Lotus Uniting Collaboration Apps

Notes, Domino coming together in platform.

IBM is beginning the transition of its Lotus Notes and Domino messaging and collaboration platform from stand-alone software packages to components of the emerging Lotus Workplace platform.

Lotus Workplace, a Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition-based messaging and collaboration platform released earlier this year, will be the focus of IBMs Lotus Software division going forward. Notes and Domino and other Lotus applications such as Instant Messaging (formerly Sametime) will be delivered as components of Workplace, according to Lotus officials.

When that transition will officially take place is unclear, but at least in terms of branding, the products are coming closer together in the Version 6.5 release of the Notes client and Domino server that is expected to ship this week.

One of the key new features in the upgrade is a portal interface called Lotus Workplace for Notes, which provides a welcome page with access to all Lotus applications. Lotus Workplace for Notes is, however, built on existing Lotus technology rather than WebSphere Portal, which other Workplace applications use.

As previously reported by eWEEK, this release also supports integration of Lotus Instant Messaging into the Notes client, so that chat sessions can be launched within e-mail and the senders presence is indicated in in-box views. Though still sold individually, previously, Sametime had to be launched separately from Notes.

Notes and Domino 6.5 provide numerous usability enhancements in the Notes client, including enhanced junk mail handling features, support for follow-up flags, unread e-mail view, and icons for reply and forward. The upgrade also features the ability to print e-mail without showing the distribution list, to drag and drop messages to Calendar and To Do bookmarks, and to export Notes data to a spreadsheet or other application.

Domino Web Access features new junk mail rules, follow-up flags, multiple time zone and additional offline support as well as new delivery options for sending secure, encrypted mail messages.

New tools and features for application developers include the ability to add instant messaging and online awareness to an application without additional programming and the ability to modify the Domino Web Access template. New Java and CORBA classes enable faster software development. Version 6.5 provides more integration with WebSphere Studio as the Lotus Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio 1.1 exposes additional Domino customer JavaServer Pages tags.