Lotusphere Technology in Review

Let me tell you a little something about Lotusphere. Lotusphere, to me, always feels like coming home. You get to see friends and acquaintances that you email and chat with all year long, you get to hang out, tell war stories, have fun and learn a lot. There have been some up and down years at the Sphere, but last year I said it had been the best Lotusphere ever. I think that this year surpassed it. Not because of technology as much, but because of attitude. To paraphrase Surjit, Lotus isn’t taking any bullshit anymore.

That was heard loud and clear. Lotus is truly on the offensive, they aren’t just sitting back and taking it any more. And that is a great thing. This attitude is really going to drive Lotus to new heights in my opinion. Okay, now my rundown:

  • Sametime 7.5 – Lotus FINALLY is updating this client. Emoticons, rich text, the ability to place targeted screenshots right in a chat message, a pluggable architecture, server-side controls to connect to AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and GoogleTalk. Clients in Mac, Linux and Windows. And that’s just the IM. The online meetings have gotten better as well. This should be hitting in mid-Summer and is looking amazing. This may be the biggest thing I saw at the show.

  • Workplace Forms – This is a very cool product where you can import scans of paper forms and then overlay fields on top of the form to keep the fidelity of the forms. They will work in Workplace as well as Domino, and it should be very cool. The functionality is a LOT like PDFInfusion in my opinion, so it’s not like it’s revolutionary, but it probably will be much easier and cheaper to integrate than PDFInfusion.
  • Hannover – The new Notes client will work as a standalone client or as part of the Workplace Managed Client (Version 2.6 shipping now.) The GUI isn’t as revolutionary as was shown at its announcement, but it does look pretty nice, and will probably keep training costs down somewhat. There is also support for composite applications, so you could have portlet like functionality where different apps can talk to each other. For example, choosing something in one view portlet would cause another view portlet to change. This isn’t all that new either, but the fact that it will also work in the client rocks.
  • Workplace in general – You know, I kinda tuned it out and didn’t hit many sessions. Why? Because Lotus really focused on Notes/Domino/Hannover for this conference. They mentioned and showed some Workplace stuff, but the focus really seemed to be how Notes and Domino is the basis of your business and not Workplace. It really felt that way, and I liked the message.
  • AJAX, AJAX, AJAX – Okay, there were TONS of AJAX sessions this year, and they all rocked. You can really make Domino do some amazing things when you apply a little AJAX loving. Search out the slides and presentations, because there were a bunch of little additions that will make your web apps rock with very little effort. Check out Lance Spellman’s Facelift for Domino for a quick way to start.
  • Domino Domain Monitoring – I know DDM hit with release 7 and many people are already using it. I hadn’t yet, mainly because I wanted to hit as many sessions on it as possible this year at the Sphere to see best practices and pitfalls. After a couple killer presentations by Gabriella, I think I’m ready to rock. Many of the features of past monitoring have been repackaged, but there are some new things, and it’s so well done that you need to implement it now. I’ll have mine running full bore by the end of this week.
  • Blackberry stuff – I saw so many cool Blackberry things this week that you cannot imagine. The Sametime client running on Blackberry, the !!HELP!! application from OpenNTF.org running on a Blackberry. Application connectors running on the BB, even the ability to utilize admin features over a BB connection. This is really becoming the killer platform for mobile Notes and Domino stuff. You owe it to yourself to check it out…as long as NTP doesn’t get its way.

That’s all I’m going to hit for now, but those are pretty big. Add in Lotus’ declaration that they would respond to any Microsoft FUD within 24 hours and you really know the gloves are coming off. Awesome. I’m energized, and ready to roll for another year. How about you?

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