Wednesday, October 20, 2004


I had short notice to supply some text for an architecture document on Lotus Notes.

As is often the case, you have to think about who is going to be reading it and that many people only think of Lotus as an e-mail competitor of Outlook/Exchange. The product listed on the document was Lotus Notes and I know that in the committee members minds, they were not simply thinking of the client.

Think about the average user or manager. You may hear them refer to the product used in-house for e-mail, such as Notes, Outlook or Exchange (I don't think you hear many mention Domino as a lot of technical people still use the terminology of Lotus Notes for both sides; client and server). I think you hear the other two used more interchangeably in shops and not always in the correct context. Such as Outlook is down, when it is actually Exchange that is down. You don't often hear the average user talk about the applications that they use, but if you do, it is often by the name or Acronym of the system, such as CMS (Case Management System). You usually don't hear them say CMS that runs on Notes or .NET, so the platform supporting the applications are not commonly referred to in the user community. This of course, doesn't help others realize that there is more to the Lotus Notes/Domino environment than just e-mail. It is sometimes funny talking to people when the light goes on and they finally realize that it is more than just e-mail. Oh well.

The information on the document submitted is to be concise, which once you start talking about all the things Notes/Domino can do it is kind of hard to do. I told the committee member I could have gone into so much more as I didn't even get into the licensing aspects, iNotes, etc.. and she said that what I gave her was perfect. Below is what I submitted.


Many refer to the collection of Lotus clients, Notes, Designer, and Administrator, along with the server, called Domino, as Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes is a product of the IBM Company, Lotus Software.

The Notes Client is the end user client, somewhat similar to Microsoft's Outlook client, although it is not simply limited to working with electronic mail. It can also be the interface for Lotus Notes applications. Many Lotus Notes applications can also be accessed via a web interface (browser).

The Designer client is the tool used by application developers to develop applications in the Lotus Notes environment.

The Administrator client is used for administering accounts and the server.
Although some Lotus Notes applications can be run locally, most environments serve them from a Domino server. In regards to electronic mail Lotus Domino is similar to Microsoft Exchange, except that it also hosts other Lotus Notes applications. Domino can also serve Lotus Notes applications via it's own web server.

In a nutshell Lotus Notes is a database-driven groupware application that manages information for many users on the network to communicate, collect, and share database documents following a client/server model.

Note: Lotus Notes databases are not relational, they are a collection of unstructured data, combined with various design elements that allow you to access and manipulate that data.


Allows for one environment to do electronic mail and collaborative applications.


The benefits of Lotus Notes is that it encompasses the following components:
• e-mail
• calendaring and scheduling
• address book
• web server
• programming
• database
• applications
• groupware/collaboration
• granular/multi-level security (databases, views, forms, sections, fields)
• replication

If I would have had time I would have posted for input from others. Besides what little I already know I did pick up some of the info from Julian's nsftools site. Thanks Julian.

I imagine I could have bugged Ed, as he is rather quick to respond, but as mentioned I was limited on time and why should he have to find stuff that I should take the time to find.

I did do a quick search on the Lotus site, looking for a quick consice Lotus definition of Lotus Notes, but didn't find what I wanted. As a lot of States have Architecture Committees looking for similar information on products, it might be handy for Lotus to have architecture documents on their site that capture a lot of the information that these committees are looking for in a quick and easy place to find.

Of course, if I would have simply taken the time and browsed through instead, I would have found more information as the site is more friendly for browsing than it once was. Simply clicking on one of the "What we sell links" would have been better than a search. The IBM Lotus Notes page has benefits listed right on it:

• Integrates your most valuable messaging, collaborative and personal information management (PIM) resources—like e-mail, calendar, to-do list—to allow users to access them while connected with or disconnected from your network
• Gives users a single, unified access point to the tools, tasks and the people users work with - through the new Lotus Workplace for Notes welcome page Integrates Lotus Instant Messaging functionality to provide presence awareness and enable users to initiate chats with colleagues—without launching a separate application
• Maximizes responsiveness and ease of use through follow-up function and visual indicators to show users when they've forwarded or replied to e-mail messages
• Provides industry-leading calendaring and scheduling functionality, which lets users easily collaborate and schedule meetings with colleagues across the world
• Helps reduce total cost of ownership through minimal training requirements, end-user productivity enhancements and built-in management function like Smart Upgrade

It still might be nice to have a "Lotus (insert product name here) is:" or "What is Lotus (insert product name here)" page with brief descriptions in very basic terms for managers and end users not familiar with the products at all and link to further in depth info from there.

Lotus Notes is:
Lotus Domino is:
Lotus Workplace is:

I got my part done and hopefully the next person looking for info will have and take the time to browse the Lotus website for info.

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