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E-commerce comes to Notes

IBM subsidiary Lotus Development plans to ship an add-on package early next year for its Notes 4.5 groupware server that allows businesses to build online marketing and sales applications tied to existing Notes databases.

IBM (IBM) subsidiary Lotus Development plans to deliver an add-on package early next year for its Notes 4.5 groupware server that allows businesses to build online marketing and sales applications tied to existing Notes databases.

The electronic commerce tool has not officially been named but is being developed under the Net.Marketing label, said Keith O'Leary, Internet product manager at Lotus. The tool will be built atop Lotus's Domino Server, the Internet technology package being integrated into Notes 4.5 that is now in beta testing and due to ship in the fourth quarter, according to the company.

The new commerce tool will build on the company's Domino.Action tools--formerly known as Net.Action tools, for building interactive Web server content. Domino.Action will also ship as part of Notes 4.5.

The new commerce tool package will enter beta testing in December and will ship in the first quarter of next year, priced at roughly $2,000, O'Leary said.

The Net.Marketing tool is being designed to allow online delivery of information to prospects and customers, Lotus said, and provides templates to create online forms for gathering marketing information that can be saved to Notes or to relational databases. The tool will also include SiteCreator, a set of tools for building online catalogs, surveys, and questionnaires; collateral libraries of brochures and other documentation; online order management; and payment-processing tools.

The payment-processing part of the set will allow online purchasing with a credit card. In the first release, the package will support Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for online transactions, and a future release will also include the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocols, which are being promoted by Visa International, MasterCard International, Microsoft, Netscape Communications, and IBM.

The tool will also include built-in links to IBM's Net.Commerce e-commerce tools.