A flaw in Lotus' Notes/Domino server has been slammed by users who found web servers hosted on the company's flagship product can be overlooked by popular internet search engines.
For companies using Domino to set up e-commerce sites this effectively renders their sites invisible to millions of potential customers.
The bug is caused by Domino's dynamic rendering of HTML pages from information held in the Notes database. Because this process is conducted on the fly there is no static HTML for the search engines to address.
De Le Cuona Designs, a consultancy specialising in design and manufacture of fine textiles, was shocked to learn customers could not search for its Domino-hosted website. "None of the search engines can find us - nothing registers. How can we be expected to run a business over the internet if nobody can find our site?" said Bernie De Le Cuona, the company's managing director.
Lotus denied that this issue was adversely affecting its customers. The company claimed internet search engines were not a viable means of searching for data on the internet and that the only way web masters could be absolutely sure that their sites would appear in searches was by signing up with specialist site registration agencies.
The company, however, stated that a patch was available on its web site.
"This issue has been fixed by a workaround that was issued in February," said Victor Aberdeen, Lotus' internet product manager.
This patch opens up the Notes database to the search engines, but, to maintain security, it will only operate when the default access is read only.
"On intranets there is no problem with this issue. But on the internet it is crucial. If Lotus does not get this right with Notes 5, it will be a major stumbling block in Lotus and IBM's current strategy to push e-commerce to the world," said Grant Pearson, managing director of Lotus Users Group.
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