IBM Announces the launch of Lotus Notes/Domino 8.5.1

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Strongback Consulting

I am listening to the webcast on the release of Lotus Notes/Domino 8.5.1. Lots of new features in the release. For one, it has 4 times the fixes of any standard maintenance release. IBM has today announced the launch of long awaited Notes 8.5.1.

One of the major themes for this point release is on application development. The Domino Designer has undergone a MAJOR revamp and is now all under the Eclipse environment. The Domino Designer client is now FREE, a product that used to cost around $500 USD per seat. This will greatly advance the product and help new users become acquainted with the platform such as college students as well as power users already familiar with the Notes environment.

There is now a new link for developers which should be available soon: http://developer.lotus.com.

This release is further evidence of the benefits of eclipse. Peformance has been greatly improved, some in order of 75% improvement. There are several new features the biggest of which being the editor for LotusScript. There new features for extensibility which take advantage of the Eclipse extensibility plugin architecture. The LotusScript editor is the biggest feature improvement and one long requested by the Domino development community. New class browser for custom classes, script libary browser, hyperlinking between script libraries, line numbers, syntax highlighting and content assist.

XPages continues to improve. There are performance and scalability enhancements, an updated version of Dojo (1.3.2) which allows interoperability with IE8, and security enhancements for Active Content filtering. Xpages can now be built to run on the Notes client. This means that the designer can develop for both clients at the same time. XPage applications can therefore be run offline and with the exact same security model as the client. Having the same programming model for both the Notes client and web is a HUGE productivity improvement, whereby prevously both models shared many elements, but the web client always required more work after the core application was built.

IBM is also changing the licensing models for the clients. Domino Designer is now free. The client access model is being replaced so there will be only two CAL types: Enterprise and Messaging. Mesaging CALs include access to mail, calendar, Lotus Symphony, Lotus Travleer for mobie clients, Quickr Entry, and Lotus Sametime Entry. Enterprise CALs add access to Lotus Mobile Connect as well as custom developed Lotus Notes applications. Again, the Domino Designer is now free.

On the Domino Server, there is now support for SPNEGO authentication. DAOS has been enhanced to be smart about replication, meaning it will not replicate “known” attachments – those attachments to which it already has a copy, thus greatly reducing network traffic in DAOS enabled environments.

On the mobile side, Lotus Notes Traveler now supports Apple iPhone (push based) for mail, calendar and contacts and directory lookup. There is additional support for the Nokia Symbian update such as encrypted mail, remote wipe, and pw management. Other new mobile platforms are also supported.

The Notes client has not been neglected in this release either. There is some user interface “candy” as they say: drag/drop a mail message to the calendar to create a meeting, a new spell checker engine, a pluggable spell checker engine, new anti-spam integration with Lotus Protector mail integration, business card type ahead, adding a a v-card to your signature and more. The business card type ahead is SLICK! Single click action to all the user’s blogs, profile, bookmarks etc.

iNotes 8.5.1 also includes more enhancements such as scroll hints, auto-refresh for mail delivery, action buttons in preview pane, and undread count on inbox AND folders. There is better pre-fetch for documents, ID-vault support. There is significant reduction in memory consumption and bandwith on the server. The ultra-light UI also has some new features particularly geared for the Apple iPhone.

All of this will be available for electronic delivery by October 12 on Passport Advantage and Partnerworld. Domino Designer will be available on the Lotus Developer site on partnerworld at http://developer.lotus.com

Useful Links:

Press release: IBM Brings Lotus Notes and Domino Software to Full Spectrum of Web Devices

ibm.com: Notes/Domino 8.5.1 overview

ibm.com: Domino Client Access Licensing

ibm.com: Licensing FAQs for Notes/Domino (updated for 8.5.1 new licensing model)

ibm.com developerWorks Lotus: Download/Experience/Connect (download of Domino Designer coming on Monday, October 12, 2009)

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