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Lotus Notes

Lotus Notes

Overview
Lotus Notes is the client of a collaborative
Collaborative software
Collaborative software is computer software designed to help people involved in a common task achieve goals...

 platform originally created by Lotus Development Corp. in 1989. In 1995 Lotus was acquired by IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 and became known as the Lotus Development division of IBM and is now part of the IBM Software Group. IBM describes the software as an "integrated desktop client option for accessing business email
Email
Electronic mail, commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the...

, calendars and applications on [an] IBM Lotus Domino
IBM Lotus Domino
Lotus Domino is an IBM server product that provides enterprise-grade e-mail, collaboration capabilities, and a custom application platform. Domino began life as Lotus Notes Server, the server component of Lotus Development Corporation's client-server messaging technology. It can be used as an...

 server." Prior to release 4.5, the term Lotus Notes referred to both the client and server applications.

Lotus Notes is a multi-user
Multi-user
Multi-user is a term that defines an operating system or application software that allows concurrent access by multiple users of a computer. Time-sharing systems are multi-user systems. Most batch processing systems for mainframe computers may also be considered "multi-user", to avoid leaving the...

 client-server
Client-server
The client–server model of computing is a distributed application that partitions tasks or workloads between the providers of a resource or service, called servers, and service requesters, called clients. Often clients and servers communicate over a computer network on separate hardware, but both...

 cross-platform
Cross-platform
In computing, cross-platform, or multi-platform, is an attribute conferred to computer software or computing methods and concepts that are implemented and inter-operate on multiple computer platforms...

 application runtime environment, it is the primary user-interface or client of the Lotus Domino/Notes suite.
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Encyclopedia
Lotus Notes is the client of a collaborative
Collaborative software
Collaborative software is computer software designed to help people involved in a common task achieve goals...

 platform originally created by Lotus Development Corp. in 1989. In 1995 Lotus was acquired by IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 and became known as the Lotus Development division of IBM and is now part of the IBM Software Group. IBM describes the software as an "integrated desktop client option for accessing business email
Email
Electronic mail, commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the...

, calendars and applications on [an] IBM Lotus Domino
IBM Lotus Domino
Lotus Domino is an IBM server product that provides enterprise-grade e-mail, collaboration capabilities, and a custom application platform. Domino began life as Lotus Notes Server, the server component of Lotus Development Corporation's client-server messaging technology. It can be used as an...

 server." Prior to release 4.5, the term Lotus Notes referred to both the client and server applications.

Concept


Lotus Notes is a multi-user
Multi-user
Multi-user is a term that defines an operating system or application software that allows concurrent access by multiple users of a computer. Time-sharing systems are multi-user systems. Most batch processing systems for mainframe computers may also be considered "multi-user", to avoid leaving the...

 client-server
Client-server
The client–server model of computing is a distributed application that partitions tasks or workloads between the providers of a resource or service, called servers, and service requesters, called clients. Often clients and servers communicate over a computer network on separate hardware, but both...

 cross-platform
Cross-platform
In computing, cross-platform, or multi-platform, is an attribute conferred to computer software or computing methods and concepts that are implemented and inter-operate on multiple computer platforms...

 application runtime environment, it is the primary user-interface or client of the Lotus Domino/Notes suite. It can be used as an email client without a Lotus Domino server, though this is unusual.

Lotus Domino/Notes provides a broad range of integrated functionality including email, calendaring, instant messaging
Instant messaging
Instant Messaging is a form of real-time direct text-based chatting communication in push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients. The user's text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet...

 (with additional IBM software voice&video conferencing and/or web-collaboration), discussions/forums, blogs, an inbuilt personnel/user directory
Directory service
A directory service is the software system that stores, organizes and provides access to information in a directory. In software engineering, a directory is a map between names and values. It allows the lookup of values given a name, similar to a dictionary...

 and IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony is a suite of applications for creating, editing, and sharing text, spreadsheet, presentations and other documents, and is currently distributed as freeware. First released in 2007, the suite has a name similar to the 1980s DOS suite Lotus Symphony, but the two programs are...

, a full office productivity suite. In addition to these standard applications the organization may use the IBM Lotus Domino Designer development environment and other tools to rapidly develop additional integrated applications such as request approval / workflow
Workflow
A workflow consists of a sequence of connected steps. It is a depiction of a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person, a group of persons, an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms. Workflow may be seen as any abstraction of real work...

 and document management.

Lotus Notes has no single direct competitor which offers a similar wide range of features. It competes with a suite of products from other vendors such as Microsoft.

Because of the application development abilities, Lotus Notes is often compared to products like Microsoft Sharepoint
Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint is a web application platform developed by Microsoft. First launched in 2001, SharePoint is typically associated with web content management and document management systems, but it is actually a much broader platform of web technologies, capable of being configured into a wide...

.
The database in Notes/Domino can be replicated between servers and between server and client, thereby allowing clients offline capabilities. It is often classified as a NoSQL
Nosql
In computing, NoSQL is a broad class of database management systems that differ from the classic model of the relational database management system in some significant ways. These data stores may not require fixed table schemas, usually avoid join operations, and typically scale horizontally...

 database, as it is document centric and not relational.

The Lotus Notes product consists of several components:
  • Lotus Notes client application (since version 8, this is based on Eclipse
    Eclipse (software)
    Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment comprising an integrated development environment and an extensible plug-in system...

    )
  • Lotus Notes legacy client (still available in version 8 onwards)
  • Lotus Domino server, a cross platform application server which supports data replication to other servers and clients for offline access.
  • Lotus Domino Administration Client
  • Lotus Domino Designer (Eclipse-based integrated development environment) for creating client-server applications that run within the Notes framework.


Whereas typical email applications such as Microsoft Outlook are programmed to be an email client, Lotus Notes is an application platform, where mail is just one of many possible applications. Lotus Notes may be used to access a document management system, discussion forums, document libraries, and numerous other applications. Lotus Notes is similar to a web-browser in that it may run any compatible application that the user has permission for.

The Lotus Notes framework provides applications with functionality to access, store & present information through a user-interface, enforce security and replicate (that is, allow many different servers to contain the same information and have many users work with that data). Although Lotus Notes may access relational databases (usually through an additional server called a Lotus Enterprise Integration server) Notes standard storage mechanism is a document database format, the Notes Storage Format or NSF which may store both the application and associated data.

As Lotus Notes is an application runtime environment, email and calendering is an application within Lotus Notes, albeit one that IBM provides with the product, but one that can be changed or completely replaced by a Domino application developer.
IBM have released the base templates as open source as well.

Applications for Lotus Notes are developed in a variety of development languages including a Visual Basic
Visual Basic
Visual Basic is the third-generation event-driven programming language and integrated development environment from Microsoft for its COM programming model...

-like language called LotusScript
LotusScript
LotusScript is a dialect of the BASIC programming language used by Lotus Notes and other IBM Lotus Software products.LotusScript is very similar to Visual Basic. Code can often be copied without modification from one to the other, and programmers familiar with one can easily understand the syntax...

, and Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

. Applications may be developed to run within the Lotus Notes application runtime environment and/or through a web server for use in a web browser, although the application interface would need to be developed separately for each. IBM is attempting to resolve this with a new development solution called xPages
XPages
XPages is a rapid web and mobile application development platform. It allows IBM Lotus Notes data to be displayed to browser clients on all platforms....

, where the application is consistently displayed using web-technologies.

Related software


Lotus Notes can be used for many applications as well as for internal communication collaborative applications, including emails, calendaring, PIM
Personal information management
Personal information management refers to the practice and the study of the activities people perform in order to acquire, organize, maintain, retrieve and use information items such as documents , web pages and email messages for everyday use to complete tasks and fulfill a person’s various...

, instant messaging
Instant messaging
Instant Messaging is a form of real-time direct text-based chatting communication in push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients. The user's text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet...

, Web browsing, and a variety of feature-rich custom applications. It can be used to access both local- and server-based applications and data. The current version of Lotus Notes is 8.5.2. (See http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/notes/ for more details).

In early days of the product, the most common applications were threaded discussions and simple contact management databases. Today, Notes also provide blogs, wiki
Wiki
A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include...

s, RSS
RSS
-Mathematics:* Root-sum-square, the square root of the sum of the squares of the elements of a data set* Residual sum of squares in statistics-Technology:* RSS , "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary", a family of web feed formats...

 aggregators, CRM
Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing,...

 and Help Desk
Help desk
A help desk is an information and assistance resource that troubleshoots problems with computers or similar products. Corporations often provide help desk support to their customers via a toll-free number, website and e-mail. There are also in-house help desks geared toward providing the same kind...

 systems, and organizations can build a variety of custom applications
Application software
Application software, also known as an application or an "app", is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software and media players. Many application programs deal principally with...

 for Notes using Domino Designer.

Lotus Notes can be used as an IMAP
Internet Message Access Protocol
Internet message access protocol is one of the two most prevalent Internet standard protocols for e-mail retrieval, the other being the Post Office Protocol...

 and POP
Post Office Protocol
In computing, the Post Office Protocol is an application-layer Internet standard protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server over a TCP/IP connection. POP and IMAP are the two most prevalent Internet standard protocols for e-mail retrieval. Virtually all modern...

 email client with non-Domino mail servers. Recipient addresses can be retrieved from any LDAP
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol is an application protocol for accessing and maintaining distributed directory information services over an Internet Protocol network...

 server, including Active Directory
Active Directory
Active Directory is a directory service created by Microsoft for Windows domain networks. It is included in most Windows Server operating systems. Server computers on which Active Directory is running are called domain controllers....

. The client also does web browsing, although it can be configured to launch the default browser instead.

Features include group calendaring and scheduling, SMTP
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is an Internet standard for electronic mail transmission across Internet Protocol networks. SMTP was first defined by RFC 821 , and last updated by RFC 5321 which includes the extended SMTP additions, and is the protocol in widespread use today...

/MIME
MIME
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions is an Internet standard that extends the format of email to support:* Text in character sets other than ASCII* Non-text attachments* Message bodies with multiple parts...

-based email, NNTP
Network News Transfer Protocol
The Network News Transfer Protocol is an Internet application protocol used for transporting Usenet news articles between news servers and for reading and posting articles by end user client applications...

-based news support, and automatic HTML conversion of all documents by the Domino HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol is a networking protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web....

 task.

Notes integration with IBM's Sametime instant messaging allows users to see other users online and chat
Instant messaging
Instant Messaging is a form of real-time direct text-based chatting communication in push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients. The user's text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet...

 with one or more of them at the same time. Beginning with Release 6.5 this functionality is built into Notes and presence
Presence information
In computer and telecommunications networks, presence information is a status indicator that conveys ability and willingness of a potential communication partner—for example a user--to communicate...

 awareness is available in email and other Notes applications for users in organizations that use both Notes and Sametime.

Since version 7, Notes has provided a web service
Web service
A Web service is a method of communication between two electronic devices over the web.The W3C defines a "Web service" as "a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network". It has an interface described in a machine-processable format...

s interface. Domino can be a web server
Web server
Web server can refer to either the hardware or the software that helps to deliver content that can be accessed through the Internet....

 for HTML
HTML
HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

 files too; authentication of access to Domino databases or HTML files uses Domino's own user directory and external systems such as Microsoft's Active Directory
Active Directory
Active Directory is a directory service created by Microsoft for Windows domain networks. It is included in most Windows Server operating systems. Server computers on which Active Directory is running are called domain controllers....

.

A design client is available to allow rapid development of database
Database
A database is an organized collection of data for one or more purposes, usually in digital form. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality , in a way that supports processes requiring this information...

s consisting of forms, which allow users to create documents; and views, which display selected document fields
Field (computer science)
In computer science, data that has several parts can be divided into fields. Relational databases arrange data as sets of database records, also called rows. Each record consists of several fields; the fields of all records form the columns....

 in columns.

In addition to being a groupware system (email, calendaring, shared documents and discussions), Notes/Domino is also a platform for developing customized client–server and web applications. Its use of design constructs and code allows easier construction of "workflow"-type applications, which typically have complex approval processes and routing of data.

Since Release 5, Lotus server clustering has been able to provide geographic redundancy for servers.

Later in its product lifecycle, Lotus Notes adopted leading design techniques and prevailing user interface and navigation paradigms first popularized by Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

, Apple, Mozilla
Mozilla
Mozilla is a term used in a number of ways in relation to the Mozilla.org project and the Mozilla Foundation, their defunct commercial predecessor Netscape Communications Corporation, and their related application software....

 and others. Features Lotus Notes may have first included were GUI tabs for multiple pages, searches and functions, and squared-off workspace chiclets which are now used on the iPhone.

Lotus 8.5 is the newest release, providing more advancements in building custom software applications.

Client/server


Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino is a true client/server database environment and the servers themselves can be virtually independent of the hardware and software. The server software is called Lotus Domino and the client software is Lotus Notes. The Domino software can run on Windows, Unix, Linux, AIX, and even IBM midrange systems such as the iSeries (previously known as AS/400), and can scale to tens of thousands of users per server. There are different supported versions of the Domino server that are supported on the various levels of server operating systems, mostly corresponding to the latest server operating systems only being officially supported by a version of Domino that is released at about the same time as that OS.

Domino has security capabilities on a variety of levels. The authorizations can be granular, down to the field level in specific records all the way up to 10 different parameters that can be set up at a database level, with intermediate options in between. Users can also assign access for other users to their personal calendar and email on a more generic reader, editor, edit with delete and manage my calendar levels. All of the security in Domino/Notes is independent of the server OS or Active Directory, another flexibility not available with Exchange. Optionally, the Notes client can be configured to have the user use their Active Directory identity, but after starting the client the standard records (called documents in Notes) between databases (called Applications in Notes 8.0 and later.) This includes individual memos from a mail file. Databases/Applications can be designed to handle virtually any kind of data with extremely flexible security parameters including workflow features within the standard Notes client application environment without having to write actual code. Dozens of application templates are included at no charge with the software and there are numerous forums and other resources with custom databases available.

Data replication


The first release of Notes included a generalized replication facility. The generalized nature of this feature set it apart from predecessors like Usenet
Usenet
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980...

 and continues to differentiate Notes from many other systems that now offer some form of synchronization or replication. The facility in Notes and Domino is not limited to email, calendar, and contacts. It works for any data in any application that uses Notes Storage Facility (.nsf) files, which are the standard container for data in the Notes architecture, for its storage. No special programming, tagging, or other configuration is required to enable replication.

Domino servers and Notes clients identify NSF files by their Replica IDs, and keep replicate files synchronized by bidirectionally exchanging data, metadata, and application logic and design. Replication between two servers, or between a client and a server, can occur over a network or a point-to-point
Point-to-point
Point-to-point or point to point may refer to:Computing* Point-to-point construction, an electronics assembly technique* Point-to-point * Point-to-Point Protocol , part of the Internet protocol suite...

modem connection. Replication between servers may occur at intervals according to a defined schedule, in near-real-time
Real-time operating system
A real-time operating system is an operating system intended to serve real-time application requests.A key characteristic of a RTOS is the level of its consistency concerning the amount of time it takes to accept and complete an application's task; the variability is jitter...

 when triggered by data changes in server clusters, or when triggered by an administrator or program.

Creation of a local replica of an NSF file on the hard disk of a Notes client enables the user to fully use Notes databases while working off-line; the client synchronizes any changes when client and server next connect. Local replicas are also sometimes maintained for use while connected to the network in order to reduce network latency
Latency (engineering)
Latency is a measure of time delay experienced in a system, the precise definition of which depends on the system and the time being measured. Latencies may have different meaning in different contexts.-Packet-switched networks:...

. Replication between a Notes client and Domino server can run automatically according to a schedule, or manually in response to a user or programmatic request. Since Notes 6, local replicas maintain all security features programmed into the applications. Earlier releases of Notes did not always do so. Early releases also did not offer a way to encrypt
Encryption
In cryptography, encryption is the process of transforming information using an algorithm to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key. The result of the process is encrypted information...

 NSF files, raising concerns that local replicas might expose too much confidential data on laptop
Laptop
A laptop, also called a notebook, is a personal computer for mobile use. A laptop integrates most of the typical components of a desktop computer, including a display, a keyboard, a pointing device and speakers into a single unit...

s or insecure home office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 computers. But more recent releases offer encryption, and as ofthe default setting for newly created local replicas.

Security


Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for client–server and server–server authentication and for encryption of data; it remains the product with the largest installed base of PKI users. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, Lotus was prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA
National Security Agency
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

 that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a "workload reduction factor" for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage
Industrial espionage
Industrial espionage, economic espionage or corporate espionage is a form of espionage conducted for commercial purposes instead of purely national security purposes...

, but not against spying by the US government. This implementation was widely announced, but with some justification many people did consider it to be a backdoor. Some governments objected to being put at a disadvantage to the NSA, and as a result Lotus continued to support the 40-bit version for export to those countries.

Under current US export laws, Lotus Notes supports only one version of the Notes PKI with 128-bit symmetric keys, 1024-bit public keys, and no workload reduction factor. The Domino server includes security tools support S/MIME
S/MIME
S/MIME is a standard for public key encryption and signing of MIME data. S/MIME is on an IETF standards track and defined in a number of documents, most importantly RFCs. S/MIME was originally developed by RSA Data Security Inc...

, SSL 3.0 with industry standard key muchsizes for HTTP and other Internet protocols
Internet Protocol
The Internet Protocol is the principal communications protocol used for relaying datagrams across an internetwork using the Internet Protocol Suite...

, X.509
X.509
In cryptography, X.509 is an ITU-T standard for a public key infrastructure and Privilege Management Infrastructure . X.509 specifies, amongst other things, standard formats for public key certificates, certificate revocation lists, attribute certificates, and a certification path validation...

 client certificates, and an integrated certificate authority
Certificate authority
In cryptography, a certificate authority, or certification authority, is an entity that issues digital certificates. The digital certificate certifies the ownership of a public key by the named subject of the certificate...

.

Notes and Domino also uses a code-signature framework that controls the security context, runtime, and rights of custom code developed and introduced into the environment. Notes 5 introduced execution control lists (ECLs) at the client level. Notes/Domino 6 allowed ECLs to be managed centrally by server administrators through the implementation of Policies. Since release 4.5, the code signatures listed in properly configured ECLs prevent code from being executed by external sources, to avoid virus
Computer virus
A computer virus is a computer program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another. The term "virus" is also commonly but erroneously used to refer to other types of malware, including but not limited to adware and spyware programs that do not have the reproductive ability...

 propagation through Notes/Domino environments. Administrators can centrally control whether each mailbox user can add exceptions to, and thus override, the ECL.

Database security


Every database has an access control list (ACL) that specifies the level of access a user or a server can have to that database. A user's access level determines what tasks he or she can perform in the database; A server's access level determines what information the user can replicate. (The names of access levels are the same for users and servers.) Only a user or administrator with Manager access can create or modify the ACL. To set an ACL, the Manager selects the access level, user type, and access level privileges for each user or group in a database. Default entries in the ACL can be set when the Manager creates the database. The manager can also assign roles if the database designer determines this level of access refinement is needed by the application.

Programming


Notes/Domino is a cross-platform, secure, distributed document-oriented database and messaging framework and rapid application development environment that includes pre-built applications like email, calendar, etc. This sets it apart from its major commercial competitors, such as Microsoft Exchange
Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange Server is the server side of a client–server, collaborative application product developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Microsoft Servers line of server products and is used by enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure products...

 or Novell GroupWise
Novell GroupWise
GroupWise is a messaging and collaborative software platform from Novell that supports email, calendaring, personal information management, instant messaging, and document management. The platform consists of the client software, which is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and the server...

, which are generally purpose-built applications for mail and calendaring that offer APIs for extensibility.

Lotus Domino databases are built using the Domino Designer client, available only for Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

; standard user clients are available for Windows, Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

, and Mac OS
Mac OS
Mac OS is a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. for their Macintosh line of computer systems. The Macintosh user experience is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface...

. A key feature of Notes is that many replicas of the same database can exist at the same time on different servers and clients, across dissimilar platforms; the same storage architecture is used for both client and server replicas. Originally, replication in Notes happened at document (i.e. record) level. With release of Notes 4 in 1996, replication was changed so that it now occurs at field level.

A database is a Notes Storage Facility (.nsf) file, containing basic units of storage known as a "note". Every note has a UniqueID that is shared by all its replicas. Every replica also has a UniqueID that uniquely identifies it within any cluster of servers, a domain of servers, or even across domains belonging to many organizations that are all hosting replicas of the same database. Each note also stores its creation and modification dates, and one or more Items.

There are several classes of notes, including design notes and document notes. Design notes are created and modified with the Domino Designer client, and represent programmable elements, such as the GUI layout of forms for displaying and editing data, or formulas and scripts for manipulating data. Document notes represent user data, and are created and modified with the Lotus Notes client, via a web browser, via mail routing and delivery, or via programmed code.

Document notes can have parent-child relationships, but Notes should not be considered a hierarchical database in the classic sense of information management system
Information Management System
IBM Information Management System is a joint hierarchical database and information management system with extensive transaction processing capabilities.- History :...

s. Notes databases are also not relational
Relational model
The relational model for database management is a database model based on first-order predicate logic, first formulated and proposed in 1969 by Edgar F...

, although there is a SQL
SQL
SQL is a programming language designed for managing data in relational database management systems ....

 driver that can be used with Notes, and it does have some features that can be used to develop applications that mimic relational features. Notes does not support atomic transactions, and its file locking
File locking
File locking is a mechanism that restricts access to a computer file by allowing only one user or process access at any specific time. Systems implement locking to prevent the classic interceding update scenario ....

 is rudimentary. Notes is a document-oriented database
Document-oriented database
A document-oriented database is a computer program designed for storing, retrieving, and managing document-oriented, or semi structured data, information...

 (document-based, schema-less, loosely structured) with support for rich content and powerful indexing facilities. This structure closely mimics paper-based work flows that Notes is typically used to automate.

Items represent the content of a note. Every item has a name, a type, and may have some flags set. A note can have more than one item with the same name. Item types include Number, Number List, Text, Text List, Date-Time, Date-Time List, and Rich Text. Flags are used for managing attributes associated with the item, such as read or write security. Items in design notes represent the programmed elements of a database. For example, the layout of an entry form is stored in the rich text Body item within a form design note. This means that the design of the database can replicate to users' desktops just like the data itself, making it extremely easy to deploy updated applications.

Items in document notes represent user-entered or computed data. An item named "Form" in a document note can be used to bind a document to a form design note, which directs the Lotus Notes client to merge the content of the document note items with the GUI information and code represented in the given form design note for display and editing purposes. The resulting loose binding of documents to design information is one of the cornerstones of the power of Lotus Notes. Traditional database developers used to working with rigidly enforced schemas, on the other hand, may consider the power of this feature to be a double-edged sword.

Notes applications development uses several programming languages. Formula
Formula language
The Formula language is a scripting language used by Lotus Notes.It is often referred to as @Formula language because many language elements start with the @-character. Here is an example of a selection formula:SELECT @NoteId = "NT0050D26"...

 and LotusScript
LotusScript
LotusScript is a dialect of the BASIC programming language used by Lotus Notes and other IBM Lotus Software products.LotusScript is very similar to Visual Basic. Code can often be copied without modification from one to the other, and programmers familiar with one can easily understand the syntax...

 are the two main ones. LotusScript is similar to, and may even be considered a specialized implementation of, Visual Basic
Visual Basic
Visual Basic is the third-generation event-driven programming language and integrated development environment from Microsoft for its COM programming model...

, but with the addition of many powerful native classes that model the Notes environment, whereas Formula is similar to Lotus 1-2-3
Lotus 1-2-3
Lotus 1-2-3 is a spreadsheet program from Lotus Software . It was the IBM PC's first "killer application"; its huge popularity in the mid-1980s contributed significantly to the success of the IBM PC in the corporate environment.-Beginnings:...

 formula language but is unique to Notes.

Java
Java (programming language)
Java is a programming language originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++ but has a simpler object model and fewer low-level facilities...

 was integrated into Lotus Notes beginning with Release 4.5. With Release 5, Java support was greatly enhanced and expanded, and JavaScript
JavaScript
JavaScript is a prototype-based scripting language that is dynamic, weakly typed and has first-class functions. It is a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles....

 was added. LotusScript
LotusScript
LotusScript is a dialect of the BASIC programming language used by Lotus Notes and other IBM Lotus Software products.LotusScript is very similar to Visual Basic. Code can often be copied without modification from one to the other, and programmers familiar with one can easily understand the syntax...

 is the primary tool in developing applications for the Notes client, as well as server-based processing. Java and JavaScript are the primary tools for developing applications for browser access, allowing browsers to emulate the functionality of the Notes client. The Notes client can now natively process Java and JavaScript code, although applications development usually requires at least some code specific to only Notes or only a browser.

As of version 6, Lotus established an XML
XML
Extensible Markup Language is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C, and several other related specifications, all gratis open standards....

 programming interface in addition to the options already available. The Domino XML Language (DXL) provides XML representations of all data and design resources in the Notes model, allowing any XML processing tool to create and modify Notes/Domino data.

Since Release 8.5, XPages
XPages
XPages is a rapid web and mobile application development platform. It allows IBM Lotus Notes data to be displayed to browser clients on all platforms....

 were also integrated into Lotus Notes.

External to the Lotus Notes application, IBM provides toolkits in C
C (programming language)
C is a general-purpose computer programming language developed between 1969 and 1973 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system....

, C++
C++
C++ is a statically typed, free-form, multi-paradigm, compiled, general-purpose programming language. It is regarded as an intermediate-level language, as it comprises a combination of both high-level and low-level language features. It was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup starting in 1979 at Bell...

, and Java
Java (programming language)
Java is a programming language originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. The language derives much of its syntax from C and C++ but has a simpler object model and fewer low-level facilities...

 to connect to the Domino database and perform a wide variety of tasks. The C toolkit is the most mature, and the C++ toolkit is an objectized version of the C toolkit, lacking many functions the C toolkit provides. The Java toolkit is the least mature of the three and can be used for basic application needs.

Database


Notes includes a database management system
Database management system
A database management system is a software package with computer programs that control the creation, maintenance, and use of a database. It allows organizations to conveniently develop databases for various applications by database administrators and other specialists. A database is an integrated...

 but Notes files are different from relational or object databases because they are document-centric. Document-oriented database
Document-oriented database
A document-oriented database is a computer program designed for storing, retrieving, and managing document-oriented, or semi structured data, information...

s such as Notes allow multiple values in items (fields), do not require a schema
Database schema
A database schema of a database system is its structure described in a formal language supported by the database management system and refers to the organization of data to create a blueprint of how a database will be constructed...

, come with built-in document-level access control, and store RichText data. Some object-relational features are being developed, and Domino 7 to 8.5.x supports the use of IBM's DB2
IBM DB2
The IBM DB2 Enterprise Server Edition is a relational model database server developed by IBM. It primarily runs on Unix , Linux, IBM i , z/OS and Windows servers. DB2 also powers the different IBM InfoSphere Warehouse editions...

 database as an alternative store for Notes databases. (According to IBM, this NSFDB2 feature, however, is now in maintenance mode with no further development planned.) A Notes database can be mapped to a relational database using tools like DECS, [LEI], JDBCSql for Domino or NotesSQL.

It could be argued that Notes is a multi-value database system like PICK
Pick operating system
The Pick operating system is a demand-paged, multiuser, virtual memory, time-sharing operating system based around a unique "multivalued" database. Pick is used primarily for business data processing...

, or that it is an object system like Zope
Zope
Zope is a free and open-source, object-oriented Web application server written in the Python programming language. Zope stands for "Z Object Publishing Environment", and was the first system using the now common object publishing methodology for the Web...

, but it is in fact unique. Whereas the temptation for relational database programmers is to normalize
Database normalization
In the design of a relational database management system , the process of organizing data to minimize redundancy is called normalization. The goal of database normalization is to decompose relations with anomalies in order to produce smaller, well-structured relations...

 databases, Notes databases must be denormalized
Denormalization
In computing, denormalization is the process of attempting to optimise the read performance of a database by adding redundant data or by grouping data. In some cases, denormalisation helps cover up the inefficiencies inherent in relational database software...

. RDBMS developers often find it difficult to conceptualize the difference. It may be useful to think of a Notes document (a 'note') as analogous to an XML document natively stored in a database (although with limitations on the data types and structures available).

Since Lotus Notes 8.5 IBM started to change the term Database to Application, because of the reason that these files aren´t really object databases as mentioned above.

The benefits of this data structure are:
  1. No need to define size of fields, or datatype;
  2. Attributes (Notes fields) that are null take up no space in a database;
  3. Built-in full text searching.

Configuration


The IBM Lotus Domino server or the IBM Lotus Notes client store their configuration in their own databases / application files (*.nsf). No relevant configuration settings are saved in the Windows Registry if the operation system is Windows. Some other configuration options (primary the start configuration) is stored in the notes.ini (there are currently over 2000 known options available ).

Use as an email client


Lotus Notes is commonly deployed as an end-user email client in larger organizations, with IBM claiming a cumulative 145 million licenses sold to date. (IBM does not release the number of licenses on current maintenance, nor does it track number of licenses in current use.)

When an organization employs a Lotus Domino server, it usually also deploys the supplied Lotus Notes client for accessing the IBM supplied Lotus Notes application for email and calendaring but also to use document management and workflow applications. As Lotus Notes is a runtime environment, and the email and calendaring functions in Lotus Notes are simply an application provided by IBM the administrators are free to develop alternate email and calendaring applications. It is also possible to alter, amend or extend the IBM supplied email and calendaring application.

The Domino server also supports POP3 and IMAP mail clients, and through an extension product (Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook) supports native access for Microsoft Outlook clients (now with limited support).

Lotus also provides iNotes (in Notes 6.5 renamed to "Domino Web Access" but in version 8.0 reverted back to iNotes), to allow the use of email and calendaring features through Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer
Windows Internet Explorer is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included as part of the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, starting in 1995. It was first released as part of the add-on package Plus! for Windows 95 that year...

 and Firefox web browsers on Windows, Mac and Linux. There are several spam filtering programs available, and a rules engine allowing user-defined mail processing to be performed by the server.

Comparison with other email clients


The designers of Lotus Notes aimed to build a collaborative application platform where email was just one of numerous applications that ran in the Notes client software. Lotus lore has it that the first mail inbox application written by Lotus was a proof-of-concept for a sales presentation. The Notes client was also designed to run on multiple platforms including Windows, OS/2
OS/2
OS/2 is a computer operating system, initially created by Microsoft and IBM, then later developed by IBM exclusively. The name stands for "Operating System/2," because it was introduced as part of the same generation change release as IBM's "Personal System/2 " line of second-generation personal...

, Mac
Mac OS
Mac OS is a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. for their Macintosh line of computer systems. The Macintosh user experience is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface...

, SCO Open Desktop UNIX, and Linux. These two factors have resulted in the user interface containing some differences from applications that only run on Windows. Furthermore these differences have often remained in the product to retain backward compatibility with earlier releases, instead of conforming to Windows UI standards. The following are some of these differences.
  • Properties dialog boxes for formatting text, hyperlinks and other rich-text information can remain open after a user makes changes to selected text. This provides great flexibility to select new text and apply other formatting without closing the dialog box, selecting new text and opening a new format dialog box. Almost all other Windows applications require the user to close the dialog box, select new text, then open a new dialog box for formatting/changes.
  • Properties dialog boxes also automatically recognize the type of text selected and display appropriate selections (for instance, a hyperlink properties box).
  • Users can format tables as tabbed interfaces as part of form design (for applications) or within mail messages (or in rich-text fields in applications). This provides users the ability to provide tab-style organization to documents, similar to popular tab navigation in most web portals, etc.
  • End-users can readily insert links to Notes applications, Notes views or other Notes documents into Notes documents.
  • Lotus Notes made near-instantaneous full-text searching available before other email applications, including Microsoft Outlook
    Microsoft Outlook
    Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available both as a separate application as well as a part of the Microsoft Office suite...

    .
  • Deleting a document (or email) will delete it from every folder in which it appears, since the folders simply contain links to the same back-end document. Some other email clients only delete the email from the current folder; if the email appears in other folders it is left alone, requiring the user to hunt through multiple folders in order to completely delete a message. In Notes, clicking on "Remove from Folder" will remove the document only from that folder leaving all other instances intact.
  • The All Documents and Sent "views" differ from other collections of documents known as "folders" and exhibit different behaviors. Specifically, mail cannot be dragged out of them, and so removed from those views; the email can only be "copied" from them. This is because these are views, and their membership indexes are maintained according to characteristics of the documents contained in them, rather than based on user actions interaction as is the case for a folder). This technical difference can be baffling to users, in environments where no training is given. All Documents contain all of the documents in a mailbox, no matter which folder it is in. The only way to remove something from All Documents is to delete it outright.


Lotus Notes 7 and older versions had more differences:
  • Users select a "New Memo" to send an email, rather than "New Mail" or "New Message". (Notes 8 calls the command "New Message")
  • To select multiple documents in a Notes view, one drags one's mouse next to the documents to select, rather than using +single click. (Notes 8 uses keypress conventions.)
  • The searching function offers a "phrase search", rather than the more common "or search", and Notes requires users to spell out boolean conditions in search-strings. As a result, users must search for "delete AND folder" in order to find help text that contains the phrase "delete a folder". Searching for "delete folder" does not yield the desired result. (Notes 8 uses or-search conventions.)


Notes 8.0 (released in 2007) became the first version to employ a dedicated user-experience team, resulting in a greatly improved Notes client experience in the primary and new notes user interface. This new interface runs in the open source Eclipse
Eclipse (software)
Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment comprising an integrated development environment and an extensible plug-in system...

 Framework, which is a project started by IBM, opening up more application development opportunities through the use of Eclipse plug-ins. The new interface provides many new user interface features and the ability to include user-selected applications/applets in small panes in the interface. Notes 8.0 also included a new email interface / design to match the new Notes 8.0 eclipse based interface. Eclipse is a Java framework and allows IBM to port Notes to other platforms rapidly. An issue with Eclipse and therefore Notes 8.0 is the applications start-up and user-interaction speed. Notes 8.5 speeded up the application and the increase in general specification of PCs means this is less of an issue.

For lower spec PCs a new version of the old interface is still provided albeit as it is the old interface many of the new features are not available and the email user interface reverts to the Notes 7.x style.

This new and improved user experience builds on Notes 6.5 (released in 2003), which upgraded the email client, previously regarded by many as the product's Achilles heel
Achilles Heel
Achilles Heel may refer to:* Achilles' heel, a metaphor for a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength* Achilles Heel , music by Pedro the Lion* Achilles Heel , off Antarctica...

. Features added at that time included:
  • drag and drop of folders
  • replication of unread marks between servers
  • follow-up flags
  • reply and forward indicators on emails
  • ability to edit an attachment and save the changes back to an email

Criticisms


Publications such as The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

in 2006 have criticized Lotus Notes for having an "unintuitive [user] interface" and cite widespread dissatisfaction with the usability
Usability
Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. The object of use can be a software application, website, book, tool, machine, process, or anything a human interacts with. A usability study may be conducted as a primary job function by a usability analyst or as a secondary job...

 of the client software. The Guardian indicates that Notes has not necessarily suffered as a result of this dissatisfaction due to the fact that "the people who choose [enterprise software] tend not to be the ones who use it." Lotus violates an important usability law that dictates that a consistent UI is often better than a new and improved alternative. Since Microsoft is perceived to set the standard for Windows applications, Lotus's differences (F9 versus F5, New Memo versus New Mail, etc.) are perceived to be 'wrong' by some users. Since Notes release 8, F5 is now used to refresh the mail inbox (and other views as well) and the "New Memo" button text has also changed to "New Message".

If it serves of any proof, the Lotus Notes client is remarkable for being delivered with a shortcut called "ZapNotes" which is assigned the task of removing any hung up Lotus process from memory. Not only the interface is awkward for not following Windows generally accepted standards, but the fact that a User Experience was brought on board on version 8 really shows.

Related IBM Lotus products


Over the 20-year history of Notes, Lotus and later IBM, have developed many other software products that are based on or integrated with Notes. The most prominent of these is the IBM Lotus Domino
IBM Lotus Domino
Lotus Domino is an IBM server product that provides enterprise-grade e-mail, collaboration capabilities, and a custom application platform. Domino began life as Lotus Notes Server, the server component of Lotus Development Corporation's client-server messaging technology. It can be used as an...

 server software, which was originally known as the Lotus Notes Server and gained a separate name with the release of version 4.5. The server platform also became the foundation for products such as IBM Lotus Quickr
IBM Lotus Quickr
IBM Lotus Quickr is social team collaboration software, used by teams of people to share content. Lotus Quickr works inside and outside firewalls.Lotus Quickr can be described as three things:...

, for document management, and IBM Lotus Sametime
IBM Lotus Sametime
IBM Sametime is a client–server application and middleware platform that provides real-time, unified communications and collaboration for enterprises. Those capabilities include presence information, enterprise instant messaging, web conferencing, community collaboration, and telephony capabilities...

 for instant messaging and web conferencing.

In early releases of Notes, there was considerable emphasis on client-side integration with the IBM Lotus SmartSuite environment. With Microsoft's increasing predominance in office productivity software, the desktop integration focus switched for a time to Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is a non-free commercial office suite of inter-related desktop applications, servers and services for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, introduced by Microsoft in August 1, 1989. Initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications, the first version of...

. With the release of version 8.0 in 2007, based on the Eclipse framework
Eclipse (software)
Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment comprising an integrated development environment and an extensible plug-in system...

, IBM has again added integration with its own office-productivity suite, this time the OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org, commonly known as OOo or OpenOffice, is an open-source application suite whose main components are for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. OpenOffice is available for a number of different computer operating systems, is distributed as free software...

-derived IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony is a suite of applications for creating, editing, and sharing text, spreadsheet, presentations and other documents, and is currently distributed as freeware. First released in 2007, the suite has a name similar to the 1980s DOS suite Lotus Symphony, but the two programs are...

. IBM Lotus Expeditor
IBM Lotus Expeditor
IBM Lotus Expeditor is a software framework by IBM's Lotus Software division for the construction, integration, and deployment of "managed client applications", which are client applications that are deployed from, configured, and managed onto a desktop, usually by a remote server...

 is a framework for developing Eclipse-based applications.

Other IBM products and technologies have also been built to integrate with Notes. For mobile-device synchronization, this previously included the client-side IBM Lotus Easysync Pro product (no longer in development) and IBM Lotus Notes Traveler
IBM Lotus Notes Traveler
IBM Lotus Notes Traveler software is a push email product that provides access to email and Personal Information Management applications for Lotus Notes customers using supported mobile devices...

, a newer no-charge server-side add-on for mail, calendar and contact sync. A recent addition to IBM's portfolio are two IBM Lotus Protector products for mail security and encryption, which have been built to integrate with Lotus Notes.

Related software from other vendors


With a long market history and large installed base, Notes and Domino have spawned a great deal of third-party software. Such products can be divided into three broad, and somewhat overlapping classes:
  • Notes and Domino applications are software programs written in the form of one or more Lotus Notes databases, and often supplied as NTF templates. This type of software typically is focused on providing business benefit from Lotus Notes's core collaboration, workflow and messaging capabilities. Examples include CRM, human resources and project tracking systems, such as Tracker Suite
    Tracker (business software)
    Tracker is a family of business software products, developed by Automation Centre. Each product includes applications for various business processes. While these products share a similar process framework, they differ in platform deployment.-Products:...

     for Lotus Notes. Some applications of this sort may offer a browser interface in addition to Notes client access. The code within these programs typically uses the same languages available to an in-house Domino developer: Notes formula language, LotusScript
    LotusScript
    LotusScript is a dialect of the BASIC programming language used by Lotus Notes and other IBM Lotus Software products.LotusScript is very similar to Visual Basic. Code can often be copied without modification from one to the other, and programmers familiar with one can easily understand the syntax...

    , Java
    Java
    Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

     and Javascript
    JavaScript
    JavaScript is a prototype-based scripting language that is dynamic, weakly typed and has first-class functions. It is a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles....

    .

  • Notes and Domino add-ons, tools and extensions are generally executable programs written in C, C++ or another compiled language that are designed specifically to integrate with Notes and Domino. This class of software may include both client- and server-side executable components. In some cases, Notes databases may be used for configuration and reporting. Since the advent of the Eclipse-based Notes 8 Standard client, client-side add-ons may also include Eclipse plug-ins and XML-based widgets. The typical role for this type of software is to support or extend core Notes functionality. Examples include spam and anti-virus products (e.g. Spam Sentinel), server administration and monitoring tools (e.g. GSX Monitor), messaging and storage management products (e.g. ReduceMail Pro Suite), policy-based tools (e.g. Crossware Mail Signature), data synchronization tools (e.g. Integra For Notes) and developer tools (e.g. Teamstudio tools, Ytria Lotus Notes Tools, NotesTracker).

  • Notes- and Domino-aware adds-ins and agents are also executable programs, but they are designed to extend the reach of a general networked software product to Notes and Domino data. This class includes server and client backup software, anti-spam and anti-virus products, and e-discovery and archiving systems. It also includes add-ins to integrate Notes with third-party offerings such as Cisco's WebEx
    WebEx
    WebEx Communications Inc. is a Cisco company that provides on-demand collaboration, online meeting, web conferencing and videoconferencing applications...

     conferencing service or the Salesforce.com
    Salesforce.com
    Salesforce.com is an enterprise cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco that distributes business software on a subscription basis. Salesforce.com hosts the applications off-site...

     CRM platform.

History


Lotus Notes has a history spanning more than 20 years. Its chief inspiration was PLATO Notes, created by David Woolley at the University of Illinois in 1973. In today's terminology, PLATO Notes was a message board, and it was part of the foundation for an online community which thrived for more than 20 years on the PLATO system. Ray Ozzie
Ray Ozzie
Raymond "Ray" Ozzie is an American software industry entrepreneur who held the positions of Chief Technical Officer and Chief Software Architect at Microsoft between 2005 and 2010...

 worked with PLATO while attending the University of Illinois in the 1970s. When PC network technology began to emerge, Ozzie made a deal with Mitch Kapor
Mitch Kapor
Mitchell David Kapor is the founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3. He is also a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and was the first chair of the Mozilla Foundation...

, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation, that resulted in the formation of Iris Associates
Iris Associates
Iris Associates was a software development company founded in Littleton, Massachusetts on December 7, 1984 by Ray Ozzie to build the software ultimately known as Lotus Notes. Tim Halvorsen and Len Kawell, who joined Iris shortly afterwards in January 1985, met Ray Ozzie years before when all of...

 in 1984 to develop products that would combine the capabilities of PCs with the collaborative tools pioneered in PLATO. The agreement put control of product development under Ozzie and Iris, and sales and marketing under Lotus. In 1994, after the release and marketplace success of Notes R3, Lotus purchased Iris. In 1995 IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 purchased Lotus.

When Lotus Notes was initially released, the name "Notes" referred to both the client and server components. In 1996, Lotus released an HTTP server add-on for the Notes 4 server called "Domino". This add-on allowed Notes documents to be rendered as web pages in real time. Later that year, the Domino web server was integrated into release 4.5 of the core Notes server and the entire server program was re-branded, taking on the name "Domino
IBM Lotus Domino
Lotus Domino is an IBM server product that provides enterprise-grade e-mail, collaboration capabilities, and a custom application platform. Domino began life as Lotus Notes Server, the server component of Lotus Development Corporation's client-server messaging technology. It can be used as an...

". Only the client program officially retained the "Lotus Notes" name, however end users are generally unaware of this differentiation, so even though more than ten years have passed since the re-branding, references to the "Lotus Notes Server" are still fairly common.

Versions

Release Date Lotus Notes
1.0 1989
1.1 1990
2 1991
3 May 1993 Added support for hierarchical naming
4 January 1996 Removed support for Netware servers
4.1
4.5 December 1996 Server renamed to "Domino", added native HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol is a networking protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web....

 server, POP3 (POP
Post Office Protocol
In computing, the Post Office Protocol is an application-layer Internet standard protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server over a TCP/IP connection. POP and IMAP are the two most prevalent Internet standard protocols for e-mail retrieval. Virtually all modern...

) server, added Calendaring & Scheduling, and introduced Java support. Also included SMTP
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is an Internet standard for electronic mail transmission across Internet Protocol networks. SMTP was first defined by RFC 821 , and last updated by RFC 5321 which includes the extended SMTP additions, and is the protocol in widespread use today...

 MTA "in the box", but not installed by default.
4.6 Added IMAP
Internet Message Access Protocol
Internet message access protocol is one of the two most prevalent Internet standard protocols for e-mail retrieval, the other being the Post Office Protocol...

 support. OS/2 and Unix client support dropped. No Mac client for this particular release.
5 1999 Moved SMTP
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is an Internet standard for electronic mail transmission across Internet Protocol networks. SMTP was first defined by RFC 821 , and last updated by RFC 5321 which includes the extended SMTP additions, and is the protocol in widespread use today...

 functionality from a separate MTA task to become a native ability of the mail routing task, improving performance and fidelity of internet email. Major improvements to HTTP
Hypertext Transfer Protocol
The Hypertext Transfer Protocol is a networking protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web....

 server. Notes client had a major interface overhaul. Java support greatly expanded and enhanced.
5.0.8 Added a new webmail interface, called iNotes (later changed to Domino Web Access in Release 6).
6.0 September 2002 Added Domino Web Access (formerly iNotes Web Access) support. Dropped OS/2 server support.
6.0.1 February 2003
6.0.2 (Japan Only) June 2003
6.5 / 6.0.3 September 2003 Added Lotus SameTime Instant Messaging integration to the Notes client (Windows only).
6.5.4 / 6.0.5 March 2005
5.x 30 September 2005 Support Ended for Lotus Notes 5.x IBM End of Support Reference
6.5.5 December 2005
6.5.6 March 2006 Release 6.5.6 is the last Maintenance Release for the 6.5.x code stream
7.0 August 2005 Added DB2
IBM DB2
The IBM DB2 Enterprise Server Edition is a relational model database server developed by IBM. It primarily runs on Unix , Linux, IBM i , z/OS and Windows servers. DB2 also powers the different IBM InfoSphere Warehouse editions...

 support as database storage (see also IBM Support Statement for NSFDB2)
7.0.1 July 2006 Added native Linux client, with initial release certified for Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a Linux-based operating system developed by Red Hat and targeted toward the commercial market. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is released in server versions for x86, x86-64, Itanium, PowerPC and IBM System z, and desktop versions for x86 and x86-64...

.
7.0.2 September 2006 Added blog template, rss
RSS
-Mathematics:* Root-sum-square, the square root of the sum of the squares of the elements of a data set* Residual sum of squares in statistics-Technology:* RSS , "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary", a family of web feed formats...

 feed support, iCal
ICal
iCal is a personal calendar application made by Apple Inc. that runs on the Mac OS X operating system. iCal was the first calendar application for Mac OS X to offer support for multiple calendars and the ability to publish/subscribe calendars to WebDAV server....

 support, SAP
SAP ERP
The SAP ERP application is an integrated enterprise resource planning software manufactured by SAP AG that targets business software requirements of midsize and large organizations in all industries and sectors...

 integration and "Nomad" which allows you to take your Notes client with you on a USB device.
7.0.3 October 2007 Current server versions available: All Platforms — Windows, Linux (Red Hat, SuSE x86 and zSeries), i5OS, z/OS, Solaris 9 & 10.
Current client versions available: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux/x86 (Red Hat & SuSE initially).
Various versions of the client have been run under Wine
Wine (software)
Wine is a free software application that aims to allow computer programs written for Microsoft Windows to run on Unix-like operating systems. Wine also provides a software library, known as Winelib, against which developers can compile Windows applications to help port them to Unix-like...

 on Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

, but with varying degrees of success and no official support. The Notes 7 client and Domino Designer 7 are known to install and run well under version 0.9.19. Domino servers can also translate most databases into HTML for browser based users.
7.0.4 April 2009 Support for the 7.0.x line ended 30 Apr 2011 IBM Software Support product lifecycle dates
8.0 August 2007 Current server versions available: Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX.
Current client versions available: Linux and Windows XP/Vista English.
The first version based on IBM Workplace
IBM Workplace
IBM Workplace was a brand of collaborative software applications from IBM's Lotus Software division. It was intended to be the next generation of collaboration software that would work with IBM's Java EE-based WebSphere Portal server software...

 technology (which is in turn based on the Eclipse
Eclipse (software)
Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment comprising an integrated development environment and an extensible plug-in system...

 Rich Client Platform
Rich Client Platform
A rich client platform is software consisting of the following components:* A core , lifecycle manager* A standard bundling framework* A portable widget toolkit* File buffers, text handling, text editors...

).
8.0.1 February 2008 IBM added support for Widgets and Google Gadgets.
8.0.2 August 2008 Integrated viewers for Microsoft Office 2007 documents (Office Open XML). Number of performance improvements.
8.5 December 2008 ID Vault, New Roaming Features, xPages
XPages
XPages is a rapid web and mobile application development platform. It allows IBM Lotus Notes data to be displayed to browser clients on all platforms....

, DAOS (disk space savings range from 40% to 60%), ... Some performance improvements. Domino Designer ported to Eclipse. Windows 2008 Support
8.5.1 12 October 2009 Several Improvements to performance and UI. Significant improvements to functionality (including within the xPages
XPages
XPages is a rapid web and mobile application development platform. It allows IBM Lotus Notes data to be displayed to browser clients on all platforms....

 application language, performance and stability of Eclipse-based Designer client)
8.5.1 FP1 12 December 2009 Added support for Windows 7 and Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6.2)
8.5.1 FP2 26 March 2010 This is mainly a fix release.
8.5.1 FP3 31 May 2010 This is mainly a fix release.
8.5.1 FP4 4 August 2010 9 reported keyview attachment viewer security vulnerabilities and fixes to Dojo component
8.5.1 FP5 19 October 2010
8.5.2 24 August 2010 Focused on Reliability, further changes to xPages
XPages
XPages is a rapid web and mobile application development platform. It allows IBM Lotus Notes data to be displayed to browser clients on all platforms....

8.5.2 FP1 17 December 2010 This is mainly a fix release.
8.5.2 FP2 25 March 2011 This is mainly a fix release.
8.5.2 FP3 18 July 2011 This is mainly a fix release.
8.5.3 4 October 2011 Focused on reliability and fixes.
8.5.4 Est Q3 2012 Scheduled maintenance release, containing several bug fixes and some new features.

Lotus Notes donated parts of code to OpenOffice.org on September 12, 2007.

Future


Since the IBM acquisition of Lotus, some industry analysts and mainstream business press writers, along with IBM competitors, have made predictions of the impending demise of Lotus Notes. One noted example of this was an article published in Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine entitled "The decline and fall of Lotus", published in April 1998. Since then, IBM claims that the installed base of Lotus Notes has increased from an estimated 42 million seats in September 1998 to approximately 145 million cumulative licenses sold through 2008. (IBM does not publish the number of licenses on current maintenance. Additionally, Lotus users who no longer pay maintenance are permitted to keep using the software—they are simply not permitted to install subsequent releases.)

Speculation about the decline of Notes was fueled by lingering market confusion emanating from IBM placing marketing emphasis on Websphere
WebSphere
IBM WebSphere refers to a brand of computer software products in the genre of enterprise software known as "application and integration middleware". These software products are used by end-users to create applications and integrate applications with other applications...

 and IBM Workplace
IBM Workplace
IBM Workplace was a brand of collaborative software applications from IBM's Lotus Software division. It was intended to be the next generation of collaboration software that would work with IBM's Java EE-based WebSphere Portal server software...

 in 2003 and 2004. IBM Workplace, however, has been discontinued, thus this source of confusion about the future of Notes and Domino has been rendered moot. While the future of any product in the technology sector cannot be predicted, IBM has made announcements that indicate that it continues to invest heavily in research and development on the Lotus Notes product line.

Notes 8, which was previously code-named "Hannover" (after the location of the 22nd Deutsche Notes User Group meeting, where it was first shown to the public) incorporates Notes into a larger Eclipse
Eclipse (software)
Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment comprising an integrated development environment and an extensible plug-in system...

 framework and includes support for productivity editors based on the OpenDocument
OpenDocument
The Open Document Format for Office Applications is an XML-based file format for representing electronic documents such as spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents....

 format. (These editors have also been released in a standalone package called IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony is a suite of applications for creating, editing, and sharing text, spreadsheet, presentations and other documents, and is currently distributed as freeware. First released in 2007, the suite has a name similar to the 1980s DOS suite Lotus Symphony, but the two programs are...

.) In addition, IBM executive Ken Bisconti has made public comments on several occasions asserting that there will be releases 9 and 10 of Notes and Domino.

In 2005, some analysts concluded that Lotus is losing market share to Microsoft Exchange
Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange Server is the server side of a client–server, collaborative application product developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Microsoft Servers line of server products and is used by enterprises using Microsoft infrastructure products...

. There is no general agreement, however, about methods of accurately calculating share in the messaging and collaboration market. Figures based on seat count may be skewed by the presence of unused seats that are counted as a result of "bundled CALs", and figures based on customer count may be skewed by difference in typical customer organization sizes. IBM has asserted that growth shown in the revenue figures for the Lotus brand, as published in their audited annual financial report, purportedly show the continuing strength of the Lotus Notes product in the market. According to these figures, the Notes and Domino product line has sustained double-digit growth since late 2004 and continuing through 2006, including 30% year-to-year growth in Q4 of 2006.

IBM contributed some of the code it had developed for the integration of the OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org
OpenOffice.org, commonly known as OOo or OpenOffice, is an open-source application suite whose main components are for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. OpenOffice is available for a number of different computer operating systems, is distributed as free software...

 suite into Notes 8 to the project. IBM also packaged its version of OpenOffice.org for free distribution as IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony
IBM Lotus Symphony is a suite of applications for creating, editing, and sharing text, spreadsheet, presentations and other documents, and is currently distributed as freeware. First released in 2007, the suite has a name similar to the 1980s DOS suite Lotus Symphony, but the two programs are...

.

Notes/Domino 8.0.1 shipped in February 2008, and 8.0.2 came in the summer. Notes 8.5, which includes a MacOS client, support for Ubuntu
Ubuntu (operating system)
Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution and distributed as free and open source software. It is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu...

 in addition to Red Hat Linux
Red Hat Linux
Red Hat Linux, assembled by the company Red Hat, was a popular Linux based operating system until its discontinuation in 2004.Red Hat Linux 1.0 was released on November 3, 1994...

 and SUSE Linux, as well as an Eclipse-based Domino Designer, shipped in December 2008. Version 8.5 also offers a new Ajax-enabled web programming paradigm called XPages
XPages
XPages is a rapid web and mobile application development platform. It allows IBM Lotus Notes data to be displayed to browser clients on all platforms....

.

See also

  • List of IBM products
  • Comparison of email clients
  • IBM Lotus Domino
    IBM Lotus Domino
    Lotus Domino is an IBM server product that provides enterprise-grade e-mail, collaboration capabilities, and a custom application platform. Domino began life as Lotus Notes Server, the server component of Lotus Development Corporation's client-server messaging technology. It can be used as an...

  • IBM Lotus Domino Web Access
    IBM Lotus Domino Web Access
    IBM Lotus iNotes offers a full-featured web-based version of the IBM Lotus Notes client. Formerly known as IBM Lotus Domino Web Access, Lotus iNotes provides IBM Lotus Notes users with browser-based access to their Notes mail, calendar, and contacts. The software combines with IBM Lotus Domino...

  • IBM Lotus Notes Traveler
    IBM Lotus Notes Traveler
    IBM Lotus Notes Traveler software is a push email product that provides access to email and Personal Information Management applications for Lotus Notes customers using supported mobile devices...

  • IBM Lotus Symphony
    IBM Lotus Symphony
    IBM Lotus Symphony is a suite of applications for creating, editing, and sharing text, spreadsheet, presentations and other documents, and is currently distributed as freeware. First released in 2007, the suite has a name similar to the 1980s DOS suite Lotus Symphony, but the two programs are...

  • XPages
    XPages
    XPages is a rapid web and mobile application development platform. It allows IBM Lotus Notes data to be displayed to browser clients on all platforms....

  • Comparison of feed aggregators
    Comparison of feed aggregators
    The following is a comparison of notable RSS feed aggregators. Often e-mail programs and web browsers have the ability to display RSS feeds. They are listed here, too.Many BitTorrent clients support RSS feeds for broadcatching ....

  • List of applications with iCalendar support

Alternative software

  • OpenOffice.org Base
    OpenOffice.org Base
    OpenOffice.org Base , a database module, initially appeared with OpenOffice.org version 2.0. As of 2010, it builds on the HSQLDB database engine written in Java....

     (Linux/Windows/MacOS/FreeBSD/UNIX)
  • Oracle Application Express
    Oracle Application Express
    Oracle Application Express is a software development environment based on the Oracle database. It allows a fast development cycle to be achieved to create web based applications. It can be used for departmental-style applications with a dozen users, but can also scale up to handle thousands of...

     (Linux/Windows)
  • Microsoft Exchange
    Microsoft Exchange
    Microsoft Exchange can refer to:* Microsoft Exchange Server, an email server software product from Microsoft* Microsoft Exchange Client, the former companion client software for Exchange Server that was embedded into some versions of Microsoft Windows...

    /Microsoft Outlook
    Microsoft Outlook
    Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager from Microsoft, available both as a separate application as well as a part of the Microsoft Office suite...

     (Windows)
  • Wavemaker
    Wavemaker
    WaveMaker is an open source software development platform that automates much of the process for creating Java web and cloud applications. WaveMaker provides a visual rapid application development platform and is available as a free open source software download...

     visual, drag and drop development, standard Java deployment, open source (Windows/Linux/MacOS)

IBM resources


General resources


Related third-party software