Lotus Notes and Domino

Grant Taylor cctalk at gtaylor.tnetconsulting.net
Thu May 24 12:27:46 CDT 2018

On 05/24/2018 11:08 AM, Grant Taylor via cctalk wrote:
> Though I've got to say, I think the absolute very BEST online / offline 
> email client integration that I've ever seen was Lotus Notes and Domino. 
>   (I'll send a follow up email with details as to why I was /so/ 
> impressed.)

I was EXTREMELY impressed with how well Lotus Notes worked as an email 
client for Lotus Domino when it came to online / offline use.

First:  I had Notes configured to replicate my email (DB) off of the 
Domino server so that I could have access to it even if I was offline.

I don't recall how Notes behaved if I transitioned between online / 
offline in the event of a network (dis)connection.  (It rarely 
happened.)  But I was easily able to change the so called "Location" 
from "Online" to "Offline" (or any other location that I defined) on the 
fly with absolute minimal impact by clicking a drop down and selecting a 
different location.

The most likely small burp would be if I naively left it in the Online 
location when starting up without the company VPN connected, thus unable 
to communicate with the Domino server.  In such a case, Notes might take 
15 ~ 30 additional seconds to open as it tried to connect before it 
would give up trying to connect and say "Unable to connect to server, 
starting in Offline mode."  I could easily start the VPN after the fact 
and switch to "Online" mode and do a Replicate (what Notes termed the 
Send & Receive).

I could easily draft email while offline and it would sit in my outbox 
waiting for the next time I replicated.

IMHO it worked great.

Aside:  I had this same type of behavior for other non-Mail DBs inside 
of Notes too.  My employer used a LOT of Notes DBs for various things. 
Vacation planner was a Notes DB.  Inventory was a Notes DB.  Team 
documentation repositories were Notes DBs.  Each team have a different 
document repository (Team Room) Notes DB.  Different people had 
different levels of access to different DBs.

Further Aside:  I could easily enable DB level encryption of the local 
replica of a Notes DB trivially.  I could also turn encryption off or 
change security level easily.

*ALL* of my Notes DBs benefited from these (and more) features; 
replication, online / offline, encryption, meta data indexing, full text 
indexing, and many more.

Second:  The thing that I did with my email that was *SO* impressive to 
me was that my email DB on my workstation was a replica of my email DB 
on the Domino server.  With the exception that my server replica was < 
300 MB (disk quota) and my local workstation replica > 2 GB.  —  Yes, 
the same DB had bidirectional replication between > 2 GB and < 300 MB.

This is what amazed me.

I configured custom replication between the my workstation and the 
server such that:

1)  Deletes from the server copy were not replicated into my workstation 
2)  The server copy only maintained messages that were < 30 days old.
     (I needed to replicate within that window, but 30 days is not a 
3)  ALL modifications to the local copy were replicated to the server copy.

This allowed me to use my email like I had no disk quota at all.  (Based 
on amount of storage on my workstation.)  I could leave all my messages 
in my mailbox /with/ attachments left in tact.  (Many colleagues removed 
attachments form messages to shrink their inbox.  I didn't have that 
problem.)  All the while I was able to stay well under the 300 MB disk 
quota and stay out of "Mail Jail".

As an added bonus, I was able to leverage the company provided web mail 
interface and access the email that was still on the server (within the 
30 day window).  Anything I sent / received / marked as (un)read would 
get replicated into my workstation copy the next time I replicated.

In my (not so) humble opinion, Lotus Notes & Domino has got to be, hands 
down, the absolute BEST replicated email infrastructure that I've ever seen.

I do think the UI was fairly ugly and somewhat clunky.  That being said, 
I was able to do compose email / team documents with features that I 
LONG for in Gmail.

In hind sight I would have liked to have a tiny Domino server (which 
Notes was in some ways) that was an IMAP / SMTP interface for a local 
copy of Thunderbird.  -  I think that would have given me the 
aforementioned features /and/ what I considered to be a better UI.

Grant. . . .
unix || die

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