New Web 2.0 features - IBM Lotus Notes

Some of the new Web 2.0 features that are available in Notes/Domino 8.5, such as RSS and ATOM are discussed in the following sections.


RSS and ATOM are feed formats used to publish web content that is updated on a regular basis. News organizations, governments, private companies, and even individuals via their daily blogs publish RSS and ATOM feeds. All you need to read these feeds is an RSS or ATOM reader such as Notes 8 and access to the Internet. Feeds within Lotus Notes 8.5 are included as a sidebar plugin along with the Sametime Contacts, Activities, and Day-At-A-Glance, on the right-side of the screen:


With Notes/Domino 8, you can also generate RSS feeds from Domino databases including the new blog template and Domino Web Access. The Domino RSS Syndication template is used to create the feeds from any Domino view. The agents and script libraries from this template can also be used within other applications. The first step is to create a database to manage your feeds. Create the new application and base it on the RSS Feed Generator template:

new application and base it on the RSS Feed Generator template

Once the database has been created, you will want to set up the global options that apply to all the RSS feeds that are generated. To do this, click on Set Global Options in the Action bar of the application:

RSS feeds

Using the Set Global options dialog, you can control the following:

  • Protocol used when accessing feeds: This can be set either to http:// or https://
  • RSS <guid>element prefix: This can be set either to notes:// or http://
  • Default database page redirect time: This is entered in seconds
  • Available Feeds Header (use HTML): This displays all available feeds
  • Default Database Page (use HTML): This is the default HTML for the feed database

Lotus notes

Once the defaults are set, you can define a feed and direct it to a specific mail file, based on a user or on a specific database.

When a feed is defined, you are able to get a list of all available feeds from the Domino server by directing your browser to the feed database that you created earlier. From this web page, you will be able to add the feed into your favorite RSS feed reader:

favorite RSS feed reader

Blog template

Starting with Notes 8, you can create your own web log, or blog, using the new Domino Web Log template (dominoblog.ntf). Once created, you can use either Lotus Notes or a web browser to add content and manage your blog. The resultant web page shows the first entry of the author's blog. The template allows a creation of blog entries from the Notes client or from the website itself:

Blog template

The following screenshot shows what the new blog template looks like when accessed from a client:

new blog template looks like when accessed from a client

AJAX support

Domino 8 added support for JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) as an output format. JSON is a lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans to read and write. This makes JSON an ideal data-interchange language.

Lotus Expeditor

Lotus Expeditor is the base platform for Lotus rich clients such as Notes 8 Standard and Sametime 7.5. It is also a product that companies can leverage to build their own rich client solutions. Built on top of Eclipse (an open source IDE), Lotus Expeditor adds the ability to create composite applications, a local data store for credentials and application data, role-based provisioning, enhanced security, and offline abilities. One of the problems with rich clients in the past, was the cost of deployment and support. Rich clients are large installations that needed to be upgraded and supported. In fact, it is the cost of deployment and support that helped to drive the web-based applications that we see in wide use today. Everyone with a rich client knew what version of it they were running, but there is no reason to know what version of eBay, Google Mail, or your corporate WebSphere Portal you may be using because they are server managed and will have been updated all the time with new features, functions, and content.

In fact, as the rush towards web-based applications required more and more functionality to be supported by the browser, the "light browser" itself became very large and started to require deployment and support planning. In some instances, the browser footprint on a client became larger than some rich client applications. Lotus Expeditor can be thought of as a platform that has all the benefits of rich clients but also has the benefits of those web-based applications because it can be centrally managed. It can also be described as a "local portal" because it can be used to create composite applications that contain Notes/Domino 8 components, JSR-168 compliant portlets, SWING, and AWT applications without the need for a network connection.

Lotus Expeditor does this by implementing client-side containers for the components that communicate via a local property-broker implementation. This can have another benefit—speed of execution. As the code is executing within the Lotus Expeditor platform, the composite application may not be affected by network and backend systems latency, or at least may be affected only to the extent that it utilizes those systems.

In addition to responsiveness, applications built with Lotus Expeditor can also be more reliable and portable due to their local execution and data stores. This results in a rich client that has the benefits of a browser but with a user experience that can be better than a browser due to speed, reliability, centralized management, and the ability to work online or offline. When working offline, the applications store transactions in the local data store. Once connected to the company network, Lotus Expeditor can then synchronize the transactions to the host application and may even download updates for the application itself.

Some of the applications that can be built with Lotus Expeditor include customer service and support applications, such as bank teller and reservations clerk, as well as sales force automation applications, such as mobile CRM or insurance claims management.

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