Here’s something that’s been in the works for a while internally and has now seen the light of day. I’m a big advocate of IBM Lotus Connections Files for sharing content. I like to see the look on peoples’ faces when I say “no, I won’t send that file to you… but I will share it with you”.

Using Connections Files I can control the sharing, I can see how many times the content has been downloaded (my most popular presentation has been downloaded 228 times, proving that I’m no Chris Crummey), who has downloaded it (very useful) and I can see comments and recommendations. The value-add for colleagues is that I’m not hitting their e-mail quotas with big file attachments.

Now some of that functionality has arrived in the Lotus Notes sidebar. Lotus Greenhouse members can download the plug-in which provides easy access to your Connections Files and drag-and-drop integration.

I can drag a file attachment from an e-mail (or Windows Explorer) and post it quickly to my Connections Files. If I want to share a file, there’s a couple of ways of doing that. I can drag it from the panel into a new e-mail… but rather than adding an attachment it adds a nicely-formatted link (see click-able image below). Alternatively I can share a file with people by right-clicking and selecting the ‘Share’ option, and then adding the names of colleagues. It even suggests people you’ve recently shared with.

I can see my own files, files that I’ve shared with other people, and files that have been shared with me. And probably the coolest feature (and very useful), for shared files I can actually see who has downloaded the file (and which version they downloaded).