Notes is a sophisticated groupware application from the Lotus Corporation, a subsidiary of IBM. Notes lets a corporation and its workers develop communications- and database-oriented applications so that users at different geographic locations can share files with each other, comment on them publicly or privately (to groups with special access), keep track of development schedules, work projects, guidelines and procedures, plans, white papers, and many other documents, including multimedia files. Notes keeps track of changes and makes updates to replications of all databases in use at any site. Changes are made at the field level to minimize network traffic.

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Notes runs on a special server called the Lotus Domino Server. The servers and workstations use the client/server model and replicated databases are updated using Remote Procedure Call (RPC) requests. Notes can be coordinated with Web servers and applications on a company's intranet.

E-mail, calendar, and some other basic applications come with Notes. However, Notes provides facilities so that users can create their own applications. (Notes applications are generally document-oriented, not transaction-oriented.) Notes was designed with large-scale work projects in mind. Notes comes with application development tools that make it relatively easy to create applications. The Notes concepts and user interface are not intuitively understandable. Users as well as application developers usually require an assisted introduction.

Microsoft Exchange is a somewhat comparable product. It does not have the application development facilities that Notes has. It does offer an easy-to-use interface.

This was last updated in September 2005

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