Spanning Reach to Rich

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2004-05-14 Print this article Print

Thats been the struggle Microsofts been going through for years. "Ultimately" is either a long time or it never happens. If your strategy achieves a critical mass, theres going to be significant pressure to customize these rich-client applications.
Its still to be determined exact timeframes, how that will come to be. Our goal is to build applications including portlets that you see in portals like WebSphere Portal, that can run both in a connected Web mode or in a disconnected offline or ported onto the client mode.
But you dont have that capability today? No, and to be clear, the Workplace client technology is going to first see the light of day inside of these two products—Workplace Messaging and Workplace Documents—this quarter. Were working feverishly to make it available as a more general SDK and toolkit for ISVs and corporate developers in the second half. We have a couple dozen design partners who are working with us now to really flesh that out, to harden that API, and to build forward an SDK. At that point, youll be able to stitch together presence and information in an application that intelligently responds to incoming data from, say, an RSS stream? Yes, thats correct. What about RSS? Whats interesting about this framework is, it will enable a whole host of additional collaborative capabilities that we have not brought to market yet. For instance, theres a research project that we were demonstrating in several labs at Lotusphere called Activity Explorer, where we pulled together in a project or whatever navigation metaphor you want to use, all different types of data: things ranging from an IM chat log to a document to an e-mail thread, all in a consistent navigation model. If I want to now bring somebody else into my project, I just drag them off the buddy list or the presence awareness window, drop them onto one piece of the hierarchy in that navigation structure, and instantly Ive provisioned them access to that part of the project or the activity. Already, our R&D team has built that on top of this Eclipse-based framework, and we fully expect that now, this open-source, Linux-supporting open community can start to build Eclipse-based plug-ins to this framework, and plug in all kinds of things: blog creators, RSS tools, etc. etc. That stream could be emitting an RSS feed as well. Of course. I dont hear anything about peer-to-peer between these clients. Is that on the drawing board? Its certainly something that can be done. Colligo, one of the partners endorsing Workplace partner technology, has peer-to-peer technology that theyve used to augment Notes in some situations. Theyve already started working with the Workplace client technology code to see how they might do to augment what were doing with some of their unique technologies. To read more about Colligo syncing with IBM Workplace on database replication, click here. It appears that youre finally rejoining the collaborative universe. [Laughing] Rejoining! Hopefully, were helping to define whole new opportunities for the collaborative universe. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at for more on IM and other collaboration technologies. Be sure to add our messaging and collaboration news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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