Back in 2000 I went from being an industrial Engineer to running my own small company providing Notes / Domino solutions to other Engineers. I was very lucky and found something that I was good at, enjoyed a lot and which people wanted to pay for.
Over the last nine years I ( and my colleagues ) have gone from exciting project to exciting project without paying too much attention to business development or for that matter taking enough time to look back at the things we have achieved and the applications that we have written.
With the economic slow down I have had to put some ( much overdue ) structured effort into this business development thing and part of that has been to produce some case studies and get quotes from customers. This has been quite refreshing.
When you actually sit sown and write about what you have done, the impact that it has had on customers and then add their quotes you can’t help but feel uplifted about your work.
I would not have considered myself a creative person in an artistic sense ( apart from my spelling ) but when you look at what we developers do it is very creative. We typically take existing paper systems and mould them into something which works much better – not an electronic version of a paper system but something engineered from the ground up that takes the best of the paper system, the best of what IT brings and the chance to improve over the previous iterations using the experience of the users and our knowledge as consultants.
Looking back also reminds me of what a fantastic platform Notes / Domino is and how far it has come in 9 years. I still remember the WOW factor when I fist saw the same content on a Notes form and Internet Explorer at the same time. I still remember the first time I used an outline and an embedded view. I still have conversations with developers of other platforms where they are amazed at the simplicity of the Notes “Hide When” property or the security model.
That’s not to say that Notes is perfect, I still would like to see version control of code, easier dubugging of Xpages ( I know its getting better all the time ), dxl round tripping etc.. but when you look at what you can achieve with it in terms of solid business systems it is a very powerful platform for the right types of applications.