Over a long-distance telephone call I led a manager in Spain over the handling of synchronizing the Lotus Notes address book (a.k.a Name and Address Book, NAB) with his Domino Web Access (DWA, a.k.a. iNotes) mail file. It wasn't difficult because he clearly understood the instructions, but it got me thinking that the NAB needs work, if only it were so that users don't need to understand the concepts of having to "copy" address book documents from the personal address book into the mail file. For what it is worth, the Lotus Notes Personal Journal suffers from the same illness. I find it unfortunate, that the concensus seems to have been to leave it as such, at least in the next version of the Notes platform. The Lotus NAB contains configuration documents, some of which are specific to a user's workstation, and of course the user's personal contacts. The former don't concern me in this discussion, but the latter do, as it is here that users keep their personal information. Notes users prior to version 6 don't have the possibility of using roaming profiles which can handle the situation, and at least one implementation I am aware of doesn't want to use them. That leaves the information in the workstation's names.nsf isolated on the machine without being readily available in a replicated fashion as the mail file with its calendar documents is. Since iNotes introduced person documents in the mail file, why are these not more uniformly used? When used with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, there are several methods for PIM synchronization. We chose to use the iNotes mechanisms because they are easier to implement. The downside is though, that users need to manually select to "synchronize" their address book from within their mail file. Synchronize NAB Despite the caption, this is less a synchronization than a clever copy: address book documents are updated on either the local workstation's NAB and/or in the user's mail file. BTW, the address book documents aren't usually visible from within the All documents view. Unless roaming profiles are in use, this "synchronization" must be done on all the user's workstations (desktop, laptop, home PC) and quickly leads to forgetting to synchronize after having updated an address book on one of those workstations. What the NAB actually needs is a view into the user's mail file. Even better would be a view within the mail file with which access to the iNotes addresses would be enabled, including creating, editing and deleting these. The hidden view (iNotesContacts) enables access to the Person documents which together make up the iNotes contact list, but the view is, well, hidden. The Lotus name resolution for Notes would also have to be changed to support name lookup from the mail file. The OpenNTF mail template (OpenNTF Mail Experience) has a Contacts view with some of the functionality requested above: contacts can be viewed and edited, but they still have to be synchronized into the local names.nsf to be of any addressing use to the Notes client. Contacts in OpenNTF Unfortunately the personal journal isn't included, but the Contacts functionality provides more than the default IBM/Lotus template. When will IBM/Lotus follow suit and add editing of the journal documents from within the mail file?

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DomiNotes and BlackBerry :: 05 Jan 2007 :: e-mail

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