back to article Slack re-invents the extranet and shared Notes databases with cross-company teams

Slack has re-invented some stuff Lotus Notes did 20 years ago and declared it will make you more productive. Slack's big new thing is called “Shared Channels”. They “work just like the Slack channels you’re used to using with your internal teams, but connect two separate organizations, giving both sides a shared space to work …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    “channel members from both sides can … upload files”

    Sounds more like a primitive DropBox to me.

    Use Sync instead - it's encrypted and doesn't have the key so the NSA and pals can go screw themselves.

    1. Psy-Q

      Re: “channel members from both sides can … upload files”

      Prior evidence seems to indicate that encryption is not any priority at Slack. Your chat history has to be stored unencrypted and indexed for their product to even work. They also can't encrypt at rest because they promise unlimited history. I expect any shared documents to be similarly indexed so to come with the same caveats.

  2. Adam 52 Silver badge

    There was nothing wrong with the Notes idea, it was just the awful user interface and resource hog client app. And all that messing around with knowing the exact path of replicas. And the stupid client key thing that meant you couldn't access from more than one location. And the email integration.

    What Slack does well is an easy to user interface, so matching the two sounds ideal.

    We run cross-company Slack already, but it means having a second, shared account and switching in the client. Just adding external people to your conversations sounds perfect.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > And the stupid client key thing

      Yeah, that stupid end-to-end encryption thing

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

        ITYM "that stupid incredibly poorly-implemented, like every other goddamn thing in the Notes client end-to-end encryption thing.

  3. Joseph Haig

    Notes productivity

    I'm sorry but I have difficulty reading any further after you have put 'Lotus Notes' and 'more productive' in the same sentence.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Notes productivity

      Apparently the Domino database was fantastic but the Notes client was crap.

      I remain to be convinced.

      1. Allonymous Coward

        Re: Notes productivity

        I worked with Notes/Domino many years ago. I thought it was a nice idea overall, badly implemented on the client side with some good features on the server side (notably replication, in the days before pervasive connectivity). That was just my experience of it though.

        IMO one of the main problems, apart from the incredibly crappy client software, was that world+dog seemed to buy it as an email system. At best, for email, it was no better than the competition. If you deployed and used it as "groupware" (eugh) or an intranet/extranet though, it wasn't half bad for its time.

        Interestingly, CouchDB was apparently originally inspired by the Domino database technology.

    2. MotorcyclesFish

      Re: Notes productivity

      Argh, I get palpitations any time anyone mentions that hateful pile of cr*p. I'm glad it's been consigned to history in all but the most misbegotten organisations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Notes productivity

        Was better when it was VAXNotes before it escaped ...

  4. IamStillIan

    Interesting timeing, I believe Microsoft Launchers this features on Teams yesterday..

  5. Bill Buchan

    Okay. Lets imagine I had a distributed, replicated directory service with PKI (RSA no less) built right in, so you had an immediate, no-fuss PKI based replicated document store, with a simple set of application development tools which allowed you to build secure, authenticated apps in a few hours (Absolutely crappy looking, yes), deploy them across your environment, lock down the data (and optionally encrypt).. And they were business critical in a heartbeat. Oh and you could run all this on just about any damn server infrastructure you might have lying around, and on all the popular desktops (and even OS/2) of the day. Security is worked out at the document level - something that Sharepoint has failed to ever do.

    Yup. We had that almost 20 years ago, kids. Before The Cloud ("Its just someone else's computer!").

    Today, thats Mongo, some PKI infrastructure, Docker, React/Angular+Javascript, some pretty freaky Linux skills, and you still take 10+ days to build a simple application. Some Notes applications are still running (and still looking crappy) 20 years later. I challenge anyone to keep any Javascript app running more than two before NPM package decay causes stuff to become obsolete/removed or require serious work.

    Colleagues of mine migrated to Sharepoint, and proudly say, after years of becoming expert in it - 'It only takes 2.5 times longer to do the same app in Sharepoint as it used to in Notes'. Progress.

    Yes, pig ugly. Yes, IBM didn't know jack shit what they had (and continue to not know jack shit), and now, whilst still supported, is let out to die by the Websphere (remember that?) management at IBM. (Aside from one notable exception in South East Asia).

    Does it work? Hell yeah. Is it easier/faster/more secure/more reliable? Hell yeah. And whilst the licenses actually cost money, it's not that expensive.

    Hate it as much as you like, but no-one has came up with anything that can be installed and running in less than a day that even comes close.

    I do mourn its passing, as it paid for a number of my houses...

    (And yes, Damien Katz was hired to reverse engineer the @Formula language engine in the Notes/Domino 6.x release - did a magnificent job. Understood implicitly the power of functional programming, distributed and replicated document stores, platform independent and highly scalable languages, and of course PKI. And went out and self-funded the development of CouchDb. Legend. We all thought he was mad, of course ;) )

    ---* Bill

    Sick of BT screwing up broadband? So were we. We did our own.

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