IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.02

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2008-10-29 Print this article Print


IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.02

There's this application I need to tell you about. It lets people collaborate and connect online. They can share and collaboratively edit documents and applications, they can engage in group forums and discussions, and they can network with, follow, and find experts in the company. It has presence built in throughout the application, and it has a robust development model that enables a lot of application mashups.

I know what you're thinking-sounds like another one of those Web 2.0 applications. But the application I'm speaking of has been doing most of these things since the early 1990s; in fact, in many ways it's the forefather of the modern Web 2.0 applications.

The application I'm talking about is Lotus Notes. While some may think of Notes as an application of the past, it is still a popular and often-used messaging and collaboration system, especially in large enterprises.

With Lotus Notes and Domino 8.02, it's clear that IBM isn't content to simply milk a legacy application with minor upgrades. This release of the Lotus collaboration platform includes a significantly upgraded client application, open customization and development options, and many links to Web 2.0-style collaboration and integration.

The biggest and most obvious new feature of this release is the Lotus Notes desktop client. It is now based on the Eclipse framework (though it is not itself an Eclipse application), which makes it possible to integrate it with a wide array of applications and widgets.

The usability and interface of the client have also changed, though not so much that it will prove to be a major difficulty for longtime Notes users. When launching, the new customizable Home page works much like the older Welcome page, providing a starting off point for accessing mail, the calendar and contacts, application, and new integrated products such as the Symphony productivity suite.

A new Open button also provides quick access to Notes features and applications, and a browser-like tabbed interface for opened windows makes it possible to quickly switch between applications and tasks in the Notes environment. A new sidebar lets users quickly view and access a wide assortment of plug-ins (such as a very nicely implemented feed reader), as well as integrated Lotus applications and services such as Lotus Activities and Connections.

A very welcome new feature in the mail client makes it possible to view an entire group of e-mail conversations in a single thread. Notes also has addressed some longstanding issues, including the lack of message recall. In addition, the out-of-office reminders have also been improved.

One of the biggest new features in the Notes client is the introduction of the Symphony productivity suite, which is based on the productivity applications. This makes it possible to access word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools directly from within the Notes client. In general, these tools are good, though more integration with the Notes and Domino infrastructure-especially in the area of live document collaboration-would be welcome.

In all, the new Notes client is fairly beefy, and someone with old hardware and limited memory will have a hard time running it. The new browser-based client provides access to most of the standard mail, calendaring and contact features, though not the more advanced Notes applications.

On the Domino server side, most of the new changes are focused on providing the capabilities for new features on the client, such as the new message recall capabilities. The administration interface benefits from many of the new usability changes from the main desktop client.

Notes Collaboration license is priced at $148 per user, which includes a year of maintenance and support.  The Enterprise Server edition of Domino is priced at $3,800 per processor.

Chief Technology Analyst Jim Rapoza can be reached at


Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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