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Get into the Groove skills

A new opportunity to add value to your Domino applications - and in turn, your career - has emerged with the debut of Groove, a new peer-to-peer environment from Groove Networks Inc.

Groove, developed by Notes creator Ray Ozzie, enables workgroups to collaborate remotely on a project without requiring a central server.

"Groove is intended to allow groups of users to interact across traditional boundaries (such as firewalls) in a very ad-hoc way, and it can easily be made to integrate with business process systems built in Domino," explains Nigel Cheshire, CEO of Lotus Business Partner Ives Development, Inc., in Beverly, Mass. Ives is among a number of Lotus Business Partners, including Alliance Consulting, Viant, The Revere Group and others -- that have signed on as Groove partners. Cheshire believes that "there are great first-mover advantage opportunities for developers who learn the best ways to integrate Groove and Domino applications, much as there was back in 1989 when Notes first ushered in the category called groupware."

One potential use of Groove could be to create ad hoc online communities within ecommerce sites, notes Fran Rabuck, a solutions architect for mobile technology at Alliance Consulting, in Philadelphia. An online toy store, for example, could add a collaboration space for parents who want to debate the merits of different toys for children in different age groups. Members of the group could create "Suggested Toys" lists or write reviews that other users could access and store offline.

What's in it for Domino professionals?

Early adopters like Rabuck and Cheshire anticipate that individual workgroups will be attracted to Groove's peer- to-peer advantages and fashion their own collaboration spaces without the blessing of IT, much as end-users began creating their own Notes applications in the early days of groupware. So Domino developers who take the initiative and begin experimenting with how Groove can add additional functionality to existing workflow applications may ultimately emerge as essential business partners in their IT organizations.

From a technology perspective, since Groove makes use of object-oriented development and XML, it offers Domino developers a viable opportunity to expand their skill sets.

"The value to Notes developers would be to understand the emerging peer-to-peer model, which will be a major part of workforce collaboration," Rabuck says. "In the future we'll see job titles like 'peer-to-peer specialist.' And you'll also gain and extend skills in XML and OOPs, which will last you a lifetime whether you continue using Notes and Groove or not."

Leslie Goff is a contributing writer in New York.

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