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Lotusphere 2005 seeks to balance presents and futures

The 12th edition of Lotusphere will carefully mix technology 'futures' with 'here-and-now' information. The program should redress some aspects of Lotusphere 2004, where attention focused on the hot new Workplace line.

The upcoming release of Notes and Domino 7 will gain special attention at Lotusphere 2005, scheduled for Jan. 23-27 in Orlando, Fla. This year's conference may be a contrast to Lotusphere 2004, where technological road maps for Lotus Workplace offerings were the prime area of interest. This contrast is at least in part by design, according to show sponsor IBM.

The 12th edition of Lotusphere will seek to balance technology "futures" information with "here-and-now" need-to-know information, said Sandra Marcus, program director for Lotusphere. The overall Notes Domino community is currently pursuing this type of balance, as Lotus marketing efforts shift to include the emerging Lotus Workplace rich-client, server-based messaging platform, as well as the established Notes Domino platform.

"Coming out of last year's Lotusphere, folks said to us, 'you guys let the pendulum swing too far to one side," Marcus said.

"The emphasis last year was on content [covering] what was next and in the future," she said. After the show, attendees told IBM, in effect, that Lotusphere 2004 "let the pendulum swing too far" toward futures, she said.

SearchDomino.com poll results bear out this notion. According to a recent site poll, a strong majority (60%) of Lotus devotees want most of Lotusphere content (80%) to concentrate on Notes Domino.

That is more or less what Marcus heard in terms of feedback from regular Lotusphere attendees. "The overall message from the community was 'we need to hear something we can put to use immediately,'" Marcus said. Such a return on conference investment is especially important to IT workers at a time when show travel has been curtailed.

It is little surprise that sessions will cover what is new in Lotus Notes 7.0 and Domino 7.0. This release supports Web services integration to a greater extent than has been possible before. Sessions will cover what is new in Lotus Domino Designer, Lotus Domino application tuning, error trapping in LotusScript and more. A track covering best practices should help developers and administrators hone their Notes Domino skills.

"I think people will be pleased," Marcus said. "They will feel as if they have been listened to."

In keeping with the theme of balance, she said, there will be plenty of Notes Domino 6.5 material covered as well.

"We'd love people to all move forward," she said, "but we want to offer rich content for people on different point releases in the Lotus Domino lifecycle.

Of course, there will be information on the emerging Workplace line at Lotusphere 2005, which is producing a kind of media buzz for the Lotus group that it has not enjoyed for a while.

"We want to share our messages [on upcoming releases]," Marcus said, "but we want people to feel [going to the conference] was a wise investment."

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