Lotus Notes 8.5.2 - IBM Lotus Notes

This section will cover the new features introduced in the Lotus Notes 8.5.2 client.

Several exciting new features will be examined such as the following:

  • Network optimization
  • Fail over/fail back
  • Serviceability
  • Mail features
  • Contacts
  • Calendar and to-do enhancements
  • Replication and synchronization
  • Managed replica

Let's start with the additional operating systems that are now supported in Lotus Notes 8.5.2. Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit), Mac OS 10.6.2 and RHEL 5.4 desktop are all now supported.

Network optimization

In Lotus Notes 8.5.2, the background replicator is multi-threaded for operations to occur in parallel. This optimizes network traffic by reducing the number of transactions performed and reducing network latency. This network optimization works with the new Managed Mail Replica feature allowing the ability to use mail that is free of network delays and server outages.

Fail over/fail back

Until the Lotus Notes 8.5.2 client, the behavior of the client during a fail over situation would fail the user over to the cluster mate, but it would not have them read off their home mail server when it was available again. Significant improvements for a seamless and unobtrusive mail file experience when the server goes down have been made. Now, it is possible to fail over to a working server silently without interrupting or losing any of the user's work and automatically return to the user's primary mail server when it becomes reachable. This is not only a smoother end user experience, but it can reduce calls to the help desk during outages.

Serviceability

Software that has built in capability to collect data that can assist in troubleshooting is very valuable. In Lotus Notes 8.5.2, there has been a focus on updating the IBM Support Assistant tool. These improvements include the way data is first captured for issues, simplifications for customers to run/collect information, and expanded diagnostic data collection capabilities. These are in place to provide improvements to "close the loop" with customer diagnostic data.

Mail features

Several features and functions have changed in Lotus Notes 8.5.2. Now, you can sort your Inbox view by the type of message, using type icon as well as by last name, first name (including designation of last name prefixes). A new function allows you to set the current font as the default while composing or replying to an e-mail. New to Lotus Notes 8.5.2 is the ability to forward a message from the Trash folder without having to restore it first, saving time. The signature functionality will allow you to now specify whether a signature is rich text, plain text, or an html or an image file via preferences. Another improvement is keeping the message you have selected when changing to a different view or folder. A small improvement can sometimes make a big difference. Keeping folders open or closed when you re-open the Notes client allows a user to just start working right where they left off. No time is wasted manually re-setting your Notes client to your preferred state. Saving existing mail documents to EML files was also introduced in Lotus Notes 8.5.2. Finally, there are some new preference settings around sending mail and preview panes. They include show details (CC and full addresses) in e-mail by default, an option to enable return receipt on all messages, an option to close original e-mail when replying or forwarding, an option for navigation panes and folders staying open/closed when re-opening Notes, and the preview pane collapsed by default via setting (see the following screenshot):

Mail features

Contacts

Switching between mail, calendar, to-do lists, and contacts is now easier when using the switcher icon.

Contacts

Making a contact or a group private via the Make private checkbox or by right-clicking on the menu, is new in Lotus Notes 8.5.2. This hides the contact from people that are delegated to manage you contacts:

group private

Now, you can easily remove someone from your Recent Contacts list via a right-click menu option in the e-mail type-ahead list or Recent Contacts view. You can now send someone a group or location from your contacts. This is sent as an e-mail that lets the recipient import the group or location into their contacts. A new preference setting has been added, so that the recipients in the CC and BCC list of mail will not be added to recent contacts:

Recent Contacts list via a right-click

Calendar and to-do enhancements

Furthering the improvement of calendars refreshing at midnight, offline calendars now automatically update at midnight as well. OS time zone changes are now accurately reflected in the Lotus Notes calendar and meeting entries. In Lotus Notes 8.5.2, there is now improved handling of Facebook calendar entries. For room and resource owners as well as users, there is now the ability to view and reserve rooms and resources on your calendar. Another nice improvement to rooms and resources is that meeting subject changes are now reflected in the Rooms and Resource reservations database. Private iCalendar feeds can be added to your Notes calendar. Lotus Notes has mobilized Team Room (TR) calendars, allowing access on mobile devices. Repeating meeting improvements allow meetings to be accurately rescheduled when they fall on weekends (as specified by users). A new way to view calendar entries by category is available under the Lists view in the Calendar navigator pane.

Replication and synchronization

Replication and synchronization is now multithreaded to improve throughput and timelines. This allows replication on client start and client exit to complete much faster than before:

Replication and synchronization

Managed Replica

Managed Replica is a great feature introduced in Lotus Notes 8.5.2. It is the best of both worlds of receiving mail immediately and working off a local replica. The local managed replica is created in the background while the user continues to use the server copy. The company's Domino administrator can limit the managed replica to the last n days of mail/calendar entries if local space is a consideration or your users have very large mail files. The initial creation of a managed replica is controlled to minimize the impact to the server of multiple users/clients creating managed replicas. After the managed replica is created, the user is automatically switched to the managed replica. As opposed to a standard local replica, if the managed replica needs to be fixed up, the fix up will occur in the background and the user will be redirected to their server copy. If the managed replica becomes corrupt, it will be deleted and recreated. This greatly reduces the need for a user to call the help desk for local corruption, as this is all seamless and invisible to the end user. To speed up the initial creation of the managed replica, documents beyond 30 days are initially truncated bringing down part of the document and omitting attachments. To allow simultaneous instantaneous mail notifications, new mail polling and notification is performed against the server copy.

There are additional settings that complete the managed replica experience. If the user opens a truncated document, the rest of the document and/or attachments can be retrieved in the background. All mail sends will route immediately through the local mailbox to avoid any delays sending mail messages and attachments.

The Domino administrator can control the number of managed replicas are created simultaneously. By default, the client will allow 25 concurrently managed replica creations against any given server. For more granular control, an administrator can make the following changes:

Enable the Smart Upgrade Governor in the server configuration document Set the number of simultaneous Smart Upgrade downloads to a desired value


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