Migrating our internal system from Notes

Stanislav Marszalek  31 August 2016 14:03:48
As it seems that Notes are no longer developed by IBM, some time ago we’ve started the preparation for the migration of our internal system from Notes and today we’ve finished the final one month of test period and go to full production regime, while switching off Notes apps.

We had several applications in Notes for our use, like:

  • Contact
  • Projects
  • Activities
  • Activity Report
  • Absence Reports
  • Travel Expenses
  • Pricelist
  • Inventory
Image:Migrating our internal system from Notes

They included simple forms, workflows, email notifications, some kind logic on save, approval or close. We wanted to move the entire functionality to the new system not only moving the data for reading or simple editing.

As we’ve started to move some our clients to Vaadin and MongoDb, obviously we’ve chosen that platform for our system as well, to prove that it works correctly in real life applications and it is useable at least in the same manner as in Notes client. The project was split up into those parts:

1.        Data migration – we use our export to Mongo tool. It was a matter of linking of the fields on both sides. Some of them as it is, some of them converted by formula to the different type (string to boolean, integer to string etc) and some of them changed from simple type into the object. Special attention required readers and authors fields which were joined into one field in MongoDb for clarity. That all required several exports back and forth to tune everything it up.

2.        Application migration – that was the toughest part, because all codes from QueryOpen, QuerySave, agents, actions have to be rewritten together with forms and views design. But there is no other way if you want to work in the same way as in Notes previously. In that process some of unused parts were removed but some new things were included into application. Saying that, that is the good chance to modernize your applications. It takes around 2 months to convert above mentioned applications into Vaadin.

3.        Testing – there were two stages here. We moved the data for the first time and started to test the basic functionality. In the same time our Notes applications run still in the production. After 2 weeks of testing we stopped Notes completely, restrict the access for editing to all, moved the data to the new system and run it as production in test mode, which means that all bugs which prevent the application from basic functionality were fixed ASAP. But after previous testing there were just few such bugs.

So we can say that the migration was not without the problem but on the other hand it was much more straightforward then we’ve expected. What are our main observations from users regarding new system:

  • It is very similar to Notes one. Form layouts are the same, the functionality is the same, and therefore no training is needed for new applications.
  • Search and overall response of the system is much faster than in Notes.
  • Search can be done across more databases and it can search for word variation, incompleteness etc.
  • It can include variety of web elements, like charts, summary panels, calendars etc. which are not available for Notes client.
To see, how such converted from Notes application can look like, just go here using:

login: john.hill@demo.com
password: demo





1Gayathri Viswanatha  01.09.2016 6:11:12  Migrating our internal system from Notes

Look good and feels good. Were there any challenges especially with the security aspects? How was the experience of migrating data?

2Stanislav Marszalek  01.09.2016 8:37:45  Migrating our internal system from Notes

Gayathri, yes the security is one of the challenge and you have to manage the access rights in your application. We had one field for authors and one field for readers, both filled in with names, roles and groups and check that fields against required security. It seems to be difficult to maintain but at the end it was not because we have one central function for that and you call it on each view and document display.

While migrating data, we moved everything including richtexts and its attachments. The speed depends on the size of the data, 1 GB Notes database takes around 10 minutes to move to MongoDB.