In an effort to fight off intensifying competition from Web server makers,Lotus Development today began shipping Lotus Components, a set of applets for use with the company's Notes groupware, and says it is developing a set of Web-based components for delivery next year.
The applets are a set of ActiveX components that the company has extended through proprietary code to work with Notes client software. They allow users to perform simple tasks without leaving the Notes client software.
A Lotus Components Starter Pack trail package, posted to the company's Web site, includes six applets: Chart, Comment, Draw/Diagram, File Viewer, Project Scheduler, and Spreadsheet. The starter pack is available free to Notes users under maintenance contracts, or for $49 per user for non-maintenance customers.
The company plans next year to deliver a set of Lotus Components that will plug into standard Web browsers. Lotus plans to support both ActiveX and Java technologies.
Notes, once virtually the only choice for information systems developers building groupware applications, is now running into stiff competition from Netscape Communications, Microsoft and other Web software makers. Those companies claim that users can assemble data sharing applications on the Web for a fraction of the cost of Notes software and the associated maintenance expenses.
That competition has forced Lotus to rush delivery of software to link Notes to the Web. An update named Domino is planned for delivery later this month that will allow Notes users to transform Notes databases into HTML files. Later this year, the company will ship Domino II, a version of Notes fully accessible via the Web.