XML is central to Lotus’ future

Domino’s proprietary environment will open up to the emerging Extensible Markup Language (XML) standard, Lotus Development Corp. officials said recently.

“Our goal for Domino is to store XML data natively,” said Michele Daziel, Lotus’ general manager of the Web application market.

XML technology will gradually be added to Domino, with a major update likely in the second half of next year. But Lotus wouldn’t commit to full native support by then.

Native XML support in Domino is high on the wish list of Brad Hertenstein, manager of e-commerce and Web services at staffing and training firm Romac International Inc. in Tampa, Fla. Romac, which wants to export job-offer information to third parties, picked XML as its standard format. Today, that requires a Java servlet to pull data from a Domino database and convert it to XML.

XML is also key to Lotus’ knowledge management plans, currently code-named Project Yoda, where XML will be used to help summarize and categorize data in Domino databases, Web pages and other documents.

Also of interest: Lotus said it will revamp Domino’s mobile device support this fall by combining several products into a single package, Mobile Services for Domino 1.0. A second release of Mobile Services for Domino next spring will add support for Windows CE, Sharp Electronics Corp.’s Zaurus and Epoc32/Symbian devices. The company will eventually include support for universal Web clients via the Wireless Markup Language, an HTML-like page description tool.

Lotus officials said they will focus on developing Notes and Domino products that can be sold outside Domino environments. The first signs of the new non-Domino emphasis will come with the Notes R5 client itself; Lotus is beginning to sell the software as a personal messaging and productivity tool for earlier versions of Domino and other environments.

“We’ll continue to move downstream with the Notes client,” said Notes marketing manager Carl Tyler. “We’ll make it valuable to any consumer, not just Notes installations.”