First the disclaimer, I received this e-book for free from the publisher Packt Publishing . I hope this in no way affects my opinion. Not sure why I was asked, I have trouble stringing 5 sentences together for a blog entry, but it did stroke my ego quite a bit ;)

Oh, and I hate ebooks....I read on the toilet and while planes are taking off or landing! Kindle is what you start a fire with.

Anyway enough TMI, on with the show....

I have not, as of yet, read any of the other reviews out on the wibbly wobbly web, and especially Planet Lotus of this book. I would suggest you read more than this review if you plan on purchasing it. I actually own the previous release of this tome, the 2007 Lotus Notes Domino 8 Upgrader's Guide so I was expecting more of the same, but updated. By that I mean some useful information, ton's of references to SOA and a somewhat high level overview of new features. I still use it now and again, so I guess that is a good measure of the book. If it sits on my desk for more than a few days..... I think the ND 7 version of this book is laying around STS galactic headquarters too.

I think "Upgraders's Guide" is a stretch. In the original ND8 version of the book, the upgrade section for ND 8 was from pages 117 to 132. That is 15 pages of the original 249 pages. It was more like a "What's new in ND 8" book. So, is the newer release more "upgrady"? Not really. More of the same, but with a modicum of 8.5.x goodness mixed in.

Additionally, whilst not an ISSL (IBM Software Services for Lotus, the services arm of Lotus) sanction, endorsed or otherwise book, many of the authors work there. Expect some weird ISSL/IBM words, like "Systematic Normalization". Read this and you will be a scrabble champion in no time.

First, the update....

The new version weighs in at 295 pages, while removing some sections and adding others. The upgrade chapter, now at 18 pages seems light.  Given that ND 8.5 is the first release that may require some forethought and preparation it seems a bit light. This section is almost identical to ND 8 book. DAOS is given some space in the Domino 8.5 Enhancements chapter (chapter 10) and covers the basics, but again, I just get the feeling that "Upgrader's Guide" is a bit of a stretch.

Speaking of DAOS, I would have liked to see all the storage savings techniques outlined in one specific, dedicated  chapter. Design and Document compression are in there, but SCT and LZ1 are not (maybe because the are not new). Still leveraging all of these techniques can lead to substantial savings, way beyond DAOS on its own.

Given this book is written by ISSL peeps, I would have expected a notice somewhere about transaction logging and the potential impact on the server. Transaction logging has a bad rep (deserved or otherwise) in the install base, this would have been a good opportunity to address this. Given it's importance to DAOS many customers are looking at it for the first time. A suitable warning about using the same drive as the OS, Domino, or anything else should have been front and center.

Other 8.5 new features are covered too, Notes Shared Login (NSL), ID Vault and DCT along with LotusSphere Show and Tell quality step by step guides. iNotes updates have a number of pages dedicated to it. That's good to see given the shock most users will have with the radically improved 8.5 iNotes interface.

Next up, Domino Development. I was slightly disappointed with this chapter (chapter 8) at first brush, but the shear amount of change (Eclipse, XPages, etc) made for a sobering thought. It is good 50,000' overview, but that is all. If you are looking for XPages info, this ain't the place. I guess the "Upgrade" is that you now have XPages. Go forth and and sexy-ify your Notes apps.

Next, the bad....

As I've said, the title needs some work.
DB2 still makes an appearance. Really? I think you can drop this from now on.
Quickr is there in chapter 9 (Integration with Other Lotus/IBM Products), but this is an old, old release.

The chapter order (see below) seems a bit out of whack. Chapter 10 is where most readers would probably want to start. DAOS is the reason a whole lot of upgrades have taken place. Just my $0.02.

Chapter List

Chapter 1 - Overview of the new Lotus Notes client features
Chapter 2 - Lotus Notes 8.5 and SOA
Chapter 3 - Productivity Tools
Chapter 4 - Lotus Domino 8.5 server features
Chapter 5 - Deployment Enhancements in ND 8.5
Chapter 6 - Upgrading to ND 8.5
Chapter 7 - Coexistence between ND releases
Chapter 8 - What's new in ND 8.5 Development (full chapter available below)
Chapter 9 - Integration with other Lotus/IBM products
Chapter 10 - Domino 8.5 enhancements
Appendix - 3rd party solutions


If you are looking for reasons to upgrade to 8.5 then this book is for you. If you are looking for an overview of features added since R8, then this book is for you. If you are an avid Domino fan-boy (or girl) you may want to give this a whirl, just don't expect a soup to nuts deep dive (or XPages).

Given the lack of Domino related literature available for purchase, I want to thank Packt and the authors of this series. It is a lot of information to cover in 294 pages. Some information is good, some superfluous but overall I would recommend this as a option for "occasional" Domino administrators or IT managers looking for the what and why of new stuff in 8.x.

Finally, I can't quite shake the feeling that maybe this should be two "guides" from this point on. 8.5 was a massive feature release, both from development and from administration. I think it is hard to do both justice in a single work.

To entice you further, the kindly folks at Packt have offered Chapter 8, What's New in Notes/Domino 8.5 Development for free.  What are you waiting for? Should you wish to purchase either the e-book or the r-book (real-book, you heard it here first!) from the publishers site or the r-book from Amazon (US).

Kudos to anyone who can write a book. I have trouble filling up the 140 characters in Twitter.
Darren Duke   |   February 16 2010 04:16:41 PM   |    domino  lotus notes  books  review    |  
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