Enterprise customers know the real value of Lotus Domino is in its use as a platform for applications that take advantage of the server's collaboration and messaging features. So next week at Lotusphere 2000 in Orlando, Lotus' business partners will show off applications that exploit new Domino R5 features, such as support for XML.
Some of the companies have tools that help network managers monitor Domino servers and messaging environments, which are taking on record loads of application and Web traffic. Still others are adding features to their applications to exploit the Web-like R5 interface.
IT Factory, one of Lotus' largest business partners, may be taking the most dramatic steps. The company this week will introduce its eComponent Architecture, a development suite that allows components developed for applications that run on Notes clients to be used outside of the Domino server.
The components rely heavily on XML, for which Lotus has added support into R5 specifically to spur integration with other back-end servers.
IT Factory is using XML to provide a standard interface into Notes components, such as mail merge or communication between databases.
"IT Factory is trying to supply higher-level components to reduce low-level coding many Domino developers have had to do," says Matt Cain, an analyst with Meta Group in Stamford, Connecticut. "Their architecture extends a link from Domino to other systems."
The eComponent Architecture includes tools for running, building and installing components.
The eComponent Builder replaces IT Factory's software developer's kit, which was proprietary to Domino.
"XML is really appropriate when developing applications for an Internet world, and it helps make Domino a true Web-application server," says Lars Johansen, president of IT Factory.
EComponent Architecture is expected to ship in the next several months. Pricing has not been set.
While IT Factory is trying to pry open Domino, other vendors are providing tools to manage things such as server and messaging performance.
Tally Systems will introduce Veranda for Domino, a tool to track mail usage.
Veranda has features specific to R5, such as message tracking, which can find the whereabouts of any individual message.
Veranda also is integrated with the new R5 directory so it can track messages based on groups of users, departments or servers.
"Veranda can be used for capacity planning, infrastructure planning or load balancing," says Joanne Egner, product manager for Veranda, which is expected to ship in March.
Pricing starts at US$2,000 for 100 users.
Also at the show:
-- BMC Software will debut a monitoring tool. The company's Patrol for Lotus Domino 4.3 monitors R5 clusters and partitions. It also tracks response time between clients and servers. Patrol comes with 30 pre-built reports that evaluate server statistics and the availability of Notes databases. Patrol is expected to ship next week and is priced at $525 if purchased before April 1.
-- Momentum Business Systems will release Boomerang 3.5, a version of its travel expense management system that now features an analysis module, which lets users create static and ad hoc reports. Boomerang 3.5 is expected to ship by the end of the month. The server is priced at $5,000 and per-seat licenses are $65.
-- Stampede Technologies will unveil TurboGold for IBM's AS/400 and RS/6000 AIX. TurboGold accelerates the replication of Lotus Notes databases to and from mobile or remote users as well as between Domino servers. TurboGold will ship in the first half of this year. Single server prices start at $6,295.
IT Factory: http://www.itfactory.com; Tally Systems: http://www.tallysystem.com; BMC: http://www.bmc.com; Momentum: http://www.boomerang.momentum.com; Stampede: http://www.stampede.com