Monday, January 19, 2009

What's New In Lotus Connections v2.5

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As just announced at the Lotusphere Opening General Session, Lotus Connections v2.5 will be released in mid 2009. Lots of new features will be added. The Profiles, Communities, and Home page modules of Lotus Connections are the ones that are getting the bulk of the changes. Here you'll find a summary of the new features announced at the Opening General Session.


Communities gets the bulk of new features added in v2.5. Based on customer feedback, the communities component will be more customizable to meet each community's need.

  • Personalize the look-n-feel of your community by choosing one of the out-of-the-box theme templates or creating your own
  • Communities pages are now based on widgets. This means that it's easy to to drag-n-drop widgets around, add/remove widgets as needed, or add external widgets (e.g. Google Gadgets)
  • Re-designed Forums
    • Surfaces relevant statistics (e.g. top contributors)
    • Surfaces popular discussions
    • etc
  • Allow community members to upload, store, and share files
  • Define which tools will be available to members:
    • Wikis
    • Community Blogs
    • File Sharing
    • Bookmarks
    • Feeds
    • Discussion Forum
    • Activities, which include to-do's and events
  • View community members
  • Complements Lotus Connections' person-centric approach with this new community-centric approach






This will be a brand new module of Lotus Connections! Yes, based on popular demand, Lotus Connections will now have a full-featured Wiki engine. As such you will be able to:

  • Forward-create new pages
  • Rich-text editor or wiki markup editor
  • Supports document uploads
  • Easily add new wiki pages and child pages and re-organize the hiearchy
  • Integrated seamlessly with Communities and the rest of the Lotus Connections suite
  • and a lot more!


I'm pretty excited that this new Wiki capability has been added to Lotus Connections. Now, let's see what other new features have been added to the other modules.


There are also many new features in Profiles. Many of the most successful features of our internal research project (Beehive) will be available in Lotus Connections v2.5. Here's a summary of what's in plan right now:

  • A tag cloud across all Profiles which would make searching easier (a feature that a lot of customers have asked for)
  • A new wall component so others can leave messages for you in your profile
  • A new status widget so you can specify what you are up to ( a la Twitter )
  • Recent updates are shown in the 'Recent Updates' section

The 'Buzz' and Status widgets:


Home Page

The Home Page has been redesigned to include a stream of updates in addition to the widgets that are available in v2.0. The stream of news gives you a quick list of what's happened in and outside your network. Widgets allow end-users to customize their home page with content they want to see and add additional gadgets (perhaps one of the 45,000+ Google Gadgets). There is also search here which allows users to do a global search across the Connections components.

So here's a summary of what's new in Homepage:

  • Global search will also search across the new Wiki and Files component
  • News updates with a single stream of what's been happening around your social network (a la Facebook)
  • Ability to filter the news based on tags, people, and type


New mobile browser user interface for iPhone and a variety of other mobile devices. Additionally, RIM has announced an updated application for the BlackBerry!

Mobile Browser theme:


Some BlackBerry Snapshots:



That's a lot, huh ? I've seen demos of the code internally and I'm pretty impressed that we were able to add so many new features in just 6 months (since the last major release in June '08).

P.S. These are the current product plans and this information is as of Lotusphere. The plans are always subject to change and the screenshots are not final designs.

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