Upgrading to Domino 8.5.3

If you’re currently running domino 8.5.x, you may not be surprised to know that 8.5.3 was made available in October.  What may be surprising is the number of fixes in this version: 1,227!  IBM has been diligently working to improve the stability and performance of the 8.5.x platform. Also note, if you installed 8.5.2 and did not do any fix-pack updates, there have been several released with a total of 537 fixes among them.  So between the first version of 8.5.2 and 8.5.3 there have been a total of 1,764 fixes published.  Chances are we have all run into a least a few of these problems.

From what I’ve seen at most of my client sites, the Notes Client 8.5.2 is relatively stable in most cases. However, like most software, it is still prone to occasional hangs, crashes or performance issues.  I’ll give you a quick synopsis of the enhancements in 8.5.3, but you can always get a full list of fixes and enhancements from IBM.

iNotes

A large number of stability and performance improvements were made around iNotes. For those shops that are using iNotes on 8.5.2, you will definitely want to upgrade as soon as possible to take advantage of a faster, more stable environment on both the server and clients.

Mail and Calendar

A large number of usability and stability issues addressed in the Notes mail and calendar functions. Most of them are small UI tweaks to improve usability or fixes to what I would call very specific (read: uncommon) issues, but there are still several fixes that will impact all users.  There are fixes to the recipient type-ahead feature, especially where it would come up with no matches or too many matches incorrectly.

Server/HTTP Server

Most importantly, in my opinion are the host of fixes to the server and HTTP server to address a wide range of scenarios that can cause the server to hang or crash (as developers, these tend to affect us more often, but nobody likes to see lost work due to a crash).  The stability fixes for the web server focus on rich-text and image processing on the web (especially user-fields) which in some cases would cause server crashes or loss of data for the affected user.

Developers

If you’re a Notes/Domino developer like me, you’ll be happy to know that the new designer has many improvements to usability and performance.  My personal pet-peeve has been the dreaded “Compiling Workspace” when I’m working on a remote server.  I’ve had that lovely process churn for an hour plus while my developer and client are locked up.  Sadly, there was no specific fix to this issue, but there were a number of other “performance” related issues that were addressed and should improve overall performance and usability in the Domino Designer (especially the eclipse IDE).

Conclusion

We recommend our clients move up to 8.5.3 in the short term as everyone will see performance and stability improvements across the board.  We especially recommend the upgrade to our clients with iNotes, and heavy web integration (user forms with rich text, images), or who have been experiencing performance issues in mail/calendar/contacts.

To help you decide how soon you want to upgrade take stock of the following:

  •          Is your office using iNotes?
  •          Do you have significant web integration with user forms (especially with rich-text and images to upload/download)?
  •          Do you hear a lot of “Notes just crashed again”, or “hang on a sec, I’m rebooting”?
  •          Mail, calendaring and scheduling and contacts are just plain buggy in your current version?

Every install is different but in most cases we can perform a backup, install and base testing in just a matter of a few hours. A few hours which, long-term, can save hours of productivity for you and your team.  Contact us now and we will be happy to prepare your quote to upgrade to Notes/Domino 8.5.3.