We're having an interesting discussion internally about the use of email offline in a browser, and I am interested in finding out about usage today and patterns for the future from a broader audience.

In Lotus iNotes, we offer the ability for a browser email user to work offline. The feature has been part of the product since first release back a decade ago. And long-time Notes fans know that that implementation grew out of earlier projects like Lotus Weblicator.

However, in LotusLive Notes web, we did not implement this feature from iNotes. The main reason was that the multi-tenant architecture of LotusLive Notes doesn't easily support the DOLS technology which underlies taking iNotes offline. The rest of the story, though, was my belief that offline email in a browser is a declining use case, especially when we are talking about organizations that are looking at a cloud technology environment. Since the very nature of cloud decisions assumes regular connectivity, going offline is not the primary design goal for the capabilities of the cloud. We need to support it, which we obviously do very well through the included Notes client and for those users using push mail through Traveler or Blackberry. But no DOLS.

In the cloud space, our competition seems to have come to the same conclusion. Google has walked away from Gears, but claim that some form of Chrome+HTML5 combo later this summer (not much time left!) will provide offline. Microsoft has never had offline in a browser, and from what I see about Office 365, it's only offline capability is for SharePoint documents.

My question and curiosity is, essentially, how many of you use DOLS in iNotes today, or have a use case where offline in cloud-based browser email would be a requirement. By posing the question I am not in any way implying an answer or a direction, I am genuinely curious to learn more about this scenario. So, who uses or needs offline browser email?

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