Messaging and groupware software from HCL (in 2018, HCL acquired Notes from IBM). Originally Lotus Notes and introduced in 1989 for OS/2, it was later expanded to Windows, Mac, Unix, NetWare, AS/400 and S/390. Notes provides email, document sharing, workflow, group discussions and calendaring and scheduling. It also accepts plug-ins for other functions. In 2012, Lotus Notes was officially renamed IBM Notes.
The heart of Notes, and what makes it different from other groupware, is its document database. Everything, including mail and group discussions, are maintained in a Notes database, which can hold data fields, text, audio and video.
Synchronized Distributed Databases
Notes provides strong replication capability, which synchronizes databases distributed in multiple locations and to mobile users. The Notes Name & Address Book provides a central directory for all resources. Many applications have been built with Notes using its macro language and LotusScript, a Visual Basic-like programming language.
In 1996, the Notes client was decoupled from the Notes server, which was renamed Domino. Notes Domino is Internet compliant and can be accessed by a Web browser, converting Notes database contents into HTML pages on the fly. The Notes client also contains a browser, which can download Web pages and maintain them as Notes documents.
The Father of Groupware
Notes is often considered the father of groupware, because it was the first to popularize a development environment around collaboration.
The Notes Client
The Notes interface can be customized according to users' individual needs. The square blocks are the databases which are organized by the tabs. The "Workspace at" on the title bar (top left) indicates the location of the user for synchronization purposes. (Screenshot courtesy of Lotus Development Corporation.)