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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-01-23 Print this article Print

Also at the Lotusphere conference, IBM sponsored an "Innovation Lab," where two dozen IBM Research and related projects were on display. One project known as Malibu is a personal productivity assistant that provides awareness and peripheral access to activities, tasks, social bookmarks and feeds to help workers manage their activity-centric work, IBM said. Werner Geyer, a research scientist in the Collaborative User Experience group at IBM Research, said Malibu is a set of Lotus Sametime plug-ins that bring the newly announced Lotus Connection onto a users desktop.
It features several IBM collaboration technologies and can even automatically recommend actions the user should take based on prior history. Users also can click on "Surf" Malibu to search across data sources.
Malibu is a research project that has more than 500 users within IBM running it every day, Geyer said. However, two pieces of the project have already found their way into IBM products. The feed reader is part of the upcoming Notes 8 product, and the Malibu flag reader is part of Lotus Connections, he said. Click here to read more about Lotus push to get Notes and Domino 8 into public beta in February. IBM also showed a separate project known as IBM Lotus Sametime Integration with Rational Jazz. Jazz is an IBM Rational platform that allows software development teams to collaborate across all phases of the software life cycle. "Jazz is exploring ways to enhance the future of collaborative software development, and not just for developers, but for requirements, testers, coders, etc.," said Steven Rohall, a software architect in the CUE Research Group at IBM Research. "This research project also features awareness of team members, so you can see which members of your team are online and you can open chats with them or send them defects youve found." The underlying technology is Lotus Sametime 7.5.1, Rohall said. Sametime is key to a few other IBM Research projects on display in the Innovation Lab, including the Desktop Widgets Runtime for IBM Lotus Sametime and the IBM Lotus Sametime Web 2.0 Toolkit. The Desktop Widgets Runtime for IBM Lotus Sametime is a desktop widget run-time integrating Sametime to manage desktop applications using HTML, JavaScript, CSS (cascading stylesheets) and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). The widgets are reusable, isolated applications that can be aggregated to form desktop portals, said Woody Huang, a software engineer in IBMs e-Business Frameworks group at the companys T.J. Watson research Center in Hawthorne, N.Y. "Were trying to create a desktop widget run-time where multiple widgets can be used as building blocks for mashups," said Gegi Thomas, a researcher who works with Huang at IBM Research. Moreover, the widgets can be used by ISVs "to build domain-specific applications," Huang said. The Desktop Widgets Runtime for IBM Lotus Sametime can be loosely compared with what Apple has done with its Apple Dashboard widget library and Yahoos Konfabulator, now known as the Yahoo Widget Engine, said Fenil Shah, another software engineer in Huangs group. John Ponzo rounds out the team of research engineers working on the technology. The IBM Lotus Sametime Web 2.0 Toolkit is based on Sametime 7.5.1 and provides the infrastructure to build applications on top of Sametime that run on Windows, Linux and the Macintosh, Shah said. Another project, the ODF (OpenDocument Format) for Situational Applications, involves new mechanisms for integrating ODF documents into Web 2.0 applications and uses DOM (Document Object Model) programming to control office applications, said Hironbu Takagi, a researcher from IBMs Tokyo Research Laboratory. Lotus Sametime 7.5 interoperates with AIM and Google Talk. Click here to read more. "We developed a new type of middleware to integrate standard static documents into Web 2.0 applications," Takagi said. Takagis demo showed how to mash up ODF documents with Yahoo Maps, edit wiki pages using office editors and manage compliance for ODF accessibility. The Innovation Lab also featured a template-based project for business users. The Activity-centric Computing for Evolving Business Practices, or ACC, supports ad hoc business activities and allows business practices to be encoded in Activity Templates that can be reused and evolved, said Barton Smith, an IBM researcher involved with the project. "It publishes an Atom feed, and we can make different views of that data and different applications without any change to the service," Barton said. "We just use the Atom API." Other applications in the Innovation Lab at Lotusphere include Sonar, a project for sharing social network data; Pasta, for enterprise presence; and Cattail, a person-centric file sharing system project. Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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