Saturday, November 1, 2003

Our first look at the Lotus Workplace strategy and the future of Domino and Notes


By Mick Moignard

I just came back from the Lotus Workplace launch event in the UK. Lotus originally planned to run it at Lotus Park in Staines, but quickly had to move it to one of the Heathrow airport hotels because of demand. And it was full -- standing room only. That's good; it means that lots of people are interested in what Lotus had to say.

I'm sure of that, even though it was a Friday, because if you've been to the Heathrow area you'd know that it's not anywhere you'd go for a day out from choice. Especially now that you can't watch a Concorde departure any more.

"Assurances were given that Notes and Domino will be around for years yet."

As you'd expect, from the name of the event, a good bit of the morning was spent talking about the new Workplace 1.1 applications, of which there are four. The rest of the event was about how Workplace will fit together in with the existing Notes, Domino and Sametime -- yes, the Lotus people still called it that -- products, and how we will see coexistence between the new and old. Assurances were given that Notes and Domino will be around for years yet, but they will change, and there's to be a new client.

Let's talk about the applications first. There's four of them. They all work in the Workplace Portal, which is deployed on top of WebSphere. It's not totally clear -- to me -- whether Workplace is WebSphere Portal, or a derivative of it, or just an application layer on top of Portal.

Take the applications away, and all you have in Workplace is a people-finder portlet that works with the underlying Workplace directory. That directory is some sort of LDAP -- your existing Domino directory would be just fine. The applications are completely packaged, to the point that when you buy one of these applications, you get WebSphere Portal with it, in case you don't have one already (or you can install Lotus Workplace products over an existing WebSphere Portal installation). There's a strong feeling that the Lotus folks are emphasising the applications and what they do, and making the underlying plumbing as transparent as they can. You just install them, and they work. Install two, and they work together.

Now, I'm not going to spend a lot of time here on the applications, partly because you, dear DominoPower reader, are much more interested in where Notes and Domino fit in this world. We're interested here in Notes and Domino, right? So just a few words. After all it was the Workplace launch.