Lotus Notes Possibilities

AEII
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I met with a client yesterday about development of a knowledge base database intranet application ...

They showed me Lotus Notes as something they had experimented with and wnated to see if it can be used
as the basis for this project ...

I have seen Lotus Notes, but not real familiar (I am with Approach, but assume it is much different)

They are faced with a limited budget (as most) and if Lotus Notes can be customized to the following they
would prefer to stay with it ...

    1) They need to be able to search e-mail text body by keywords ... is there a script or add-ons that allows this

    2) Can their paper based forms be "simulated" for data input ?

    3) Can events and actions be "pushed" to others ? i.e., Once the form one is entered and submitted it creates
        another set of tasks that are e-mailed to the next department AND a log of this be created so management can
        track status of account and time for completion ?

    4) Can labels names be changes on the left bar, etc ... how flexible can this be ?

Otherwise they are faced at creating an intranet application with VPN access from scratch and using Outlook ...

How easy is it to find resources for Lotus Notes ?

I did check out some of the links ... does it simply use Lotus Script ?

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1) Yes, Notes has full-text searching capabilities built-in
2) Absolutely.  Notes does a great job at this.  It also has many ways to then connect the data in Notes to relational databases such as SQL or DB2
3) Yes.  It may require programming to do this depending on the complexity of your requirements.  Domino offers an addon product (I think they still have this) called Domino Workflow which eliminates the need for programming to manage workflow of documents.  Again, you've touched upon a strength of Domino, it's workflow capabilities (routing, emailing, approvals of forms)
4) Domino includes an Outline object that lets you control what names appear on the left bar (and what actions are taken when they are clicked)  It can easily be changed.

Domino uses LotusScript as it's main VB-like scripting language.  However, many databases can be created without Lotusscript, simply by using the powerful @Formulas built in to Domino.  There are many resources for Domino and if you post another question here at EE on that, I'm sure you'll get tons of responses.
Hang on! Don't go with Outlook atleast. You will have to come back to Domino :)

Lotus Notes/Domino is particularly suitable for this type of application. Workflow (electronic routing of documents) is teh core competence area of Domino. You can do everything you have described in your question text with ease and elan.

Finding good resources for Domino/Notes developement will be equally easy as finding good resources for Outlook developement. I have seen few good developers in that domain. In contrast, Domino has a vast pool of resources (has been around for over a decade, if I am not wrong). Outlook developement is limited to small form developement. Minor workflows can be seen in Outlook environment, but I haven't yet seen a full-scale workflow application possibly with connectivity with a RDBMS. Mind you I am saying this on the account of my experience with Outlook (yes, I was an outlook developer earlier).

Domino's core strength areas include its highly scalable, high performance mail server combined with legendary multi-tier security architecture and very mature workflow capability, not to speak of unlimited connectivity options.

You can use it as a front-end to a DB2/Oracle database. Or, develop a VB application with Domino as a back-end. Choice is entirely yours. Its all possible.

Domino supports the use of a plethora of languages/paradigms to implement solutions. Methods native to Domino include LotusScript, Formula Language, HTML/JavaScript, Java etc.

In a nutshell, if you want to implement the kind of application you are looking forward to with ease and elan, you have come to the right place. Domino is for you.
Commented:
Keyword (boolean) search -- built in function

Form simulation -- can be done.  If you need absolute 100% fidelity, you may have to use some add-ons.  But if you all you need is to get something fairly close, the native facilities are usually good enough.

"Pushing events" -- this usually called workflow, and is the classic application Notes is used for.  There are add-on products -- some from Lotus, some not -- that simplify the construction of wokrflow applications, but you can also do this pretty easily with Notes without using any add-ons.

Label names -- not sure what you are asking.  If you are aksing if teh Notes "bookmark bar" can be customized, the answer is yes.  if you are talking about field names on a form, the answre is also yes.  if you are talking abot something else, please let me know, so that I can answer properly.
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Is your knowledge base project something similar to a BBS? If so, Lotus Domino has a ready-for-use Discussion database that should fit your needs as a repository...

Lotus Notes possiblities are founded upon the concept of NotesDocument, which is just like a paper document. Paper documents are flexible because they can be updated in a breeze. For example you can add a date stamp to any paper document when it arrives to you, even if it was not created with a white space for that purpose. NotesDocuments can be individually changed as needed, both pasting in and cutting information from them.

A lot of information processing technologies are integrated in Notes: HTML, XML, Email, Searching, WebServices, Java, JavaScript, fine grain access control settings, triggered agents...

Commented:
Sorry -- I duplicated much of what HappyFunBall said.

As to your "LotusScript" question -- you woudl really need to know more about teh various Notes programming models.  Much of Notes programming is done in LotusScript, but it is only a small piece of the environment.  Probably accounst for 25%-30% of code, and 30%-40% of the time spent in Notes client applications.  For wbe-based Notes ("Domino") applications, the per centage is higher, as it is the primary language for web processing scripts.

Resources are generally easy to find, though you do want to screen them carefully.  As with VB, it is easy to become a beginner Notes developer, and quite difficult to become an accomplished one.  There are many really good reosurces, and many mediocre ones, and you'll have to be able to cull them out.

It would also be useful to know what geography you are looking in.
Sjef BosmanGroupware Consultant

Commented:
Oh dear, I'm too late, the answers are already there.

For some resources, have a look at the lefthand-side of your browser-screen ;)

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