Tuesday, February 1, 2005

More from Lotusphere 2005


By Mick Moignard and Richard Echeandia

With Lotusphere finished for another year, fellow Senior Technical Editor Richard Echeandia and I have teamed up to give you complete, broad-spectrum coverage of the entire event. With so much to discuss, we had to split our coverage into two parts. Just to make sure you're caught up, you can find the first half of our coverage here, http://www.dominopower.com/issues/issue200502/00001494001.html. This article picks up where we left off our virtual dialog, discussing Activity Explorer.


Activity Explorer. Now this is new. It has the promise to make the whole Workplace come alive. It's a bit like Notes, in many ways--rather hard to describe. Instead of the paradigm that Office, and to a lesser extent Notes follow, in that you are presented with things, documents, files, and so on, AE (Activity Explorer) presents you with activities, things you need to do, then enables each one to be broken down.

It has templates, and the ability to learn from previous activities. You can describe a process in terms of things to do, and even record status against them. It tracks the documents you produce, and who is working on them, using the presence awareness capabilities that we know from Sametime.

It records everything that happens, including allowing you to make pointers to emails and so on. Yes, I know this may not make a lot of sense--you really do have to see it. I didn't manage to get hold of a screenshot, but IBM did give us a Flash demo (and permission to share it with you) that includes some content on Activity Explorer. There's a link at the end of this article that'll let you download it.

Then there's Workplace Designer. Instead of the, let's say, traditional Workplace application development model of creating portlets and Java apps, here we have something that most Domino designers (people, not Domino Designer!) will be at home with quite quickly. It has a document/view-oriented model, and intentionally looks like Domino Designer. Not too surprising really, seeing as how the Domino Designer Queen, Maureen Leland, created it. It even has @Functions! This may prove to be one of the most significant components of Workplace as far as the one million or so users of Designer are concerned, because it'll clearly enable them to use the skills they already have in the new world.


I had a chance to spend about 30 minutes in the lab with Maureen, and I came away very impressed. It's obviously designed to be approachable to existing users of the Domino Designer client based on the user interface and overall design.

If you look at the left hand side of the screen shot supplied by Lotus in Figure A, you'll recognize a lot of the design elements; things like Forms, Shared Code, Shared Resources, Images, etc.


Workplace Designer has the familiar appearance, look, and feel of Domino Designer. (click for larger image)