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Creating corporate welcome pages with Lotus Notes

Learn the pros and cons of creating corporate welcome pages with Lotus Notes.

Being able to create corporate welcome pages is an attractive feature of Lotus Notes. The idea is that you can create a "homepage" for Notes users, which everyone sees when they log on each morning. If you want to introduce a new feature to the company homepage, you can do so once, from a central location, and that new feature is pushed out to all users. This results is all Notes users in your organization sharing a common start screen, with bookmarks and display panes that you have chosen as standard. The creating corporate welcome pages feature also allows you to set up department welcome pages, with different groups of Lotus Notes users seeing different welcome pages, but all controlled centrally.

I recently tested this feature and can report that it does work as advertised, with a few caveats.

  • The lag time, between your changes to the central corporate welcome page and those changes being pushed to users, can be quite long. I found no coherent algorithm for when this push occurred. Users logging off/on did not always force a welcome page refresh. Shutting down and restarting the server did not always work. Editing/saving the desktop policy (or desktop settings) was not reliable either. In all cases, users did eventually receive the welcome page changes, but that sometimes took a full day.

  • Within the welcome page options in the Desktop Settings document, there is a field to insert a link to a welcome page database. This is the database where the corporate (or department) welcome pages are defined. Since there can be more than one Desktop Setting document, you might be tempted to create more than one welcome page database, perhaps one per department. Don't. You must have only one database that holds all of your centrally managed welcome pages. This fact is mentioned in the documentation, but is not obvious when you are creating a Desktop Settings document.

  • Currently, a user can override the corporate welcome page. He or she simply goes to their personal bookmark bar, chooses a bookmark, right-clicks and selects "Set Bookmark as Home Page." Lotus/IBM is aware of this problem and is hoping to fix it in a near-term point release.

In spite of this last problem, I found the entire feature to be genuinely useful. I encourage Notes/Domino organizations to consider it as a company (or per-department) standard.

For full information, see Domino Administrator 6 Help / Contents / User and Server Configuration / Policies.

Chuck Connell is president of CHC-3 Consulting, which helps organizations with all aspects of Domino and Notes.

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