IBM Cements Ties With Lotus

Demonstrates integrated technologies at Lotusphere.

IBMs previously stated strategy to bring its Lotus Software division into closer step with the rest of its Software Group took shape at last weeks Lotusphere user conference in Orlando, Fla.

Several products announced at the show brought together Lotus and other IBM technologies.

IBM also introduced a new, low-cost e-mail server that will be marketed under the Lotus brand even though it is built on IBM technologies such as WebSphere and DB2 rather than Lotus Notes and Domino architecture.

A primary example of the integration of technologies is the IBM Lotus Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio, which is the result of development initiatives code-named Project Montreal and Project Seoul. As previously reported by eWeek, the new application development tool kit is designed to make it easier for Lotus Domino developers to use their current development expertise and Domino-based applications in a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) development environment, Lotus officials said.

New development tools include custom JavaServer Pages tags for accessing existing Domino data in WebSphere Studio. Also new are reusable forms, views and agents that will allow developers to view existing Lotus Notes databases deployed on the Domino server and reuse their forms, views and agents in new J2EE applications, speeding development. The tool kit is built on the Eclipse open-source platform and shares a common look and feel with other WebSphere tool kits.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., also demonstrated new Web rapid application development features for J2EE Web application development in WebSphere Studio. These capabilities, similar to what Domino already provides, will enable Web developers and non-Java programmers to more quickly develop and deploy J2EE Web applications, said officials from Lotus, of Cambridge, Mass.

Lotus Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio, available next quarter, will be included at no additional cost in a future version of Domino Designer 6.

John Matelski, deputy CIO for the city of Orlando, said hes looking forward to deploying the tool kit since it will allow his Report Program Generator developers to develop applications in Java. Those developers will then be able to develop for WebSphere Portal Server, which the city plans to deploy as part of its e-government initiative, Matelski said.

"Our constituents could pay for permits and traffic tickets or reserve ballparks at the site," said Matelski. "People could find out about services theyre not aware of."

Matelski envisions the site as a revenue producer, one that would help Orlando minimize the time it takes to receive payments from citizens.

Meanwhile, the new e-mail application, which has not yet been named, is due next quarter. Pricing has not yet been determined, although Lotus officials said it will be comparable to similar products in the market from vendors such as Sendmail Inc. The new application will be browser-based and will support basic personal information management and calendaring but will not include support for advanced workflow and shared calendaring, which exist in Lotus applications. It will use LDAP directory services.

Ties between Lotus and WebSphere technologies are growing in other ways. IBMs WebSphere Portal is adding preconfigured collaboration capabilities from Lotus, which IBM is calling Collaboration Center. These capabilities will be new portlets within WebSphere Portal Extend and WebSphere Portal Experience and include portlets for online white pages, team collaboration and Web conferencing.