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Notes may suck from a UI and configuration perspective, but being a truly cross-platform application, it sucks equally across platforms, and it is quite powerful (and relatively stable). I use it mostly for email which is a shame because it's a powerful non-relational database with interesting features.  But as a email client it sucks badly. For example, here are some common complains

The next version of Notes is to be based on Eclipse. While old GUI was ugly as hell until probably version 6.5, the new GUI used in version 8 is a vast improvement. It is built on Eclipse. They are moving the Domino Designer client to Eclipse for release at some point after 8.0.

 Notes should not be viewed as a e-mail application, despite the fact that this is its primary role in many organizations.  It is actually a document database which can be viewed as a generalization of the concept of email.

I think with many of the new Outlook style features, Notes will continue to have a strong presence in the market. In addition, many companies have become entrenched with the Notes databases.

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[Nov 11, 20008] How to copy a Lotus Notes database to CD

The following steps are necessary to put a database onto a CD or other read-only media. These steps need to be completed with the userID that you will be reading the database with, i.e. you should not perform these steps for someone else, as they will not be able to read the database from the CD.

1. Make a new copy of the database to your local machine. (This should already be completed)

2. Open the database and press CTRL+SHIFT+F9.

This key combination will refresh all of the views in the database. This includes both open, hidden views, and private views. It is important to build the view indexes before copying the database to the CD or other read-only media as, if they are not created and stored in the NSF file prior to adding it to the read-only media, Notes will attempt to create them and will not be able to because it cannot write to the media.

Note: If a view index is not built, pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F9 will cause Notes to build the view. If the view is already built, pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F9 will cause Notes to update the view, not rebuild it.

3. If search facilities are not required proceed to step 4, otherwise create the full-text index for the database if you intend for the database to be queried using Notes' full-text indexing capabilities.

You can do this using the View, Search Bar, double click where it says Not Indexed, click OK. This index must be created prior to putting the database on the read-only media for the same reason described for view indexes in Step 2 above.

Note: Most CD mounting software conforms to the ISO 9660 standard which does not allow for periods in directory names. When creating full-text indexes in Notes, it by default creates a directory with the extension .FT (period - FT) which is against the ISO 9660 regulations. For example, if your database is called DATABASE.NSF, then Notes will create a subdirectory called \DATABASE.FT underneath the directory which contains the file DATABASE.NSF.

To workaround this issue, do the following:

a. Create another directory which has the same name as the database, but with no extension (i.e. \DATABASE instead of \DATABASE.FT). This new directory name must be the same as the database name.

b. Copy all of the files created for the full-text index from the original directory into the new directory.

c. Delete the full-text index files from the old directory name (the name with the .FT extension) and remove the directory from the system.

Notes will now see the new directory and use the full-text index files inside of it. It does not require the .FT extension to be on the directory name. The .FT is only used as a naming convention when creating the directory for full-text indexes so that those directory names wouldn't show up along with the other directory names in the File - Open Database dialog box.

4. Do an operating system level copy (such as using the DOS or OS/2 COPY command) of the .NSF file from the current location onto the media which will be used to press the CD or other read-only media. Be sure that you do an operating system level copy during this step and not aFile - Database - Copy from within Notes as using Notes to copy the database will remove the view indexes.


[Aug 16, 2007] IBM Ships Lotus Notes, Domino 8

Basing Notes and Domino 8 on Eclipse is a desperate attempt to enable IBM product to compete with Microsoft, which dominates the current collaboration space with SharePoint and Office collaboration tools.

Supporting 'message recall' and new 'conversation' feature, Lotus Notes 8 is designed to transform the inbox into an integrated workspace that brings together e-mail, calendar, instant messaging, office productivity tools and custom applications.

"Our customers are calling Lotus Notes 8 the 'desktop of the future' because it consolidates all their collaboration tools into one screen," said Michael Rhodin, general manager, IBM Lotus Software. "Notes and Domino 8 is your personal portal to the Web 2.0 world."

IBM is enabling Notes and Domino customers to add Activities component of Lotus Connections directly into Notes. Licenced separately, the Activities option enables the worker to share collaborative content such as documents, e-mail, instant messaging and other items related to a project into one logical unit.

Lotus Notes 8 includes the IBM Lotus productivity tools enabling users to create open standards-based versions of spreadsheets, word processing documents, presentations, etc. These tools are included at no additional charge with Lotus Notes and Domino 8.

Built on open standards, Lotus Notes 8 supports businesses' existing applications and extends their life by combining them through mashups with newer applications. Notes 8 is also built on the programming model of Lotus Expeditor 6.1.1, which is based on open standards. Lotus Notes 8 and Domino 8 support Linux and Windows for clients and Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, AIX and IBM System i for servers.

If you would like to signup for a live working mail file to see/test Domino Web Access, you can do so here:

Karim Hosein A strong leader with extensive experience in systems management and analysis in small businesses to large enterprises.

You speak of Notes and not of Domino. I have used Lotus Notes/Lotus Domino for about 4 years from 5.x to 7.x. We had migrated off of Outlook/Exchange across the entire Enterprise (>10,000 users internationally) after yet another major failure of yet another Exchange server.

I have used Notes as a stand-alone mail client and it really doesn't offer much there. There is more to the notes client than e-mail (as its name suggest) in that in addition to the usual e-mail, contacts, calendar, to-do, etc., but the Journal (similar but better than Outlook's Notes) is extremely versatile and its other databases such as Document db (MSO, Lotus Smart Suite and Other), Library (database of databases), News (NNTP, separate from regular e-mail although can be viewable together), Discussion (like forums), several mail dbs all compatible with each other, applications (Domino developed) and files for other apps distributed via Domino, etc.

Some of these features are only useful with a Domino server (such as Discussion, applications) and some are more useful with Domino (such as document DBs and Calendar). Quite frankly, without Domino, I'd rather use another e-mail client and find another way to do everything else but sometimes, keeping things together in one app is a good thing.

Advantages of Domino:

*Lotus Domino recover gracefully from any single server failure. With Exchange, we had one corrupt server corrupt all others.

*Separate user databases means that one users corrupt database does not corrupt the DB used by all users.

Or if you prefer, you can watch a video demo (showing DWA on Linux!) here: 

Advantages of Domino:

*Lotus Domino recover gracefully from any single server failure. With Exchange, we had one corrupt server corrupt all others.

*Separate user databases means that one users corrupt database does not corrupt the DB used by all users.

*Domino & Notes can use a proprietary transport protocol that uses less bandwidth than POP3/SMTP. Can use POP3/SMTP and MAPI if necessary to support other e-mail clients.

*Access control can be based on one or more of e-Directory, Active Directory, RADIUS, LDAP, Local ACLs, LM, SMB, other Domino Address books, etc.

*Sarbanes-Oxley compliance was extremely easy with Domino. I think it took all of 29 days; 28 days to clarify exactly what needed to be done and one day to do it.

Suffice it to say, Lotus Domino has been widely adopted because of its huge usefulness as a collaboration tool, CRM platform, Resource manager, Time management tool, etc. as well as an application development environment.

The new question is: what of the trend to move towards open web-based frameworks?

Domino Web-Access can allow most Notes DBs to be accessible through any W3C compliant browser. On Windows systems and IE, even more DBs can be accessed using ActiveX plug-ins. IBM is moving away from ActiveX to other cross-platform technologies to give wider support Web-Access.

I do not think however that many large corporations are going to rely entirely on Web based apps for all applications as Internet Access is not always available even if you have a Laptop, a GPRS/Edge/3G Cellular PCMCIA card, built-in 802.11a/b/g/n, MaxWiFi and a Blackberry.

Someone pointed you to  but for balance, here is 

The former is one users rant. Although some of his rants are justified, you will get the same rants from people used to MSO, a Windows only app, to OOo, a cross-platform app. The latter shows that the user community is very dedicated to using the platform.

IBM is dedicated to continued development as they do have a roadmap to versions 8-10 and have started to support Linux even more.

Notes/Domino will not be dying soon unless Exchange makes some changes or some killer app Groupware/collaboration tool comes along with the best of both worlds. (GroupWise/OpenExchange/other???) I don't think so.



Christopher Byrne Business Controls and Corporate/IS Governance Consultant

Disclaimer: I worked for Lotus from 1999-2002, and was an independent IBM business partner from 2002-2006.

We have to be careful how we describe Notes. I started working with Lotus Notes 4.5/4.6 back in the mid 1990's. I absolutely hated it. It was vermin. It was ugly. And it was too counter-intuitive to use. It was not until a light bulb went off in my head during a programming class that I finally "got it". Even so, I hated the fact that I had to write two totally different sets of code if i wanted to expose an application to the web.

Then came the promise of Notes R5: Build once for the client and the web. Well not really, there was (and is) still to much kludging you have to do if you want a web-based application that looks decent and performs worth a hoot. I am amazed every time I come across Domino web application that is right out of the box (and even IBM has some of them).

ND6 made some cosmetic improvements, and ND7 was primarily a server release. And yes, in all cases the UI was less than desirable, lagging behind many others.

Notwithstanding the Workplace debacle (and let's not forget about Discovery server), ND8 is a radical leap forward in usability. I have been using the beta client for months and can never, ever go back. It is that good. This does not mean that Notes will still not suck for many users in their view. To get the full benefits of the ND8 eclipse experience, the desktops will have to have at least a GB of RAM to run smoothly.

For those that do the smooth upgrade to ND8 (and for the Microsoft people out there, note that I said upgrade, not "rip and replace"), training will be required. And any old Notes applications that were built and look ugly and perform poorly, the experience will still "suck". But that is not the fault of the software/platform, it is the fault of the developers.

Think of this list of applications, built on Notes, that I have built or been part of the build team. Look at what we did with a SINGLE platform:

1. Web-based payroll entry system for over 1,500 units using Notes, JavaScript and Java, integrated with SAP. The customer tried to build other applications on .Net and gave up because it was too hard. To quote the customer, "it is one of only two applications that work here worth a hoot" (and they are both built on Domino.

2. A web and faxed based benefits enrollment system for the same company. The architecture is hard to describe here, but Notes is the core and ended up saving the company $US2.5M a year. Did I mention that they use Exchange for mail?

3. A self-service customer extranet for a global manufacturer that integrated the Web, the Notes Client, Quickplace and Sametime (instant messaging). 100% built on Lotus software.

4. A security crisis management system for a global corporation that required the application be replicated out to 60+ locations. Ironically, the application was originally built on Websphere, but had huge performance issues. So we brought it back into Notes.

etc etc One of my favorite moments came last summer when I built a web-based training registration system for a government agency. I built in in Domino and leveraged AJAX. As an experiment, I named my forms with a ".ASP" extension (yes you can do this). I then showed the application to a manager that despised Notes and Domino. He was blown away by what some simple coding could accomplish. I told him it was built in Domino and all he could say was "no way." He thought is was built using ASP.

Now, I know Notes/Domino cannot be used for everything and curse those developers who try to get it to behave like a relational database. I also know it has warts and I suffer through them like everyone else. But I have YET to see anybody show me a single development platform that can do all it does.

The enterprise has to use the tools that are right for them. There is no right or wrong answer. But the answer should come from rational thought and analysis, not emotion.


nsftools - Tools - Lotus Notes API Samples

The Lotus Notes C API is full of really good information about some of the lower-level functionality of Notes, and it's got all the tools you need to create and compile your own Notes utilities in C. It's available on the LDD site somewhere, although I'm afraid to put a hard link to it from here because it tends to move around a bit.

The C API also comes with the source code for a bunch of sample programs, so you can have examples of working programs to help you on your programming way. Some of the samples are neat little programs unto themselves, so I've compiled a few of the more interesting ones into Win32 binaries for you to use.

Please keep in mind that I did not write these programs, and I do not offer any kind of support for them. All I did was compile the source from the C API so that you can try them out without having to compile them yourself. They are all copyright Lotus Development Corporation (which I guess is now technically just IBM).

All the programs I compiled are listed below, with the directory path that they're in under the "samples" directory that's created when you install the Notes C API. Each ZIP file is the compiled binary and its associated README file. If you want any more information about any of the programs (including the source code), please download and install the C API for yourself. These are all from the 5.06 API, except for secdom.dll, which is from the ND6 API (although it may still run properly on R5).

All of these programs should be copied to and run from your Notes program directory.

Samples you can download from here:

Cycom, Inc's Lotus Notes Resource Page

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Alexander Geschonneck's Security Site Lotus Notes Security Notes spam mail filtering Notes mail rules

This article is first in our series this month on Notes spam mail filtering. In this article, we learn about a standard feature of Notes mail called mail rules. You will learn, by example, how to set up some simple mail rules to filter spam mail:

By learning the techniques demonstrated in these examples, you should be able to set up your own mail rules to filter spam mail.

You can create and use mail rules whether you access Notes mail via the Notes R5 client or a Web browser, however, your mail database must reside on a Domino R5 server.

Note: For complete instructions on using all the mail rules features, see Notes 5 Help.

Lotus Notes Tips

Lotus Notes and Domino Server 4.6 -- Ch 16 --Using Navigators, Agents, and Simple Actions

Lotus Notes and Domino Server 4.6 -- Table of Contents --

Notes-based support for RBL, DUL and RSS

Spam Filter Agent for Notes Mail
At there is an article that describes a basic1 agent for spam filtering. I also created a modified version2 that filter against RBL, RSS, DUL, ORBS and ORSS.
As default, I have disabled DUL. Go into the code and look in the agent "Manual AntiSpamFilter". I am sure you can find where the different filters are called. Comment out the filters you don't want to use.
Select one mail at a time and run the agent Manual AntiSpam from the Actions menu to test it.
To start using the filter on the server, follow the instructions in the article, but use the agent "Manual Spam FilterFilter" instead. You also need to edit the agent and set the debug flag to 0 and comment out the MsgBox line in the subroutine CheckIP.

I also created a template for the mail database. It is based on the mail template from Notes 5.013. Download and replace the design of the mailfile. Don't forget to install the DLL mentioned in the begiining of this page on the server for this to work!

Please consider all the software as Beta. I take no responsibility for anything that can happen if you use it. Let me know if something is not working, and I will see what I can do. Feel free to play around in the code and change it for your own use.
Have fun! Happy spam killing!

Boston, March 6, 2000 Notes spam mail filtering Introduction Notes spam mail filtering AntiSpamFilter agent


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