Fake News About Notes and Domino – This is the Real News

HCL Notes V12 Beta 2

In the past week news stories have spread around the tech world stating that while HCL took over Notes and Domino from IBM, “not much has been happening with the platform.” This is fake news! People, meet Notes/Domino V12 Beta 2.

UPDATE: In an earlier version of this posting, I claimed you could install Notes Domino and Designer on a Mac using Docker. That was a misunderstanding. You can install the Domino server on a Mac using Docker.

UPDATE 2: Earlier version of this article stated that this beta was in 64 bit mode, but that is not correct. It won’t be 64 bit until general release of V12.

Lately there have been articles published on both techie and regular news sites about organisations that are “still using Lotus Notes”. Now, if they were still using Lotus Notes, we’d agree that these organisations were in dire need of a major upgrade. After all, the product Lotus Notes became IBM Notes over ten years ago, and then turned into HCL Notes over two years ago. But people outside the HCL/IBM community still refer to the product as Lotus Notes.

There are also claims that “HCL has only done minor upgrades to the platform” after taking over development of Notes and Domino back in 2017, before gaining ownership of it in 2018. And that, my friends, is fake news.

We’ve done tons of blog postings here about all the changes and upgrades that have happened to Domino V10 and V11. There have been more upgrades in two years than IBM did in the last 7 years they owned the platform.

And today we installed Beta 2 of both Notes V12 (the client) and Domino V12 (the server). In addition, we attended a webinar where we went through all the updates that has happened so far. It’s a really impressive list, and wait til you see the new Notes client!

First of all, we wrote in this blog posting how you can join the beta program. You don’t need to take my word for everything, you can test it out yourself. Cool, eh?

Why an HCL Domino v12 Beta Program

  • Get feedback directly from the customers and users
  • Help find bugs
  • Test in your environment with your apps
  • Translation feedback

HCL Domino v12 Beta Program Timeline

This is the timeline for the beta program:

HCL Domino V12 Beta program timeline

Here are the components:

  • Domino on Docker (which makes it possible to install the server on a Mac)
  • Domino for Windows, Linux, AIX
  • Traveler for Windows, Linux, AIX
  • Notes Standard for Windows
  • Notes, Designer and Admin Client for Windows
  • Notes Standard for Mac

So no, before you ask: Still no Designer or Admin client for Mac. Let’s face it folks: It ain’t gonna happen.

Where to download

If you’re a business partner, or if you have download access, you can go to the following adresses:

If you’re not able to log on, sign up for the beta program. It’s worth it.


And now we reach the only point where we thus far actually do have a complaint. Thre is no support for Norwegian, Finnish or Danish yet! It’s been missing since V10, and that makes it harder to get people to upgrade here in the Nordic countries, except Sweden.

Beta 1 was first language drop, next language drop will be Beta 3. For testing languages and translations in Beta 2, HCL ask you to use Beta 1 code. In v12 Beta they are supporting English and 15 language translations:

  • Arabic
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Czech
  • Dutch
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Swedish
  • Spanish
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Traditional Chinese

Norwegian, Danish or Finish won’t be a part of the client upon it’s first full release of V12 either. The release is planned for Q4 of 2021. However, there will be 8 new languages added to a second release, hopefully sometime during 2021. Our hope is that Danish, Finnish and Norwegian will be a part of that release (we’ve been promised at least Norwegian).

New functions in Beta 2

Notes Client

  • New improved Workspace
    HCL Notes V12 Beta 2


  • Choose a different “From” address when composing an email, a feature initially requested by Vlaad in this idea. This means you can, like in Outlook, choose a different From address when you send your email. This can be for a mailin-db or a mail alias you have
  • Cascaded installation for languages
  • Format painter on the toolbar for copying and pasting during text editing
  • Startup time for the client is greatly reduced. In the demo they showed how Notes V11 took 20 seconds from logon to startup. On the same machine they then showed V12, which took four (4) seconds!


  • Silent/1 click Domino Install – using JSON configuration file and script – Added in Beta 2 – create/update databases
    and documents
  • Time-based One-time Password (TOTP) for Two Factor Authorisation (meaning you can send an sms or a message with a code that times out after a certain time period)
  • Native support for Let’s Encrypt

The last point is a huge improvement! First of all, you have a brand new application in the Notes client for creating and administering certificates on your Domino server:

Certificates application for Domino V12


You simply add new TLS Credentials via a form:

TLS Credential form in HCL Notes


The server sends the request to Let’s Encrypt, and 30 seconds later, the certificate has been verified and installed on the server:Let's Encrypt certificate in Notes


There is also a new version of the Resource Reservation application:

Resource Reservations application on Domino V12


Here is the form for creating a reservation, with a new and much more modern looking design:

New Reservation Request on Domino V12


Domino Designer

  • Responsive Application on different devices
  • Bootstrap 4 support for XPages
  • Additional View List Styling


Here are all the issues reported in Beta 1 that has been fixed in Beta 2:

SPRs for Domino V12 Beta 1


If anyone tells you that Notes/Domino is outdated, show them this. Or even better: Give them a demo of Notes/Domino V12.


27 thoughts on “Fake News About Notes and Domino – This is the Real News”

  1. To my mind HCL are making the same mistake that IBM made when improving Notes and Domino. The overall interface, which is what people make their impressions from has not really changed from version 6.
    To look at the screen images above would lead you to believe that there has not been no changes from the version 6 time frame – do you know that you still cannot use the enter key on the numeric keypad?
    Meantime Google, Amazon, Microsoft have all introduced online design tools which make it “easier” to build the applications we would normally do in Notes *and* look nice.
    Volt is a step in the right direction, but the Notes client is in sore need of UI refurbishment.

    • There are LOTS of updates that need to be one on the GUI, yes. But hitting the enter key on a numpad is not on MY list (does anyone have keyboards with numpads anymore?). What online design tool does Microsoft have that is nice? I’m working a lot with SharePoint these days, and it’s absolutely horrible, and everybody who works with it on a daily basis hates it. And Google have NEVER made a good GUI in their entire career.

      • Of course people use numeric keypads!
        I have several apps in use at our company, one of which prepares invoice information to produce Customs Entries for importing goods. The majority of the fields are dates and numbers and it is painful to watch users reach across the keyboard to hit the tab key to get to the next field when there is a perfectly useable enter key under their fingers. This is behavior which is at variance with other applications and actually impedes the users data entry. Telling users “it is working as designed” has users replying that the design is flawed.
        This appears to be trivial, but it has prevented two new apps from being green lit, and put another app into retirement.
        If managers get enough squealing from the end users they will seek alternatives.

        As to what makes a good *looking* UI, that is very much in the eye of the beholder. In our Notes 11 roll out, some welcome the look of the v11 mail template while others prefer the look of the v10 template.

        • I just got several people on Windows to check if the enter key works on the numpad. And it does. So, this must be something on your system, Wayne. Are you sure the Num Lock key is pressed? I’m not trying to be a smartass by asking, but this works just fine for everybody who has tested this now. On Windows and Mac.

          • Can you field exit with the enter key? As far as I know, (and I welcome any correction) you cannot field exit with the enter key. The enter key works within a multi-value field and in a rich text field, but not to field exit.
            You look at the behavior of most windows applications and browser based applications, you can use the enter key for field exit – not for Notes.
            This is also a bugbear to barcode capture – the devices output at the end of the scan, and have to be reprogrammed to output to move to the next field automatically.

          • Hi Roberto,
            build a form with two numeric fields and two date fields, multi-value=false.
            Begin entering information and move to the next field without the mouse or the tab key.
            If you get it done (without javascript gymnastics), let me know how, I’ll buy you a virtual beer…

        • So just to get this right in my head. Your complaint isn’t that the enter key doesn’t work, but that it doesn’t do what other apps do?

          I’ve never used the enter key to get to the next field, I’ve only ever used the tab key. Ever since using dBase IV and Lotus 123 or Approach or Notes v3.
          Interesting that you are now saying that something that’s always been like that is “wrong”.

          I suspect that, in this case, the Notes client is probably not the cause of this, but the underlying Eclipse Rich Client framework.

          If you want it changed, then the only way to make that happen is by logging a ticket with support and/or putting it on the AHA portal for Domino Ideas.

          • Hi TC,
            Not *wrong* so much as inconsistent with other PC based apps, including dBaseIV, Foxbase, Approach and others all of which allowed field exit with the Enter key.
            The behavior does not match *most* other apps, and *end users* are the ones that complain about it. It is disconcerting to have that key work as they expect in all other apps except Notes. That hardly constitutes a great user experience.
            Now, while *you* find the behavior acceptable several of our end users don’t and I find their arguments have merit.
            So to your other points, this behavior existed in versions 6 and 7 before the Eclipse framework, and I have added a request to the AHA portal, and to the IBM ideaJam portal before that.

            Finally I want to make it clear that I champion Notes and Domino in our company, I have to constantly argue the benefits of the platform when others want the latest version of Outlook. So my comment is not to bash Notes, but to surface an inconsistency that I find frustrating.

            Would you argue that the other PC applications have it wrong? That the keyboard makers and PC manufacturers should have put a tab key at the end of the numeric keypad instead of the enter key?

          • Hi Wayne,

            I don’t follow the argument that just because most others do it this way, everyone else has to. If that were the case, there would never be any invention of someone trying something new or different.

            I do understand that users find it frustrating. And I get that it’s annoying that something so small can cause so much effort to defend a whole platform.

            I won’t argue that anyone has it wrong as I don’t believe that there is a “right” way to counterpoint against it.

            Apple never has to defend not having a “Windows” key on their keyboards. Likewise, Microsoft never adds a “Command” key to theirs. Different strokes for different folks.

            You could argue that BMW has it wrong with the way their turn signals work different to every other manufacturer, but no one has to justify that as it’s part of what makes BMW, well BMW.

            I agree that it’s annoying, but there is so much else to fix. Personally, I think it only ever gets solved IF the Notes client gets replaced with something new.

  2. IMOP the Best news is the Web Nomad solution. It should be Headline News. its open up great opportunities for software houses with good Notes apps that now can run in the Browser.

  3. re “The Notes client is now a 64 bit application”

    I’ve just installed it and windows reports it’s 32 bit. I installed the designer and admin version so maybe only the separate client version is 64 bit?

    I’ve not done any measurements but I would say the load up times on my machine are slower than release 9. Client performance has been a pain since Eclipse. Hopefully the end is nigh for Eclipse, but not in this version.

      • OK, thanks. Just heard that on a re-run of a webinar.

        Also rebooted my PC and Notes 12 client seems to be loading a lot faster. So I’m hoping that the final release and 64 bit will see significant improvement.

      • The plan is to release 64 bit Notes basic notes in Beta 3. Itsbeing released as beta so that all other apps thst integrate with notes can convert their dlls to 64 bit.

  4. There does seem to be a lot of activity from HCL, but where are the much needed enhancements to the core Notes design elements, Views, Embedded Views, RFT, Fields, Buttons, Hot Spots etc they are all so dated and lack hardly any ability to control or ‘program’. You have to go back to R6 for any reasonable improvements.

    The number of suggestions on Domino Forever is well over a 1000 for this type of enhancement, none of which have a status of planning to implement.

    The improvements above are welcomed but it is hardly the stuff of a full blown release. 11.1 would be more appropriate.

    • I second that. Most of our applications are Notes client applications, the rest xpages.

      Notes client development has seen very little new functionality since 2003. xpages is getting forgot in the hope we pay more for Volt or add more complexity with the app dev pack.

  5. Looks like I’ll be sticking with the Notes 8 theme for a little while longer, that “improved” workspace doesn’t look improved to me. I like the Tabs across the top of the existing workspace, it’s familiar and is what the majority of other apps do. I hate the increased continued waste of whitespace around icons. For someone who has frequently hit the limit of 32 workspace tabs and who likes to clump similar apps on each page, that new workspace looks painful.

  6. Re: 64bit client: I started a topic on the beta forum yesterday (https://registration.hclpartnerconnect.com/d12betaforum.nsf/topicThread.xsp?documentId=3806) as I found some of Barry’s statements a bit confusing in that area.
    As John Paganetti put it (or as I got it), the 64bit client will *not* be available with V12 GA, but a bit later on. And it will *only* be the Basic client, at least not in a first step.
    So my interpretation of all this is: Standard, Designer and Admin clients will continue to be 32bt, at least for a while. I may be wrong, so I asked for confirmation/clarification.

  7. A year 2022 prepared look and feel would be great or some kind of tool to revamp the look of my old databases so it blends in well in new client.

    Ps we still deliver a complete application in a fraction of time and resources compared to other platforms.


Leave a Comment