Domino/Notes Path to NextGen
In the Domino/Notes arena, Lotus will try to ease the transition for administrators by providing a gradual migration path, according to Kounadis. "Domino and Notes are a parallel path to NextGen. You won't have to 'rip and replace,'" he asserted.
Following a 6.01 maintenance release during the first two weeks of February, Lotus will produce R6.5 in the second half of this year and another release in the second half of 2004. The product pegged for 2004 will add DB2 support as an "alternative data source" to the long-standing NSF.
Many Domino/Notes customers wait until the first maintenance release before upgrading, Kounadis pointed out. Last October, Lotus released a SIP/SIMPLE gateway for crossplatform instant messaging that was originally planned for R6, which initially shipped in August. Along with several other features, the gateway was delayed because IBM didn't deem it ready to go out the door yet.
The February maintenance release contains a variety of bug fixes as well as the remaining capabilities that were initially left out of R6. These include the ability to read Notes encrypted from iNotes, iNotes server support on Linux, and a new feature called "single copy template."
Single copy template is supposed to lower disk space consumption when templates are copied between machines. Instead of a full copy of the template, a pointer is created, according to Kounadis.
The maintenance release also rounds out support for roaming users, he said. "The roaming user feature was 'in' R6, but we didn't officially support it yet. We told people they could try it out."
"Roaming user" lets end users log into their Notes desktops from any PC, without needing to have Notes ID software installed on their machines. The capability is targeted at companies with "hot desktops" -- where several end users share the same PC -- as well as at on-the-road workers. "All the user needs to do is type in the user ID and password. That's it."
Lotus Notes R6.5
In the subsequent R6.5, Lotus will add vLinux for server consolidation, full XMIME support through IMAP, and improved integration with Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Office.
Also planned for version 6.5 is client-side Linux support. "You'll be able to run iNotes in a Mozilla browser," according to Kounadis.
The new release targeted at 2004 will offer the option of DB2 support for several interrelated reasons. Chiefly, he said, DB2 will act as a "bridge to NextGen, through use of the same repository."
"Users' day-to-day inboxes won't change. Yet, you'll be able to leverage the power of DB2." DB2 offers greater scalability than NSF, according to Kounadis. "We can also do things with DB2 -- such as grouping and aggregating data -- that we can't do with NSF."
To spur ports of existing Notes applications to NextGen, Lotus has also unveiled a new development tool called Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio. Currently in beta, the toolkit is expected to be available with Lotus Domino Designer in the second quarter of this year. "It has the look and feel of Designer, yet it lets you render pages in J2EE," Kounadis said.