Lotus takes Notes into Workplace

IBM Corp. means to forge stronger bonds between its messaging and collaboration tools with updated versions of Lotus Notes and Domino, launched this week at its Lotusphere user conference in Orlando.

Marking the 20th anniversary of Lotus Notes, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM used the annual Lotusphere event to officially launch the third beta for Notes and Domino 7, with the final product slated to ship this summer. Notes and Domino 7 offers tighter integration with the DB2 Universal Database and the Eclipse and Java-based IBM Workplace platform, according to IBM.

Notes and Domino 7 can support up to 80 per cent more users, while using 25 per cent less processing power, IBM said, adding that the new version of Notes and Domino features tools to automatically convert applications into XML-based Web services.

IBM also unveiled Domino Designer, a visual, script-oriented programming tool that creates Notes- and Web-based applications, and new Domino Domain monitoring tools to help enterprises consolidate data on fewer Lotus Domino servers.

During the opening keynote address Ambuj Goyal, general manager of workplace, portal and collaborative software (Lotus Software) at IBM, said in front of the estimated 5,800 Lotusphere attendees that the announcements are designed to put an end to the “two-lane highway” approach and provide tighter integration between Notes and IBM’s two-year-old Workplace messaging and collaboration platform.

In the past, Lotus Notes and Domino users may have been concerned about the company’s product roadmap, particularly as IBM had focused more on J2EE and WebSphere collaboration technologies. Notes/Domino and Workplace are now on the same path, Goyal said.

Goyal confirmed that IBM remains committed its Lotus Notes and Domino technologies, and he said the company intends to grow its Lotus/IBM collaboration user base from the current 118 million users to 200 million.

Future versions of Notes will fall under the Java-based IBM Workplace platform umbrella, Goyal added.

According to Goyal, Lotus/Domino, WebSphere Portal and the Workplace platform are the core of Big Blue’s collaboration product portfolio, and they provide users with a variety of options to build the “front-end” of their collaborative solutions on client devices including PCs and mobile devices.

The latest version of IBM Workplace, now dubbed Workplace Collaborative Services 2.5, offers document and Web content management, e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging and Web conferencing. A new Activity Explorer feature lets users organize e-mail messages and other documents from a single interface, IBM said.

Workplace will be available on a per-processor licensing model, IBM said.

Enhancements to WebSphere Portal include the release of IBM Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) Self-Service Validation Site. The offering will enable users to validate, test, and ensure their WSRP services are easily integrated with IBM’s WebSphere Portal. WebSphere Portal will include single sign-on functionality, increased support for industry standards and enhanced collaborative capabilities through IBM Workplace client support, the company said.