IT Factory Ships Latest Notes/Domino SDK

IT Factory (Cambridge, Mass.; ITF) is currently shipping version 4.99 of its Software Development Kit (SDK) and business application suite for Lotus Notes/Domino. The SDK is a set of development tools designed to enable the rapid development of structured, integrated and scaleable business applications running on Lotus Notes/Domino.

This solution set is based on underlying ITF Architecture, which is comprised of a uniform technical foundation, a set of common databases and common object and design repositories. This structured environment means changes and maintenance for applications can be administered centrally and subsequently "pushed" out to each application. This method of common, reusable objects and centralized administration results in a lower total cost of ownership throughout the life of the application.

IT Factory says one of the most significant benefits to organizations on the Notes 4.6 platform is that they do not have to halt development while they wait to implement Notes/Domino R5. Users can continue to add functionality today and get the benefit from that development effort when they move to R5.

"The enhancements to the technical foundation and tools that support version 4.99 allow customers to take full advantage of where they are today and where they want to be with R5," says David Shimberg, U.S. executive VP of ITF. "Companies are looking at how to more effectively strategize their internal IT Notes applications, so we created a bridge between Notes 4.6 and 5.0.

"The Notes environment is a very powerful tool designed to help individuals build applications," Shimberg continues. "Where we add value is by providing multiple developers with the ability to leverage tools or objects they've built in the past."

IT Factory has added features to provide developers with a "workbench" for the rapid development of highly structured Notes/Domino applications, such as:

  • Y2K Analyzer, which enables developers to quickly check Notes applications and databases for Y2K compliance;
  • ITF Integration, which enables developers to integrate groupware applications with existing legacy databases, including UDB, DB/2, DB/400, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server;
  • Migrator, which assists developers in migrating non-ITF-architected databases into the ITF Architecture;
  • Version Control System, which ensures uniform upgrades and enhancements across all applications in the organization;
  • Translation capabilities, an extension to the translation engines based on Notes Global Designer/Domino Global WorkBench;
  • Web enhancement, which includes Java script and Java enhancements that enable developers to build and manage applications in both a client and Web environment more effectively; also allows faster and easier deployment of Notes applications via the Internet.
Version 4.99 of the ITF Business Suite, a set of ready-to-run Notes business applications, includes a new e-commerce module that lets customers view Notes-based product information and place orders into the Notes database directly via the Web. All other modules of the Business Suite have also been enhanced with new Web-integration capabilities.

"We might find a small- or medium-sized business customer that has limited knowledge of Notes on the AS/400 who wants additional functionality," Shimberg says. "For a relatively low price point, they can add enhancements using our corporate development environment."

The most common applications currently being developed with IT Factory's SDK are in the areas of human resources, help desk, sales, customer support and e-commerce.

"The general concept of software reuse is really going to take off, especially with the requirement to have interoperability among companies," says Tom Dwyer, research director at Aberdeen Group (Boston). "Being able to quickly deploy a useful application as fast as the Internet requires is going to be a major driving force for these kinds of reusable components.

"For IT Factory, their strengths reside in knowledge of the Lotus Notes environment and good information/application architecture. I don't expect there will be many other companies that can provide software reuse in the Lotus Notes/Domino area," Dwyer continues. "The challenge for them is to expand their U.S. presence by leveraging their European experience and accounts."

IT Factory has recently entered into a marketing and distribution agreement with Lotus Development Corp. (Cambridge, Mass.). Lotus will market and distribute ITF's SDK in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Lotus will position the solution as the platform of choice for all Notes/Domino application development in order to create a uniform architecture and ultimately, to accelerate the adoption of the Notes/Domino groupware platform.

The ITF Software Development Kit will now be priced on the number of developers using the kit, starting at $399 per developer.