There has seemed to be an absence of books dealing with IBM Lotus Notes & Domino 7, leaving some to wonder if any would be published before the release of IBM Lotus Notes & Domino 8 down the road. Luckily for organizations and individuals that manage IBM Lotus Notes & Domino infrastructures, there is now a book that looks to help organizations make the upgrade to version 7 of this long-lived messaging and collaboration platform. Although it does not give as complete coverage as I would like, Upgrading to Lotus Notes and Domino 7 (Tim Speed, Matthew Henry et al, Packt Publications, 2006, 318 pages, ISBN 1904811639) gives readers a good foundation on the issues surrounding the upgrade of their infrastructure, and solutions on best how to deal with them. The book also addresses security concerns that administrators might sometimes forget about, which is a good thing.
The book begins with a short history of Notes & Domino. The authors take just four and one-half pages to do so. While compact, it seems to leave out some key interim events, mainly the introduction of the Domino Server in Release 4.6. As written, it could be interpreted as if it was there in Release 4.0. However, as most readers of this book will be seasoned veterans with this platform, this is a minor nit.
Chapter 2 focuses on a high level discussion of the new features for the Lotus Notes Client, Domino Designer, Domino Administrator, the Domino Server, and Lotus Enterprise Integrator. It is important to note that even though the primary focus of this version is server enhancements, there have been improvements made in the other products as well.
In Chapter 3, the authors offer an extensive discussion of what had many people drooling with anticipation with Release 7: Domino Domain Monitoring. This chapter provides detailed coverage of Probes, what they are and how they work. Coverage is given to application probe codes, database probes, directory probes, Messaging probes, operating system probes, replication probes, security probes, server probes and web probes. What this reader found interesting in this chapter was the use of security probes against a set of predefined best practices for Notes and Domino Security. This feature alone should enable many a system administrator to "audit proof" portions of their infrastructure.This chapter also covers event notifications and the creation of a tracking database for events.
Chapter 4 covers additions and changes within the Administration process (AdminP). In addition to covering the evolution of proxy actions from their introduction in Release 4, the authors cover the replica id relationship between admin4.nsf and names.nsf, as well as how name-change management has changed. Chapter 5 offers a deep-dive into Policy management, which is one of the best, most under used features in current versions of Lotus Notes management. This section should receive heavy focus from readers. Chapter 6 covers the smart-upgrade process for Notes, again a strong feature of current releases.
Chapter 7, "Performance Aspects and Additional Standards", offers a discussion that is somewhat a diversion from the rest of the book. This is not a bad thing. It is essential that actual and perceived performance be managed so that service level agreements can be met. This chapter gives a good in-depth discussion of the performance monitoring tools that are available.
In Chapter 8, a more detailed discussion of the new client features is presented. Included in this discussion is autosave, closing all tabs at once, subject line verification and more. Also covered are the new right mouse click actions that are available, and prevention of expanding of personal groups in messages. This is also the chapter to read if you want to understand the integration of IBM Lotus Sametime and Sametime awareness. In addition, a couple of changes in the Domino Designer client are somewhat covered (shared columns and the Java Debugger).
Chapter 9 covers Domino Web Access (DWA, formerly known as iNotes Web Access). This chapter is must reading to understand how to fully leverage and manage DWA in a Notes and Domino Infrastructure. This chapter also covers the requirements for users to be able to sign/encrypt messages, and Sametime integration/awareness.
Chapter 10, "Programming", is to this reader the weakest chapter in the book. While it briefly touches on autosave, some new formulae, and XML, there is absolutely no discussion about the new web services functionality. In fact, this is not addressed anywhere in the book. In addition, DB2 data stores are only briefly mentioned and readers are told that there is a download of a separate document from the publisher to get any coverage on the topic (I like books to be complete in my hand). But this download is not available on the publisher's web site.
Chapter 11 covers the new security features in Release 7. These include smartcard support, new security APIs, and enhanced encryption options. Chapter 12 covers the actual upgrade process to Release 7, introducing the concept of architectural use cases to support the process. The authors also cover test planning, piloting, and deployment.
Chapter 13 is one that goes against my aversion to Java and J2EE. Although titled "Domino and the Web", the chapter is really about WebSphere Integration. It is unclear why this merited its own chapter, while DB2 data stores and web services was not covered at all. To this reader it comes across as a commercial for IBM WebSphere. That being said, if an organization does go down this path, this chapter gives the reader enough information on LDAP Integration for SSL and other tasks (though more hand-holding may actually be required to make this happen).
Chapter 14 covers the heart of the Domino Infrastructure: Directories. The authors cover what the directory is, different ways it can be used, and the architecture. Chapter 15 covers Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook (DAMO), which many organizations may be looking to as a means of protecting their investments in Notes and Domino. There is key information in here about securing .pst files on shared machines (i.e. a must read).Chapter 16 offers troubleshooting advice if problems are encountered in the upgrade process. Finally, Chapter 17 offers a case study on how IBM Lotus developerWorks was upgraded to Release 7.
This book really should be procured by organizations with an investment in IBM Lotus Notes and Domino technology and are uncertain about the process. It is unclear why this book was not published as an IBM Redbook. However, even though it has warts in the application development arena as discussed earlier, it should prove to be a valuable resource given that there is not a whole lot currently out there.
Par on a Par 5 playing downwind and reachable in two. This rating is driven because of the lack of the download document referenced in the book and the omission of web services information.