Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Outlook in your face, Domino out the back

Microsoft Outlook 2002 Connector is Microsoft's equivalent product to iNotes for Microsoft Outlook.

Installation was straightforward on my machine which is a Win2KPro box with Client/Designer/Admin 5 & 6 and a Domino 6 server running. It does require a Notes 5 client to already be installed on the workstation. After adding a new service to my profile, Outlook was able to display my mail and calendar. Access was a bit slower than the raw Notes client, but certainly useable.

Using mail was pretty smooth, but there was a very noticeable delay when launching Outlook, I assume to construct the inbox/folder structure.

Displaying my calendar and creating meeting invitations worked as advertised. I found that meeting acceptances generated by Outlook turned up as ordinary messages, not meeting acceptances, in either the Notes client or Outlook. To my mind, this effectively negated the usefulness of the tool - if it can't do the full range of calendaring tasks, then it is not much use.

This tool also does not have any of the offline support that is provided by DOLS, it is only for "connected" use.

In the end, I have uninstalled it. Without 100% support for meeting scheduling and replies it is not compelling. I'll stick to IMAP and LDAP to give me the mail and directory services I need - which also give me the option of not using Outlook ( anyone?).

Having said all that, I have never found the iNotes for Outlook product to be reliable. I have tried a number of times to get it going, always with limited reliability - when it worked at all. I don't think I'm a Notes newbie, I've been using Notes since 1992.

I went Googling to see what others think of this product, the only substantial article was TechWeb: Microsoft Debuts Outlook 2002 Plug-In For Domino and some comments from Ed Brill here.

Lets face it, the Notes client - she just goes.

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