I had a very interesting phone call yesterday with an IBMer named Jim Colson. Jim actually is the chief architect responsible for the Workplace Client Technology platform, and he'd contacted me after seeing my earlier post complaining that WCT wasn't generally available to tell me that it is available. Clearly there was a disconnect if it appeared that two different parts of IBM were telling me two different things, so I was eager to get the lowdown.
Jim explained that WCT is a client middleware platform, which includes a wide range of technologies (including a managed client container, access technologies such as messaging, distributed business logic, data synchronization, and interaction technologies such as Embedded ViaVoice, and other presentation services including browser based and widget based interfaces from Eclipse). These technologies can be used to build applications on various types of embedded, mobile, desktop, laptop, and server devices. The underlying technology has been in development for about 7 years; and has been deployed in a wide range of solutions such as cars from Honda, Nokia mobile phones, laptops and tablets with Nissay, and a wide range of line-of-business apps.
WCT is currently available to customers in a variety of forms. It's already built into a number of other products, and the WCT Micro Edition SDK offers a freely downloadable set of WCT components that can be used to evaluate WCT as an app dev platform. (To be perfectly unambiguous: the SDK is for production use, but you can download it to play with.)
WCT supports building deployable assemblies of components-- think of them as packaged runtimes-- to support particular applications. The Enterprise Offering (more properly, the Workplace Client Technology, Micro Edition Enterprise Offering, or WCTME-EO) bundles the most commonly required components and middleware services for desktop and laptop-class devices into a single deployable bundle. So, mea culpa: WCTME-EO and the WCT SDK are both generally available and widely used, my earlier claims notwithstanding. Thanks Jim!
Still with me? OK, back to my previous post. Among other WCT customers, Lotus is using the WCT platform to build their own client, the Workplace Client Technology, Rich Edition. This is the actual client middle platform that I've been trying to get, and it is not generally available-- at least according to my IBM sales rep and the Lotus WCT Project Office. That's supposed to change with the release of Lotus Workplace Messaging 2.5 and Lotus Workplace Documents 2.5.
To put this in more familiar terms, my earlier post was roughly equivalent to complaining that Microsoft wouldn't let me have the .NET Framework (which is freely available and widely deployed, and for which beta/preview versions exist) when what I really wanted was Office. You can argue over whether Lotus is being forthright about exactly who can get their WCT-based clients, and under what circumstances, but the bottom line is that WCT itself is available, and that's what Jim was trying to help me understand. Now I know what specific term to use next time I complain to Ed Brill.Posted by Paul at January 27, 2005 06:49 AM
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