Lotus Adds IM, Collaboration Apps to Workplace

SAP enhances portal administration.

IBM is adding new applications for instant messaging and team collaboration, e-learning, and content management on top of its Lotus Workplace platform.

The products, announced at an event here last week, add to Lotus J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition)-based, next-generation platform, which had been limited to basic e-mail and some vertical-specific collaborative applications.

A new version of the original Lotus Workplace product, Workplace Messaging 1.1, was also announced. New features include a personal calendar and address book and an updated user interface based on IBMs WebSphere Portal. Lotus Workplace Team Collaboration 1.1 includes IM and presence awareness as well as team collaboration work spaces, where discussion forums and document libraries can be set up for particular projects.

IBM is also transitioning Lotus Learning Management System to the Workplace platform with the next release, to be called Lotus Workplace Collaborative Learning 1.1. The product supports management of programs, resources and course materials for classroom-based and e-learning programs. A fourth new product is Lotus Workplace Web Content Management 1.1, which is rebranded technology that IBM acquired from Aptrix earlier this year.

All the Workplace products are built on J2EE and integrated with one another. Users can license the entire platform—IBM will soon offer a bundle of the platform with WebSphere Portal Server—or only the applications needed.

IBM officials reiterated throughout the event that its Notes and Domino platform for messaging and collaboration would be developed in conjunction with Workplace. Larry Bowden, vice president of Lotus Workplace products, said IBM isnt about to force 110 million Notes users to migrate to a different platform.

"There was a Version 6 and 6.5 [of Notes and Domino]; theres going to be a Version 7 and a Version 8," said Bowden. "The Domino application server is going to be around for at least the next decade."

In the second quarter of next year, IBM plans to release Workplace 2.0, featuring a rich client built on the Eclipse framework; collaborative document management; and Workplace Builder, an application development tool kit for Workplace. At the same time, support for team work spaces and document management will be added to Notes and Domino.

By the fourth quarter, Workplace will get a disconnected client and mobile development support in Version 2.5, while Version 7.0 of Notes and Domino gets integration with Workplace.