Copyright 2021, Faulkner Information Services. All
Publication Date: 2110
Report Type: PRODUCT
Notes, originally called Lotus Notes and for years owned by IBM, provides businesses
with collaboration capabilities including email, calendars, online meetings, file
sharing, instant messaging, and blogging. In July 2019, HCL Technologies took full
control of Notes, which it agreed to buy from IBM in December 2018.
Version 12, released in June 2021, is the most recent update of this product.
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Notes is a messaging and groupware tool developed to offer features for
consolidating server hardware, reducing disk space, and cutting down on
The workstation client software provides an integrated environment for
accessing the messaging and collaboration capabilities of HCL’s Domino
server. It combines these features with other options such as
administrative and deployment capabilities that were offered in previous
versions of the messaging server. Notes was also developed to facilitate
information exchange for end users, information specialists, applications
developers, and LAN administrators by offering two basic parts: A
development platform and an information-sharing environment.
Notes offers a set of business-critical collaboration tools to help
streamline collaborative tasks and responsiveness. It is available in two
- Notes for Messaging – Access to messaging functions
- Notes for Collaboration – Both messaging and
Name: HCL Technologies Ltd.
These two components work together to enable companies to exchange
internal and external information and then collect, store, and distribute
it within a company’s user-defined networked database system. In addition,
Domino Web Access is a browser-based client option.
Notes enables users to embed documents from Office, SmartSuite, and Sametime within the document and protect these documents by marking them
as private. The Notes’ document-oriented database operates like a standard
database by enabling information to be selected and sorted within either a
shared (public) or local (private) domain. At the heart of Notes is its
shared databases, which are dynamic collections of related documents that
reside on the server. Local databases are user-defined and reside on
Notes distinguishes itself from competitors by offering both native XML
support and integration with the IBM WebSphere server, as well as by
offering a number of features. The key features for Notes fall into one of
three areas: System Deployment, Replication, and
Administration. Notes offers Instant Messaging (Sametime)
integration, enhanced mail management tools, new operating system and
platform for Linux on IBM zSeries servers, and the Domino Web Access
client running in a Mozilla browser on a Linux desktop.
Version 12, the most recent release of Notes, offers one-touch Domino setup by
referring to a JSON file or a set of environment variables that contain the
setup configuration information. Security features and enhancements include
improved management of TLS certifications, time-based one-time password (TOTP)
authentication, Internet password lockout based on IP address, and TLS 1.0 is
disabled by default, leaving TLS 1.2 as the currently supported TLS protocol
version. In addition, Domino mail and app client upgrades are available on a Web
browser with Nomad Web.
HCL discontinued a number of features in Version 12.0, such as the removal of
the Notes Client Single Logon that synchronized Notes and Windows passwords, the
elimination of the Notes preloader in the Notes install kit, and the Notes 8 theme
in the client has been deprecated, replacing it with the Notes 11 theme.
Figure 1 displays the Notes interface.
Figure 1. Notes 11 Interface
Source: HCL Technologies
The software provides import and export capabilities for a wide variety
of files and products. Additionally, Notes incorporates several enhanced
document management tools including support for Windows’ Object Linking
and Embedding (OLE) technology, which allows the application where
information was developed to be opened through a Notes document. If a
Notes document includes text generated in a specific word processing
program, for example, that particular word processor could be opened from
the document by selecting the Edit command.
Primary Elements. Other key Notes features include:
- Productivity Editors – The productivity editor
facilitates the creation, editing, and sharing of documents,
presentations, and spreadsheets. It supports several file formats and
the default is the same Open Document Format used by OpenOffice 2.0 and
other products that are based on open-source code.
- Workplace for Notes – Presented as a Workplace, a
single point of integration for tools and tasks.
- QuickRules – Can be created through the Tools drop
down menu. A dialogue box prompts users for the type of rule they would
like to create.
- Block Sender – Can be used to add a specific sender
to a block sender list so that messages from that address are blocked
from the inbox view.
- Follow-Up Flags – Identifies entries by marking with
a follow-up flag, helping indicate that further action needs to be
- Replied To And/Or Forwarded Indicators – Helps
determine responses to or forward a particular e-mail.
- Bookmark Bar – Provides point-and-click links to
Notes applications and Web pages.
- Search – Offers a single search engine for locating
information about a user’s company network. It also provides Notes users
with a go-to source when searching for information.
- Windows Tabs – Located at the bottom of the screen,
can also be dragged to the Bookmark Bar for future reference. These tabs
provide Notes users with an immediate shortcut for accessing needed
features or resources.
- Notes Headlines – Features an internal-client and
personalized start page for real-time, updated, customized news via AOL.
- Enhanced E-Mail Features – Include point-and-click
rules to facilitate the management of in-box elements by establishing
e-mail-view configuration preferences.
- Refreshed Interface – Gives a single, unified access
point to a set of preordained tools and tasks, via the Workplace for
Notes Welcome Page. It can be used to integrates IM functionality to
provide presence awareness and initiate chats without launching a
- Upgraded Inbox/Contact Management Features –
Integrates messaging, collaborative, and personal information management
resources such as e-mail, calendar, and to-do list. This enables access
while connected with or disconnected from a network.
- Activity-Centric Collaborations – Provides
calendaring and scheduling functionality for collaborating on and
scheduling meetings, regardless of geographic disparity.
- “Activities” For Managing Coordinated Projects –
Helps manage activity processes.
- Composite Application Benefits – Minimizes training
requirements, end-user productivity enhancements, and embedded
management functions such as “Smart Upgrade.”
- Enhanced Support – Includes for Workplace Client and
Eclipse Software Support.
- “Early Response Positive” – Offers follow-up
functionality and visual indicators to show when a message has been
forwarded or answered.
Notes for Messaging
Notes for Messaging is an integrated package of messaging software
functions that includes e-mail, calendar, and personal information
management PIM). Built-in capabilities are designed to help focus on
high-priority work, locate and share information, and collaborate in
This suite of Notes products were developed to exclusively foster both
messaging elements and collaborative exchanges.
Unified Messaging. Notes enables users to combine
e-mail, calendaring, group scheduling, contact and task management, Web
browsing, and other knowledge management utilities into a single console
from which to collect information. It also provides a universal in-box for
users to manage all of their email accounts. A customizable Notes Welcome
page also provides a consolidated view of valuable information and data
synchronization with laptops and PDAs.
Messaging Interface. Notes offers a messaging interface
that enables personal, customized e-mail headers, type-down addressing,
automatic spell-checking, HTML content, and S/MIME support. Support for
all standards-compliant Web servers is included, as is improved
integration with productivity software suites, such as Microsoft Office. Notes’ e-mail client also integrates with Sametime
instant messaging. The combination of IM and Notes enables users to view
online status of all e-mail recipients and exchange instant messaging.
Notes for Collaboration
Notes for Collaboration is integrated, full-function collaboration client
software for access to the full range of Domino messaging and
collaboration capabilities. Functions extend beyond e-mail, calendar and
productivity tools to include dynamic collaboration tools, out-of-the-box
SAP software integration and access to Domino applications.
Included are a set of features for:
- Email, calendar, and scheduling
- PIM (including personal directory and personal journal)
- Discussion databases
- Reference databases
- Teamroom application
- Blog template
- Limited Use Entitlement
- Notes Access for SAP Solutions
- Access to Domino collaborative applications
This suite offers a set of applications to complement Notes for Messaging
in multiple areas.
Portal Builder. The Notes Portal Builder provides
customers with a personal portal, or digital dashboard, enabling them to
develop customized portals for organizational, departmental, or personal
System Deployment. The features inherent in Notes’
System Deployment are aimed at facilitating the platform’s setup by
administrators. These features help Notes integrate with and operate
alongside enterprise data programs via a set of Domino connectors. These
features enable Notes to use either Windows- or MacOS-based 32-bit
Additional features found in System Deployment include:
- Notes Network Data (NRPC) – Uses an improved
compression algorithm to facilitate initial data transfer.
- End-User/Administrative Control – Enables either
party to customize Notes’ replication and file attachment management
- Welcome Page – Includes action buttons, quick notes,
and a launch pad.
Replication. Notes, as part of its Replication
features, boasts enhancements in its Welcome Page, Messaging, Calendar and
Scheduling, and performance functionalities. It also offers features to
facilitate multi-tasking, such as polling for e-mail, detaching and
replicating files, printing, monitoring alarms, subscription processing,
running background agents, replacing designs, and copying databases.
Common replication features offered through Notes include:
- Reduced Memory, Graphic Objects – Offers both reduced
memory use as well as a decrease in the necessity of memory-consuming
- Fast Detachment – Increases the standard speed for
file detachment during message exchanges.
- Login Dialog Box – Enables users to select a
different ID and/or location.
- Quick Notes – Enables users to create mail, contacts,
journal entries, and reminders without opening individual databases.
- Bookmarks – Allows users to bookmark items from the
file system or system folders.
- Drag and drop – Moves documents between Notes and the
- Drag and Drop Toolbars – Allows users to drag and drop
toolbars to almost any location in the Notes window. Users can also create
new toolbars or customize existing ones.
- Status Bar – Enables users to customize their status
- Calendar and Schedule – Redesigned features include
Check Schedule tabs, rooms and reservations, and Sametime online
- Mail – Shows the number of unread messages in the
folder without opening the folder.
Administration. Notes offers several administrative
tools, including Web tool management and Management for Replication
Features. It also includes policy-based administration and client-upgrade
automation tools that improve in-box management and calendar and
scheduling functionalities. Enhanced information control features include
improved mail archiving and mail journaling. Notes provides supports
Microsoft’s Active Directory, allowing users to blend Notes into their
current infrastructure. It also features color-coded incoming messages and
Notes also offers folder-management, messaging, calendaring and
scheduling functionality, robust Web efficiencies, and the ability to
access collaborative applications. Notes also supports the full range of
messaging and directory standards, and it is ideal for accessing
ISP-hosted mail and news accounts. With built-in support for HTML 4.0,
Notes delivers full-fidelity access to Web applications, supports the
ability to send and receive HTML mail, and allows users to view and post
rich HTML messages in newsgroups.
Notes offers enhanced integration, Java support, and consistency among
mobile and desktop applications. Other key features include improvements
in client and Web-server components. Notes addresses organizations’
workforce mobility issues, as well as the increasing need for application
Additionally, offers a programmable and context-sensitive toolbar
metaphor. Sets of shortcut buttons can be modified for a particular
application. Also, in the core mail template, when a message is selected
for deletion it is now removed from the view that the user is in and moved
directly to the trash folder. In the past, messages to be deleted were
flagged with a delete icon, but remained in place. An HTTP server stack
and servlet engine for Windows servers is also offered. It is designed to
be faster and more resilient to denial-of-service attacks. Notes supports
the JavaServer Page 1.1 engine and features updated custom-tag libraries
that provide quick access to Domino databases and objects, eliminating the
need to write low-level Java code.
Notes allows users the flexibility to create e-mail messages with Notes or MS Word from inside the Notes environment, which provides
full encryption and text search capabilities. Users can also embed
MS Office applications inside a Notes document, which can
then be shared with the group. Workflow that sets up a document review
cycle can be added. This cycle can be sequential or concurrent and allows
the document author to review its status at any time.
Security Tools. Notes also includes important security
tools such as user authentication, digital signatures, encryption, and
flexible access control. Digital signatures allow documents to require
approval before being electronically distributed, and flexible access
allows teams to add and subtract members as necessary.
The Portfolios Option. Portfolios is a Notes feature
that allows users to use the drag and drop tool to make a set of different
“portfolios,” easing organization and accessibility to their work.
Portfolios can hold up to 20 Notes applications in a single navigation
window, which can include e-mail, address books, workflow, documents,
databases, Web access, calendars, and more. In addition, portfolios can be
shared among team members.
Object Store. The power of Notes Object Store and its
unmatched replication engine make it the groupware leader. Object Store
allows users to store almost any type and number of objects, including
data types, in its database. Documents can contain text, rich text,
numerical text, structured data, embedded objects, Java and ActiveX
applets, images, graphics, audio, video, and file attachments. This
feature allows Notes documents to become custom corporate applications
that meet specific needs.
Development Environment. The Notes development
environment includes BeanMachine for Java, a visual authoring tool that
combines Java and JavaBeans components into applications without coding,
and Notes Global Designer, which lets developers support users in their
native languages, Java, and HTML. Furthermore, Notes includes improved
management features, and enables users to receive real-time customized
news and information through the Web and AOL My News. This information can
be displayed in the same location as the user’s calendar and e-mail. All
information can be managed in a single application that combines e-mail,
calendaring, group scheduling, and contact and task management.
Moreover, the Notes messaging platform comprises a collaboration tool
that provides users with the ability to lock and unlock documents. When
this feature is enabled on a database, users with Author access can lock
documents on any replica, preventing others with the same access from
modifying the document, even if they are working on a different replica.
Even managers of a database cannot edit a locked document (although they
can unlock documents). Database designers can enable this feature in the
Database properties box. Other features include a smart user interface
that is designed to speed and simplify the entry and retrieval of
information. Notes also supports open standards and provides a Lightweight
Directory Catalog to establish a company’s employee directory on a hard
The functionality of Notes related to message exchanges have helped it
maintain a lead in the markets for groupware and e-mail server management
over competitors Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise. Notes has been
able to remain at the forefront of the workgroup manager and server market
for message exchange because it has been able to make smart decisions in
incorporating features from its standard e-mail server into areas such as
wireless and online wired connections. Unlike these competitors, Notes
benefits from its interoperability with the Domino family of connectors.
Domino’s leadership in the product market for both groupware and
enterprise resource planning helps maintain Notes as the go-to tool among
Additionally, Notes not only provides enhanced Domino messaging and
collaboration functionality, but also integrates with Microsoft Outlook,
steering potential Microsoft Exchange users toward a Domino-based
collaboration scheme. Finally, the company’s mobile & wireless offering
extends Notes’ workgroup capabilities into the always growing wireless and
mobile professional area.
Collaborative software technology is expected converge with other
collaborative products over time: audio conferencing, desktop video
conferencing, instant messaging, VoIP, broadband communications, and document
Currently, the market for conferencing is dominated by Zoom. Based on a June
2021 analysis of 1.2 million software buyers conducted by TrustRadius, Zoom
holds a 50 percent market share in conferencing, followed by Microsoft Teams (23
percent) and Cisco WebEx (11 percent).1
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Notes is offered for use in organizations of all sizes involved in a
variety of industries. The Notes client is used as an email client, as
well as an instant messaging client and as a platform for interacting with
collaborative applications. Along with Domino, it provides groupware
functionality for developing customized client-server and web
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Notes runs on the following:
- Microsoft Windows 10 (all editions)
- Windows 2019 (all editions)
- MacOS 11.x (Big Sur)
- MacOS 10.15 (Catalina)
- Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop 7.1808+
- Citrix XenApp 7.15
- VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) 7
- Microsoft Remote Desktop Services 2019
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HCL should be
contacted with all specific pricing inquiries.
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Notes competes with: the Microsoft Exchange and Exchange Online; Google
Workspace; Micro Focus GroupWise
(formerly Novell GroupWise); Cisco WebEx; the
Gordano Messaging Suite; Scalix’s Collaboration Platform; and CommuniGate
Systems’ CommuniGate Pro.
1“Current Video Conferencing Statistics for 2021.”
TrustRadius. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
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