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A history of Novell publications

Nov 13, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Why AppNotes will be missed

Last week, we discussed how “AppNotes,” Novell’s monthly publication once packed with original articles about the company’s products, will now rely on re-published articles from Novell’s “Cool Solutions” Web sites. AppNotes was never about developers. It was written as a technical journal for those who manage, operate, install and maintain NetWare networks and the other products Novell has sold over the years. Developers had their own journal, called “DevNotes” (previously “Developer Notes”) which examined the intricacies of writing software to the various APIs that Novell published for its software.

“DevNotes” has an even longer history than “AppNotes,” by the way. After Novell purchased SoftCraft (the makers of Btrieve) in the mid 1980s, a quarterly (later monthly) newsletter was launched called “Bullets,” which was devoted to Btrieve development. Once Novell released the API for NetWare (in 1987, I believe, at the second Developer’s Conference, the progenitor of BrainShare), the Austin, Texas office (where the Btrieve folks worked) became the developer support site for Novell. Third party developers wanted a publication devoted to NetWare-related programming so an enlarged newsletter, called “Developer Notes” was launched (which included a section called Bullets).

Network managers also subscribed, but wanted articles more about network management and less about programming. So Novell launched the “NetWare Technical Journal” ( This was a critical success, but a huge money drain (full color pictures, glossy pages, etc.). After a few issues it morphed into Novell Application Notes (no color, no slick pages) and settled down for a long run.

The arrival of the various “Cool Solutions” Web sites a few years ago certainly helped augment the information available to Novell customers and clients, but in no way did it replace “AppNotes” (which continued to sell well).

I’m pleased that developers are getting their own “Cool Solutions” Web site (although many of them feel it’s too little, too late), but it doesn’t help the network managers, consultants and analysts who relied on “AppNotes” for the definitive word on the technical side of NetWare.