Tuesday, July 20, 2004

IBM to bring Eclipse tools to desktop applications

IBM to bring Eclipse tools to desktop applications
IBM on Monday detailed a line of programming tools meant to create a market of customized add-ons for its Lotus Workplace desktop applications.

The company said its Rational development tools division is working on programming tools for building applications to run in conjunction with Lotus Workplace, IBM's alternative to Microsoft's Office desktop software. Slated for release later this month, Workplace is a set of simplified productivity applications, such as word processing and e-mail, that can run on multiple operating systems, including Linux. Microsoft's Office only runs on Windows and Mac OS.

With the new development tools, IBM wants to enlist independent software vendors and corporate developers to write add-ons to its Lotus Workplace software, IBM executives said Monday. A health care software provider could, for example, customize the Lotus Workplace applications for doctors that use a handheld computer. IBM detailed the Workplace tools at the Rational user conference, which is being held in Grapevine, Texas, this week.

The tools will be built using the Eclipse open-source programming application. Basing the products on Eclipse means that developers can install add-ons, or "plug-ins," designed for building Workplace applications.

IBM's Rational division has made a significant investment in the Eclipse open-source software. The company's long-term direction is to rewrite its existing line of application life cycle tools to work as plug-ins to Eclipse.

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