When the phrase "Lotus Notes" is mentioned in the halls of your IT branch, you doubtless hear a number of responses, from "that's nevertheless around?" to "Notes is a crucial a part of their utility portfolio, and they could not deliver price with out it." For a significant business collaboration software it really is been around for greater than two a long time, it's superb that so many IT experts nonetheless have a difficult time explaining simply what Notes and Domino is, what it does and how it suits into the IT infrastructure.
Lotus Notes is the "Ginsu knife" of software building. It slices, it dices, it cuts both leather-based and tomatoes. This excessive flexibility capacity that Notes does not fit neatly right into a single utility category in both its definition and functionality. nevertheless it also capacity that your investment in Notes and Domino can convey greater than "simply email" to your company. Are you taking potential of what it could actually do?1. Notes is greater than "just email."
With near-commonplace use of email as a corporate communication device, Notes clients spend tons of their time of their mail file. This tends to cause the under no circumstances-ending debate of which is greater: Lotus Notes or Microsoft change. in fact, it truly is an unreasonable evaluation.
if you are the usage of Lotus Notes as "just" an electronic mail application, you might do tons enhanced (and save some huge cash). down load an open-supply mail transfer agent (MTA) like Sendmail and an open-source mail customer like Thunderbird, and you have e mail. historically, the Notes mail customer has not been "superior-in-classification" (to place it nicely), and as such has suffered in comparisons to Microsoft's Outlook mail client. but it's what Lotus Notes offers beyond the mail customer that makes it so positive to the enterprise.
moreover its e mail capabilities, Lotus Notes is additionally a full-featured swift utility development platform. Notes makes use of a semi-structured records shop that enables for the advent and processing of "documents" (which can be comparable to records in relational database techniques). documents are exhibited to the user as "forms," which reveal the utility's pertinent fields. This skill so you might use Notes to build digital workflow functions that may create requests, notify approvers via e mail and manner the requests once the approval is granted.
for instance, an cost reporting utility developed on the Notes platform could permit users to enter their costs, route the doc to their supervisors for approval (perhaps with an extra degree of approval if the quantity is over a definite limit), after which generate a note to the Accounting branch to reimburse the person.
another illustration could be an information request form to your corporate site. as soon as the form is achieved and the "submit" button is clicked, Notes could route the request to the proper department and music its achievement.2. Notes and Domino is a powerful (and open) application building platform.
A goal of many groups want to steer clear of getting too intently tied to any single supplier or expertise. If not careful, the proprietary nature of the know-how can restrict the long run choices of the company when it comes to upgrading or integration with other structures.
To build Notes applications, developers use the clothier client to create and adjust all the different components of a Notes software, comparable to forms, views and brokers. It may also be considered and confirmed in the Notes customer or in an internet browser for fast remarks. when it comes to productiveness, developers get lots executed with little or no effort.
however positive Notes functions don't all the time require attention from the IT branch. or not it's typical in Notes for vigor users to improve purposes that meet a tactical need, with little tips from IT.
however, dressmaker's convenient-to-use interface historically will also be a frustration now and then to high-conclusion developers. The newest version of Notes/Domino (edition eight) has an Eclipse-primarily based IDE, making it convenient for a few of those developers—for whom Eclipse is their native environment—can effectively grasp the ambiance and produce notable applications.three. Notes is the client, Domino is the server.
Notes, Domino, Notes/Domino... What is that this application truly referred to as, anyway?
the total identify of IBM's application offering is IBM Lotus Notes and Domino. Lotus Notes refers back to the Notes customer, which is put in on the consumer's very own computer, and is used to access each mail information and Notes applications.
Domino is the server part of the Notes/Domino team, and it runs on a number of working methods. When a user connects to the server reproduction of their mail database using the Notes client, it be the Domino server it's serving up the content material from the consumer's mail database. The Domino server is additionally accountable for controlling entry and security to mail files and software databases.
The Domino server has a robust protection mannequin that may manage entry in Notes documents down to the box level. This contains both person entry in accordance with the user's Notes identity, as well as database and community site visitors encryption.
Notes and Domino run on a number of operating methods: from an Intel Pentium 2 computing device desktop to the "large iron" of IBM mainframes. The Domino server is available for windows Server 2003, IBM AIX, Novell SUSE and RedHat Linux distributions, solar Solaris, IBM device i, IBM gadget z and IBM z/OS. This consideration to multi-platform support ability that IT departments can use present servers and statistics center architecture to consolidate hardware and maintain a tight rein on prices. The Notes client is supported on home windows XP, windows Vista, Mac OS, and SUSE and RedHat Linux computer distributions.4. Notes has a long history of backward compatibility.
probably the most excellent points of Notes is its degree of backwards compatibility between versions. or not it's feasible to take a Notes software in-built version 1 back in 1989, and run it in the present Notes 8 unlock with none should convert or rewrite the application. We're not speakme about show off "proof element" applications, but true-world legacy functions that are still giving cost-efficient to the organization and don't want any feature enhancements. Few application functions can boast about compatibility across models like Notes can. This means your application development funding continues to come back cost long into the longer term.
commonly, a Domino server migration contains running the set up utility for the latest edition. In as little as quarter-hour, the server is upgraded. all of the purposes inbuilt prior models of Notes still continue to run with no conversions critical.5. Replication lets you work both on-line and offline.
modern capabilities workers do not come to the office at 9:00 am and depart at 5:00 pm. they're "always on," and that they deserve to entry their statistics whether or no longer a network connection is attainable. The Notes client incorporates this requirement by replicating facts between server and native models of your mail files and applications. or not it's among Notes oldest and most cherished aspects—for decent intent.
When a network connection exists, Notes synchronizes information between the server and client. The replication occurs at the field level, so two people can replace diverse fields within the same document (corresponding to an bill or go back and forth request); the server merges the updates so that the doc suggests each sets of adjustments. Frankly, here is slick. no person else has ever done this stage of WayCool synchronization sophistication, specially since it's so crisis free that the characteristic is usually invisible.
Notes e mail users replicate their mail data to local models on their laptops, in order that they can also be productive offline. after they once again connect with the community, all the alterations are replicated with the server and messages are despatched to the acceptable people. That applies to Notes databases and applications, no longer just e-mail.6. Notes purposes will also be constructed for each the Notes customer and for web browsers.
a part of the flexibleness of Notes is for you to construct each Notes customer purposes and purposes that are accessed through an internet browser. Domino has a developed-in HTTP server that renders content according to ordinary HTTP requests. Domino takes the utility's design and statistics and renders it into HTML "on the fly" for the browser. that's one short manner to migrate an in-house legacy utility to an intranet or extranet.
since you can carry each Notes customer and browser content material from the identical supply, your software development funding pays off with superior flexibility for the end clients.7. Notes is "not dead."
Notes has been declared lifeless dissimilar instances. When the internet got here alongside, some opined Notes would be replaced via net browsers. When Java grew to become the sizzling new development platform, many felt that Notes would be replaced by using a full-fledged Java commercial enterprise structure. And now that Microsoft has a favored collaboration offering in SharePoint, some are once more predicting the loss of life of Notes.
Excuse me if I don't dangle my breath looking ahead to that to occur....
no longer most effective has Notes survived—it has adapted and thrived. IBM introduced net capabilities to the Domino server lengthy in the past, when intranet applications grew to become a business requirement. Java became an extra language supported in the Notes programming atmosphere. Notes Domino edition 8 introduced the capacity to build composite functions. this is, these functions enable developers to mix information and performance from both Notes and non-Notes functions so that the conclusion of Notes and the beginning of a distinct application becomes seamless. as an example, an SAP utility can engage with a Notes application, sharing and updating data between both systems.
With the fast tempo of innovation that's demanded at the present time, it be tempting to be on the hunt for that "silver bullet" that solves your entire expertise and company issues. unfortunately, silver bullets don't exist in their field. however in place of being distracted by using the newest bright object, step lower back and ask your self if you are getting the most out of what you have already got. IBM Lotus Notes and Domino is far more than "just e-e mail," and you should still be squeezing out every final dollar from your funding.
Thomas "Duffbert" Duff is a software developer with just about 30 years of adventure in IT, masking every thing from punch cards and tape drives to cloud computing. When he's not developing Notes-primarily based collaboration applications for a large medical health insurance enterprise, he is always analyzing and reviewing books on his blog, Duffbert's Random Musings. He additionally speaks at software conferences.
Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.