New features in Lotus Notes and Domino Designer 7.0
By any definition, Lotus Notes and Domino represent one of the greatest success stories in the history of business software. Since the introduction of Notes 1.0 in late 1989, many millions of users have come to rely upon Lotus Notes and Domino as essential collaboration and information-sharing tools critical to the success of their teams. And today Lotus Notes and Domino remain among the most important and influential products in the industry -- many corporations find that they cannot be as efficient and productive without them.
For Lotus Notes and Domino customers, every new release is an occasion for great interest and anticipation. If you're among this very large group, we have good news for you: Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 is now available! Application developers will welcome new features, such as Web Services hosting and other enhancements to Domino Designer. And Lotus Notes 7.0 users can take advantage of improvements in Calendar and Scheduling, of better archiving, of tighter Lotus Sametime integration, and of many other new features designed to increase productivity and usability. In addition, Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 includes enhancements to Domino Web Access and Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook.
This article lists and briefly describes the major new features available in release 7.0 of Lotus Notes, Domino Designer, Domino Web Access, and Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook. (New features for the Domino 7.0 server are described in a separate article.) Some familiarity with Lotus Notes and Domino will help you understand the terms and concepts we describe; readers new to Lotus Notes/Domino may want to first read the article, "The History of Notes and Domino."
Lotus Notes 7.0 new features
Lotus Notes 7.0 offers a number of new Calendar and Scheduling features as well as tighter integration with Lotus Sametime. Other functional areas that have been enhanced include mail, desktop, and interoperability. For details on these and all other new client features, see the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 release notes.
Calendar and Scheduling
Lotus Notes 7.0 Calendar and Scheduling (C&S) includes a new Calendar Cleanup action that helps you quickly and easily maintain your calendar. To access this feature, open the Tools menu and choose the new Cleanup Calendar option. This displays the Calendar Cleanup dialog box.
Figure 1. Calendar Cleanup dialog box
As you can see, Calendar Cleanup lets you delete entries based on their creation or last modified dates. It also lets you select the type of entries (calendar or To Do) to be deleted.
When conducting a meeting, you can set up the on-line portion of the meeting to restrict attendees to only those on the invite list and to provide a password for the on-line meeting. And the Meetings view has been renamed to All Calendar Entries and offers new views and usability improvements.
We've also enhanced support for managing rooms and resources. For example, you can specify a preferred site and a preferred list of rooms and/or resources to use when scheduling meetings. You can see which rooms/resources are restricted when scheduling meetings. We've upgraded the rooms and resources workflow to eliminate double bookings -- rooms or resources booked directly through the Rooms and Resources database are now processed the same way as those booked through Calendar and Scheduling. (We talk more about rooms and resources improvements later in this article.)
On the server, a new Domino task called RnRMgr now handles rooms/resources event processing. This single point of decision regarding rooms and resources requests prevents overbookings. (For more information, see the developerWorks: Lotus article, "Rooms and Resources design in Lotus Notes/Domino 7."
You can now instruct your calendar to accept a meeting even if it conflicts with an earlier meeting. You can also cancel C&S workflow when responding to a meeting invitation with comments and expand/collapse the Calendar Mini-view. Calendar managers can now mark messages for follow up in mail files that they manage and are prompted to specify where forwarded mail is saved. Administrators can limit how far into the future users can make reservations. Administrators can also set automatic reminder notices to be sent to the Chairperson who books a particular room/resource so that if a meeting is cancelled, the room/resource can be released. In addition, embedded graphics in the Description field now appear when you send an invitation through iCalendar.
Lotus Sametime integration
Lotus Notes 7.0 offers enhanced presence awareness based upon Lotus Sametime. With presence awareness, you can see a person's name in a document or view and tell whether or not that person is online (indicated by a globe icon), and if so, you can click the name to initiate a chat session. Presence awareness has been added to C&S views, Team Rooms, Discussions, To Do documents, the Personal Name and Address Book, the Rooms and Resources template, and the Domino Directory.
To further support Sametime integration, Notes instant messaging chat windows are now in a separate thread. (They are no longer blocked when the Notes client is blocked.) Notes instant messaging contact lists now include three new options: show online people only, show short names, and sort list. You can also minimize lists to the Windows task bar.
Instant messaging preferences support three new options for when a new instant message or invitation arrives: bring message window to front, blink window, and play sound. Notes instant messaging meetings offer features such as screen sharing, whiteboard, audio, and video. In addition, you can now paste Notes URLs into chat windows. And the Toolbar displays icons for screen sharing, whiteboard, and audio and video instant meetings. Also, you can now save a Sametime chat session to your Notes mail database.
We've added a number of new features to Notes 7.0 mail. For example, Notes now offers a Quick Follow Up feature. This allows you to select one or more mail messages and to mark them for follow up without displaying the Follow Up dialog box. You can set default Follow Up values through a tab in the Mail Preferences dialog box. Follow Up actions are also now available via the right-click mouse menu. You can display the Follow Up dialog box by dragging and dropping to the Follow Up view. Plus, the Follow Up action drop-down dialog box includes a new option called New Follow Up Memo. This lets you quickly create a Follow Up item. In addition, Follow Up functionality is available for those with Editor access to the mail file. (In Lotus Notes 6, the Follow Up interface was hidden from non-owners of a mail file.)
In Lotus Notes 7.0, the Mail Rules feature offers support for Stop Processing Action and blacklist/whitelist spam. Other mail enhancements include a warning if you don't enter a Subject in an email.
Figure 2. "No Subject" warning
There is also a new status bar icon that indicates whether email you receive is digitally signed, encrypted, or both.
Figure 3. Mail security status bar icon
Mail threads are easier to manage in Lotus Notes 7.0. For example, you can view them from the Mail Threads view. You can also display them while reading mail in the bottom pane through a new option in the Mail Preferences dialog box. Mail Preferences can also be set via policies, allowing administrators to distribute the same set of preferences to all users. These preferences may be locked down by the administrator, so end users cannot modify them.
You can also sort by subject in your Inbox and other mail views. And mail archiving has been enhanced. In addition, you can now display a view-level icon within your Inbox that shows whether you are the only recipient or one of several listed in the To and/or CC fields.
The Notes 7.0 File menu offers a new option called Close All Window Tabs. This option lets you quickly close all open windows. This feature affects only the window tabs opened in the current window. For example, suppose you have one Notes window open and one Domino Designer window open with multiple forms open. Selecting Close All Window Tabs in Domino Designer closes all open forms, but keeps the Domino Designer window open. Also none of the open tabs in Lotus Notes is affected.
In the Welcome Page Wizard, you can create a welcome page with frames, a Personal Page, or a Workplace.
Figure 4. Welcome Page Wizard
Workplace has been incorporated into the Welcome Page Wizard to enable you to create multiple Workplaces.
Microsoft Office interoperability
You can now access Notes mail through the Smart Tags feature in Microsoft Office XP. (Smart Tags recognize certain types of text -- for example, person names -- and offer related functions and commands.) For more information about Smart Tags, see the tip, "Using Smart Tags in Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0."
As mentioned earlier, presence awareness has been integrated into the Mail, Team Room, and Discussion templates; Domino Directory; the Rooms and Resources template; and the Personal Name and Address Book. Also, the Team Room and Discussion templates, Rooms and Resources, and Document Library now support the Mozilla browser.
Other Notes enhancements
In addition to the features listed in the preceding sections, the Notes 7.0 client includes:
- Improved rooms and resources usability, including a simple form to create a reservation and the ability to transfer a reservation
- Better archiving
- Enhanced Meetings view
- Less wait while a view that needs updating is being opened
- Accessibility enhancement (You can designate row and column headers in tables so that screen-reader applications can detect them.)
- The Notes application plug-in (This plug-in works with the IBM Workplace Managed Client. For details, consult the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 release notes.)
- Ability to save your open window state on shutdown (For example, if you have three windows open when you shut down Notes, those three windows will open when you restart Notes.)
- AutoSave option for selected documents (see the developerWorks: Lotus article, "All about Autosave in Lotus Notes/Domino 7")
Lotus Domino Designer 7.0 new features
The new features added to Lotus Domino Designer 7.0 build upon the themes of tighter integration with Web standards, more interoperability with IBM technologies, and ease of use. For example, the Domino Designer interface now offers improved design lists that display information more clearly and allow you to directly edit listed elements.
Figure 5. Design lists
We also added a number of usability features to the Domino Designer interface based on your feedback. For instance, the Comments column is now sortable, and the widths of all resizable columns are saved. You can also set the name, alias, and comment directly in the design list. In addition, you can add view actions to right-click menus.
Domino Designer also includes a new toolbar icon to toggle the LotusScript debugger state. This toolbar icon also indicates whether the debugger is on or off.
As described in a separate article, Lotus Domino 7.0 supports DB2 as a data store. To accommodate this, Domino Designer now includes two new types of views for DB2-enabled databases: DB2 Access views and DB2 Query views. DB2 Access views define how your data is organized, enabling you to leverage features available in DB2. These views identify a common set of notes in an NSF file. This information can then be used by DB2. For example, you can organize documents in DB2 based on the Notes form used to create the document. The DB2 Access views make the data available directly by SQL. Third-party applications can read the data using Open Database Connectivity (ODBC).
A DB2 Query view uses an SQL query to populate its data instead of a view formula that selects documents from within the NSF file. With Query views, you can access non-Domino content. A Query view can also join data from multiple DB2 tables and views, allowing you to join data from two NSF files indirectly by joining two separate DB2 Access views.
To further support DB2, you can define fields to be accessed relationally on a per form or per database basis.
NOTE: In the first release of Domino 7.0, DB2 integration features are for test and evaluation purposes only, not for production or development work. Full support for DB2 integration features will be included in an upcoming release of Domino 7. For more information, see the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 release notes. You can also participate in the DB2 features for Domino 7 trial program.
Web Services design element
Domino Designer 7.0 introduces a new design element that lets you maintain the function of a Web Service. This design element (which internally is stored in the NSF file as an agent) includes all the attributes typically expected of a Web Service. The code consists of an empty Service Implementation class and Service Support classes for handling complex user-defined types. For more information, see the article, "Lotus Notes/Domino 7 Web Services."
Domino Designer 7.0 also offers a set of programmability enhancements. This includes a number of new functions, properties, and methods, for example:
- NotesDatabase.GetModifiedDocuments (LotusScript) and Database.getModifiedDocuments (Java)
These methods obtain a list of modified documents.
- NotesAdministrationProcess.ApproveHostedOrgStorageDeletion (LotusScript) and AdministrationProcess.approveHostedOrgStorageDeletion (Java)
These are approve methods for deleting hosted organization storage.
- NotesDocumentCollection.UntilTime (LotusScript) and DocumentCollection.getUntilTime (Java), NotesDOMDocumentNode.CreateAttributeNodeNS, CreateElementNodeNS, GetElementsByTagNameNS (LotusScript), NotesDOMElementNode.GetAttributeNodeNS, GetAttributeNodeNS, GetElementsByTagNameNS, RemoveAttributeNS, SetAttributeNodeNS, SetAttributeNS (LotusScript)
- NotesDocumentCollection.UntilTime (LotusScript) and DocumentCollection.getUntilTime (Java)
These methods have been added to the AdministrationProcess class.
This function determines whether or not Notes is running embedded within a Workplace Client Technology rich client.
This function identifies the server version for a database.
- @GetDB2Schema and @IsDB2
These functions are designed to enhance Lotus Notes/DB2 integration.
We’ve also added the new formula function @PolicyFieldLocked and command @Command([DiscoverFolders]). And Web Services (provider entities) can be created as LotusScript or Java design elements and accessed through a Domino server. In addition, we've added a Performance Profiler for Java and LotusScript agents and Web Services and integration of a new version of the XML parser.
Domino Designer 7.0 supports JVM 1.4.2, as well as the Java debugger. This lets you prepare design elements that contain Java code for subsequent debugging by using the checkbox provided for agents, Web Services, and script libraries.
Other application development enhancements
In addition to an improved UI and support for Web Services, new features in Domino Designer 7.0 include:
- WebSphere Portal integration improvements
- View Shared Column support
- Support for multiple User Profile columns in a view
In addition, the Domino 7.0 Web server supports the ability for Web applications to compress data sent to HTTP servers. The Web server also supports the use of JSP tags in WebSphere Portal. Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 also offers enhanced Linux/Mozilla support, including UI improvements to DOLS plug-ins, DOLS Sync Manager support for scheduled synchronization, and drag-and-drop functionality.
Domino Web Access
Domino Web Access 7.0 (iNotes) includes a number of new features. For example, a new Domino Web Access client template (dwa7.ntf) provides new features in a user interface for the browser. You can view mail threads while reading mail or from the Mail Threads view. You can sign, send, and read S/MIME messages and create your own personalized stationery to use when composing mail messages. You can also import country-specific holidays into your calendar.
Domino Web Access instant messaging awareness integration now more closely matches Notes client awareness features. The Sametime Connect for browser clients is integrated as the default Instant Contact List manager. Productivity enhancements include support for single-click Follow Up, Quick Mail Rule, and the option to forward any Domino Web Access object in a message. And we've extended support for drag-and-drop and off-line scheduled synchronization to Mozilla browser users.
In keeping with the previously mentioned theme of improved capacity and performance, Domino Web Access has been internally engineered to provide increased server scalability and reduced CPU usage to help boost performance and response times both on the client and on the server. We've also added administrative options that let you disallow access to mail attachments and to force user logout when all Domino Web Access windows are closed. And we've enhanced S/MIME support for better security.
Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook
IBM Lotus Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook now provides Microsoft Outlook users many of the features available in Notes/Domino mail, address book, and Calendar and Scheduling functions via a Domino server (instead of Microsoft Exchange). These include changing the owner of a mail database, changing passwords, setting up user security, customizing replication settings, and so on. In addition, users can sign, send, and read S/MIME messages.
For more on Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook, see the developerWorks: Lotus article, "Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook and the Domino Migration Tool."
Lotus Notes and Domino Designer 7.0: Continuing the tradition
As you can see, Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 is a worthy successor to its predecessors. This release continues the Note/Domino integration with the Lotus extended product family that started in release 6.5.1. The extended products (Lotus Sametime, Lotus Quickplace, Lotus Domino Document Manager, and Lotus Workflow) are also included as part of the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0.
But the story doesn't end here. We're already busily designing and building the next release of Notes/Domino. As these features become available, we'll cover them in a future article. Stay tuned!
- See the developerWorks: Lotus article, "New features in Lotus Domino 7.0," for a description of new features introduced in the Domino 7.0 server.
- The article "The History of Notes and Domino" provides a good basic background of Lotus Notes and Domino features.
- For detailed information on Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 features, see the Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 release notes.
- And for a look at new features that were introduced in Lotus Notes/Domino 6.5, see the article, "New features in Notes/Domino 6.5."