Joel Oleson discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of Exchange Public Folders in his last post. Like Public Folders, Colligo Contributor Add-In for Outlook provides a convenient method for linking SharePoint document libraries and lists into Outlook folders. Unlike Public Folders, the addition of shared folders to mailboxes does not necessitate IT involvement. They can be added by end users themselves, based on existing user permissions set in SharePoint. Optionally, IT administrators can push out a configuration file to the clients that automatically links a set of SharePoint document libraries and folders to Outlook without user intervention. This file can also be used to manage a number of configuration options, including default metadata for individual folders.
Joel mentioned that SharePoint is a better option if you are migrating Lotus Notes applications. It is important to consider some gaps that need to be filled when doing these migrations:
- mail and document management system integration,
- a rich client experience on the desktop, and
- offline caching for mobile and remote workers.
Lotus Notes users will be accustomed to a rich desktop client that integrates with the email application and works online and offline. Out-of-the-box SharePoint only supports an online browser-based experience. Outlook 2007 syncs with SharePoint document libraries, discussions, and a few standard lists, but it doesn’t support elements such as custom lists, content types, metadata, or views that users are used to in Notes applications. It also doesn’t support drag-and-drop from Outlook to SharePoint. For an overview of the offline SharePoint capabilities of Outlook, you may find this post from 2006 informative.
If you are looking to provide an equivalent to the Notes client, the Colligo Contributor Add-In for Outlook supports SharePoint’s advanced elements that are used to migrate Notes applications, and it integrates SharePoint with email. In addition, it can cache SharePoint lists and libraries (including views and metadata) so the applications and content can be used offline.