Extending Lotus Notes 8

Decided to tweak my Lotus Notes 8 Client a bit over the weekend, as I have some client meetings coming up this week, and I wanted to highlight the best feature Notes 8 possess (in my opinion): Open, Eclipse based, platform.

What is Lotus Notes 8 sidebar? It’s actually a list of plug-ins that you can add to your Notes 8 client, located at the right hand side. The defaults includes your Lotus Sametime contacts (an integrated Sametime client within Notes 8), Day-at-a-glance view and RSS feed reader. The sidebar has 3 viewing options: Close, Thin or Open. To the left you can see the thin mode. Just below there’s the open mode of the sidebar, much more clearer…

After tweaking, my sidebar has much more features, without any performance issues, btw. Working smoothly on my Intel Core Duo, 1GB, ThinkPad X60 machine.

Besides the default Sametime Contacts, I’ve added a Primary Contacts plug-in (that I “stole” from my Sametime Connect 7.5.1 client), to which I can drag-and-drop the people I communicate more often, and see their picture, instead of the name. I also added today the cool feature of BluePages Client (developed initially for Lotus Expeditor), which basically adds a BluePages (IBM’s internal employee directory, with over 4M searches per week!) application, that allows me to search and view information from the employee directory without leaving my Notes client. There also an Activities plug-in, one of the 5 services within Lotus Connections, IBM’s social software. If an activity (to-do) is signed to me, I can view it right there. Another cute plug-in is the Sidekick. I discovered it by accident, as I was reading through a Lotus presentation and saw this plug-in in one of the screen shots. It basically provides a relational overview of the document currently highlighted. If there’s a url, the Sidekick will provide a preview of the page; an address – a little map pops out, with directions. I think you get the idea.

You’re probably arguing that you must have some technical knowhow in order to do this. Not at all. I’m a bit of a geek, but programming is not my thing. I had to make a small change to an .ini file – but as long as you keep a copy of the original, there’s no harm. The sidebar is definitely one of my best reasons for loving Lotus Notes 8.

Alan Lepofsky also commented about Notes 8 sidebar, here and here are the latest. Oh, another one, here. There are couple of places you can visit if you want to learn more on Lotus Notes 8 Sidebar and how you can extend your working experience:
Alan Lepofsky
more developerWorks

4 Responses to “Extending Lotus Notes 8”

  1. 1 Manu November 22, 2007 at 22:09

    Great info Dvir. Never knew that the sidebar had so much to offer. Thankf ro showing the “light”

    By the way, in the first screen shot how did u get the preview to display alongside the messages? I thought that this could be done only in Outlook, eager to duplicate it in Notes as well.

  2. 2 Dvir Reznik November 23, 2007 at 20:20

    Hi Manu,

    Glad you liked it.

    Notes 8 is very extensible, and allows for much flexibility from the user side – one of the great advantages of Eclipse..

    As for the preview, it’s pretty simple (Notes 8 and above):
    In the Inbox view, the row with New, Reply, etc – there’s another button far right called Show, where you can decide how to preview your messages: side or bottom.


  3. 3 Matthias October 9, 2008 at 15:23

    Hi Dvir,

    cool to see what abilities the new version of notes has. Can you tell me where to get these plug-ins?? Specially the sidekick plug-in would be very cool to have.


  4. 4 Dvir Reznik October 12, 2008 at 11:08

    Hi Matt,

    Wow, your comment sent me backwards in time.. 😉 had to do some lookups.

    Alan Lepofsky has some posts about it (see original post). There’s also a solution catalog for sametime – since both are built over Eclipse (Lotus Expeditor) you can use the ST plugins for Notes 8.

    As for sidekick – it’s an internal IBM plugin, don’t think it’s available outside our firewall. If you’re an IBMer, search dogear (‘sidekick’), you’ll find it.


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Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at] gmail.com



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