Momentum is building in the Lotus Domino developer community for a new, open-source initiative to create an alternative Java application development environment for the forthcoming Domino 6.
The move follows plans IBM announced late last month to remove most of the current Java development environment, known as Garnet, from the final version of Domino 6.
An informal network of Domino developers known as the Notes Open Source Software Organization, or NotesOSS.org (pronounced Notes Sauce), may spearhead such an effort, according to Nathan Freeman, a consulting engineer at Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. and co-founder of NotesOSS.org.
“Were just getting started. Theres no code yet, but were building momentum,” said Freeman, in Orlando, Fla. “A lot of senior, talented Domino developers are joining to work on open-source applications deployment.”
NotesOSS.org was formed late last year on the Notes.net online forum following discussions Lotus developers had about an open-source Notes application Freeman wrote called Lookout Express.
The program mimics Microsoft Corp.s Outlook Express interface in a Notes client.
Since IBMs Lotus Software unit announced its intention to replace Garnet with a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) development environment at its Lotusphere user conference, the number of developers that have expressed interest in NotesOSS.org has swelled to over 100, from only about 35, Freeman said.
“Within 2 hours of IBMs announcement regarding Garnet looking like reality, members of Notes.net were already assembling a team to construct JSP deployment tools for Domino 6 on NotesOSS,” Freeman said. “So it may be the case that the developer community solves the tool and deployment problem for itself over the next few months.”
A Lotus spokesman said company officials did not know enough about what NotesOSS.org was planning to do to comment at this time.
The Cambridge, Mass., company will replace Garnet with an embedded IBM WebSphere server because Garnet produced a nonstandard variant of J2EE. General Manager Al Zollar at Lotusphere said J2EE support would let customers standardize on platforms and thus improve interoperability among applications.
“Its a credit to Lotus that they support standards and incorporate only mature standards, but the argument rings hollow,” said Dave Taylor, an analyst at T. Rowe Price Group Inc., in Baltimore. Taylor noted the HTML editing environment and HTTP stack in Notes could be considered nonstandard but were in Domino.
“Even if Garnet is not completely standard, its well-developed and highly functional,” Taylor said.