The last word on Lotusphere 2006

Well mine at least.

The journey home was pretty uneventful, the usual struggle to stay awake as long as possible last night seems to have knocked the jet lag on the head although we'll see tomorrow when it's back to the crack of sparrow's for work. Apparently there were a few issues while I was away so that's going to be really great fun.

Overall the sessions were great, normally I end up going to a dud or two but every single one I went to was informative and (generally) well presented. There are a few new stars who have shown their faces... Bill and Paul had possibly the most talked about session of the week, there's no doubt that they'll be back again next year. I didn't see it but apparently Julian's jumpstart session was a great success, and I'm very surprised that Mac hadn't presented at Lotusphere before as he handled it very well.

I got the chance to meet a lot more people this year, it's always good to finally put a face to the name (and blog in most cases). It's always a great surprise how welcoming the Domino community is to people. I'm not aware of any other online group of people which has survived for so long and has such strength and depth in its members. There was some talk at the Blogging BOF about the community feeling a bit closed to outsiders. As I mentioned before, that's not my experience, all you need to do is make your name known out there, either with your own blog or simply by commenting on the ones already there.

So we've all drunk of the Kool-Aid (as well as a few beers over the last few days), there was lots of cool stuff, but back in the cold light of your normal office what can we take away?

Well Workplace 2.6 has been released, so if you're a BP it should be downloadable, from what we have been shown it is well worth a look, at least that's what I'll be doing over the next few weeks. Along with WS Portal which has obviously been out there for a while but is the way that all Lotus products are going, so there is no harm in getting a head start.

And finally, and most importantly Notes and Domino are alive and well, if there was one message that IBM wanted us to leave with it is that. The demo's we have seen of Hannover and Domino Next look great, but surprisingly they are not as big a leap as I had been suspecting. Domino Next is a true Domino server, it just happens to have more integration with Workplace and some Portal abilities. Hannover is a leap forward in UI design, but underneath it's still the same old Notes client that will run every Notes app out there today.

So a good Lotusphere all round, as good as last year I think which was a difficult trick to pull off. The only downside is that we have to go back to the real world now where not everyone has the same outlook.