Lotus May Open Some Code

Company considers enrolling Domino Designer in IBM's Eclipse program.

Lotus Software is considering participating in parent company IBMs Eclipse open-source initiative and releasing the source code for its Domino Designer development tool.

Such a step would mean the most widely used development tool for building applications that run on the Domino application server would gain additional Java support.

"Were looking into it. Were still in the investigative phase," said Martha Hoyt, senior manager for Web services at Lotus, in Cambridge, Mass.

If Domino Designer is enrolled in the Eclipse program, which IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., unveiled this month to donate $40 million worth of Java-based software to the open-source community, EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) support would be added to Designer, Hoyt said. The current version of Domino Designer in Lotus R.5 supports Java agents. The forthcoming version, code-named Rnext, will support JSP (JavaServer Pages) and servlets.

EJB support would be a welcome enhancement for Domino Designer, DuAnne Masselink said.

"Were looking forward to the JSP support in Rnext. Taking it to the next step, to EJB, would be great," said Masselink, manager of collaborative computing at office furniture designer Herman Miller Inc., in Holland, Mich. "As a general rule, Java is where development is going, so the more Java we can get our hands on and the more Domino is integrated with Java, the better."

IBMs WebSphere Studio development tools are the first commercially available development tools to be released to Eclipse. If Domino Designer joins Eclipse, it would share the same source code, which may make some Lotus shops uncomfortable.

"I dont know if I should be concerned about this announcement, but in general, I have concerns about the integration with WebSphere and Domino and what does that mean for the future of Notes and Domino," Masselink said. "Will [IBM and Lotus] abandon Domino? Theres a lot of rumors and speculation out there already."

Hoyt said Lotus expects to make a decision on Domino Designers participation in Eclipse sometime after the release of Rnext, which is expected to be available next year. Though the target audience for Domino Developer would remain the Domino community, making Domino Developer available to the open-source community as part of Eclipse could have benefits for non-Domino developers, too, Hoyt said.