think #3 is a thing to strive for while most of the others are attainable fairly quickly. The only one I wasn't sure about was #4. Yes, there absolutely should be free sample templates. Yes, there should be an app store. But I wasn't clear whether by juxtaposition you meant the app store should be include only free apps. I wouldn't agree with that at all. I want an ecosystem where developers can make money off their apps. (Not because I'm likely to work in that model, just because a healthy system gives people a chance to make money for their work. I am a capitalist, after all.)

1104.7. Kevin Pettitt
(05/21/2019 02:08 PM)

Ben, Re: #4 we're absolutely on the same page. I'm thinking "App Store" which could be the one-stop shop for vendor or partner offerings, both free and paid. Again, Salesforce points the way with their AppExchange, but OutSystems and Mendix both have their own versions of "in house" OpenNTF with lots of free stuff. Not quite sure about their long term strategy around paid apps, but if HCL is planning to go there, it could be a good competitive differentiator vis a vis at least those two. I've got a few ideas I might develop into paid offerings...