Lotus Readies Beta 2 of Notes Front End

Still on track for year-end delivery of the Notes/Domino product set, Lotus Development Corp. in two weeks will distribute the second beta version of its Notes front end.

Beta 2 represents the nearly feature-complete Notes Release 5 client, and marks the first test release of the new Notes Macintosh client, said Blair Hankins, director of Notes product management.

Key among the modifications in Beta 2 is enabling of the Headlines feature of the redesigned Notes 5 interface. The Headlines feature provides users with a customizable default home page that includes a calendar, e-mail, and Web links.

"Within that headlines page, Beta 2 also introduces Monitors: [which are] Notes agents that can monitor Domino databases for information pre-selected from forms," Hankins added.

To allow users to select Web pages as part of their personal pages, Lotus is working with content providers to tailor their information to the Notes Release 5 form factor, and to support user identification via cookies or URLs.

Heeding feedback from users of the first beta version, Lotus has restored access to the older Notes workspace, which can be selected from the bookmarks of the new interface.

"We knew it was likely that we would need to provide access to [the older workspace], but we wanted to drive people to use the bookmarks and other new interface features," Hankins said.

Also new in the second beta release is a Task Center, accessible from the start-up Headlines page. The Task Center is primarily intended for new users.

Beta 2 also includes a Windows utility from San Francisco-based Actioneer Inc. that allows users to quickly access the local Notes name and address book from within the Notes client or another Windows application. The technology also supports voice recognition through integration with IBM's Via Voice software. Beta 2 has full Internet client set-up capabilities.

Lotus Development Corp., in Cambridge, Massachusetts, can be reached at www.lotus.com.

Key beta features

Beta 2 of Notes/Domino Release 5 will include a raft of new features.

-- Access to previous Notes workspace interface-- Headlines-- First test release of new Macintosh client-- Notes Task Center-- Actioneer Notes access utility-- Internet client set-up capabilities

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