A Comfortable Couch

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

70 Reasons Lotus Notes Sucks

Lotus Notes Sucks

Most of this guy's complaints are completely spot on, Lotus Notes is completely baffling to a newbie. Poor Lotus Notes, so ugly yet so brilliant.

Type mismatch error

So what happens when I type mismatch? That doesn't seem to help.


Anonymous said...

While I never have a problem with people being critical of software, I always hate when people just sit back and complain without giving any "constructive criticism" and offering their own ideas about how it could be made better. Are there things about Notes that suck? Of course. Is there anything out that that does some of them better? You bet. Is there anything out there that does all that Notes does, does it better than Notes, and looks better too? Don't make me laugh.


9:57 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

At least you have a sense of humor about it.

Riddle me this, Batman: who here uses Notes as their primary email client? It's one thing to suffer through it on salary, but voluntarily choosing to use Notes takes a special kind of insanity.

I love the way there's an entire application "ZapNotes" devoted to, uh, getting Notes to terminate properly. I have to use this monthly. It's that or the wondrous "Error Opening a Window" error at startup. Just yesterday, someone emailed me a link to a notes "database" that, once clicked, caused my Notes session to abend immediately with a cryptic dialog about a crash log file. Time to whip out ZapNotes. Again.


11:07 PMlink  
Ben Poole said...

You don’t need ZapNotes, KillNotes or NotesMedicPro if you’re running a current version of Notes. However, if R5 is still your bag, then such utilities are still required (presuming you don’t want to bother with the Task Manager).

BTW, NotesMedicPro is much better than ZapNotes.

As for the type mismatch gag, that’s my favourite on the site :o)

7:29 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I had a good laugh over there (my stomach still hurts).
How pissed off must a user be to spend his time on a dedicated website about Lotus Notes?
I am not sure if the author intended to be funny but he really is.
Henning Heinz, Munich Germany

1:41 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

> You don’t need ZapNotes, KillNotes or NotesMedicPro if you’re running a current version of Notes

We use notes R6 (not sure if it's 6.5, I think it's just 6.0), and believe me, we *need* ZapNotes. Notes is the zombie of apps: it's a lot harder to kill something that's already dead.

Another thing we were struggling with today: Notes (R6.0 I guess) handles bog-standard href="mailto:" so poorly that it causes us to rewrite our WEB APPLICATIONS. You read that right. Any W3C standard mailto: URL , eg..


.. larger than some arbitrarily *VERY* low number of bytes (I'll have to check my notes, but I believe it's under 1k-- we're talking 8-9 email addresses in the to field, nothing extravagant) causes Notes to completely ignore the url and do absolutely nothing when the user clicks the mailto: URL. It's the only desktop app I know of with the unholy power to BREAK WEB APPS.

In order to workaround this severe limitation (which doesn't exist in any other mail client I've ever worked with-- mailto: href ain't exactly rocket science) we had to create a custom web page which spawns the email, and simultaneously copies the email addresses into the clipobard via JavaScript. Then we direct the user to, you guessed, PASTE the addresses in the To: box.

If you do this with more than 32kb of To: recipients (admittedly, this is a lot) the To: box disappears from the form. If you do it with less than 32kb it works, but the email will generate an abend crash exception in Notes when you try to save it as draft (eg it's written to the internal DB or whatever). Via trial-and-error experimentation we determined that roughly half of this amount, so I guess 16kb, gets things to work.

That's why, on a conference call today, I referred to Lotus Notes as "a parade of continuing disappointment". It brings the PAIN!

But if you guys like it, hey, more power to you.

11:40 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

1) I DO use LN as my primary and ONLY e-mail client and am happy with that
2) cryptic errors - what do you think is "on error" for? ;-)
3) sometimes, Notes suck. but it can be said about any person you are meeting day by day...

Feri, PCLP, maried with Notes since 1994 :-)

7:50 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

Funny and frustrating at the same time. I use notes every day as my primary mail client and I too get irritated sometimes but when the day is over I go home and I'm quite happy about notes and don't think about it much more until next morning. It looks like someone has more problem getting over this than others.

8:17 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

I have not had to use my NoteMedicPro on 6.5 but once or twice because of stupid things I did or tried. I much prefer IE and Outlook that require me to re-boot to clean up the memory leaks ;>). On the other hand Firefox has been work quite well as my IE / Outlook replacement.

10:01 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

I actually read every single one of this user's 70-plus complaints, hoping to find something with which I could agree, since there are plenty of ways in which I think the Notes client interface sucks, and especially in light of the humor quotient suggested by the excerpted "type mismatch" prompt. Boy, was I ever disappointed. Of all the "issues" this guy raised, 9 of them were true/correct/valid at some time in the history of Notes client development, and only 5 still are. By the time I was halfway through the first one, I completely switched my perspective from co-hater to product defender. Pretty much every complaint he has can be paraphrased as one of the following statements:

1) I think Notes is solely an email/calendaring client.
2) I don't understand what Notes is or how to use it. (I haven't been trained by my company to use this software.)
3) I think Notes should be solely an email/calendaring client.
3a) I think anything that Notes can do which isn't email/calendaring-related is bad.
4) I think all software should have an interface identical to Microsoft products.
5) I don't know the Microsoft Windows Interface Standard, but I sure do pretend that I do.
6) I am making this up, because it does not happen, and never has in any version of the Notes client since at least R3, and I claim to use R5.
7) My company does not have either Notes or Domino configured correctly.

But of course, his perspective is as someone whose company is using Notes solely as an email client (!) without training him sufficiently to use it and without setting it up or administering it correctly -- so the intent of the ranting is understandable. I was just hoping to agree with one of these things.

-- Bruce Stapley

2:28 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

You're so right Bruce. If only the stupid users could learn how to use Notes properly!

1:14 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

There are a lot of crappy houses out there built by good contractors who had to operate under a "brilliant" plan produced by an architect who never swung a hammer in his life. Sometimes the vision is not based in reality.

Most people consider the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, WI one of the most pioneering works in architecture.

The Goddamn thing leaked for years!


10:25 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

OK! Lets talk about all the BUG-free Microsoft products. Ha ha ha ha!

2:38 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

Ouch!!! I guess you are calling me a stupid user then. I have administered mail systems of all types for years, and Notes is by far the most cumbersome, and bloated. I am not saying that Notes does not have its advantages, but it is especially in need of a serious UI rewrite. The interface is clunky and non-inuitive. This type of interface leads to Websites, and postings being devoted to hatemail about the product. Basic problems lie in the interface:
1) archiving is not readily apparent, and is often confusing.
2) Calendar entries w. attachments go against your quota, along with everyone else
3) no single message store; copies the message many times.
4) No drag and drop in the interface

The list can go on and on, but I think I will stop there. The problem is that the interface is where all your support calls come from, and I would hate to administer a Notes Shop. Those who post their love for the product, are obviously in denial, work for Lotus, looking for job security, and have never tried anything but.

1:12 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

@ last poster

2) Calendar entries w. attachments go against your quota, along with everyone else
And why shouldn't they? In your IT Department, do you tell users that "there's a quota on your mailfile, but you can have a Calendar bigger than God"?

3) no single message store; copies the message many times.
Yes, there is. The feature is called SCOS, which means Single Copy Object Store. All users on a server that's set up this way have their email stored in a single database. All those big attachments are, therefore, stored only once. Hence, lots of disk space stored.

Do any Notes admins use this feature? Not if they're right in the head, they don't! It just isn't worth it. What is the worth of a few Gig of disk space, balanced against all of your users' email boxes being taken down by a single file corruption?

4) No drag and drop in the interface

Take your head out of your ass, and it's amazing what you might see.
* drag files from Windows or Mac desktop to a Notes document to create a new attachment
* drag attachments from a Notes document to your Windows or Mac desktop to save the file there
*drag an email attachment to another, new email (via the tabs interface) and drop that attachment in
* drag an email to your Calendar icon (the one down the lefthand bar) to create a new Calendar entry based upon that email
* drag an email to your ToDo icon (the one down the lefthand bar) to create a new To Do entry based upon that email

5:11 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

"without training him sufficiently to use it and without setting it up or administering it correctly..." Riddle me this Bruce Stapley- Why does someone need to be trained to use Lotus Notes? Put me in front of an application in 100% of the time I can work out how to use it, but because Lotus Notes follows no accepted GUI standards whatsoever and is so full of bugs and inconsistencies I need to be trained. You seem to be the same as most Notes proponents: rather than addressing what people are complaining about (ie, the interface) you retort with things like "you must be making these complaints up..." I am forced to use that miserable excuse for software at work each day and I can tell you that anyone complaining about the interface is speaking the TRUTH- so back in your box...

8:01 AMlink  
Dustin said...

You don't need zap notes in the latest version?... I suppose this is true, because after running both of them I still have to reboot my machine to bring up version 6.5!!! Damn Lotus Notes! Damn you to hell! Damn Java while we're at it!

5:01 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

Notes doesn't have bugs, just "features".

See, when the cup is half full the world looks a little better :-)

Of course, I agree that the mailto: thing is pain...

12:38 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

MS Exchange / Outlook blows away Notes on every level.

I have users who have been begging me for years to use Outlook as their notes client.

I have tried to like notes, but the botom line is that notes sux.
Even IBM agrees, thats why they are killing it and moving to workplace, another shitty IBM software product.

4:45 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

Yey, I hate exchange, .NET and sequel server. You want to know pain, try developing apps in notes and the equivalent apps in these environments and compare. What an ungly thought.

12:24 AMlink  
Afraid for his job said...

I work for IBM and I'm so *very* sorry. Bear in mind that we're forced to use Noats too. I'm stuck either aquiring a Windows box (yucko!) or running it in Wine (more stable, but causes some of the Notes applications to puke badly).

As for the people who would rather use Outlook, heh. Outlook does make virus propagation MUCH easier.

9:45 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

"Even IBM agrees, thats why they are killing it"

That comment makes me very happy! If it's true, does anyone know when it will be reality?

4:16 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

I wirk at a IS that supports a hospital of Youngstown, a company that is the process of moving to NOtes now, they are bowing down and taking up the @$$ from the corpt office, witch is making it hell for us support and they just dont’ give a fudge how they screw us(the support) that deals with all the complants…we try to get help from are so called upper support and they don’t know what the hell is going on….this SO call great app is the biggest piece of poop that IBM has ever tried to get up and running….I realy realy hate this crap…

thanks for letting me vent of this $hitty software…well back to the hell that is me job…this piece of $hithole place too work.

7:13 AMlink  
UrbanDruid said...

I have been both a Notes user and developer. At one time I sang it's praises as a document management system even before Domino.doc. My problem is that I also develop in VB, MS-access, FoxPro, Cobol, Oracle, DB2 ... (you get the idea after 17 years you collect a few certificates and build many apps oh god I am getting old....)
For any generic application, I will take anything on that list over Notes for usability or seer practicality. The big problem I have run into is; too many notes developers that are only Notes developers. Since it’s the only tool in their box, every solution must be done with notes. VB developers do it also, MS-access developers have pieced together some horrific piles of Bovine processed grass. It comes down to what is the right tool for the right job and I will honestly tell you from experience if you want flexibility in design and usability, it is not Notes.

11:48 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

One of my annoyances with these Lotus Notes Sucks debates is how if you hate Notes, then you automatically are some sort of M$ zombie follower.
From a UI perspective, Notes does many things backwards compared to Thunderbird, Eudora, 1998 versions of Pegasus, and the M$ clients. That confuses users.

As to the fellow who runs Notes at home... wow. That scares the bee-jeezus out of me. Um. Have fun with that.

1:29 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

As a lowly user -- w/no techical background -- I have to say Lotus Notes the most baffling, confusing software I have ever encountered. Weird error messages (My fave: Object Variable Not Set); Constant crashes, which require rebooting; confusing user interface (in our R5 version, calendars look entirely different than the e-mail app, and all of it is completely diferent than MS stuff); no drag and drop; slow response time (our tech people say it eats a lot of bandwidth and processing time); no spell check; inability to type foreign charcters; primitive e-mail search function (ours can only search on first names); impossible to use, last-name-only look-up function (to get Zelda Smith you have to go to the Aaron Smith and scroll -- slowly -- through 120 Smiths, and then after that 80 smiths starting with lower case s if she's not spelled with uppercase). I could go on. Part of the problem is the abortion our IT dept (outsourced to IBM) made when they customized it; part of the problem, I suspect is just Lotus Notes. Anyway, as a user, this software is just plain awful.

1:20 PMlink  
Slick Pilot said...

We have Notes at work and I concur that it is really a sorry program. One should not have to be trained to use this type of software; it should be intuitive. It is excrutiatingly slow, crashes frequently, and I can not figure out how to make mail just be auto-forwarded to another address where I can use Outlook.

7:44 AMlink  
Anonymous said...

Most of this guy's complaints are completely spot on, Lotus Notes is completely baffling to a newbie. Poor Lotus Notes, so ugly yet so brilliant.

So what happens when I type mismatch? That doesn't seem to help.

I guess MS can say "Machine died" if Window corrupted, but too bad MS is not as st*p*d as Notes.

2:32 PMlink  
Anonymous said...

I read the Notes Sucks Web site, and I agree with the site's author on almost every point he makes.

My biggest complaint the disorganization of menu commands, coupled with the lack of necessary functions on most context menus.

For years, my organization sufficed with R5 (years beyond the point at which it should've been retired), and they kept promising things would be better under R7. As far as I can tell, they're more or less the same; the interface is blue instead of tan...big whoop. Talk about slapping a new coat of paint on your rusty 1978 Chevy Nova.

I attended a company-sponsored roll-out training session on the new Notes R7 interface, and I almost had to laugh when the trainer extolled the wonders of using the scroll wheel on the mouse. God bless her, she had to try to put a positive spin on it. The entire time I was thinking, "ok, these are things we've been able to do in other vendors' products for about 5 years now."

I can honestly say that Notes is the one app where I prefer the Web client. At least it bears some resemblance to a normal email application, even if it looks very little like the desktop client.

I'll admit that I'm not a Notes developer or administrator, so I may have a very narrow view of what Notes is all about. To me, it's an email, calendar, and contact management tool. And it has possibly the worst user interface since Microsoft Bob.

So, please, could some Notes developer or administrator please explain the appeal of Notes/Domino? Please use small words, so I and the other end-users out there can appreciate it on the level that you do. Thanks!

- Greg

3:55 PMlink  
End User said...

Lotus Notes is about as useful as a penis in Rosie O'Donnell's hand.....

5:56 PMlink  
A Tampa Realtor said...

I agree, what makes or breaks it for me is it's usability.

My problem is that the program hangs every time I open, send, forward or reply to, an email larger than 400,000KB.

Besides that, I think it is just not very user friendly, which is probably why most people "hate" it so much.


10:34 AMlink  

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