Later this month IBM Lotus will release the latest version of the Notes client featuring what it describes as some "really cool" usability additions.
The major enhancement in Lotus Notes 6.5 is embedded instant messaging capabilities for users of Lotus Instant Messaging (formerly called Sametime). They will no longer need to launch a standalone Lotus Instant Messaging client but can initiate a meeting, chat or manage their buddy lists directly within Notes.
The integration will let users do the following:
--Dynamically chat with people not entered on their static buddy list by performing a directory name search from within Notes.
--Dynamically update their buddy lists from a selected object. For example, users can add the sender and other recipients' name from within an e-mail.
--See who is online and their current status from within inboxes and individual e-mails.
Domino developers will also have the ability to tap the new integration capabilities.
"You can build any of this functionality into your own Domino application in as easy as three clicks of the mouse," said Alan Lepofsky, IBM Lotus senior technical marketing manager.
The integration benefits a relatively small, but growing, segment of the roughly 100 million Notes clients deployed today. About 10 million users are running Lotus Instant Messaging, executives said. But Lotus hopes closer IM ties in the Notes client will give organizations a compelling reason to deploy Lotus Instant Messaging.
Among the other changes to the new Notes is an enhanced welcome page. The top screen will now contain multiple, customizable information tabs, allowing users to toggle back and forth to different screens. One view could contain "quick glance information" like important e-mails and calendar items, another might include key collaboration tools like the e-mail inbox and address book, and a third may feature team activities such as bookmarks to discussion boards, collaborative workspaces or databases.
Users can configure individual welcome pages or administrators can standardize on a single page for their entire organization. Admins can then lock down that page using the policy-based admin capabilities included in Notes/Domino 6.
Notes 6.5 also delivers search capabilities from within the client, allowing users to search the Web or a Notes database. A "launcher" feature lets users drag and drop frequently used applications, links or documents into a designated area where they can quickly activate those items.
--Reply and forward tabs in the inbox
--Follow-up functionality in e-mails, with the ability to set an alarm or gain a "mini-view" of follow-up items
--The ability to filter for unread e-mails
--Capabilities that let users populate a calendar entry by dragging and dropping an e-mail into the calendar icon
Lotus considers Notes 6.5 part of its Workplace product line. The first Workplace offering, Lotus Workplace Messaging, shipped in May.
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