IBM has announced the planned availability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino 8 public Beta starting in February. This is the final beta phase before the product's target ship date of mid-2007.
Lotus Notes and Domino 8 expands the scope of the Lotus Notes work environment to include standards-based document editors, a Real Simple Syndication (RSS) editor, and composite application support. Lotus Notes 8 customers can also link to other Lotus portfolio components such as social, collaborative content management, and unified communications software. Significant email enhancements have been added to help increase productivity and avoid information overload. Features include "Recent Contacts" and "Message Recall." With Recent Contacts, users will get a dashboard view of recently sent emails and chats to locate a key contact. The Message Recall feature will let users recall an email message after it has been sent by mistake.
Additionally, Lotus is leveraging its collaboration to help users evolve from basic email to more significant collaboration activities. For example, with "Activities" from Lotus Connections, users can link to an application that organizes and shares email, instant messages, documents, and other items related to a particular activity or project into one unit. Activities uses Web 2.0 technologies such as Backpack, Atom, Tagging, REST, Ajax, and JSON to deliver a web-based collaboration offering. Activities is also a core component in IBM Lotus Connections, Lotus' social software portfolio, designed to allow users to add structure to tasks that are informal and collaborative.
In Notes 8, customers will be able to use productivity editors that support the Open Document Format (ODF) at no additional cost, giving them access to office tools without the cost of a separate license. With IBM Productivity Editors, users can create, edit, and save a variety of documents in ODF format, including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents. The productivity editors also allow a user to import and export supported file formats used by Microsoft Office and Open Office file formats, edit those files, and save them in either the original format or as ODF documents. A beta version of Lotus Notes 8 is planned to be available to the public starting in February.