IBM Adds to Lotus Lineup

Java, wireless, and low-cost e-mail were in the spotlight on day one of the Lotusphere conference in Orlando.

Day one of the Lotusphere conference in Orlando was highlighted by news from IBM Corp. and its Lotus Software division about new mobile access capabilities and low-cost e-mail software as well as expected news on increased Java support and Domino-WebSphere integration.

As reported previously by eWEEK, IBM announced the IBM Lotus Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio, the result of the companys Project Montreal and Project Seoul.

The new application development toolkit is designed to make it easier for Lotus Domino developers to use their current development expertise and Domino-based applications in a J2EE development environment, Lotus officials said.

New development tools will include Custom Java Server Pages tags for accessing existing Domino data in WebSphere Studio; reuseable forms, views, 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 toolkit is built on the Eclipse open-source platform and shares a common look and feel with other WebSphere toolkits. IBM is also demonstrating 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, Lotus officials said.

The Lotus Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio will be included at no additional cost in a future version of Domino Designer 6 and is scheduled to be available in the second quarter. It requires both Domino 6 and WebSphere Studio V5, will ship in a separate directory and requires a separate installation. Pricing and availability for the new Web RAD features will be announced at a later date.

In an interesting move, Lotus also announced Monday that it will soon offer a new e-mail application that will be built on IBM technology like WebSphere and DB2 rather than the current Notes and Domino architecture.

The still unnamed product is expected to be delivered in the second quarter. Pricing has not yet been determined though Lotus officials said it would be comparable to similar products in the market from vendors like 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 calendar like existing Lotus applications like Notes and iNotes. It will use LDAP directory services.

Lotus officials said it is designed to be used in conjunction with those products to extend basic e-mail to employees in an organization that dont currently have it, such as retail clerks and factory floor workers, at a lower cost than existing Lotus technologies.

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.