First glance

Volker has already posted about certain aspects of the Workplace showcase set-up (i.e. IBM not providing the required access code). So now we’re in, how does it look? Not bad, not bad at all. But we want Lotus to produce the best product they can, so there’s always scope for improvement :-).

First up: instant messaging awareness. Why the MSN look? Not keen personally, and I don’t think Lotus had to do this — they had an identity all of their own with the Sametime L&F: nothing fancy, but it worked. Oh well, by no means a biggie.

Next up: managing one’s contact list. I ended up adding the same person to my contacts list multiple times, because the user interface gave me no cues that the “Add To Contact List…” action had been successful. Unfortunately, neither does the contact list weed out duplicates. The end result:

Screenshot of IBM Lotus Workplace contacts user interfaceSo, once you’ve ended up with multiple contacts, you can remove them right? Hmmm. There’s no simple “Remove…” option when context-clicking names. So, some further delving is required. Ah! Here we are: “Organize Contacts” OK, so in we go. Gah! Of the three duplicates, Workplace lets me remove one, but not the other two. How peculiar.

OK, so moving on, let’s look at the calendar: all well and good. Renders just fine, and pretty much works as expected.

Except when you perform a search. Erk!

Screenshot of wonky calendar in IBM Lotus Workplace once a search has been performed

I’ve also tinkered with email, and that's OK. The rich text editor works in Mozilla Firebird 0.7, and who knows, one day Mac users might be supported too. That would be cool.

Team Space. Uh oh, the show-stopper. Attempting to set up a Team Space looked promising, but resulted in a hung browser and no Team Space. All of my Firebird tabs went doo-lally, and I had to close the browser.

Overall, the UI is looking good, and the functionality is getting there. Workplace shows promise: there are a number of glitches, and a lot more capability needs to go in there, but one thing I am especially glad to notice is that the usual server performance issues don’t seem to be present in this showcase. Not at the moment anyway. Unlike Lotusphere Online users, I didn’t get a single Internal server error, and overall application response times were pretty snappy.


  1. Hi Ben,

    I couldn't get my online status to go online - have you had any luck ?
    and the server seems to be offline at the mo :(Justin Knol#
  2. Weird. I can still log in, but the site’s definitely slower now. As for my online status, that was OK too, but there’s a slight delay when you change status.

    Come to think of it, you can log in and out of the instant messaging component separately from the overall Workplace environment — have you tried doing that?

    Update: removing contacts from the list freezes the page…Ben Poole#

  3. I have just tried again and logged in successfully.

    Also the contacts now work for me - i hadn't tried for about 12 hours when I wrote the above. However it only works for IE, not Firebird!

    I could successfully remove contacts using both IE and Firebird.Justin Knol#
  4. I am not surprised it is slowing down. The site runs on Windows 2000 according to Netcraft:

    If you go to that URL without the trailing directories you get to the IBM HTTP Server Welcome Page. This is a sure sign that there was not a lot of care applied to build the site.

    Currently I assume that this whole thing was a slip-up by Ed. I believe that this site was meant for customer demos by IBM personell, which by nature would only bring a few users on to the machine. As Ed made this public, there were more people trying to get there than anticipated. Since we broke the news how to actually get on, they can successfully do so.Volker Weber#
  5. I was also not able to create a Web Conference. Error :(. Also the site is sloooooooooooooooooooooooow.

    Bruce Elgort#
  6. I just checked from work and my IM status is busted again so I presume it is tying to establish a connection on a port that is blocked by our firewall.Justin Knol#
  7. It wasn't just Ed who announced the site. It was also mentioned in the Lotusphere Online discussion board as a reply to a post -- by the Workplace Administrator account. Granted, that was a little more "private" of an announcement, but someone must have given the go-ahead. Unless Ed was also the Lotusphere Online Workplace Administrator…

    - Julian

    p.s. -- IM wasn't working for me either, for whatever reason.

    Julian Robichaux#
  8. For the record, it was actually the generic "Lotusphere Online" account that posted the URL (I was thinking it was the wpsadmin account, but I was mistaken). Same difference really, though…

    - Julian

    Julian Robichaux#
  9. I jumped the gun a bit -- it was meant to be internal only at this point, but the internal announcement didn't really say so.Ed Brill#

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