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Reload this page IBM/Lotus Notes Client/Domino Server

Here are my notes and comments about IBM Lotus Notes Client and Domino server for workgroup computing

Take the Brainbench certification test on LotusScript R5 Programming and Lotus Domino R5 Programming


Topics this page:

  • Product History
  • Configuration
  • Services & Databases
  • Database Elements
  • Access Control Lists
  • Replication
  • Agents
  • Tools
  • Forms
  • Get Yourself Certified
  • Resources
  • Your comments???


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    Set screen Companies & Products

      Notes was created by Ray Ozzie, who went on to found P2P pioneer Groove Networks (which, ironically, has funding from Microsoft).

      Lotus was purchased by IBM in 1991.

      Lotus claimed a market share of 55 million seats worldwide.

      Releases and Prices of Products

      Domino R5 Server lists for $1,795. Lotus Notes R5 is $69 per user. Lotus Domino R5:
      • allows admins to centrally modify client configurations instead of physically hopping around.
      • provides visual monitoring of the health of every server from a central admin terminal

      “Raven” was the code word for the Knowledge Management product, which enabled clients to use IE 5.x browsers to customized portal sites. Raven (also IBM) uses DB2 (IBM's relational database product) to host and classify information from Domino databases, file systems, or HTML web pages.

      Support for multiple languages is enabled at the database level by checking the “Multilingual database” property in the database properties design tab. After enabling this property, also select the default language and region. The user client browser is configured to specify which language is served from a Domino web server. On the fly???

      tool Tools for Managing Linux and Domino servers

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    Set screen Domino Architecture Configuration

      Different clients

      Each client is invoked with one of these .exe file, which then invoke a single nlnotes.exe process. The memory in this table is the additional memory taken.
      Service Name Exe nlnotes.exe
      Notes client notes.exe 16,224
      Designer for Domino for creating and modifying applications. designer.exe 13,544
      Domino Administrator to register users and servers; monitor and maintain the Domino environment. admin.exe 12,800
      Notes Minder is a background process (on the sytem tray) that checks mail and monitors calendar alarams without Notes running.

      This graphic still under construction:

      download Download this Visio 2000 graphic file.

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      Set screen Physical File Names & Formats

      .nsf is the file extension for Notes data files. nsf stands for Notes Storage Facility. The NSF version for all files are shown in SHOW DIRECTORY lists:
        SH DIR

      Each version of Domino improves on its internal data File Format, called ODS (On Disk Structure).

      File ext. NSF
      ODS Capabilities
      ? V3 17
      .ns4 or
      V4 20
      .nsf V5 41 >4GB size, transaction logging, in-place compaction

      The compact command converts an R4 .nsf (not .ns4) database to R5 ODS. Its -R option reverses such conversion.

      Lotus databases contain unstructured, or “loose” records. Each basic record, called a note, is created with a randomly generated 4-byte NoteID and a 16-byte UNID (Universal Note ID). These numbers are shown under the propeller hat tab. The Note-id (numbers prefixed with “NT”) is unique within a database. The UNID is unique across all replicas of its database because it contains the OF (Orginator id File) and ON (Originator id-Note) of the database being replicated.

      The physical location of a NoteID is specified in its RRV (Record Relocation Vector).

      Set screen File Size Limitations

      • Database file names can be up to 8 characters.
      • Domino Database names can have no more than 32 characters.
      • Domino databases can hold up to 16GB.

      The absolute size limit for each database is set when the database is created.

      The Database Transaction log file is 192 MB by default, in \LOGDIR, with a maximum limit of 4096 MB.

      Set screen Databases from Templates

      .ntf is the file extension for Notes template files , which contains design elements used to create .nsf databases (unless "Prohibit design refresh or replace to modify").

      When the first domino server is installed in a Domino Domain, the install program creates a new Domino Directory file (NAMES.NSF), called the Public Name and Address Book (PNAB) in previous versions. Subsequent servers receive a replica of that file. Additional directories are created from the PUBNAMES.NTF template.

      All identifiers are based on the created by the first Domino server installed. Each organization adds its stamp to it.

      Within a Domino domain, Servers in different geographical locations or connected using a modem can be separated into subgroups called Domino Named Networks (DNN). Like a Microsoft Active Directory site, servers within each DNN are constantly connected with the same protocol. So DNNs is usually named with a combination of location name and protocol, such as “HOUSTON_IP”.

      Lotus Domino organizes mail routing paths in a domain defined in a single Domino Directory.

      Searches for users and groups reference, in turn, these services which use NAMES.NSF:

      • Directory Catalog service
      • Directory Assistance (DA50.NTF)
      • LDAP service

      A database is enabled to receive mail by creating a Mail-in Database Server configuration document from within the Domino Directory. Author access with the "Create Documents" privilege and the Net Creator role are needed for this action. This contains the filename for the mail-in database.

      The mail-in name for the database is the name used in the SendTo field of mail messages addressed to the database.

      Set screen File Cleanup

      When a file is deleted, Domino keeps a deletion stub so that it knows not to replace that file from a replica.

      To repair a corrupted file:



      Domino keeps its metadata in various documents:
    • Domain
    • Server ports, security, tasks, protocols
    • Configuration Settings
    • Resource rooms
    • Certificates
    • Program tasks
    • Holiday
    • Group
    • Location
    • Person
    • Addin Database
    • Mail-in Database
    • External Domain Network Information
    • Connection

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    Set screen Installation

      The Customize button enables the installation of files to run Domino as an NT service and use NT performance monitor.


      To force use of port 636 for LDAP over SSL, shut down default port 389 for LDAP.
      To force use of port 993 for IMAP over SSL, shut down default port 143 for IMAP.
      To force use of port 995 for POP3 over SSL, shut down default port 110 for POP3.

      Settings in Notes.ini file

      Lotus keeps its notes.ini configuration file in the Destination folder (not in the Windows/WINNT folder). This file is not replaced by upgrades. It is not needed by Notes clients.

      Some default settings need to be higher for busy servers and networks:

      • Input Timeout default is 2 minutes,
      • Output Timeout of 20 minutes should not be higher, so increase cache directory or add more system memory.
      • CGI Timeout needs more than the default 5 minutes for CGI programs to finish executing.
      • Set Idle Thread Timeout to 5 - 10 minutes rather than default 0 for infinite.


      During installation, Lotus creates key in the Windows Registry for file extensions .ndl, .ns2, .ns3, .nsf, .nsg, .nsh, .ntf,
        HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ .xxx \Shell \Open \Command = notes.exe %1
      Also, within a CLSID, LocalServer32, within Installer\Components, and within

      Registration data is stored in registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \IBM \Product Registration \Lotus


      Uninstallation from Control Panel does not erase configuration files in the Notes folder nor the notes registry keys under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.

      Users and Groups authentication

      A client can be established with a personal ID or as a ___ with a security certificate.


      Lotus uses the term Organization two ways: the whole naming scheme and the highest level in a hierarchial name, such as:


      The hierarchy is limited to 4 levels. Not counted in this limit are optional levels unique to Lotus Notes — the User Unique Organization Unit (UUOU) used to distinguish users with the same name.

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    Set screen Workflows

      Workflow applications

    • Customer order processing
    • Writing and approving contracts
    • Employee record change
    • Travel expense report reimbursement


    • Task automation
    • Expedited Approvals
    • Increased process efficiency
    • Error reduction
    • Production cost reduction

      There are two methods of workflow distribution (routes):

      1. “Distribution through Routing” emails workflow objects (mail-enabled forms) to users for them to return via email. MailFormat

      2. “Parallel/Serial Distribution” emails tell users to logon into a workflow database.

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    Set screen Security Certificates

      A certificate is a digitally signed message added by a certifier to a Notes ID file.

      Recovery information is stored in the certifier ID. The recovery password is stored in the User ID.

      Mail encryption. Station, Form, View Access and Workstation ECL Field Access: Authors, Encryption, Readers, Signing

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    Set screen Domino Server Services & Databases

      These services are started when nserver.exe is invoked:

      Service Name Server Task NT .Exe KB NT
      Directory Catalog DIRCAT nserver 26168 DIRCAT.NSF
        nservice 3688 DOMCFG.NSF custom error messages
      Database Replicator - nreplica 7184 LOG.NSF
      Cluster Replicator CLREPL nreplica ??? CLDBDIR.NSF
      Mail Router nrouter 7988 MAIL.BOX contains dead and pending mail
      Index Update process nupdate 4156
      Stats agent COLLECT nstats 1576 EVENTS4.NSF, STATREP.NSF
      Administration Process nadminp 1864 ADMIN4.NSF Admin Requests
      CERTLOG.NSF Certification Log
      Event Monitor nevent 2004
      Agent Manager (one for each agent) namgr 1688 AGENT-LOG
      Amager Executive AMGR
      Message Tracking Collector MTC - -- -
      ? ? npop3 -- -
      ? ? nsched -- -
      ? ? calconn -- -
      ? COMPACT ? -- -
      Memory numbers are from Task Manager for Lotus Domino 5.0.7.

      To automatically start tasks, include them in the ServerTasks= line in the NOTES.INI file.

      To stop and restart the HTTP service manually from the Domino server console:


      When a statistic reaches a threshold, an Alarm Trouble Ticket is created. Event trouble ticket becomes an event.

      The nstats.exe agent process collects statistics and events to file statrep.nsf based on the list of thresholds, messages, and servers to monitor specified in file events4.nsf.

      Events in Lotus have these severity levels:

      • Fatal
      • Failure
      • Warning (High)
      • Warning (Low)
      • Normal

      To rebuild the Directory Catalog:


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    Set this at top of window. Database Design Elements

      Data within a document is stored as items in the Domino database.

      Rich Text fields are comprised of several CD (Compound Document or Composite Data) records containing text mixed with font and style formatting attributes.

      Elements: Actions, Agents, Columns, Fields, Forms, Subforms, Framesets, Outlines, Pages, Views

      To use a different name for display to users, create an alias by adding a vertical bar "|" to separate the name and the alias. The alias is always to the right of the vertical bar.

      The "Window Title" text can be static, or dynamic, or "Untitled".

      Avoid hard coding paths by identifying the path to the current database


      Make the server password optional so that servers start without manual intervention.

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    Set this at top of window. ACL (Access Control Lists)

      ACLs limit access to databases. The ACL define what actions each type of user is allowed to take.
      Legend: Y=Yes by default, N=No, O=Optionally
      Action Manager Designer Editor Author Reader Depositor No Access
      Read public documents Y Y Y Y Y O O
      Write public documents Y Y Y O O O O
      Create documents Y Y Y O N Y N
      Delete documents O O O O N N N
      Create LotusScript/Java agents Y O O O O N N
      Create personal agents &
      Y Y O O O N N
      Create shared Folders/views Y Y Y O N N N
      Create/Modify all database design elements,
      Create full text search index
      N Y N N N N N
      Encrypt database,
      Modify replication settings,
      Modify database ACL,
      Delete database
      Y N N N N N N

      Shaded cells designate the data and who can push it for replication

      Reminder Users obtain the highest level of group or explicit access when assigned to multiple groups with different access levels. To replicate, a server needs to be at least an Editor.

      Only one server should have Manager access to a database. If the ACL of databases in a replica are changed, one of them would be lost during replication.

      Access lists of design elements further restrict access granted by ACLs.

      • Authors can edit the documents they create. If there is an Auths Authors field on the form, the user must be listed in the Authors field. Authors have Reader access by assumption.
      • Reader access allows you to read all documents unless there is a Rdrs Readers field on the form. Then you can read a document only if your name is listed in the Readers field.

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      Set this at top of window. Replication Type

      . Replication Style Command
      Two-way replication mechanisms:
    • Push-Pull: a workload server both pulls in and pushs out:
    • Pull-Pull: Servers pull from each other
    • replicate server filename
      One way replication
    • Depositor users can not pull, only push replications from a server.
    • push server filename
    • Reader users can not push, only pull replication of changes from a server.
    • pull server filename

      Reminder Indexes are not replicated.

      Replications can pass through another server.

      Topology How Uses Limitations


      Each server calls the next one. Branch offices around the world ACLs must be the same on every server participating in replication.


      Every server replicates with each other server. Trading Practically, only 4 servers can participate.


      One server pushes changes to other servers. Missives from a central HeadQuarters.  

      Replicas can have a different filename than the database being replicated.

      Replicas need not be on other machines. Several users can share an address book by making a replica of the names.nsf database with a different name (i.e., names2.nsf) on the same server. The other users get get ACL rights to open and bookmark the names2.nsf.

      By default, replication is performed to all files identified with the same Replica ID displayed in Database Properties Information tab.

      Replication occurs in this order:

      1. ACL changes
      2. Design changes
      3. Document changes

      To perform field-level replication, Domino compares the document's Sequence Number with the sequence number on a replication alert:

      • If the number is unchanged, replication is performed.
      • If both have been changed:
        • if Merging has been enabled:
        • if Merging has NOT been enabled, a conflict document is produced.
          • Fewest edits
          • Least recently modified

      The Replication service:

      • is enabled with this line in the Notes.ini file:
      • can be scheduled in the Connection document or initiated manually:
          load replica
      • can run a maximum on 10 replica tasks at the same time

      The highest level of detail in logs is controlled with this configuration parameter:


      Here is a list of factors affecting replication, arranged in a way to better remember what goes where:

      Layer Identification Controls Processing


    • Authentication
    • Access List
    • Replication Type
    • Schedule
    • Database

    • Replica ID
    • Replica ID Cache
    • Access Control Lists
    • Replication Settings
    • Replication History
    • Document

    • ACL Roles
    • Read & Author Access
    • Replication Settings
    • Replication History
    • The Server Connection document specifies whether the replication task is enabled, the Replication Type Style, and the Time Limit.

      Reminder Most replication problems occur because of inaccurate server ACL configuration settings in the databases. So first replicate the partner's ACL in File > Replication > Setting > Advanced > Replicate Incoming > Access Control List.

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    Set this at top of window. Clustering

      An Enterprise server license is needed for clustering and Partitioning. Internet Cluster Manager (ICM) is used for fail-over and load balancing.

      webpage article Notes.Net archive: Implementing and Maintaining R5 Domino Clusters

      To list status of clusters:


      When a server is 100% busy, it's really slow. So make set NOTES.INI


      To stop new session from being started on a server, change in NOTES.INI



      A server is Partitioned when several server applications run on the same (big) physical machine.

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    Set this at top of window. Access Control Roles

      To modify a mail-in configuration form, users need to have the Net Modifier role in the Domino Directory.

      Group Types

      • Multi-Purpose
      • Access Control List only
      • Mail Only
      • Servers only
      • Deny List only

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    Set this at top of window. ECL (Execution Control List)

      Administrators specify ECLs to limit what actions Notes formulas, scripts, and Java applets can be executed by a Notes client. When a database is opened and code executed, Notes compares the permissions allowed in the ECL to the signature of the ID used to sign the element that is executing the code. If that signature matches an entry in the ECL, or if that permission is allowed by default, that action will be permitted.

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    Set this at top of window. Agents

      Java Applets require the Domino Inernet Inter-Orb Protocol (DIIOP) task and the IIOP protocol to access a Domino ORB listener program which processes Java requests.

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    Set screen Tools

      tool Team Studio

      Domino Files — The Ultimate Download Site for Notes Professionals

      IntelliPRINTPLUS from Cybernet Software integrates with the Notes Workspace to allow the end user to design reports and produce sophisticated output based on Notes data. It enables easy and accurate printing of labels, envelopes, calendars, bar codes, pre-formatted documents, forms and reports.

      Netwell doclib

      Bakbone Application Plugin Module for online backup and recovery automatic, unattended backups for local or remote domino servers across the network — administered via a central location,

      Create a B2B Web Presence with Domino tutorial includes sample databases.

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    Set this at top of window. Forms

      Put into a Script Library file the functions used by several forms within a database. In the Options event of each form's Globals area, declare (if “mylib” is the name of the script library):

        Use "mylib

      To call “my_function” from the library

      Actions (such as Print and Save Me) are shortcuts that perform a task when a button is pressed. Shared actions and Shared fields in shared subforms are Design Resources which can be created once, then inserted into several forms and views for the same database. This avoids formatting inconsistentcies.

      Lotus provides these field types in addition to Text, Date/time, Checkbox, Radio button, Listbox, Combobox, Password:

      • Names
      • Rich text, which can contain file attachments or OLE links to Microsoft Excel or other documents on Windows platforms.
      • Formula (introduced in R5) for processing database subscriptions.
      • Author and Reader lists to further restrict ACLs.

      Collections (groups) of Fields on a form are called sections used for formula Controlled Access.

      Formulas can be used to determine which subform is displayed dynamically.

      Types of fields: reserved, conditional/unconditional, hidden, keyword, signed, mail enabled, workflow related form attributes

      Tiff image formats are not supported.

      Keyboard Shortcuts

      F9 to refresh

      Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Windows, Office, and other applicationsanother page on this site

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    Set screen Get Yourself Certified in Lotus Notes/Domino

      Lotus (a division of IBM) provides certification tests on R4 and 58 page R5 as well as a new path on “Collaborative Solutions” using the Lotus Discovery and Sametime products.

      You become a Certified Lotus Specialist (CLS) after passing one CLP test. You become a Certified Lotus Professional (CLP) after passing all the core exams for one of the job roles. You become Principled after passing one additional elective for a role.

      CLP R5 Domino System Administrator:

      1. Exam 520 Maintaining Domino R5 Servers and Users [CramSession]
      2. Exam 521 Implementing a Domino R5 Infrastructure [CramSession]
      3. Exam 522 Deploying Domino R5 Applications

      • Exam 523 Transitioning a Domino Infrastructure to R5
      • Exam 525 Performance Tuning a Domino R5 Infrastructure

      CLP R5 Domino Application Developer:

      1. Exam 510 Domino R5 Designer Fundamentals [CramSession]
      2. Exam 511 Domino R5 Application Security and Workflow [CramSession]
      3. Exam 512 Domino R5 Application Architecture [CramSession]

      • Exam 273 LotusScript in Notes for Advanced Developers
      • Exam 513 Using JavaScript in Domino R5 Applications
      • Exam 516 Using Java in Domino R5 Applications
      • Exam 517 Maintaining Data Access with LEI

      All these exams are administers at test centers managed by Prometric (800-745-6887) or CATGlobal. For $100 USD, you have 60 minutes to correctly answer 70% of 40-60 multiple-choice questions.

      Certified pros can get into Lotus' private site to access transcripts, numbers, logos, and mingle with other certified people.

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    Set screen Resources

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