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Lotus Notes is not my favorite office email and diary system, but it does get the job done. My company uses Lotus as its primary service for daily office activity, and once you learn the tricks, it's a tolerable software system! For instance, pressing the "insert" key on your keyboard will read or unread a selected message. And utilizing the hidden check mark fields in the far left hand column of your inbox will allow you to move more than one item into a folder at a time. Of course, it would be easiest if the check mark fields were visible, or even titled with a check, and if the read/unread option was included somewhere in the menu items, but they are not. These things are something that need to be learned from other coworkers or users of Lotus if you are not familiar with the system.
Another thing that takes some getting used to is that Lotus doesn't always automatically refresh your inbox. I've often run into the problem where I think I don't have any new emails, and then I manually refresh the page and all of a sudden I have a ton that haven't showed up since my last manual refresh. It is very frustrating in a busy office environment, and takes some getting used to to remember that manual refreshes are sometimes necessary.
To be honest, I think Lotus is second to Microsoft Outlook, which has been growing in popularity in recent years. I would recommend MS Office over Lotus if the option is there, as it is more user friendly, but if that isn't a possibility for you, then I would suggest reading up on tips and tricks for using Lotus, or chatting with people who are familiar with the system already.
Overall, Lotus Notes is still a good product, just not the best that is currently available on the market.
We use lotus notes as our email and diary system at work, having fully migrated from microsoft outlook a few years ago. The version we use is, I believe 7.5 and as well as diary, to do list, and email functionality it has an instant message system available.
Sametime, the instant messaging service is excellent. It intergrates well with multiple IM systems (a friend of mine uses his through pidgin) and has some great functionality. It is also a good way of keeping in touch with people around the business, as well as getting instant answers to questions.
The email system is pretty simple, easy to customise and simple enough to use. One problem I do have with it is the following:
I've got folders set up to keep my email in check, but I've ended up with folders within folders! I remember doing this before but can't for the life of me remember how to change this, and unfortunately, the help functionality isn't as easy to use as the system (or so I have found).
The diary functionality took a little bit more getting used to, but now I understand how it works I can make good use of it, and am able to keep myself organised much easier.
One of the best bits of functionality is to be able to categorise appointments - so you can see at a glance what is happening and where.
I am unable to comment on certain aspects, because it is installed and maintained by my company I have no idea on cost or update possibilities. But overall I am fairly happy with the software we use. Its not a bad alternative.
I used Lotus Notes at my last job and felt it was easy to use, but not as easy as some of the other email and task programmes I had previously used before. I felt that the programme was easy enough to use for accessing, reading and writing emails, however, when trying to schedule tasks or book meetings I found this a more complicated task to the programme I had previously used in another job (cant remember what thats called though!)
I'm not sure why this problem occured for me. Maybe I hadn't been shown how to use the programme properly, or maybe its because I preferred another more i don't know, I just felt Lotus Notes was somewhat outdated compared to other email services such as Hotmail, for example.
I think if I were to be shown how to use the software more clearly this may change my opinion on, but as for now I still stand for what I say!
It has a lot of features, but many of them remain unused; takes about 2 minutes from the time I launch it to the time I can see my e-mails on a Dual Core, 512 MB RAM; I've used mozilla, better choice in my opinion and I was receiving about 100 e-mails/hour, some of them needed reading, some just filtering;PS: in the Quick Rating below they didn't put a rating to measure the time to respond to a command; I would rate that as bad.
Lotus Notes 8 review - improved but still not user friendly
While the Notes 8 and 8.01 clients have indeed been notably improved regarding user interface and user experience, there are still far too many remains of the "old" Notes client when scratching the surface. It is my belief that end users will be somewhat relieved of their frustration if they are currently running an older version of Notes, but this client still has a long way to go before it reaches the usability and speed of other enterprise-grade e-mail software.
The latest version of Lotus Notes comes in two flavours, the so called Standard and Basic clients. While the Basic client is little more than an upgraded version of the 7.x client with a new layout scheme, parts of the Standard client has been rewritten using Java/Eclipse. However, both clients still share the same core, which essentially means that many of the Notes peculiarities are still present, though displayed in a new, arguably better looking, fashion.
The single most compelling improvement from earlier versions is the completely new user interface in the Standard client. For the first time, Notes users can enjoy things such as persistence of user interface adjustments such as changing column width or sort order in the inbox view, improved possibilities to change typeface and text size, more versatile preview panes and more.
Some minor gripes of the functionality in earlier versions have also been remedied; for example it is now possible to browse to an attachment through folder shortcuts. Also, contacts and calendar entries can finally be exported to standard formats.
It is also a pleasure to note that there now is a normal "refresh" button for the users to press if they want to query the server for new email. Pressing F5 no longer results in a locked client since this "feature" has been moved to another shortcut key combination. Most other shortcuts, ie for switching between tabs etc remain notoriously non-standard in the Windows client.
When editing email, the added functionality of so called "in-line spellchecking", while totally un-exciting, is a welcome addition of standard functionality that has been sadly missing in previous releases.
After using the 8.0 and the beta 8.01 client for a little while, however, it soon becomes evident that many of the odds and ends of the "old" Notes client is still around; some of these quirks relate to the age-old architecture of the Domino/Notes platform while others are more like tell-tale signs of an early release - the new UI hasn't been implemented throughout the client, it's as simple as that. This will hopefully be somewhat amended in coming releases.
Notably, the dialogs for replication settings, management of ID-files and more are essentially unchanged from previous version, which may simplify things for users already accustomed to earlier versions of Notes, while they will undoubtedly continue to flabbergast new users as these concepts are rare in other pieces of end-user software.
During my brief testing of the 8.01 beta I encountered a recurring bug, which made dialogs from the revamped user interface somehow get stuck behind the Notes main window, thus locking up the entire client. Here's hoping this one is squashed before the product is released, otherwise end users will inevitably encounter this bug frequently enough to make for a poor impression of the new client.
As already mentioned, the new client has been gifted with support for inline spellchecking, for the time being only in English but more languages should hopefully be released before summer according to IBM employees on the Lotussphere08 event.
Another improvement here is that in a pure version 8-environment, the out of office agent can now be replaced by a standard out-of-office function that is able to immediately dispatch replies, as well as allow for more fine-grained (and automatically inactivated!) settings for dates and times of absence. Mixed version environments, however, will have to make do with the existing out-of-office functionality until upgrading.
Calendar printing hasn't changed from previous versions, which means there remains some major usability issues as well as the fact that the prints are plain ugly.
It is also worth noting for environments using Sharepoint, that Lotus Notes still doesn't support calendar integration or even the possibility to save and create attachments to and from Sharepoint sites, without the use of third-party integration tools.
The client is not yet capable of doing single-sign on (SSO) towards Active Directory. This functionality is allegedly scheduled for the next version of Notes, due later this year. I was unable to get a clear understanding as if and how this functionality would work on a mobile client in offline mode.
Included for free with the Notes client is the basic version of Sametime, IBM:s take on instant messaging. This version however is severely crippled compared to most other offerings in the area, lacking basic functions such as detection of inactivity. It can only be assumed that enterprises looking into IM are better off investing in at least the Standard version in order to provide a reasonable level of IM functionality.
One of the more frequently occurring gripes about earlier releases of Notes has been its ineptitude in properly displaying HTML formatted email. Again, according to IBM staff, this has been improved but there are still certain limitations when viewing e-mail messages with inline images, tables etc. When I tried out the 8.01 beta, in some cases e-mails with inline images became entirely unreadable.
Lastly, it is worth noting that many peculiarities originating in the architecture of the Lotus Domino/Notes platform itself are still present: the user is still presented with an incomprehensible Delete/Remove/Cancel dialog whenever trying to delete a message from, say, the Sent View. Users must still be wary of the fact that when accepting an invitation to an appointment, deleting the invitation afterwards still results in the meeting disappearing from the calendar. Search functionality has likewise been odd and unintuitive in previous releases of Notes, and remains so in this new version which in fact adds a third search mode in addition to the existing ones.
With the new improved user interface, comes rather hefty hardware requirements. Although the 8.01 client is faster than 8.0, I still believe that a powerful computer, in the order of a 2 GHz+ Core 2 and 1 GB of RAM is needed for comfortably running Lotus Notes 8.01 on a Windows XP box.
The use of ID files means that a form of PKI must be maintained in an enterprise deploying Notes, which specifically means complex and time-consuming administration of lost passwords. IBM plans on introducing an "ID Vault" which essentially stores the ID files within the Active Directory, thus opening for a significantly simplified process for restoring lost passwords. This functionality won't be introduced until the next version of Notes at the earliest.
Deploying Lotus Notes can be difficult, in part because the client consists of a huge number of individual files, many of which are installed in different non-standard locations. This has been improved, according to IBM experts on the matter, but there still seems to be a significant amount of files in non-standard locations, making installation on Vista clients or through application virtualization more difficult or in the latter case, next to impossible.
If an organization decides to migrate it's existing Notes applications to the web, this has always meant rewriting of many parts of the application as the automated conversion tool has been very limited. From my understanding after attending a seminar on the subject, this tool has been largely unchanged from previous versions and one should thus consider web-ifying Notes applications only if there is a substantial investment already made in the Domino platform as there are now many alternatives for rapidly developing web applications from scratch.
IBM has been slow to jump on the virtualization bandwagon, but it is now said that running the Domino server within a virtual machine is in fact supported. However, I've been unable thus far to successfully install Domino 8 on a virtual Windows 2003 server using VMWare, but I will continue to look into this matter and see if there is a solution somewhere.
While many a Notes administrator and developer has praised the security model of Notes, it has also been a well known fact that the encryption libraries within Notes has been weak enough to trigger doubts in security aware organizations such as government offices. This has been much improved in the Domino/Notes 8 environment, as it is now possible to use industry standard encryption algorithms such as SHA-1 and AES for authentication and document encryption, albeit performance wise there seems to be some issues when applying key lengths in excess of 1024/128 bits. Document signing using these new libraries has yet to be implemented. As a final note on security, Notes now supports using keys stored on smart cards for document encryption.
Ive used a lot of different email clients over the years Eudora, Thunderbird, Outlook, Evolution, KMail, Claris Mail, Apple Mail, even Pine. Apple Mail is my hands-down favourite (fast, simple, clean and reliable), while Thunderbird is my preferred option for Windows or Linux.
Ive recently been forced to switch to Lotus Notes 6.5 for OS X in a corporate environment. How do I put this politely?
Lotus Notes is, by far, the worst email client I have ever used.
Its slow. Painfully slow. It may take several seconds to open a simple text message. A similar time is involved to change mailboxes. It doesnt multi-task within itself if its busy sending a message, you cant switch to another function to, say, read another message or view a calendar until its done. That can be a while. It doesnt check mail unless its window and tab are active. It often hangs on startup.
It doesnt remember settings. Every time you start it, you have to say Yes, I want a preview and Yes, I want the window this big. Every time.
The interface is appalling. Some functions are in the message window, some are on the tool bar, with no logical reason for the choice. The buttons and icons are inconsistent, non-intuitive and ugly. It doesnt automatically scroll down the mailbox to show new messages. Youre always moving the mouse from one side of the screen to the other and back again for even simple tasks.
Preferences could be in one of five options under Notes/Preferences or under Actions/Tools/Preferences. Whether or not the second set of preferences appears is context sensitive that may sound clever but its just plain annoying in practice because it makes it harder to find what youre after. The preferences that you really want dont exist at all. To change default font size, for example, you need to manually edit a preferences file. Thats silly enough, but you cant do it with a standard text editor you need a separate dedicated program to do it. Thats just ridiculous.
Attachments? Where do I start? When you double-click on an attachment, a pop-up asks you if you want to open it / view it etc.. Of course I want to open it! What the hell else would you want to do with it? There should be an option where you can set your preference. It compresses attachments in outgoing messages by default, which makes them unreadable to anyone not using Notes (most of your recipients). You can choose not to compress them, but that requires yet another mouse click. Every time. Again, theres no way to set a default.
It doesnt play well with OS X. It doesnt respond to the scroll wheel. It doesnt integrate well with the standard Mac Address Book or iCal. Copy and paste is inconsistent. Some of the included help files relate only to the Windows version, not the Mac version. In a really nice touch, the automatic installer automatically installs things in the wrong directories.
The web interface is a disaster slow, ugly, and poorly-designed (you cant see all of the buttons at once you have to scroll to and fro).
Its incompatible. Even Microsoft allows you to use other clients with Exchange Server, but Notes is the only client that can access most of the features of Domino Server.
Yes, I know it does more than just email, but thats really its main use. It has some useful additional features (eg. shared calendars) that may be useful in some corporate environments, but there are other, more elegant solutions out there.
Use something else.
First off all, sorry for english, since I am learning it. And now my opinion:
I have been working with Lotus Notes for the las four years, and I have to say that people's thinking about this program is not absolutely correct.
People thinks that Notes is just an email program. As an email program is similar to others, since it has all the functionality that any other email progran like Outlook or Eudora has, like agenda, address book, filters, etc.
But Lotus Notes is more than that, since is a program that allows you to manage large amount of information on an easy and simple way. This information is stores in different Databases, and you can assign different permissions to them in order to decide who can read, write, modify or delete data.
The user interface is really simple, although it is slightly different to other programs since it doesn't have the normal windows aspect that other programs have. So you will need a little learning period to know the basic functions.
Other options that Notes have, are calendar, where you will be able to write your appointments with the possibility to set up an alarm, "to do tasks" where you can write down your pending work, etc.
Summarizing, Lotus Notes is a very complete working tool, not just an email program.