Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Staunch Eclipse supporter IBM didn't waste any time in adopting the
Rich Client Platform features in the new Eclipse 3.0. Big Blue's Lotus
Software brand is expected to release this month a new Workplace
Client Technology and supporting collaborative applications on top of
the Eclipse Rich Client Platform.

"Eclipse is an extensible integration platform," said Rick Wilson,
Lotus's architect of the Workplace Client Technology. "It's a powerful

IBM's new Workplace Client Technology comprises three server-managed
client options that administrators can assign to workers, depending on
their computing needs. A Web browser provides a light client for
accessing applications, a rich client provides a traditional portal
environment for accessing applications, and a microenvironment
provides a wireless client for accessing business applications through
mobile devices.

Applications that Lotus built for its Workplace platform and also
based on Eclipse, including Lotus Workplace Messaging 2.0 and Lotus
Workplace Document Management 2.0, can be accessed through the Lotus
client model. Those applications also should be available this month.

The model is built using the new Eclipse 3.0 runtime environment
features for developing rich client platforms. "Eclipse provided the
underpinnings," Wilson said, for the construction of desktop

The Eclipse Foundation made changes to the 3.0 release that make it
possible for developers to build applications on top of Eclipse. "We
refactored the basic framework within the Eclipse platform," said Mike
Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. New rich
client platform capability includes Eclipse's window-based workbench
GUI, the dynamic plug-in functional extension mechanism, help
subsystem, and update manager.

The Rich Client Platform is a new area for Eclipse, but community
interest and user feedback provided the motivation for building the
capability into the Eclipse integrated development environment.

Lotus employed Eclipse components like the Standard Widget Toolkit
(SWT), JFace, and the workbench to compose user interfaces and create
things like rich client platform views and editors in its Workplace
Client Technology.

Lotus developers also leveraged the thin client frameworks that
traditionally serve browser content in its rich client technology.
"The idea is that Lotus Workplace rich client technology can drive the
views that show up on the client page through the same model that
drives the content for browsers and use a portlet to define the page,"
Wilson said. "Portlets can be combined with portal access control and
user policy to retrieve components needed by the client to realize
that page." The platform brings middleware in J2EE to the client side.

This server management component of the Workplace clients and
applications also is based on the Eclipse rich client platform, and is
a big key of how Lotus products add value to the Eclipse platform as a
plug-in. Where the Eclipse Rich Client Platform is unmanaged, Lotus
added features for a managed environment. The result is a rich client
that doesn't have to roundtrip for data.

"The [Lotus] rich client platform is a browser on steroids," Wilson
continued. "We have a truly unique approach doing this."

Lotus also contributed to the Eclipse Foundation's efforts by helping
deliver the rich client capability within Eclipse. They helped change
the runtime of Eclipse components to make the framework more rich
client friendly, Wilson said.
-- Rita-Lyn Sanders, Eclipse News Senior News Editor

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