Lotus offers something for nothing

It's not often that you get something for nothing in this world. But happily, users of Lotus Domino and Notes (or at least those who are under maintenance licensing) will get just that with the next release (6.51) of Domino and Notes this month.

It’s not often that you get something for nothing in this world.

But happily, users of Lotus Domino and Notes (or at least those who are under maintenance licensing) will get just that with the next release (6.51) of Domino and Notes this month. Lotus announced earlier this week at Lotusphere, in Orlando, Florida, that it would be bundling instant messaging capability into the core Domino product from the 6.51 release.

Instant messaging capability has been available for some time to users of Lotus’ Sametime product, and enables users to see who’s online in real time via what Lotus refers to as “people awareness”, and initiate chat sessions with available users.

The free version won’t include all of Lotus’ instant messaging, however; more advanced features such as web-conferencing will be part of the paid-for package.

The Domino 6.51 release will also include a number of new features designed to enhance Lotus’ Workplace technology by further exposing Domino functionality as “portlets” and making them available to a portal user-interface. Some of this functionality has already been “portalised” as part of IBM/Lotus’ Workplace 1.1 release and the Domino 6.5 release.

Workplace is a layer that sits on top of the WebSphere Portal, providing web-based portal functionality in addition to integration with Domino. (WebSphere Portal is best thought of as a middleware layer on top of WebSphere server.)

In its 1.1 release, Workplace consists of four basic packages: Messaging (email, contacts, calendaring and scheduling); Team Collaboration (discussion forums, web conferencing and team “workspaces”), Collaborative Learning (online training); and Content Management (tools for managing online content and resources).

The Lotusphere audience enthusiastically watched a demo of a Java-based Workplace 2.0 client, scheduled to ship within the next four months.

Workplace 2.0 client looks to be the future of the Notes client – although Lotus’ execs are quick to claim that they are not backing away from the traditional Notes client and it will continue to be supported and enhanced. However, at some time in the future the Notes client and the new Workplace client are likely to coalesce – probably around the release of what will then be known as Notes 8.0.

Before Notes 8 makes its appearance, Notes 7 will materialise towards the end of this year. The big feature of Notes 7.0 will be the option to replace the traditional (.nsf) storage structure with DB2 on the server, on a database-by-database basis.

Of further interest to those not fond of the Notes client, Lotus will offer Domino 6.5 Web Access (previously known as iNotes), which provides Notes client-style functionality from within a browser. Mozilla is supported as a browser on both Linux and Windows platforms, providing Notes/Domino shops with a potentially viable Linux-based option.

Evans travelled to Orlando as a guest of IBM.

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