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Analysis: IBM Workplace eye on the Lotus developer 'guy'

IBM said it has forged Workplace deals with 100 ISVs, and that it can claim over 1 million users on the client side of its Workplace computing effort. But many developers are just starting to get going on Workplace.

Earlier this month, IBM told the world it had crossed a line of sorts as it could claim over 1 million users on the client side of its Workplace computing effort. Last week, the company said to date it has forged Workplace deals with 100 (ISVs) Independent Software Vendors, who will begin to spread Workplace desktops among their customer communities. These are notable milestones, with more to come.

But it is early in the Workplace rollout. Most Workplace efforts are in early stages of pilot and trial. On the main, developers are just starting to figure out how to get started with Workplace. It's a good guess that IBM WebSphere Portal customers are the first likely target for Workplace adoption. Among Notes-Domino developers who have to maintain and expand the systems they have running right now, attention is a bit more directed toward a still far off Notes/Domino 8.0 release that will see the Notes client and IBM Workplace Client blend into one.

But Notes shops are already working with WebSphere groups to integrate important apps. Some move more quickly than others. Those that have integrated Sametime and Everplace may be among the quickest.

How will Notes-Domino developers get started in the Workplace world? We asked Ken Bisconti, vice president of Workplace Portal and Collaboration technology at IBM.

Ken says today's Domino Application Portlet software will be a first step for many teams. Simple steps are not bad.

"It could be as simple as integrating your portlets with Workplace portal pages that deliver workflow capabilities, IM, or mail transport services that are unique to Workplace," he said. These, said Biconti, are areas where the ISVs are moving first. In the case of a business intelligence or human resource software maker, he indicated, "the benefit is that of adding collaboration functions to what would have been a standalone executive dashboard or HR self service application."

IBM's new Workplace Builder tool is another development route, said Bisconti. The software is positioned as a tool for assembling applications built from Lotus Workplace collaborative components and forms into templates. In the product's Template Library, you can establish roles for template access.

Next year, Workplace Designer is due. This is a tool, according to Bisconti, that is more like those most Domino developers hold dear. The army of scripting and forms-level development specialists will take note.

"Our objective for Domino applications," said Bisconti, "is to continue to extend the reach of those applications."

So, savvy Domino folks will need to keep an eye on Java portlet development, old-fashion template-style designing and more. Part of that "something more" are Web services, which document specialists and WebSphere developers have been toying with for a few years now.

"Today many applications are accessed through Notes clients or through Web browsers," said IBM Lotus' Bisconti. "Increasingly, we expect customers to want to incorporate Domino apps into portal environments like Workplace as well as to access them through modern Web services calls."

Dig Deeper on Domino Resources - Part 2

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