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Lotus helps applets share data

Lotus Development licenses its InfoBus technology to Sun Microsystems for a future version of the Java Developer Kit.

Lotus Development has licensed its InfoBus technology to Sun Microsystems (SUNW) to help applets share data more easily.

The deal was announced at the JavaOne conference today.

Lotus developed the InfoBus APIs (application programming interfaces) so that its upcoming set of Java applets, code-named Kona, can share dynamic data, a concept similar to technologies such as Microsoft's OLE or Apple Computer's OpenDoc.

Combining InfoBus and JavaBeans will give any Java application the ability to share changing information.For example, a chart linked using InfoBus to a spreadsheet will reflect changes as new data is entered into the spreadsheet.

According to Lotus managers, InfoBus is an improvement on the data transfer features of Sun's JavaBeans specifications.

JavaBeans is an architecture that lets developers embed any applet (or "bean") within another--a spreadsheet within a word processing document, for example. Lotus thinks of its Kona applets, which are being built with the JavaBeans technology, as building blocks that developers can mix and match to create custom Java applications.

The InfoBus technology will help those applets communicate with each other faster and more efficiently.

"There are mechanisms within JavaBeans that allow data transfer," said Lotus product marketing manager Peter Cohen. "InfoBus is best when content in the 'bean' is dynamic."

The InfoBus APIs will be made public this May and must first pass review by the JavaSoft partners before integration into the JDK, Lotus said.

Today's licensing deal will integrate InfoBus into an unspecified future Java Development Kit. Financial terms of the licensing deal were not disclosed. It is unclear how the deal will affect future prices of the JDK.