Wednesday, December 25, 2013

History Overview of IBM Lotus Notes Versions

When we talk about complex yet successful software then the only name we come across is Lotus Notes. The successful legacy of Notes involves a rich and interesting history. In this article we will come across various versions of Lotus Notes and understand about the technology up-gradation during these development phases. The early development of Lotus Notes even predates the development of personal computers. The first program was written in University of Illinois in Computer based Education Research Laboratory. The Lab released a product called PLATO Notes which has limited functionalities. The main purpose of PLATO Notes was to tag a bug report with the user’s ID and the date, also objective of Notes was to secure the file so that other user could not delete it. Later in 1976 Lab released PLATO Group Notes, which have almost the same concept of PLATO Notes.

However it allows user to create personal Notes files which are organized by the subject. It also allows user to create access lists, anonymous notes and director message flags. It also supports multiplayer games and can mark comments in a document. Because of the abovementioned features PLATO Notes became widely popular and sustained till 1980s. Soon after this, world acknowledged IBM PC and Microsoft MS-DOS, hence mainframe based PLATO became less in demand. In 1984, Ozzie under the contract which is also funded by Lotus developed the first release of Lotus Notes. The initial most versions of the Lotus Notes included emails, contact, database and online discussion.  However there were two major issue available that inhibited user from enjoy the concept emailing technology to the fullest. The first issue was communication network, which was not uniform and fast, the second reason was the underdeveloped or less capable Operating System. Due to these reasons developers decided to use Lotus Notes as a PIM or personal information manager. In-order to cope up with those situations the developers had to write a lot of code at system level. The code was written to develop entities like Server and databases.

After sometime the Notes got a nick name groupware, which refers to an application that enhance communication process among groups of people. The group was capable enough to set up a dedicated Server device that can easily communicate with other group’s server machine. The Server machine transfer data through replicated data which has several other copies on different machines. The Notes just easily synchronizes them which facilitates the users or co workers working in different branches. Let us analyze the various versions of Lotus Notes:

Version 1.0
The first version of Lotus Notes was shipped in 1989, the system requirement was DOS 3.1 or OS/2. The Server required DOS 3.1, 4.0 or OS/2. This version provided applications like Group Mail, Group Discussion and Group Phone Book.  Security and authenticity is the top priority of Notes, even in the first version they introduced RSA public key cryptography which satisfy the recipient that during transmission document was not altered or modified. It was the first commercial product to use any cryptographic technology for security purpose. The introduction of Dial up driver made the server access more interactive.

Version 1.1

The above stated version was not a feature release, in-fact it was first enhancement set made on Lotus Notes. The sole purpose of this release was to support more operating system and it indeed got successful in doing that. Also the application started supporting Windows 3.0 which was considered as a biggest achievement.

Version 2.0
The main objective of this version was to attain scalability, it was released in 1991. Initially Lotus Notes was preferred for small scale organizations, hence the developer focus to enhance it so that it can become feasible with large number of users. The rich text support was available with this version, also additional functions were included. User is allowed to have multiple names and address books, also one can forward documents from mail. The availability of larger database made the application look more promising. 

Version 3.0

At the time when Lotus Note released version 3.0, almost 500,000 users were already engaged with it. The interface was modified and the application support Full text search feature. The sorting and filter mechanism was also included that eased the user up-to great extent. It also supports Apple Talk networks and Macintosh clients. Also the features like alternate email capability, selective replication, a server for Windows operating system enhanced the scalability of the application.

Version 4.0  

Lotus Notes released version 4.0 in January 1996 and on the basis of feedback obtain from the user the developer made noticeable changes in the user interface.  A programming language known as Lotus Notes was included in Lotus Notes. The new three paned interface categorized mail and other entities that reduced the confusion. The entire interface was launched for the server administrators. The in-built internet integration included Web browser which can be accessed with Notes database. With the introduction of IDE (Integrated development environment), Infoboxes and templates enhanced application development and programmability.

Version 4.5

With this version Lotus Notes 4.5 server’s name was changed to Domino 4.5. The server possesses open networking environment with capability of developing application for Lotus Notes. It also provided wide range of business solutions for Intra and Internet. The inclusion of new database management tools, cluster of Domino server, directory assistance and enhancement in administration process has made this new version much successful. The feature of security that includes control list and password expiration policy made the application much secure.

Version 5.0

The version 5.0 was released in early 1999, it was known as descendent of version 1.0 as the architecture was backward compatible. The collaboration of Notes and Internet gave a new platform to the user so that they can enhance the business opportunity. The version supported fairly more Internet protocols and included an access to data stored in Notes database. The Domino administration became much easier because of enhanced registration, server monitoring and message management tools. The Internet messaging and directories included MIME and SMTP support. The accessibility of private and public data became much easier in time of urgency. The Internet messaging was involved with having support for all major Internet standards

Version 6.0

The version was launched with a wizard capable of customizing Welcome page. However the preview pane is similar to standard Notes databases. The version was launched in October 2002 and capable of doing more process in affordable price. The Lotus Domino designer was highly helpful in creating complex applications and in reusing the codes, which gradually saved time.

Version 6.5

IBM launched Lotus Notes and Domino 6.5 in September 2003, the version was strongly integrated with other IBM technologies. It was compatible with IBM Lotus Same time an instant messaging application and IBM Lotus Domino Web Access. The focus was depended upon the feedback provided by the end user in-order to make the application much acceptable.

The version 7 known as Lotus Notes/Domino 7 was released in August 2005. This version was compatible with lots of IBM developed technologies. The integrated technology included IBM WebSphere Portal and IBM DB2, due to this Lotus Domino 7 offered better collaboration with Web standards. The introduction of new Domino Domain Monitoring feature facilitates the administrator to look upon the status of multiple servers available across a domain or domains. Due these features the mechanism of client server architecture improved a lot providing much faster process of information sharing.

Version 8.0
The aforementioned is an image of the interface of Lotus Notes 8, which was launched in August 2007. This email client application was based upon Eclipse framework. The eclipse application can be used in collaboration with Lotus Notes application. The Lotus Notes has become an open sourced Java based platform because of eclipse. The concept of button was introduced for the applications that are used most frequently. The activity centering computing is supported by the latest version IBM Lotus Notes. The collaboration history allows user to search and view information about the specific users.

The above discussed were some important features related to various versions of IBM Lotus Notes. But most of the user favors MS Outlook over Lotus Notes. Let us find out why despite of having a great legacy IBM Lotus Notes is not top priority of the users:
  • The Notes is comparatively tough application than MS Outlook. User has to go through training program in-order to become fluent with the Notes technology.
  •  The installation and maintenance cost of Notes is much higher than MS Outlook.
  •  The IBM Lotus Notes is best suited for large organizations on the other hand MS Outlook is for all whether the user belongs to small firm or large.
  •  The IBM Lotus Notes is developed using highly complex technology that always troubles users for even minor processing.
On considering aforementioned point user plans to switch from Lotus Notes to Outlook. But direct migration of files from Notes to Outlook is not possible because the former saves files in NSF format and the later one in PST or OST format. Therefore the only solution is to go for reliable and authentic third party NSF to PST converter tool.

One such recommended tool is Stellar NSF to PST converter tool that can easily convert all the Notes data in Outlook supported format. The demo version of the tool is available at the respective website of the tool. Visit Website -

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Why To Priorities Outlook over Notes ?

Both, Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes are professional email client applications. However Outlook has a bigger hand in terms of popularity. Let us find out with the help of "Outlook vs Lotus Notes Infographic" that what are the reasons behind the success of Outlook and the failure of Lotus Notes.