A couple of years ago, IBM announced that the next generation of Lotus collaboration software would be built as componentized services on a J2EE infrastructure.  That vision has evolved to be Lotus Workplace, at least the J2EE side of Workplace.  Understandably, (and I know I'm stating the obvious) there has been some fear and trepidation among the Lotus Notes/Domino admins and developers since that time as to what their futures might hold.  The last few months have probably alleviated a lot of the fear, as IBM has now shipped Notes/Domino 6.5, started talking more about a 7 and even an 8 release, published some great white papers, and gotten spokespeople to clearly describe where Notes/Domino goes in the future, as well as the J2EE collaborative capabilities that were launched last week as part of Lotus Workplace 1.1.
One important part of the initial vision, and the execution to date as well as future plans, has been IBM's commitment to build "bridges" between the Notes/Domino world and the WebSphere/J2EE world.  Several pieces have been delivered already -- single sign-on, a WebSphere Application Server entitlement with Domino 6, the Domino Toolkit for WebSphere Studio,  RAD capabilities in the WebSphere Studio 5.1 . WebSphere Portal 5 has a great Domino Portlet builder, which works even with non-webified Notes apps, and a future "Domino Reverse Proxy Portlet" will extend this even further.   A ton of Redbooks have been written on the topic.  More are in development.  All things considered, so far so good in terms of delivering on bridges.
Business partners, too, have jumped on board this vision.  There are three or more partners who are aggressively pushing tools and services to migrate Notes/Domino apps to J2EE.  To serve their own interests, I suppose, these particular partners have chose to take the FUD route -- still claiming that Domino is dead and that customers will need to migrate.  I don't like duking it out with partners who have their own objectives, but if you've watched the Lotus Workplace webcast, or seen me present the strategy recently, you know that we consider migration to be the most disruptive approach -- status quo, refacing, or integrating are all less-impactful yet strategic ways of maintaining and continuing to build on the Domino platform.  Still, I suppose application migration has its place, and IBM will build bridges in this area as well.  In the meantime, I simply suggest applying your own BS detector to some of the hype coming out of these obviously self-motivated partners.
This morning, Andrew Pollack has blogged about a new partner with a somewhat different approach.  This partner is the first to take a look at the environment from a Domino administrator's point of view.  According to Andrew's blog, and some briefings I and other Loti have had in the last few weeks (during which I honored a verbal NDA), Brightline is tackling the problems of J2EE administration and application deployment from within a Notes/Domino context.  In their initial work, they are providing tools to install/manage a Tomcat/JBoss J2EE/JSP environment from within Notes/Domino.  They haven't even shipped that, but already have also begun work to do the same for WebSphere, which obviously interests me much more from a strategic perspective, both IBM's strategy and yours.   It looks like we'll be learning more about them in the coming weeks, and seeing this technology in action at Lotusphere 2004.
I think this is an interesting set of work -- when Notes/Domino can be extended in ways that make sense for evolving technology and architecture, that's a win-win for everyone.  I am constantly amazed at how flexible the Notes/Domino architecture is.  It's even more cool when it's not just IBM demonstrating that flexibility.
This is one of the first times in a while that I've written something on edbrill.com that probably reads as if it is my official IBM perspective.  Well, OK, it probably is.  Just to be sure, I'm going to post the exact same content (minus this last paragraph) on lotus.com/weblog .  That way, if you need something "official", there's a source.

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