Thursday, January 23, 2003

Lotusphere 2003 and chicken gizzards

The week before Lotusphere is always a good time to rifle through the goat entrails and have a punt on what might be on show. What will not be on show might just make us glum.
Since Notes Domino 6 is well and truly shipping I'm sure there are lots of presentations about why we all should upgrade and plenty of emphasis on"value". There will increasing "value" of course, maybe better business "value", with luck shareholder "value" will be improved and, if we wish really hard, some increased return on investment might not be beyond the realm of the possible.
IBM wouldn't spend all that cash without also including lots of cross promotion of Tivoli Health tools and that lovely WebSphere (the same shade of purple as Barney the Dinosaur?).

ND 6.0.1
Presumably no surprises here - just the stuff that didn't make it into 6 - COM, Roaming and with some luck a native OSX installer. Plus the occasional fix (my guess is about 412).
Oh, and a shiny new iNotes!
Oh, Oh and support for more HTTP stacks (including single signon pretty please).

Notes client
What will 6.02 and 6.03 have in store? Probably a greater focus on deployment, management, and maintenance. Any major items - probably not. All the cool stuff will be on the Domino Developer front.

Domino Administrator
This seems pretty simple to me - all Lotus have to do is fix the Web Admin to work with browsers on non-windows platforms. Client-side XML processing is progressing in non-IE browsers - so they should just get on with it. If we all say Java three times and click our heels together, anything is possible.

Domino Designer A few days ago I wrote a little piece on some sneak preview info on Designer & WebSphere integration projects codenamed Seoul & Montreal.

Some interesting passages from the August 2002 Roadmap may also greet the light of day at Lotusphere 2003.

Consistent API
Today, Lotus software APIs differ widely from product to product, making integration rather complex. Lotus software will simplify integration by introducing a common cross-product schema and data model to make the APIs more uniform among products. These APIs will make it easier for your organization to build cross-product integrated applications. Lotus will initially produce Java interfaces, but will move to Web services as those technologies mature.

I suppose the first part of this process has already started with the renaming of a number of products which will take place during this quarter. These products are, I assume, the ones that will acquire a new (or at least consistent) API, schema and data model. Lotusphere would be a good place to announce the new API.

Web Services
In coming releases of Lotus Notes and Domino, you can expect Lotus to stay consistent with its open standards platform strategy by adding functions for mobile/wireless application development, by making consumption of Web services easier, and by enhancing XML.
Along with the progressive innovation that Lotus will add to Domino Designer and to the Domino programming model, there will be continued integration with WebSphere Studio. This integration will not replace Domino Designer, but will help facilitate teams of developers using both Domino and WebSphere Application Server in their environment.
Lotus Domino can host Java-based Web services that expose Domino data and functionality. Using a combination of a J2EE server like WebSphere, appropriate SOAP classes, and the Domino Java Objects, developers can expose desired portions of their current Domino applications as Web services. To do so requires some Java development skills and knowledge of the Domino object model. IBM's WebSphere Application Server ships with the needed SOAP classes, and the WebSphere Studio development environment has wizards for creating, consuming, managing, and deploying Web services.

All through the above section the message is that Domino applications can only consume Web Services. To turn Domino apps into Web Services, you'll need to turn to a server that supports SOAP - that would be WebSphere my friend.
Can you say second class citizen?

next gen RAD tool
Lotus is leveraging its understanding of the needs of RAD tool users, along with the expertise gained in developing Domino Designer, to build a premiere J2EE RAD tool primarily targeted at IBM's J2EE platforms. This project is currently underway and is a cooperative development effort between the Lotus e-Workplaces and IBM WebSphere engineering teams.
Lotus will continue to enhance Domino Designer as a hybrid client application development environment for Lotus Domino with utilities added over time to facilitate interaction with WebSphere tools.

This appears to be a completely new tool - not Designer or WSAD. It might only support the new consistent APIs and allow construction of Domino, Instant Messaging and Team Workspace applications onto a J2EE server.

Designer's place in the world
Domino Designer is the application development tool for building Lotus Notes and Domino applications. The future of Domino Designer is continued enhancement, especially focusing on features that enable the development of integrated applications and the use of the next gen collaborative services. There are no plans to port Domino Designer to WebSphere Studio or Eclipse — it will remain a dedicated RAD tool for Lotus Notes and Domino. In Lotus Notes and Domino Release 5, Lotus extended the development model by adding new APIs for Java and COM, which are important to interoperability with external applications. In Lotus Domino 6, a key feature provides the ability to build integrated Domino/J2EE applications using the Domino JavaServer Pages (JSP) tags and enhanced Java classes.

The focus from now on will be on next gen collaboration services. Does this mean no focus on Domino as self-sufficient web server? Is the future wrapping Domino web applications in WebShere/SOAP for delivery as Web Services?

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