Domino Effect Emerges

Developers look beyond Version 6 to Web services capabilities expected in '03.

IBMs Lotus Software divisions release of Lotus Notes and Domino 6 is expected next week, but developers of the software are already looking beyond this version to the messaging and collaboration platforms Web services future.

Domino 6 will deliver some much-desired improvements, including native anti-spam support, a revamped formula engine for faster and easier application development, improved security for spreading Domino applications across multiple servers, a smoother upgrade process, and a host of usability enhancements.

Developers, however, are getting excited about new Web services capabilities expected as soon as next year. The release of those services was originally planned for the middle of next year, according to a technology road map laid out by Lotus officials in May.

While officials would not confirm the current release plan, sources close to the company said a follow-up release to Domino 6—tentatively known as Domino 7—is slated for July. That would line up with previously announced plans for J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) support, which will enable developers to expose Domino collaborative applications to non-Domino applications as XML-based Web services.

Lotus officials, in Cambridge, Mass., said Domino has included some Web services support since Release 5, but the forthcoming J2EE capabilities will make development much easier.

"The concept of making Lotus apps available for collaboration with other software is just another crucial piece of the puzzle," said Maurice Johnson, a contract Domino developer at Hitachi Software Engineering America Ltd., in New York. "At this point in the game, IBM/Lotus should be one step ahead in making Domino work with other bundles, and looking to get Java from Sun [Microsystems Inc.] as open source is a step in the right direction, as are the moves theyve made to widen their already-open arms to XML."

The move to J2EE and Web services initially was met with resistance from some Domino developers when it was announced in January at Lotusphere.