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Using Lotus Connections from Your Everyday Tools

Although Lotus Connections provides a rich web experience, you can access and use the services of Lotus Connections from your everyday tools. By providing many access points to Lotus Connections, you can work with social software where you want to and help promote adoption.

New in Lotus Connections 2.5—Mobile Browser Support

You can access Lotus Connections through a mobile device such as an iPhone or a Nokia series 60 device in Lotus Connections 2.5 using the Mobile Browser view in Connections. By accessing Connections through a mobile browser, you can look up people quickly, check in on your network updates, work with your Activities, and even read and browse Blog entries.

New Extensions for Lotus Connections

With Lotus Connections 2.5 comes a new set of extensions that can be leveraged with various tools. Here is a summary of what you can find with this new release:

  • WebSphere Portal—The portlets have been updated to include a rich set of interactive portlets that you can customize to suit your needs using WebSphere Portlet Factory.
  • Microsoft SharePoint—You can now access Lotus Connections from Microsoft SharePoint by accessing Connections data via web parts created specifically for the SharePoint environment.

You can access these and more plug-ins from the solutions catalog at www.ibm.com/software/brandcatalog/portal/lotusconnections.

Lotus Notes Integration

You can use Lotus Connections within your Lotus Notes email client. With the Activities sidebar in Lotus Notes 8 and later, you can drag and drop emails directly into an activity (see Figure 6.34). You can view all your activities, add new entries to them, add to-dos, and comment on entries all from the sidebar. You can prioritize activities as well. A major feature for Notes 8.5 and higher is that you can take your Activities offline, accessing even the uploaded files offline.

Figure 6.34

Figure 6.34 The Lotus Notes Activities sidebar

For earlier versions of Lotus Notes, you can install the Lotus Notes toolbar extension. This allows you to add emails to an activity by highlighting the email and clicking the Add to Activity button in the toolbar.

You can also add Notes documents and databases to Bookmarks and look up profiles in Notes using the toolbar extension.

Lotus Sametime

Often, critical information gets shared in chats. With the Lotus Connections plug-in for Lotus Sametime, you can save chats to your activities, enabling others to use the information you have shared in a chat. When you install the plug-in, you will see an icon at the top of your chats that will allow you to save your chat to an activity, depicted as a thunderbolt with a plus sign.

Selecting that icon will allow you to add the chat to your existing activities or create a new activity. When it is added to Lotus Connections, the Sametime chat dialog icon is used to depict that the entry in the activity was originally a chat (see Figure 6.35).

Figure 6.35

Figure 6.35 Lotus Sametime integration

You can also start and add Broadcast Chats from Lotus Sametime Advanced in Lotus Connections communities. To add a chat, simply click the communities icon in the chat window, shown as three-person icons with a green plus sign, and select the community you want to save the chat to. This adds the chat to the discussion forum as a new topic.

Microsoft Outlook

You can also access Lotus Connections from Microsoft Outlook (see Figure 6.36). After installing the plug-in for Outlook, you can select emails and add them to an activity, add them as an activity to-do, or show the business card for a selected person, provided they are listed in Lotus Connections.

Figure 6.36

Figure 6.36 Microsoft Outlook integration

Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer

A plug-in is available for Microsoft Office that allows you to work with Lotus Connections from Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (see Figure 6.37).

Figure 6.37

Figure 6.37 Microsoft Office integration

After installing the plug-in, you will see a new toolbar in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. In Word, you will have the option of adding the document you are working on into an activity. You can also select a list of text in the document and add the list as a series of to-do items in an activity, in which each line of text would be created as a new to-do. You can also add the document as a new blog entry or highlight a name to search profiles. If you are in Excel or PowerPoint, you will not be able to add the document to your blog or create a to-do list.

From Windows Explorer, you can right-click a file and add it to activities.

Feed Readers

Nearly every view of recent posts, updates, and filtered lists in Lotus Connections provides a feed to that list of information. You can subscribe to Lotus Connections in your favorite feed reader, showing recent blog posts, bookmarks in your watchlist, activity updates, and more.

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