Have you played with the free Lotus Domino Designer?

Earlier this year IBM announced that their development environment for Lotus Notes, the Lotus Domino Designer is now free for download. Although it does require a fee to connect to a Domino server, it costs nothing to run local homemade applications.  The rapid application development ability of Lotus Notes (yes, it is a development platform), has long been IBM's best kept secret. They do a very good job of keeping it secret, along with the FUD marketing of Microsoft and Google.

I have created countless apps in Lotus Notes, from CRM apps, employee Intranets, corporate web sites, team sites, sys admin apps, and more. I do development in about a dozen languages, and Notes is by far the fastest development environment out there.  Many who follow this blog are already Lotus gurus and evangelists, so I know I'm preaching to the choir for many on this, but this post is for the neophyte - the uninitiated to the realm of Domino apps.

Download a copy at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/dominodesigner/. Then get started developing an application. Visit the LND App Dev Wiki to help you get started and create a home grown app. Or, walk on over to OpenNTF.org and pull down some pre-built open source templates. Many of these are great right out of the box, but they are also great for dissecting and learning from the inside out. Another good resource is the XPages tutorial. XPages brings in Java Server Faces like development. If you have experience with JSF, this should help you feel at ease.  I've shared other helpful links here.

If you are a neophyte, I do hope you give it a whirl and try out one of the tutorials. I think you will be quite impressed with its abilities and speed at which you can develop a high quality application.

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