India’s HCL, the new owner of groupware combo Notes/Domino, continues to evolve the products for the faithful and maybe, just maybe, the occasional new buyer.

The Register this week tuned into a webinar in which the company revealed that Beta 2 of Notes/Domino 12 wold be released this week. A third beta is due in late March ahead of a full release later in the year.

HCL speakers said the beta is the most extensive ever conducted for Notes/Domino, because it is being offered to all users, rather than a select few, and test product has been made available in all 16 supported languages. The three-stage beta is also a first, we’re told.

What’s new? Nothing major, according to HCL’s preview and promo, but there are plenty of welcome enhancements.

As you’d expect, the product has gone cloudy and will now run happily in AWS, Azure, Google and wherever Kubernetes can be found. One-click Docker deployment for Domino is a promised upgrade.

Notes/Domino was always pitched as an uncomplicated way to develop enterprise applications, especially apps with an emphasis on workflow. HCL previously created a tool called “Domino Vault” for developers and is now claiming it’s a low-code environment.

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The last time El Reg covered IBM Domino we used a chisel

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Dedicated desktop clients will be less important thanks to improved web design. Users get a new UI in both settings. The mail client, never a tool that delighted users, will let users choose from multiple .sig files and “From” addresses when composing a message.

Two-factor authentication and Active Directory sync will likely be welcomed for obvious reasons. The .NSF file used to store data remains, but HCL has created a better backup tool to reserve them.

That HCL will deliver a version of Notes 12 for AIX speaks volumes about the user base the company feels it must serve. Versions for Windows and Linux will also be released.

HCL acquired Notes/Domino in 2018, along with some other former IBM wares, for $1.8bn. IBM picked it up from Lotus in 1995 for the then-record-price of $3.52bn.

Big Blue did well with the portfolio, but Microsoft did better with Exchange and its constellation of clients.

But while Notes/Domino didn’t dominate, it’s clearly still turning a quid for HCL and keeping the groupware dream alive. ®

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