ARN: What is Shimmer and when is it expected to be released?
Jane Morris, product marketing manager for Lotus Development: Shimmer is the code name for our next-generation Web client, iNotes Web Access, for Domino-based messaging, PIM and collaboration services. It's based on the latest viable Win32 browser technologies and will upgrade our current WebMail offering both in terms of functionality and performance.iNotes Web Access is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2001 and will be available as part of the iNotes Client Access License (CAL).
What are the main advantages of moving Notes onto the browser?
Because iNotes Web Access requires only a Web browser, users have easy access to their Notes mail file from just about any location: Internet cafe, kiosk or another person's desk. We think this trait also makes iNotes Web Access ideal for a shared PC scenario in which multiple users access their messaging and PIM from a single machine.
Where can developers find the beta code?
It's available for public download at www.notes.net/inotesWhat kind of feedback do you expect from developers?iNotes will provide a launch point for future development of rich Web applications for developers. Devel-opers will be able to leverage the components delivered in a future release to build their own e-business applications. We expect the response from the developer community to be enthusiastic.
What kind of business applications do you expect to be developed alongside iNotes?
The initial release doesn't support customisation of the iNotes Web Access client. However, it is important to note that this initial release of iNotes Web Access is just the first step we are taking on an aggressive path to provide a rich Web platform, one that allows corporate and professional developers to reuse iNotes Web Access components within their Web applications. In future releases, we intend to allow customisation of the iNotes Web Access client.
What development languages and standards is Shimmer based on?iNotes Web Access was developed using current Web technologies such as Dynamic HTML (DHTML) and eXtensible Markup Language (XML).
In addition, it provides offline support through the use of Domino Off-Line Services (DOLS). This enables a user to experience the same high performance and functionality while disconnected from the network using the iNotes Synch Manager. The iNotes Synch Manager is technically ActiveX/Plug-in files that get rendered by a browser, copy themselves to the end-user's machine, then bring down the CAB files, uncompress them, then install the necessary drivers.
How does Shimmer differ from the WebMail client?
Some of the new features in iNotes Web Access, over and above what is available with the current WebMail client, include a dramatically enhanced user interface, a spell checker and multiple calendar print formats. Users can also open the calendar into specific view - by 1 day, 1 week, 1 month etc. They can drag and drop an unlimited number of attachments from a desktop/file system directly into mail message, and can log off securely.
How does the user interface of Shimmer differ from the traditional look of Lotus Notes?
We designed iNotes to be Web-like in its implementation. We did extensive research into the best user interfaces for Web-based products and ran numerous usability tests with typical Web users.
What browsers are currently compatible with iNotes and what ones will be in the near future?
The beta version of iNotes Web Access is currently available for trial use on all Win32 platforms with Internet Explorer 5.0 or Netscape 4.7 and will support Windows NT with SP4. Released versions will work with IE 5+ and/or Netscape 4.7What is the target market for the product once it is released?
SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) and ASPs (application service pro-viders). A growing trend for SMEs is to have their software delivered as a service from ASPs. iNotes Web Access is a high value Mail/C&S client that meets the needs of these organisations, whilst minimising training.