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How will Workplace Rich Client and Workplace Designer play for the Lotus faithful, and what about ISVs?

By Andrew Pollack on 01/27/2005 at 07:29 AM EST

Here at Lotusphere, some of the real news is that Workplace Rich Client and Workplace Designer are going to be very popular tools with the Domino crowd and also with the traditional I.T. shops who prefer central control. That's a pretty big change by itself -- the Notes crowd is loyal and dedicated. They're totally sold on their platform. They are also not generally well accepted by some centralized I.T. management proponents. Seeing a product that is so readily accepted by both tells me that the market will be huge. Large ISV's also now have a platform that cries out for innovation. The current Lotus Notes client is a difficult place for ISV's because its not as extensible as we'd like. The Workplace Rich Client platform will let us create customized components for sale that more able to wear their value on their user interface where users can see it -- and thus be more willing to buy it. What remains to be seen, is where IBM will draw the line at end-user customization. What I'm presently investigating is whether I'll have to sell my tools or components only to the central I.T. management where they can be provisioned down to the client, or if I'll also be able to sell them to individual users who will be able to add them to their local -- or perhaps individual but still centrally stored -- configuration. The latter choice really opens my market quite a bit, and I think users prefer to be able to add small utilities and features to their corporate environment. Look at your P.C. I'll bet you've added several downloaded or purchased favorite utilities, right?

Tell me, tell all of us -- in fact, tell IBM (I promise, there is at least one IBM'er that reads this -- poor soul must be forced to monitor it with threats of being transferred to the Websphere team if I say something terrible and he doesn't report it). Here's your soapbox, grow a spine and hit the comments button. If you'd prefer to write a spellcheck something more complete, send it to me and I'll post it for you.

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Add-ons galore...By ALan Lepofsky on 01/27/2005 at 08:49 AM EST
Its amazing how many things we actually add on to our PCs. Looking at my
desktop a few of my favs jump out... FireFox, SnagIt, AcdSee, Trillian, iTunes,
eXACTLY - And I don't buy the security issue...By Andrew Pollack on 01/27/2005 at 02:27 PM EST
If plug-ins are running with the same authority and not an authority associated
with the signature on them, then you've re-created windows. These tools should
be able to co-exist and share data within a set of controls.
This also begs the question... By Richard Schwartz on 01/27/2005 at 11:38 PM EST
what about local Notes databases? If the WCT goal truly is to lock down the
desktop environment, doesn't that mean that they'll have to eliminate support
for local NSFs? Or, looking at it from the other direction, if they leave in
support for local Notes databases, doesn't that poke a huge hole in the
central control of the Workplace environment?

partly... The notes client code is the plug in. Use of it is controlled with policies which can themselves lock it down.By Andrew Pollack on 01/27/2005 at 11:56 PM EST
Bingo. This is exactly why I'm excitedBy Lance Spellman on 02/09/2005 at 11:45 AM EST
Activity Explorer alone can drive the adoption of the Workplace client. Couple
that with doc mgt lite features and users will start expecting to live in this
environment. I fire up Workplace and everything I need is in it.

There will be so many opportunities to fill the gaps with niche an rss reader component for one. Hopefully the end user will
be able to select from a wealth of corporately provisioned items, and then as
you said, independently add things themselves.

If so, here's an immediate win. When Activity Explorer rolls out it's first
release, you won't have the capability of dragging a mail thread over to
Activity Explorer to start a new activity. How hard would this really be to
add as a temporary 3rd party component until IBM can get it done?

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