IBM's software development division Rational has unveiled new tools for extending Lotus Workplace applications, its desktop software equivalent to Microsoft's Office.
Big Blue is looking to persuade more developers to support the platform.
At its annual user conference in Dallas this week, the division said that WebSphere Studio Device Developer 5.7, Workplace Builder, Workplace API Toolkit and Workplace Designer will all be shipped as part of Workplace version 2.0 or in beta before the end of this year.
Each is aimed at enabling easy customisation of Workplace applications and thus widen the suite's appeal.
Scott Hebner, IBM's vice president of marketing and strategy, ISV and developer relations, said in a statement: "We realise that the development community is critical to the success of the [Workplace] platform and we feel that these tools will help us attract developers and business partners that will help take the Workplace strategy to the next level."
The Rational division will also integrate its Software Development Platform with the open source Eclipse application development framework and platform, to encourage independent software vendors to use it alongside other IBM technology.
Mike Devlin, IBM Rational general manager, said in a statement: "[This] platform is the cornerstone of our development efforts and ecosystem and the way IBM can unite developers, business partners and industry players around a common approach."
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