Well some of us may have been playing with it for a while but Sametime 7.5 was officially launched yesterday in New York, see the launch here. I’ve been experimenting with the client for a while now amd have to say I’m very impressed with the client. The aesthetics are good but more importantly the extensible nature of the client, and the open standards approach to plugins and extensions is already fostering a large community of developers. This community is a mixture of commercial entities and hopefully eventually a thriving open community and will be the strength of the client for me.
I did have a play with installing Eclipse and J9 and the Connect client toolkit … hmmm … I now realise I’m definitely not a developer! I’ll need to take a few hours playing with it to get to the point of being able to write a hello world app! But for those true developers in the world this has got to be good news. Lotus are keen to call Sametime 7.5 a Real Time Collaboration Platform rather than a product. I’d say its the most extensible client from Lotus that I have ever seen, but maybe I wouldn’t go quite so far as to call it a platform.
The entire Eclipse framework makes both the product development cycle very short, Mike Rhodin intimated that the majority of Sametime 7.5 development has been completed in the last 8 months. Given that information and the fact that plugin developers (not me obvoiusly) are taking anything from a few hours to a couple of weeks to develop the most complex extensions then I can see that this product will be quite exciting. I do wonder how the poor IT departments will cope with the range of available plugins – although I know their installation can be controlled via policy.
My only dissappointment at the moment is the difficulty to install plugins without the forthcoming IBM plugin catalog server (I’m like the kid who wants Christmas and Easter at once!). At the moment the only way to install them is to produce a site locally using Eclipse (which is the point I have got to but haven’t managed to put any of the sample plugins onto that site….more playing required!).
But let me leave on a more positive note. This release is the best thing that has come from Lotus since Sametime itself was released (in my opinion!). Well done all involved. I look forward to Notes 8, Quickplace 8, Activities, the new social tools. One of the guest panelists at the Sametime 7.5 launch summed it up nicely saying it was nice to see Lotus back in the game.