Saturday, November 1, 2008

Exploring Domino Web Access Lite: the new low-bandwidth option in Lotus Domino 8.01


By Barry Rosen

Do you have users who are still on modems or travel to areas with less then optimal bandwidth? When Lotus Domino 8.01 was released in February, there were several new features added. One of them was Domino Web Access Lite. This low-bandwidth option is optimal for traveling users, users logging in from kiosks, dial-up users, or anyone with constrained bandwidth. Some of the architectural changes that were made to optimize performance in the Lite mode are Web 2.0 technologies such as Ajax, a tab-based interface, multi-framed architecture, and asynchronous transactions.

Domino Web Access Lite users are presented with a subset of the full DWA features. When accessing DWA Lite, DWA Lite is just another mode in DWA. Changes made in one mode are seen in both modes. Users in DWA Lite can read and create mail and contact information, but only view calendar and invitations, as you can see in Figure A.


A click of the mouse switches between Full and Lite versions. (click for larger image)

The Day-At-A-Glance calendar is available when you click Sidebar. Although you can't set preferences in Lite mode, many of the preferences you set in full mode are supported in the Lite mode. While the intended audience of DWA Lite is travelers, it is not for use on mobile devices. For this functionality, Lotus has introduced IBM Lotus Notes Traveler (and will be introducing DWA Ultralite as part of 8.0.2)

If you need to use one of the features that is restricted in Lite mode, you'll receive a pop up alert with a link. The link will switch you back to the Full mode to complete the task, as you can see in Figure B.


DWA will switch you back to the Full version if you need certain features.

There are two components to the DWA Lite functionality, the server side and the client side. On the client side, the code is completely different for DWA Lite than it is for DWA. The client also includes a debug mode. This eliminates the need to set iNotes_WA_DEBUG=1 on the server NOTES.INI.

The server side of DWA Lite consists of the 8.01 mail template as well as FORMS8.NSF. The code for both DWA clients is stored in the FORMS8.NSF. So DWA Lite client will share the FORMS8.NSF with the full DWA users on a server. Any DWA configurations that are made on server side in the configuration document will be applied to DWA Lite as well.