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Lotus to give taste of Kona

The company will post a demonstration of its Java productivity suite, code-named Kona.

IBM subsidiary Lotus Development this weekend will post on its Web site a demonstration of its Java productivity suite, code-named Kona.

Lotus will initially post a demo version of a presentation graphics applet for visitors to play with, a company spokesman said, and will add more in the next two months. The demo applets will be accessible only on the Kona Web site and will not be for download. The company hopes to post downloadable beta applets in April.

A full suite of Kona applications, including a spreadsheet, a project scheduler, chart, calendar, word processor, presentation graphics, and email, should ship in late summer, said Kona product manager Brian Anderson. By then, the programs will comply with Java Beans, which allows Java components to be snapped together in a larger application. Java Beans will also let Java programs work with ActiveX, Anderson said.

Lotus isn't the only company racing to produce a Java application suite. Corel has a work-in-progress version of Office for Java posted on its Web site. Both companies are banking on the acceptance of network computers in the workplace to fuel the demand for server-based, streamlined applications that give users only the functions they need.

Lotus has already started to build component support into its SmartSuite business productivity applications. The WordPro 97 word processor currently runs applets written in Java or ActiveX. Lotus is working on a Java Beans-compliant SmartSuite, probably for release in 1998.

Lotus demonstrated Kona at the Lotusphere conference last month. The company already produces ActiveX-based components that run within the Lotus Notes environment.

The company has not announced pricing for Kona applets.