Notes' dirty little secret

by Volker Weber

Lotus Notes has a dirty little secret: The workspace, also known as the "tile wall", is still the preferred interface for Notes users. And there is no documented way to manage these tiles from the server.

The workspace stores bookmarks to the user databases as tiles on a tabbed interface. This has been the home screen for Notes versions 1 through 4. With Notes R5 Lotus introduced a new concept with bookmarks on the left side of the client window. However, the workspace did not go away. IBM tried a number of things to improve the bookmarks, even making them look like the workspace. But even with Notes 7, if you take a quick peek at a Notes user's desktop, you will still find them preferring the old interface.

If we look ahead to Notes "Hannover", IBM has still not dared to do away with the workspace:

notes8workspace.png

As stated above there is no documented and stable API for managing these tiles. A user can add, move or remove them but there is no way to do this in a controlled way from the server. Imagine you are moving a database to a different server. All tiles on all users' workspaces now point to the old server. Wouldn't it be neat if you could tell the Notes client to replace the old server with the new server in the tile? Or imagine you wanted to deploy a new database and have a new tile appear on everybody's workspace on the first page, leftmost in the fourth row? Yes there are tools out there who do this. But while they are ingenious, they are basically just hacks.

Here is where madness kicks in. I know for sure that a number of business partners have tried to find a person within IBM who understands this need. A person senior enough to make an API happen which would make this less of a hack and more of a stable solution that customers could depend on.

If you are that person, send me a mail. I can connect you to interested business partners who can explain what they need. Don't bet the farm on Hannover.

Update: Make sure you read Jeff Eisen's comment.

Comments

Absolutely agree - I would like to see API for workplace management.

In the meantime, we have Florian Vogler and Icodex (http://www.icodex.com) client genie.

How to migrate to Hanover? I dont know. It would be interesting to hear what development come back with...

---* Bill
http://www.billbuchan.com

Bill Buchan, 2006-02-07

On the bright side, those DB tile icons look like they support more than 16 colours! ;-)

Alan Lepofsky, 2006-02-07

The tile wall is ugly. Usually when I work with a new client (mostly their IT people) we recite this mantra every morning:
" I will let go of the Workspace" (repeat for 10 minutes).
The funny thing about it: when you copy the .dsk file into a .nsf file you get a "valid" notes database, but with complete different node elements (so nothing to see either in the client or designer). Could be a hint?
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2006-02-07

OH MY GOODNESS...Hi-colour icons!!!

Colin Williams, 2006-02-07

I could not disagree more.

It's long past time for everyone to let it die.


IBM should put all of their effort into improving the features, usability and manageability of the bookmarks interface, and no effort at all into exposing the innards of the obsolete workplace.

-rich

Richard Schwartz, 2006-02-07

The workspace is ugly, but it rules.... Just did a spot check around my fellow developers: we're all still using it. The flexible tabbed interface and tiles are just great and frankly, I can find what I need fast. They need something way better than the current bookmarks functionality to make me give it up.

Adeleida Bingham, 2006-02-07

I'm not going to argue whether it is correct or not to use the Lotus Notes Workspace. Obviously some people like it, some prefer bookmarks. Some users rely on one of the three styles of Welcome Pages, and some others just start Notes right into their email. I guess this is another one of those cases where Notes provides a huge amount of flexibility. The users win, yet at the same time it causes some pain for training and for support calls! For those that do like the Workspace, here is a link to a tip I wrote a while ago for changing the look with skins: http://www.alanlepofsky.net/alepofsky/alanblog.nsf/dx/give-your-workspace-a-makeover

Alan Lepofsky, 2006-02-07

I am a workplace user as well, yes the tiles take getting used to, but once you are used to them you don't want to miss them.

The problem with them is however obvious, as stated above. Even in a "roaming" profile the tiles don't get matched up, which means once you have adjusted them on your workstation and then jump off with your laptop, your tiles are different and that makes in real life no sense at all.

Steffen Gutermann, 2006-02-07

Maybe this helps: DSKTOOL.EXE. It is sure a separate tool, not integrated. But you can, by calling in an post open event by Lotus Script.
It does not change a database icon position on the desktop/workspace.

Thomas Günter, 2006-02-07

This is why tools like ICODEX Integrate!People exist.

http://www.agileware.net/icodex-integrate-people

Centralised and server managed:
Standardisation of User Desktops
Workspace management: adding, moving, naming, coloring, removing or clearing Workspace pages.
Desktop icon management: adding, removing, moving, positioning (by page, row and column) and switching desktop icons.
Bookmark and Replicator Page management.

Justin Freeman, 2006-02-07

Interesting reactions, folks.

First of all, I do know that you can make these things works. But there is no documented and supported way to do it. Using undocumented APIs or data structures put you on the bleeding edge.

Yes, desktop.dsk is a Notes database. And yes, with a lot of research (read trial and error) you can make sense of the data in there. This has put Icodex on the map, and I have great respect for what they do. That is what I call a great hack.

Please also note that I am not discussing the merits of the workspace. We could go on and on doing that. The truth is that a lot of people are used to it and that they continue to use it. IBM understands this. I have recently taken part in a survey designed to give IBM more insight into the usage pattern. The workspace is going to stay.

Now is the time however, to make workspace management a science and not an art. This is not going to put Icodex out of business. Au contraire! It puts them on a solid foundation.

Volker Weber, 2006-02-07

Adeleida, what are you missing that is in Workspace and not in Bookmarks? If you have your bookmarks folders displayed as workspaces (open as workspace option in the context menu of a bookmark folder) they look almost the same, provide tiles, you can even have nested tabs in two levels of hierarchy and you can switch the server to open a different replica, you can have replicas stacked or not, you can display unread counts or not, etc. pp.
I really don't miss anything from the old workspace, but I love the less crowded tabs and seeing their titles in full, since I can put them in a hierarchy (and two levels for me is enough here).

Ragnar Schierholz, 2006-02-07

Absolutley agree with Volker´s comment.
Todays enterprises are changing / merging faster than ever which results in Domain & Certifier changes which require complex and expensive projects to handle all this desktop issues.

From a management point of view Lotus Notes will appear as an expensive and costly email-system; especially when your company merge with an exchange shop.

Lotus Notes really needs a desktop policiy and a documented stable desktop api to management its desktop and bookmark to get rid of its unmanageble and costly “reputation”

Olaf Boerner, 2006-02-07

@Volker: I agree with your last paragraph, but with one word changed: "Now is the time however, to make bookmark management a science and not an art. This is not going to put Icodex out of business. Au contraire! It puts them on a solid foundation." With perhaps the sole exception of server name change management, the corps of dedicated workspace users out there neither need nor really want anyone managing their workspace for them. They are capable of adding, arranging and removing icons all by themselves. The people who need to have things managed for them would be better off using bookmarks, and IBM would be better off directing their efforts toward exposing that interface so that vendors like Icodex could do their magic even better.

Richard Schwartz, 2006-02-07

Richard, I read your post and I disagree with you. I understand why you want to rip workspaces and replace them with bookmarks, but the reality is different. There is a need to manage workspaces, even if you don't see it. The best way to do this is through a published API.

Volker Weber, 2006-02-07

Well, Volker, neither of us paid to be shy about our opinions. I will be writing more about this. There's a missing third option in this picture, and truth be told it doesn't really matter whether IBM approaches that third option by making the workspace more like bookmarks, or by making bookmarks more like the workspace. And the end result is that whatever is there should be manageable and exposed through an API.

Richard Schwartz, 2006-02-07

Who needs bookmarks? We'll be living in portals, that are controlled and locked down by administrators... uhahha hahahhhaa (Dr. Evil laugh)

Honestly, when there was a plan to remove Workspace in R5 I was part of a rather loud group in Lotus that did everything in our power to make sure it wasn't removed. I am in agreement that better tools (native) are needed within Notes, but I am in disagreement that Workspace is no longer needed.

From a competitive point of view, if something is different enough that it requires retraining, customers take it as an opportunity/excuse to look at alternatives. So Workspace has to stay there if for no other reason than to ease the movement of users form one version of notes to the next.

Carl Tyler, 2006-02-07

catalog.nsf stores adequate information on the databases, access rights etc.

Combining that with a default template (ship it along with the standard template) that can allow an organization to feed the list of applications they have can do away with the need for any workspaces.

What's the primary use of workspaces? A unified dashboard for people to figure out what their applications are & organize databases, a sort of portal based or navigation structure, users give a name for their tabs in the workspaces, don't they do it to organize databases?

But then we are in 2006, and can afford to be more modern.I am not saying workspaces are useless, it can be made more useful, more manageable & in a way that can actually do away with workspaces and provide it as a part of a homepage deployed on users desktop with bookmarks.nsf.

Kapali Shankar, 2006-02-07

I am more than anxious (not be confused with afraid) to get to see such an API ... it is one thing to maybe do an API that allows for things like DSKTOOL - it is another to make sure it does not lead to a complete mess.

(Actually not only) The three objects workspace, bookmarks and replicator page are so intimately connected with and dependent on one another that I consider it at least a definite challenge exposing any kind of even halfway flexible API to it ...
- it takes as much time to understand the shallows of said objects as it took time to develop our product to cope with them ...

We have been asked more than once whether we could offer our mostly "point and click"-product as e.g. an LSX - and so far I have not found an (efficient) way to do so in a way that would prevent a mess or at least most of it ...

with best regards,
Florian

p.s. thanks for all the nice thoughts and comments from everyone :)
p.p.s. as of today our hack is more than just tried and proven ... and not because of the amount of seats we run on by now.
p.p.p.s. if someone has a good idea in offering enterprise scaleable, true client management capabilities as an API/LSX or so ... :) (until IBM picks up on it ... ^^)

Florian VOGLER, 2006-02-07

another thought reading of all that portalmania: isn't Notes / Domino about much more than just all that mortalportal stuff?

as much as there are companies that are good candidates for welcome pages, portal pages, workplace and websphere, as well as database catalogues, there are companies that need a much more dynamic way of connecting people with information, processes and applications.

with Notes / Domino this connectivity is also very much about where you currently are both from a geographical point of view as well as available connectivity (any? limited? ...) and so it is more than just a list of links according to your role and function.

A portal considers you to be always on - I am not and never will (want) to be. So whilst portal believers might be right that portals can be a solution to some problems, i consider them not yet ready (if not far from being able) to serve as a true replacement / alternative to the rich Notes UI (if you make use of it).

- Florian

Florian VOGLER, 2006-02-07

Hi everyone!

Disclaimer: I am one of the developers at icodex, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.

@16-color icons: We are currently working on a new feature which will make it possible to display 8 or 16-bit icons on the workspace (ND6+ and maybe R5) *g*. This will be included in one of the upcoming versions of Client Genie.

@workspace rules: I wholeheartedly agree. The 4-dimensions (tab, x, y and icon stack) of the workspace are a unique feature and more than 95% of our customers are still using it, with bookmarks being a nice, but not necessary addon for them.
That IBM will publish an API for the workspace is something I doubt very much. You cannot just change the desktop.dsk. The icon stack is defined by locations, replicator pages and some information in other places (and the data has to be kept consistent over all of them, or the client will be very angry at you). The details of this behaviour change with every major and even some minor client versions.
In my opinion they wanted to get rid of the workspace because of this troubles, and the complexity of the task is the reason they have not included better manegment options already (policies, anyone?).
@Volker: Yes, an documented API would help us, but I personally believe that the desktop is NOT well documented, not even within IBM/Lotus.

@bookmarks: We fully support bookmarks (with 3.0) and as the developer responsible for them I can tell you: They are far from perfect. The "Open as workspace" option is a joke. It displays ALL known replicas of a database. Always. You cannot say "I just want the ones on serverA and local, but not serverB". Now start thinking about migrations, server consolidations and similar tasks ...
Even if you do not use the "Open as workspace" feature: The bookmarks are still tied into the desktop. If you have a relative bookmark (only replication ID), it will find the replica to open by looking up the one that is active on the desktop. Within the user interface, you cannot easily create an absolute bookmark (replication ID + server).
But there is more. You can create bookmarks that execute formulas, but again: those cannot be created by the average user. If you want to drag&drop an URL from your browser into your bookmarks, it does only work if you display the browser within your client. You can create bookmarks that link to design elements. But you cannot control if they do so using their name or their UNID (both are possible types for a bookmark).
My point: bookmarks have many really cool features, but to use them you have to create the bookmarks backend. And some features that are possible are not even supported by the designer, although the data format and the client accept and open them. So there is a lot about bookmarks, that is remarkable and would make up for the loss of the desktop, but IBM/Lotus has made their usual mistake: They do not use the full potential of their own software.

best regards,
Markus

Markus Sablatnig, 2006-02-07

showing more than 16 color icons is doable today. While you can not edit them in designer (that reverts them to 16 colors), you can programattically set the icon with an image resource. That is then used in the bookmarks and the workspace icon. I have the code somewhere, I will try and find it (remember, the icon is really just a note in the database).

John Head, 2006-02-07

I am curious what shipping and released version of "Hannover" this screen shot and discussion came from. It's not like there is a final public spec or beta that determines a) what the workspace will look like in that release and b) how it will, or won't, be managed.

Ed Brill, 2006-02-07

Ed, this discussion is input for IBM. And IBM listens. Says Mike Rhodin.

Volker Weber, 2006-02-07

Wow, nice discussion, sorry for being late. This morning I noticed this article and felt a little bit angry that Vowe was only looking to get "that person" in contact with "interested business partners who can explain what they need" to design an API.

I'm not a business partner, but I would like to see my input and the one of my companies users represented as well. May be the tiled workspace is a disadvantage for new Microsoft experienced users. But once you learned how to use the workspace you'll never will give up this great idea of a user interface. It's context (location) sensitive. Navigation is much easier by this kind of icons than by and other tree structure I've seen before and afterwards. It's easy to remember for a power user where to find which icon (unless you don't forget to modify this tiny icons!).
But it needs some improvements which includes manageability like it is already done for the basic settings via policies. I agree to everybody that a documented API would be usefully, but as a user I would expect to have more of these basic functionality build into the core product, rather than to have to buy an additional tool of a business partner (sorry big business partners, but may be Lotus pays you for licensing your ideas into their native code).
And there is some more area for improvement about the desktop. E.g. a more easy way to setup replications settings which also belong to location context. Why is there no setting like "closest server first" instead of "last successful first"? Have you ever experienced this in a multiple location environment with traveling user?!

Please if you find "that person" manage to get him/her in contact with their customers as well. There should be a next client release which really reflects the clients/customers needs.

Joerg Rafflenbeul, 2006-02-07

Let's be clear about what we're talking about here and let me give you some ideas about what is coming for Hannover with the usual everything is subject to change caveats.

I'll start with some honest confessions about the history of all of this.

First, let's separate the data store discussion from the UI discussion.

As far as data store, there is desktop6.ndk (or desktop5.dsk or desktop.dsk in older versions of Notes). This contains in an undocumented format information for the workspace (list of icons, location on the workspace, etc.). In bookmark.nsf, there is in a somewhat more documented format though admittedly still fairly hard to deal with the information for each of one's bookmarks. Clearly, we have been trying to move the information and management of the replicas to bookmark.nsf as much as possible. The main reason is to support things like roaming user where we information from bookmark.nsf can get replicated to another desktop.

For the UI, we really don't have an agenda.

With the Workspace, there is a two dimensional model for navigating data which is very useful and powerful and which clearly many Notes users still live by. The Workspace has some major usability weaknesses though -- the two most critical are that (1) there is no search and (2) they only support databases, not documents or URLs or what have you. (Yeah, I know #3 is the limited number of bits in the icon graphic but I don't even want to go there).

In R5, when bookmarks were introduced, we solved somewhat the search and heterogeneous content problem as well as the roaming problem, but we dropped the ball on the powerful two dimensional navigational paradigm of the workspace.

This two dimensional issue was addressed with "Open as Workspace" also known as Gridded bookmarks in Notes 6.0. Gridded bookmarks did a good job of bringing the two dimensional paradigm to the bookmark.nsf world, but there are/were a few things not quite right with it that we have heard from customers. From memory (I'm sure I'm missing some), problems include (1) confusing in how it deals with folder hierarchies, (2) lack of coloring for the tabs, (3) lack of control of ordering of folders, (4) some subtle selection things such as the ability to select nothing, (5) not as good control over individual replicas (such as stacked vs. non-stacked), and (6) some things such as "compact workspace" are still only reachable from the old workspace.

With Hannover, we are trying to once again do two dimensional bookmarks based on bookmark.nsf (so they can roam, have heterogeneous content, etc.), but we are trying to address at least some of the weaknesses of the previous design. At the top of the list probably is #1 -- confusing in how it deals with folder hierarchies. We have an initial design and so far has been getting great response from usability tests (from pictures and mockups -- not from real working code yet). Of course, the devil is in the details of this so beta feedback and such will help improve the design and implementation tremendously.

As far as data, there is currently no intention to change the data model. That is, we expect to continue to use bookmark.nsf to store the bookmark data and use desktop6.ndk as a place to store cached details about each replica.

Now getting to the crux of the original post. Yes, we need better APIs/tools/whatever to manage bookmarks and the desktop in general. We have DSKTOOL which updates the desktop but not bookmarks and is not tightly integrated with the product.

We clearly need more.

I don't want to promise anything that I'm not sure we can deliver for Hannover, but we are certainly aware of the problems and investigating the best ways to address them -- things like, an easy way to rename a server or move a replica to a new server -- whether it is driven by policy from the server or by a user action on the client. I'm hoping to get some of this stuff into Hannover and I'm interested in hearing specific requirements.

All I can say for now is please stay tuned...

Jeff Eisen
Lotus Notes Chief Architect

Jeff Eisen, 2006-02-07

Come on Volker ... you are using IBM's words like a fine tooth comb. Yes, IBM is listening. Better than ever. But that does not mean we (the community) get to micro-complain on everything and then get out of sorts when we do not get our way.

Discussion on topics like this is good as long as people have the right perspective. We will not get everything in Hannover that we want. Heck, IBM and the Development team headed by Kevin C in Westford will not get everything they want in the first release. So if things do not make it, it is not the end of the world.

We all have our list. I have a 3 item Domino Designer list that is well known (I mentioned it in my sessions, Gurupoloza, and got up at the mic at Ask the Developers at LS06), but they might not ever make the product. I can accept that because my wish items might not make the calculation (importance of feature compared to cost to develop with cost to test and support and current state of work around solutions).

So instead of trying to shame IBM into adding an API, why don't you change the focus of the discussion. Make it useful by getting a wish list of what people want here (features, api functionality, etc) and then rate it. Include the currrent work arounds today. Make it a resource and then use that as your champion piece. That will probably get more visibility and have more impact within IBM.

John Head, 2006-02-07

John, I think Jeff Eisen has explained the issue very well. Thanks, Jeff !

Volker Weber, 2006-02-07

@Joerg: you are hitting the mark with "closest server first" :) - one of the things you can address with our product and another one of those things that make a difference for truly scalable client management ...

However, I wouldn't just leave that feature request to the replicator - that would be just as useful for the workspace and bookmarks as such - why should a user have to - or even be able to - select a server in the first place?

There is much more to smart links between "people and applications" than just selected features or some documented API ... It's a bit like the difference between having an RDBMS and mastering third normal form - from a certain point on your RDBMS will be an imperformant mess, just like with desktop, bookmarks etc. if you just poke around in them with some API calls ...

Florian VOGLER, 2006-02-07

Jeff posted as I was writing mine ...

I still think this conversation is better off around a great feature list and a documentation of workarounds ... that would give IBM a great resource to work with

John Head, 2006-02-07

John, you can take the discussion anywhere you want. If it stays interesting people will continue to contribute.

Volker Weber, 2006-02-07

I'd add a fourth to the deficiencies in bookmarks that Jeff listed, and it's the biggest of them all IMHO: the fact that the workspace can only have one icon stack per unique database (by replica id). This is the factor that really limits the usefulness of the workspace. Back when I used to use the workspace, I was constantly rearranging chiclets because there was never one arrangement that seemed ideal for all my purposes.

Richard Schwartz, 2006-02-07

Looks like we are all getting something nice in Hannover!

In the meantime, we have an already quite impressive accumulation of known requirements as to what some companies seek in client management and how these can be addressed across anything from 100 to several 100.000 seats.

With the help of IBM that shouldn't be all too hard to integrate into Hannover -
Coffee for at least a first meeting in Boston (naturally also elsewhere) is on me :)
(please don't take this as arrogant - this is all nicely and constructively meant)

Florian VOGLER, 2006-02-07

Eisen's response is great, though it really doesnt say anything except that Lotus is continuing with the "Bookmarks and/or Workspace and/or Welcome Page" approach of today. And don't forget the "bookmarks bar", as that is where even I end up putting my most important apps because I dont want to fumble through messy bookmarks or my workspace...

I believe this confuses the deployment of "rapid" applications and how user's get to them. Yes, better management tools are needed, though I would also argue for picking a strategy for "getting to your apps" and making it consistent and great.

Other examples where we have problems in this area:
* user's machine has problems and cache and desktop.dsk are blown away. any "bookmarks" added to their bookmarks "bar" are gone and need to be readded manually.
* replicator tab is somehow tied to workspace? I think. And control on that is as limited as control of bookmarks\workspace.

Lastly, anyone have user complain of slow mail delivery - and find out they are using Local replica even though they are in Office location. That is embarassing that that can still happen.

James Artest, 2006-02-07

Very off topic:

Using the local replica can be workaround strategy where administration locks down the user too tightly. I know of at least one company where people cannot have a fulltext index on the server, adding to the "Notes sucks" frustration. This is probably to minimize storage at the server.

The workaround is a local replica with very frequent automatic replications, which then puts more load on the server.

Funny enough, the local replica sits in the user profile which gets synchronized with a file server and ends up on the same Clarion. But this is "good storage" (user work files) instead of "bad storage" (mail database).

The same applies to a missing archive mechanism. Domino admin bitches about quota, user archives to local database. Local database gets replicated to file server for backup purposes and ends up on the same storage device.

Volker Weber, 2006-02-07

Lotus please listen!
If there was no agenda ("don't have an agenda") now there is already an important topic to be put on an agenda. And this is not about a nice UI, it's about USABILITY! As you see there seem to be some more. Have you ever experienced to set up one of your VIP users for a usage of Lotus Notes in global environment? Have you ever had call from your boss asking you which location to use in which place after you introduced VPN access to your Notes environment? Have you ever tried to update this explanation after you installed another server that could be used by these two gentlemen as part of a business review meeting in a location with a new Lotus Domino server? Have you ever tried to listen to their secretary who is puzzled by five types of calendar entries including (business review) meetings that can't be scheduled from day one at 5 PM to day three at 3 PM for these two gentlemen? Or meet one of our managers and explain him why he can't access his server from abroad after he renamed his location name (sorry connections won't follow this rename action) at 11 PM while he is in the USA and you are already at home in Europe? May be "pictures and mockups" might help you to develop "real working code" but life is different. Be invited to meet all the mentioned people and explain them how a "gridded/two dimensional bookmarks" might help them? But first listen and don't forget (thank you Olaf because he made the point) that your solution might "appear as an expensive and costly email-system" to handle these problems even if there are third party tools that have nearly no protection of investment due to your missing documentation / API and a messy data(base) structure on local hard disks.This should be no boundary for a service friendly architecture (you already made a first step by roaming users, didn't you?) and made some nice improvements with every new release since 5.0.
And don't forget to give feedback and solutions to your customers that help them to do their business instead of wasting time with complex manual software set ups.

Joerg Rafflenbeul, 2006-02-07

Jorg, to sum it up: A Blackberry handheld is a good manager tool.

Volker Weber, 2006-02-08

Yes I agree, but what about the secretary Outlook or BlackBerry as well ;-)

Joerg Rafflenbeul, 2006-02-08

I think most of the "old school" Notes users, i personaly use is since Version 3.15, will "still" use the old way...
Why not? It's not nice!!! But i works ;-)

Joerg Hochwald, 2006-02-08

The Workspace is by far the superior way to keep track of multiple databases based on a similiar templates or multiple servers with the same set of dbs, or multiple clients if you suport many. Bookmarks don't come close. So, new features on the workplace (like modifying the size/display of the icons) would be of great value.

David Racicot, 2006-02-09

@Joerg - thanks for bringing the real world into the picture. It seems like the aggravating problems only happen with the users (i.e. upper management) who can't understand little things like: their electronic airline ticket looks like crap in Notes mail, or why the industry newsletter they receive doesn't display correctly... these are the people who listen to MS propoganda and use OE at the house and it "just works."

@Jeff - This may be simplistic, but couldn't Lotus' agenda be to produce something like the newer Macs are percieved to be... elegant and "they just work." Lotus has a good thing going here... I love Notes, but I know it has warts. Maybe the "attention to detail" can be improved. The best way to bury Exchange is to provide something so stunningly better that there is no contest.

John Rowland, 2006-02-09

Slight correction to my earlier post when I say "no agenda" in the UI. I knew as soon as I hit post that I worded it poorly.

We clearly have an agenda to be better looking, more intuitive UI.

I just meant to say that we have no predisposition as to whether you use tree control or 2 dimensional or whatever to navigate. We are just looking to make a UI that works well for people.

Jeff Eisen, 2006-02-13

I've read these article and thread and I wonder is it available the new lotus Notes Hannover for trial. If it is, where can I download it?

Bogdan Djoric, 2006-04-05

I am a developer, administrator, architect since the days of Notes 3. They still haven't got bookmarks to work in 7 properly and still can't manage the Worskpace via Lotus Script. I am one of the lucky ones that took time (lots of time) a few years ago and acquired the knowledge of how to fully manage the workspace, create a new workspace with pre-populated icons, create/change/delete workspace pages (titles, names and workspaces themselves), renaming database icons (servers, name and updating the workspace icon if required if the icon on the database changes). Once again, this is a 'hack' but it fully utilises currently available API Notes calls. The biggest difference in the structure of the desktopx.dsk/ndk was from Notes R4 to R5. If I recall, the number of characters in the workspace icon for a database structure changed from 64 to 100 characters, and a few other changes.

Dennis Fry, 2006-06-21

As a Domino administrator, I have 150 permanent and anything from 10 to 100 temporary database icons on my workspace.

I could not possibly have navigated this mess using bookmarks. Bookmarks are slow, they do not exploit the presentation spacce very well, and (important for me as a manager) the replica dimention is missing.

In theory, in a well structured enterprise with a well defined and limited set of applications, you could dream up a convenient bookmark structure. Keep dreaming!

Behind Note's dirty secrets lurks another dirty secret: Large and medium sized corporations are messy! They get messyer with each "cleanup" operation from management!
You need real tools to cope with it, not good-looking toys.

Egil Hop, 2006-07-28

As most of you, I value the good old Workspace. Nevertheless, I would like to share one nice trick which goes with bookmarks : Pressing Alt+B, followed by a single digit or letter (from 1 to 9, then a to z) will open the corresponding bookmark, whatever a database, a view or a document. For example, if your 1st bookmark is your mail database, [Alt+B, 1] will open your mail. Or for example [Alt+B, h] will open your 17th bookmark, etc. It is the only thing that Workspace doesn"t do (I use Notes R5).

Now a question, maybe Dennis F, you have the answer : After installing Notes on a new PC, in addition to the usual (critical) files such as user.id and addressbook nsf file, can I simply take my old DESKTOP.DSK file from the old PC to the new PC to restore my former workspace icons in the new PC ? Please consider I use Notes R5 not within an organization but as an independant. No server, no replication issue.

Nicolas Bapegual, 2007-01-23

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