IBM Lotus Notes 8.5 Beta for Mac OS X: Same Look, Better Feel

After a few minutes, with the 192 MB DMG file downloaded (available online after registration), I ran the installer for Notes 8.5 beta for Mac OS X.
Installation proceeded impressively fast, with the installed client weighing in at just under 80 MB. This hefty client is the first one I’ve used that’s apparently based on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (E-RCP). 

Aside 

This was not my first exposure to the impressive E-RCP. While I was working for Scali, a major release of Scali Manage made use of the E-RCP. (Scali Manage was subsequently acquired by Platform Computing – another former employer of mine. Small world!) 

On launching the 8.5 client for the first time my configuration specifics were rapidly acquired, and I was using the client in short order. Nice.
FTR, my previous experience with Notes clients has been with versions 6.5 through 7.3. I’ve used the Notes client on both Mac and Windows platforms.
The Notes 8.5 beta looks like the previous versions I’ve become accustomed to. 
However, it feels different. 
There are subtle differences whose overall impact are very welcome. For example:
  • Responsiveness – I find the 8.5 beta much more responsive than previous Notes clients I’ve worked with. And since my interaction over the past 48 hours has been via wireless laptop to my broadband connection at home, I’m expecting even better results when I am hard-wired to the University’s network from my office. This is a huge win that I’m very pleased with. This comment applies to all interactions – from message composition to searches to address completion.
  • Interactive spell-check – As you type, misspellings are underlined with a wavy red line. You don’t need to instantiate the spell checker separately. I expect this improvement rides completely on the heels of the E-RCP. I expect there are additional features/functionalities of this sort that I’ll discover over time. 
  • Look – Other than updated icons, the interface looks the same. Although there’s value in preserving the legacy experience from a look perspective, I wouldn’t have been disappointed by the UI receiving a major facelift. And all of this leads me to conclude that this is primarily a feature/functionality-neutral port of the Notes client to the E-RCP. In other words, there are minimal feature/functionality improvements – except those I’ve already identified above. While that’s OK for now, it won’t satisfy me moving forward. Presumably, however, that’s one of the reasons IBM adopted E-RCP, as it frees them from their legacy implementation, and provides a much broader/deeper and modern spectrum of possibilities moving forward. 
The upshot? The Notes 8.5 beta for Mac OS X looks the same but feels better. And that’s worth blogging about! 
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6 responses to “IBM Lotus Notes 8.5 Beta for Mac OS X: Same Look, Better Feel”

  1. Ian Lumb says :

    Update: This version of the Notes client is better integrated with the Mac OS X operating environment. For example, new mail and Sametime icons appear in the menu bar at the top of the desktop. The Sametime icon allows for various actions.

  2. Chris Russel says :

    Ian, it appears you have downloaded the “basic” client. There is also a “standard” client, with the download weighing in at 730MB, with the installed client files over 900MB. The latter has some additional look and feel differences, although I’m certain they are very limited since I am still using the 7 template.

  3. Andy Cleator says :

    When installing LN 8.5 beta on Mac OS X 10.5 did anyone have issues with the installer and FileVault? Towards the end of the installation the installer would not recognize my encrypted home drive.

  4. synack says :

    I’ve downloaded the “standard” one (~7xx MB). The installation fails at the end, and the application wont start, complaining that the “application id is not found”…

    Any idea?

  5. Jason Lazzara says :

    I use Lotus Notes at work because I have to. I have been running the 8.5 beta since it was released. The fonts are finally readable, I can use my scroll wheel, the address book is much cleaner and overall performance seems better. I am surprised however, by the complacency of the Mac community related to this update. By far, Lotus Notes is the absolute worst email client I have ever used. Rather than listing the multitude of reasons why,I simply state the most basic email client available today kicks Blotus Notes butt. I ask you all to ask yourselves, is this the best IBM can do? In my opinion, the excitement for the update is due to the fact that expectation is so low and any improvement or update would seem amazing.

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