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A Symphony of Productivity

IBM highlighted many new products at Lotusphere in January. Some favorites include IBM Lotus Symphony, Sametime Unyte, iPhone e-mail integration and My Widgets.

IBM highlighted many new products at Lotusphere in January.

New IBM* Lotus* products announced at Lotusphere* in January bring energy and change to the Lotus family. The solid new product offerings help ensure that Lotus is a high-priority offering with plenty of benefits to customers.

IBM highlighted many new products at Lotusphere—here are some of my favorites. If you want more specifics, visit the Lotusphere 2008 Web site. I’ll offer additional links at the end of this article.

IBM Lotus Symphony

For those unfamiliar with IBM Lotus Symphony, it’s an office productivity suite with three functions:

  1. Creating, editing and sharing word-processing documents
  2. Creating and delivering presentations
  3. Creating spreadsheets and analyzing data

Lotus Symphony replaces the IBM Productivity Editors. The product is based on the Eclipse platform—good news for you— and runs on Windows*, Linux* and Mac. This means you can start replacing those expensive Microsoft* Office product licenses with free—yes, I said free—Lotus Symphony.

Because the product is based on the Eclipse platform, it not only can run as a stand-alone application, but also as application within the Lotus Notes* 8 client. IBM smartly had its employees at Lotusphere deliver their presentations using Lotus Symphony, showing the application included in the Notes client.

You can embed these editors into other applications by building composite Notes/Domino* applications that can take advantage of the editors in several ways. For example, an application can use the graphing capabilities of spreadsheets by automatically updating graphs of data depending on which values are selected or updated in the application. Alternatively, an application can provide a word-processing environment at the click of a button.

Easy Accessibility. I really like that in IBM Lotus Symphony, all three of the editors are accessible from the same interface. I simply start Lotus Symphony and can then create or open a document, presentation or spreadsheet without opening different applications for each of these functions. And did I mention that this product is free?

Figure 1 shows you can create a new blank document, presentation or spreadsheet or build one from a template.

Lotus Symphony is based on the Open Document Format (ODF). This means you’re not locked into a proprietary format when creating or working with documents, presentations or spreadsheets. Those familiar with OpenOffice.org will be interested to know that IBM worked closely with that organization to develop Lotus Symphony, and can expect a lot of give-and-take between the two organizations in the future. IBM used OpenOffice.org code as a base for Lotus Symphony, and IBM’s added functionality will flow back into the OpenOffice.org code base.

Kim Greene is the owner of Kim Greene Consulting Inc. and an IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems—IBM i edition technical editor. Kim can be reached at kim@kimgreene.com.



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