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Thoughts about Damien’s CouchDB, his new company, trends and Lotus Notes
Julian Buss, July 27th, 2010 09:49:54
Tags:  Lotus 
Most of you know Damien Katz, ex Loti and the inventor of CouchDB. I just look at the progress of CouchDB from time to time, and I have some thoughts I want to share:

If you look at CouchDB, you'll find many, MANY similarities to Lotus Notes databases. It's document orientated / schema less, it has the concept of views, it can replicate, it can be clustered and app code and data can be in the same container.
I does not have in-depth knowledge of CouchDB, but from the view of an outsider I think one could say: Damien took all the greatness of Lotus Notes databases and re-created it from the scratch, using another technology as platform and giving it another interface, thus making it more "web 2.0" like.

Damien seems to be a hell of a coder, and he deserves the most respect for creating such a beast pure on his own. He showed that he is a good one back in the R5 days, as he rewrote the formula engine (a story well worth reading).

What I find most interesting is the attention his new baby gets. Schema less databases are kind of trendy nowadays, and there are lots of articles in the web and printed press (at least here in germany) about that "new" technology. And CouchDB is present in every of these articles. CouchDB gets the image of a new, modern database approach for the web 2.0 world.

And now guess what product is never present in those articles. Yes, Lotus Notes.
Despite the fact that Lotus Notes has all this technology since decades, it is non-existend in this "new-modern-hip-web-2.0-database-world". All these non relational, schema less databases are treated as pretty new and cool stuff, while the whole technology is as old as Lotus Notes is.

Damien even managed to get good funding and is now building a new company called Again, don't get me wrong, he deserves all respect for that, and I'm very happy to see that he makes his way. His website is trendy, he is just about to host his first event (think of Lotusphere, but much smaller and cooler) and he seems to get some attention with his new company.

Now imagine the very same company, the very same website - only offering Lotus Notes databases instead of CouchDB. Instantely, it feels so much less cool, doesn't it?
Would anyone founding a new company about Lotus Notes database services get such a modern, good image? Certainly not.

I think my point is that while the technology of CouchDB and Lotus Notes is very similar, Notes is treated as old-school and big and ugly and so on, while CouchDB is lean, fast, nice, modern, trendy, shiny etc. I wonder what would happen if one codes a REST API for Lotus Domino databases like the CouchDB API and builds a company around that while completely hiding the fact that it's based on Lotus Domino.
Comments (5) | Permanent Link


1) Thoughts about Damien’s CouchDB, his new company, trends and Lotus Notes
palmi 27.07.2010 12:11:05

very intreasting thoughts :)

2) Thoughts about Damien’s CouchDB, his new company, trends and Lotus Notes
Henning Heinz 27.07.2010 15:06:09

Well if someone does just that he would probably have a tough job competing against other (free as in beer open sourced) NoSQL platforms.

Damien tried to get venture capital before but failed at that time (he then went to MySQL AB and later back to IBM who allowed him to work full-time on CouchDb).

It still has to be proven if those NoSQL platforms will generate enough revenues to grow a business (although getting bought by a big company in some way is a business model too). I am currently bidding for a project that would involve using CouchDb as its data store.

3) Thoughts about Damien’s CouchDB, his new company, trends and Lotus Notes
Dan Sickles 27.07.2010 15:26:12

Damien and his partners at Couchio have been very clear that CouchDB was inspired by Notes. I visited the Couchio offices on one of their Friday evening open houses when working in CA recently and spoke with Damien and his team. They regularly explain the Notes heritage to CouchDB newbies but they don't focus on it.

Interestingly, even with Couchdb, many people still don't grasp the significance of replication.

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4) Thoughts about Damien’s CouchDB, his new company, trends and Lotus Notes
Kevin S Pettitt 27.07.2010 15:40:20

Very similar to thoughts I've had. The feature that stood out for me when reading some of the CouchDb articles was the peer-to-peer replication possibilities. Making a server an optional component of a shared application strikes me as an incredibly powerful capability (Anything to take Admins out of the picture is a good thing ;-) ).

Whether sharing an application among team members who might be distributed and highly mobile or simply syncing data among all your own devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet), it's pretty cool. I'll be very interested to see what sorts of Lotus Notes integration possibilities may arise as CouchDb matures.

5) Thoughts about Damien’s CouchDB, his new company, trends and Lotus Notes
Dennis Dirdjaja 27.07.2010 19:58:03

From the technology point of view, that's absolutely right. In my opinion, one major reason why Notes isn't mentioned in the NoSQL buzz are the applications.

Users got used to the fact that Notes applications have their own weird style of usability, yet hating it. As a result, many Notes applications are still developed like, uhm, Notes applications. Sometimes it's because, after years of suffering, the customer simply expects that from a Notes application, but even more it's because there are still too many developers out there prisoned in their yellow bubble. But modern (web) applications are working differently and developers have to realize that.

At the end of the day, it's absolutely irrevelant which technology is behind a certain application for a platform decision made by the management. Getting things done with minimal effort for the user is the key to success. And if the platform is Domino/Notes, even better for us :)

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