IBM's Lotus arm yesterday moved to answer criticisms that it has forsaken its veteran Notes and Domino software by unveiling several new features to the software at its annual Lotusphere event.
The firm also today outlined plans to converge Notes-Domino with Workplace, its collaborative portal-based platform launched late last year.
Lotus announced that it would move to a common release schedule from this spring that will allow Notes, Domino and Workplace to share common platforms, languages and browser support.
The company will integrate these product sets with full portal support on IBM's Websphere internet software platform. Lotus instant messaging functionality will also be added.
"We are extending the reach of Notes-Domino," said Ambuj Goyal, IBM Lotus software general manager.
"[Developers] will be able to federate Notes application access and integrate it with any application for a look and feel that is consistent."
Goyal also outlined a roadmap beyond the new 6.5.1 release, shipping sometime during Q1, that will embed the open standards of open source body Eclipse within version 8.0 to make it a client portal interface.
Lotus further announced that it would introduce a new connector to Microsoft's Outlook collaboration product designed to provide enhanced integration with Notes-Domino.
Clive Longbottom, service director at analyst firm Quocirca, suggested that Notes would be kept on to serve as the front end of future Lotus products to give "contextual access to business problems".
"Workplace is the future, but Lotus has 120 million existing Notes and Domino users to keep happy," he said. "[Lotus] wants to offer the capability to choose thin portal-based or thick client Notes."
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