iNotes and Sametime—Chatting from the Web

by Marie L. Scott Thomas Duff | September 2010 | Enterprise Articles IBM

If you’re running the web version of the Notes e-mail system known as iNotes, you can easily have Sametime up and running just by signing on to your e-mail file via a web browser. And, if you’re used to running the embedded version of Sametime in the Notes client, you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference.

In this article, by Marie L. Scott & Thomas Duff, authors of IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials you’ll learn how to:

  • Set the Sametime preference in iNotes.
  • Log into Sametime from iNotes.
  • Chat with others using Sametime from iNotes
  • Display the Sametime contacts in the iNotes sidebar.
  • Add new contacts to Sametime in iNotes.
  • Set and change your availability status in Sametime for iNotes.
  • Launch the Help files for Sametime in iNotes.

 

IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide

IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide

Mastering Online Enterprise Communication with this collaborative software

  • Collaborate securely with your colleagues and teammates both inside and outside your organization by using Sametime features such as instant messaging and online meetings
  • Make your instant messaging communication more interesting with the inclusion of graphics, images, and emoticons to convey more information in fewer words
  • Communicate with other instant messaging services and users, such as AOL Instant Messaging, Yahoo Instant Messaging, and Google Talk and know how someone's online status can help you communicate faster and more efficiently
  • Discover how the Sametime Meeting Center can maximize the productivity of teams in your organization with the use of online meetings, training session playback, seamless voice/video integration, and screen sharing
  • See how Sametime works in common, every-day, real-world situations with tips, resources, and detailed screenshots

Read more about this book

(For more resources on Microsoft see here.)

Using Sametime in iNotes

Let’s talk a little bit about iNotes. iNotes is the Lotus Notes web client. It works with browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. To get started using iNotes, you will need to login using a user ID and password that your e-mail administrator has given you. Your company or organization may have a central website for you to use to login, like webmail.companyname.com, so that the login URL is easy to remember. Some possible uses for iNotes and Sametime include:

  • Beza uses a netbook and doesn’t want to install either the Notes client or Sametime Connect client. Sametime in iNotes allows him to contact his friends and colleagues.
  • Maja primarily works from a kiosk. She can use iNotes and Sametime to access her e-mail and her company’s directory.
  • Tatiana is traveling without her laptop. She’d like to connect with her team members. She’s stopped at an internet café where she’s able to login to iNotes and Sametime.

When you first login to iNotes you might see your inbox displayed. iNotes has several modes: Full Mode, Lite Mode, and Ultralite Mode. Each of these modes has specific features. We’re going to focus on Full Mode as that is the version that allows you to login to Sametime.

 

If you’re used to using Notes as your e-mail client, you’ll notice a very strong similarity to the Notes 8.x mail client, so you should already be pretty comfortable with the display on the screen.

Enable instant messaging

Because you are using Sametime in a web browser, there are far fewer preferences that are available to you. This is because in a web browser, you don’t have the ability to control a rich Sametime client as you do when you’re running within the Sametime Connect client. The web browser version of Sametime is meant to deliver a basic set of functionality that works regardless of what type of computer you’re using.

The first thing you need to make sure of is that Sametime is enabled to run within iNotes. You do this by launching the iNotes preferences in the upper-right corner of your browser window:

When you click on the Preferences option, you’ll see a list of iNotes preferences, one of which allows you to enable Instant Messaging.

After you select the Enable Instant messaging option, click on Save and Close. This saves the preference in your iNotes profile. At this point your screen will refresh and you’ll notice a new twisty icon just below the toolbar above your name in the Inbox.

In order to get Sametime started, click on the twisty icon and highlight the option to Log On To Instant Messaging. Once you’re logged in you’ll notice your awareness changes to Available.

If you have never launched Sametime in iNotes before, the browser has to load a Java application called STLinksApp to allow Sametime to work properly. You’ll see the following warning box, and you click on Run to let the browser load the application and launch Sametime.

Be sure to select Always trust content from this publisher and Run. The wording for these options may vary slightly with the browser you are using. It is very important that you select this application to run. Some of the functionality we describe later may not work if it has not been installed. Check with your systems staff regarding your default browser settings and whether or not you have the system authority to run these types of Java applets.

IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide

IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide

Mastering Online Enterprise Communication with this collaborative software

  • Collaborate securely with your colleagues and teammates both inside and outside your organization by using Sametime features such as instant messaging and online meetings
  • Make your instant messaging communication more interesting with the inclusion of graphics, images, and emoticons to convey more information in fewer words
  • Communicate with other instant messaging services and users, such as AOL Instant Messaging, Yahoo Instant Messaging, and Google Talk and know how someone's online status can help you communicate faster and more efficiently
  • Discover how the Sametime Meeting Center can maximize the productivity of teams in your organization with the use of online meetings, training session playback, seamless voice/video integration, and screen sharing
  • See how Sametime works in common, every-day, real-world situations with tips, resources, and detailed screenshots

Read more about this book

(For more resources on Microsoft see here.)

Chatting from iNotes

So now that you’ve logged into Sametime, you may notice that your contacts are showing their Sametime status in the iNotes inbox. Do you want to start a chat with one of them? You’ve got several methods for doing just that.

The first option you have is to right-click on an e-mail that shows online awareness for a contact. When you do so, a drop-down menu as shown in the following screenshot:

 

Select the Chat with… option. Once you do that, a new chat window will appear. From the same menu you can also select Add to Sametime Contact List. This allows you to add the person to your Sametime Contact list. Remember, this list is stored on the server, so if you use Sametime elsewhere your contacts will follow you!

Another option to start a chat is by choosing the Sametime conversation icon in the iNotes toolbar, and selecting Chat with from the pull-down dialog box. This same dialog also allows you to Add to the Sametime Contact List… or Show Sametime Contact List.

 

So when you begin a chat, a new chat window pops up. Be sure that your browser has been configured to support pop-up browser windows, or the chat window may end up being blocked. The window will look something like this:

As you see, the chat window in iNotes doesn’t look quite the same as the chat window in the Sametime Connect or Sametime Embedded client. One important item to note is that the chat window doesn’t have the same toolbar that you’ve been used to seeing. It does however show the encrypted icon, so the chat conversation is encrypted. The rich text features that you are used to seeing in the embedded Sametime client and the Sametime Connect client aren’t available either. So you can’t change fonts or include graphic items. You can invite others to the chat, so you can hold a group chat. However, you cannot hold a voice or video chat through Sametime iNotes. If your colleagues send you emoticons they will be converted to the text versions of the standard emoticon set.

Clicking on the Add Tools icon allows you to start a screen sharing or a white boarding session in your browser.

If you select either of those options, you will be taken to a new web page that allows you to share your web browser screen or access the whiteboard function in the Sametime Meeting Room.

IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide Master Online Enterprise Communication with Lotus Sametime 8 with this IBM Lotus Sametime User book and eBook
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Read more about this book

(For more resources on Microsoft see here.)

Displaying Sametime contacts in the sidebar

A new feature of iNotes 8.5.x is the iNotes sidebar. The sidebar panels allow you customize your iNotes environment to look more like your Notes client environment. You can change your preview pane settings, add your Day-At-A-Glance appointments, view Help or view your Sametime Contacts. To do that, you click on the Show option drop-down arrow on the far right side of the browser window. This gives you a menu of options, one of which is to open the Sidebar Panels, and to make sure Sametime Contacts is one of the displayed panels.

When the application finishes loading, the Sidebar is opened, and the selected panels are displayed. Since you selected Sametime Contacts as one of your options, it now appears very much like a Sidebar gadget in the Notes 8.x client. Your Sametime contact list with your groups and contacts will be displayed.

You can also open the sidebar from the Sametime Log on button by selecting the Show Sametime Contact List. This will display the Sametime contact list in the sidebar.

Clicking on the icons in the Sametime header bar shows various drop-down menus for you to use in setting display preferences, adding contacts, adding groups, and starting chats.

Adding and managing contacts

Adding contacts in iNotes Sametime is just about as easy as adding them in any other version. When you click on the Person icon drop-down arrow, you see a menu that allows you to add a contact, a private group, or a public group to your contact list.

If you right-click on a name in the Sametime sidebar, you’ll get a different menu of options allowing you to edit the person’s nickname, start a chat, send an e-mail message, configure your display preferences, or even remove the person’s name from your Sametime list.

Clicking on the option to add a person gives you a new browser window that allows you to either enter the name manually if you know it, or to call up a directory listing so that you can choose a name. To choose a name from the directory list, click on the Name button.

The Name button brings up a directory dialog browser screen that is similar to what you’ve seen before. Enter the name of the person to search for and click Search. This returns a list of names that match your search criteria. Click the name that you want to add and click on the Select button to move it into the Recipients list. When your list is done, click on the OK button.

The name populates your original Add Contact window, and you click on OK to add it to your contact list on a permanent basis.

You can also add the person to the Sametime contact list by right-clicking on their name in your inbox. This will give you the dialog box and option to add them to the Sametime contact list.

One set of options revolve around how your Sametime sidebar panel will display information. If you click on the View option drop-down arrow, you will see a number of options that are designed to be turned on or off. To turn the option on, click the option and a checkmark will appear next to it. To turn it off, click it again and the checkmark will disappear.

Online Only shows you just the names of people who are signed on to Sametime at the present. Leaving this turned off means that all your contacts will appear.

Groups A-Z and Contacts A-Z will alphabetize your Sametime groups and contacts within the groups. If you turn the option off, the names and groups will appear in the order in which they were added.

Short Names only show the contact’s name without the full organizational information attached to it. The full name of the contact will appear if this option is deselected.

Set and edit your status message

You have the ability to display and edit your status messages in the same way you do with other versions of Sametime. You find this option setting on the left side of your iNotes screen, next to the name of the person who is signed on to this account. If you click on the drop-down arrow next to the Sametime availability icon, you see the options to set Available, Away, Meeting, and Do Not Disturb options, as well as editing the message to display something more detailed.

 

You can also modify your status from the Sametime sidebar. Click on the drop-down arrow next to your status indicator in the sidebar. This will also give you the option to change your status.

 

When you choose to edit one of your status messages instead of just using the default status message, you will see a window giving you the option to customize your information shown for your status.

 

Help! I need somebody!

There’s a good chance that regardless of how much we put in this article, you’ll have that one question that we didn’t think to cover. At that point, you should help yourself to the Help system that comes built into Sametime.

On the Sametime panel, you’ll see a question mark icon on the right side of the icon bar. After you click on that icon, an additional panel launches in the sidebar that has all the help files for iNotes.

 

If the first topic that comes up is not for Instant Messaging, click on the third icon in the icon bar, the one right after the right-facing green arrow. That gives you a list of topics, one of which is for Sametime Help. You should be able to find the answers to most of your questions there.

Summary

In this article, you learned how to start Sametime in iNotes. You learned how to start a chat session, as well as how to set and change your availability status messages. You learned how to add contacts, as well as set the different preferences that you have available in the Sametime iNotes client. And finally, you learned how to launch Sametime Help files in the iNotes client.


Further resources on this subject:


About the Author :


Marie L. Scott

Marie Scott is the Director of Email Services at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She holds a bachelor of science in biology from James Madison University and a certificate in information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University. Marie has held dual advanced certifications in Notes/Domino administration and development since version 4.0, and she is an IBM Certified Advanced Security Professional for Domino. Marie began working with Lotus Notes in 1996, and she has worked in networking, systems integration, and email systems since 1987. Her primary interest is in Domino administration in complex environments. She has managed large email migration projects including a project transitioning university students to cloud computing. Marie is a speaker at conferences featuring IBM/Lotus technologies. Marie has written for The View (Wellesley Information Services) and with Tom Duff coauthored IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User’s Guide (Packt Press, 2010). Marie is an IBM Champion for Collaboration Solutions: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/profiles/user/MarieS.... Marie’s blog can be found at: http://crashtestchix.com

Thomas Duff

Thomas Duff (also known as “Duffbert”) is a software developer focusing on Lotus collaboration technologies in Portland, Oregon. He started working with Lotus Notes in 1996 in version R3 and has written and maintained hundreds of applications in large enterprises through the years. He also holds Lotus principal development certifications starting at version 4 and going up to version 8, as well as Microsoft and Java certifications. Tom is a prolific writer, both in various industry publications and at his website, Duffbert’s Random Musings, at http://www.duffbert.com. He also is a frequent speaker at conferences and events focusing on Lotus technologies. Tom and Marie Scott coauthored IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User’s Guide (Packt Press, 2010). Tom is an IBM Champion for Collaboration Solutions: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/profiles/user/Thomas...

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