Lotus Hones Its XML Focus

Not content to let the XML bandwagon roll by, Lotus Development Corp. is embracing XML wholeheartedly.
Written by Esther Schindler, Contributor
Not content to let the XML bandwagon roll by, Lotus Development Corp. is embracing XML wholeheartedly.

Lotus explained its strategy for integrating XML with Notes/Domino this week at its Lotusphere development conference, where it also unofficially announced an Enterprise XML Connector to be available by the end of the year.

Increasingly, XML is being positioned as an industry standard for computers to exchange structured data.

XML and Domino are an ideal fit, according to Noah Mendelson, who both heads Lotus' XML strategy and serves on one of the W3C committees. XML separates the data from its presentation or layout; XSL and XML Schemas provide that function. That's similar to the distinction, in Notes, between a document and a form. Lotus intends to integrate the technologies much closer, officials say.

Right Here, Right Now

Right now, integrators can use XML in Lotus development tools inside the HTML features. They also can "print" XML to the http stream if their agent accesses an NSF file through the Domino Java application programming interface (API).

The 5.02 Notes client-which already is shipping-also includes DXL; an XML vocabulary for Domino; and a "readView entries" URL, which exposes NSF files to XML. DXL captures the exact content of a Domino database, and is accessible through HTTP and Domino/Notes APIs.

Lotus says it intends to evolve DXL into a powerful counterpart to the Notes/Domino API. Eventually, it will include support for design documents, as well as user data, according to Lotus.

Lotus' LotusXSL parser, released last year on IBM's Alphaworks site, recently was adopted by the Apache Software Foundation as the core technology for "Xalan." LotusXSL, in C++ and Java versions, will be included in the 5.03 version of the Notes client and will be available this quarter. Version 5.03 will also integrate XML parsing and XML transforms with the Domino/Notes API, and will allow the generation of DXL within a document.

Plus, says Mendelson, within the year Lotus will release an enterprise XML connector for Domino.

In upcoming Domino releases, Lotus may adopt XML "Xpaths," among the XML technologies that define a standardized query format. While Mendelson stressed that Lotus isn't committing to head down this path, "obviously, we're pretty excited about this." He says that Lotus is making a major investment to include native data storage of XML in Domino.

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