Mat Newman 16 May 2012 08:19:35 PMRemember OLE? Remember the Lotus Notes Microsoft Office and Lotus SmartSuite document Library databases?
The great thing about OLE was that while on a Windows operating system, users could edit data directly in a Lotus Notes document utilising the other programs available on their machine. One could do anything from embedding a drawing, to creating a presentation. And yes, I still have databases containing e-suite content ;-). Even today, it's still possible to choose 'Microsoft Word' or 'Lotus WordPro' as your alternate email editor (shudder!).
The bad thing was ... Apple stopped supporting OLE yonks ago, and to my knowledge, it's never been available on a Linux system.
What was the benefit of OLE?
Simple; one could create a document stored in a Lotus Notes database and utilise all of the editing power and features of another application directly within that Lotus Notes document.
Why was I thinking about this?
Running along the beach this morning I recalled a comment John Head made a while ago detailing why Microsoft OneNote was such a great tool compared with the Lotus Notes Notebook/Journal database.
Flat out, John is right ... I do love my Lotus Notes Notebook, and there are features available within Microsoft OneNote that make it more feature-rich than I currently have available within my Lotus Notes journal due to the storage mechanism - a Lotus Notes Rich Text Field.
While there have been updates to the capabilities of Rich Text Fields in the last couple of versions of Lotus Notes, the basic editing capabilities and features haven't really been extended since Lotus Notes version 5. Yes, version 5 was introduced 13 years ago in March, 1999. This post is not to denigrate the reasons why, or introduce a debate on the capabilities of the Rich Text field, but rather; introduce a simple concept:
What if we had a new field type introduced into the Lotus Notes document arsenal?
Now I would be able to create a Lotus Notes Notebook entry with the flexibility of an Open Document Presentation file.
And it's already cross-platform, due to the availability of embedded IBM Lotus Symphony within the Lotus Notes client install.
Think about it. Remember my post from a couple of days ago regarding digital-literacy-its-more-than-just-process? Well at it's core, OneNote is nothing more than a flexible presentation editor, plus some bells and whistles, less the slide management tools, that enables one to group and categories 'files' within a single application.
Which is essentially what a Lotus Notes Journal/Notebook has done for the past 20 years!
Except: The Lotus Notes Journal/Notebook only has one editing mechanism, the Rich Text Field.
Think of creating the equivalent of a Notebook/Journal 'Clean Sheet' with actions that enable one to Title and Categorise the content, while the actual editing of content was performed within an infinitely more flexible container - the Open Document field, rather than a simple Rich Text field.
DAOS has already been perfected on a Domino server, so including this functionality to manage the OD(F/S/P) content within a Lotus Notes document would surely just be a simple extension of this concept.
IBM/Lotus if you're listening, I would LOVE to be able to extend the capabilities of so many applications by including 'Open Document' field types within an application, it would most certainly make reliance on word processing, presentation or spreadsheet applications even more negligible.
The Open Document Epiphany ... Yes, It's time to add real functionality to Lotus Notes field types.