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IBM Lotus Domino 8 and Lotus Notes 8 is available

IBM Lotus® Domino® version 8 combines security-rich messaging, calendar and scheduling capabilities with a robust platform for collaborative applications on a wide variety of operating systems.

With Domino 8, IBM extends the reach of Lotus Domino messaging and collaboration solutions while continuing to leverage your IT and application investments. The new version offers capabilities to support more people with fewer servers, to simplify administration and to provide tighter integration with Web standards.

Quick summary of the great enhancements in Notes 8

Eclipse-based Lotus Notes 8 enhances the Lotus Notes user interface, reinforces its collaboration and messaging strengths, and extends its application development model with state-of-the-art programming constructs. 

The more IBM Lotus Notes and Domino change, the more they stay the same. Version 8 of IBM's premier collaboration and messaging product has arguably changed more than any Lotus Notes/Domino release in recent memory. The Lotus Notes client has been enhanced and incorporates IBM Lotus Expeditor platform technology. This means big changes for Lotus Notes. But they're the kind of changes that come from opening windows, not from closing doors.

There are new ways of looking at things and new possibilities. New programming constructs are the big news: enhanced support for Web services and new development tools for composite applications that can bring together data and business logic from practically anywhere.

Lotus Notes and Domino 8 also offer new ways of working that take advantage of technology and innovation. A new user interface showcases a modern, user-tested interface in a familiar Lotus Notes client format. The user interface presents the tools you need -- calendar, RSS feed, and more -- just where you need them. Lotus Notes and Domino 8 also help improve your efficiency with new email, calendaring, and contact enhancements.

The transition to Eclipse has yielded benefits without incurring any losses. Nothing has been thrown out of Lotus Notes to make room for new features. Lotus Notes 8 is entirely Lotus Notes. Any application that ran before Version 8 still runs. Enhancements to the user interface and additions such as productivity editors make Lotus Notes more popular than ever on the desktop. And new programming features such as Composite Application Editor and IBM Lotus Component Designer extend the knowledge and skills of Lotus Notes developers into new territory -- applications that are both consumers and providers of data, working with other information systems in the enterprise in ways they couldn't before on platforms that go as far beyond the cubicle as mobile devices can go.

The Lotus Notes client, Lotus Expeditor, and Eclipse 

The big news in Lotus Notes 8 is that the Notes 8 client encapsulates all the code that is Lotus Notes within the Eclipse environment. This move puts Lotus Notes on an
open-source, Java-based platform. Originally created as an integrated application development environment, its open, plug-in-based architecture has made Eclipse the foundation for rich client platform development. Lotus Notes V8 is built on Lotus Expeditor, IBM's universal managed-client software, which, in turn, is built on Eclipse.

Eclipse as an integrated development environment (IDE) provides template-driven design and CSS-based customization of look and feel. Eclipse workspaces contain plug-ins that encapsulate Java code and configuration files that carry information about the plug-in: A plugin.xml file describes extensions and extension points, and a file describes the plug-in's ID, name, dependencies, start-up process, version, and the classes it should make available to other plug-ins. Eclipse as an IDE has one set of plug-ins. Lotus Notes V8 is, in effect, Eclipse with a different set of plug-ins.

As a rich client, Lotus Notes V8 inherits a great deal of its behavior from Lotus Expeditor, created by IBM as a generalized rich client with strong manageability features. Lotus Expeditor is also the foundation for IBM Lotus Sametime V7.5 and for Lotus Component Designer, a development tool for creating composite applications that are served by IBM WebSphere Portal to Web browsers.

Lotus Expeditor has a place in the IBM family of rich clients as a managed client for Service-Oriented Architecture, or SOA, and composite applications. As the successor to IBM WebSphere Everyplace Deployment, Lotus Expeditor is used to extend Lotus Notes, WebSphere, and Eclipse infrastructures to a managed-client environment on a wide variety of enterprise desktop and mobile devices.

What's new in the Lotus Domino 8 server

Even though the focus of release 8 has been on the Lotus Notes client, the Lotus Domino server hasn't been ignored by any means. The roadmap for further enhancements to Lotus Domino indicates that more improvements are coming in the short term.

Many of the changes in Lotus Domino support changes in the Lotus Notes client: message recall, the improved out-of-office notification, improved user registration, better single sign-on integration, support for administration of Windows navigation and management themes, Notes client version view in the Domino Directory, and mail threading, for example. Support for changes to application development include managed deployment of composite applications to Lotus Notes V8 clients and the ability for Lotus Domino to be a Web service consumer as well as a provider. One last update: IBM DB2 integration is a generally available feature in Lotus Domino V8.

Other changes focus on administrative controls: client provisioning controls to manage the deployment of new components to the Lotus Notes V8 client (and to complement Lotus Notes Smart Upgrade, which supports upgrades from Lotus Notes V6.x and V7.x to Lotus Notes V8). New policy controls manage the new editors and activities, which are part of the new IBM Lotus Connections application. New policies help control inbox cleanup and manage inbox sizes.

Server administration and performance have received a great deal of attention as well. There are improvements in Domino Domain Monitoring, including additional event probes and corrective actions, integration with IBM Tivoli Enterprise Console, and improved AdminP performance to increase rename speed. Enhancements to the Lotus Domino internals include new cluster replication that significantly improves performance and reduces I/O requirements and latency and a "Build on first use" sort-order feature.

A new Database Redirection function automatically fixes broken links to moved or deleted applications. Redirection markers are created by default, and a new tool (see figure 11) lets an administrator create or modify redirects manually. When a Lotus Notes client accesses a redirection marker, if the file has been moved the reference is replaced; if the file has been deleted, the reference is deleted. (Database redirects are used only by Lotus Notes V8 clients, not by servers.) The tool lets administrators assign references to particular users or groups, making redirection role-based.

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