This blog post is a reflection and summary about a product I’ve known and used for a long time, it may be slightly out of place with the current mobile and socially enabled products. However, for all pros and cons, evangelists and detractors, it has note worthy place in history and evolution of productivity software.
While this has improved the capability and feature set of the Lotus Notes client, and made it capable integrating many modern collaboration services into the client.
e.g. Lotus Notes Sidebar plug-ins | integrations:
multiple Lotus collaboration plug-ins:
multiple 3rd party plug-ins:
Check out these Widget recommendation posts:
The Complexity Factor:
Unfortunately, for all this connectivity and integration goodness, the incorporation of the Eclipse framework it has definitely brought a factor fold increasing the complexity of supporting the client. I recently experienced a laptop crash which rendered my Notes client unusable – it shut itself down as soon as I logged in. Only through an operational understanding of the product (from prior year’s experience), and through reading up across many pages of support information, and then not inconsiderably time to recreate lost settings, was I able to restore the client to settings I use everyday. Without those personalisation settings, I would class the product as a hindrance and not a help.
Things of note:
The Client directory structure is now definitely more complex, in fact this is now a combination client – Traditional | basic client executables and configuration data + Eclipse framework executables and configuration data.
<PROGDIR> / (location of core Notes Client and Java executables and base configuration data)
<DATADIR> / (location of core Notes Client and Eclipse personalisation and user specific content and configuration data)
<DATADIR>\Workspace/.metadata (location of Eclipse | RCP Instance Data Area)
Important Documents to read:
- Understanding the IBM Lotus Notes 8.5x client directory structure
- Notes 8 Preferences settings storage
Benefitting from Widget Goodness:
However, there are several good articles on how to create useful widgets or to exploit the Live Text recognition available in Lotus Notes.
Documents worth reading:
- Building composite applications with Notes widgets in IBM Lotus Notes 8.0.1
- Creating Google Gadgets with IBM Lotus Notes 8.5.1
- IBM Composite Applications in Lotus Notes technical education roadmap
- Increase productivity with widgets add-ons
- Using Live Text and Widgets to improve productivity of daily work
I’ve also got Live Text working for UK Postcodes and Telephone numbers, as well as having configured service look ups on names, email and postal addresses.
These list the widgets I’ve added:
Balancing the Benefits:
While the widget plugin interface and customisations delivers the potential to empower and enable a user to increase their productivity via adding varying degrees of personalisation to the client. In reality the use of these widgets aren’t really that accessible and meaningful to a regular information or knowledge worker. These customisations really required too much configuration activity and a reasonable degree of competency and familiarity with client’s inner working and technological terminology.
This is in stark contrast to the modern mobile and browser “apps|extensions” available for almost instant delivery of application or service functions. This renders some of these plugin functions rather aged, as well as appearing very convoluted, but it is in some way exactly that. It shows, that even back then the acknowledgement that these plugin | widget applications did have beneficial function to play, however, achieving the ease and simplicity of app deliver was clearly some way off.
We should perhaps acknowledge the pioneering features or functions that Lotus Notes attempted to bring into the end user experience. Though I think the opinion of whether these were well received, is already known.