December 9, 1996 10 AM ET

cc:Mail getting make-over for the Internet and Java
By Paula Rooney

  Along with announcing the imminent availability of its first native HTTP server for Notes this week, Lotus Development Corp. will advance its plans for integrating cc:Mail with the Internet.

The Cambridge, Mass., company will announce shipment of the Domino 4.5 Notes World Wide Web server at Internet World in New York. Lotus also will use that venue to demonstrate a prototype version of the cc:Mail client developed in Java.

The company's use of Java will help overcome some of the limitations previously hindering its Web-based development, officials said. "One of the limits of HTML programming is that it is text-based, and it's difficult to provide rich functionality," said Mike Maier, senior product manager for Lotus' cc:Mail division, in Mountain View, Calif.

The prototype software, based on the company's recently released cc:Mail 7.0, is designed as a thin client and will be displayed at Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java Station exhibit at the show. Lotus officials declined to discuss plans for transforming the prototype technology into products.

Over the long term, Lotus will re-engineer key features of cc:Mail--such as E-mail and attachments--as Java applets and ActiveX components using the Java Beans Component API, Maier confirmed.

In the near term, Lotus plans to make available an upgraded version of cc:Mail Web, as well as IMAP4 (Internet Messaging Access Protocol 4) and POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) support for cc:Mail, Maier said.

cc:Mail World Wide Web Version 6.0 will feature an improved user interface for accessing the cc:Mail in-box from HTML browsers, improved stability and the ability to send--as well as receive--E-mail attachments over the Internet, Maier said. The software is currently in beta testing and will ship in the first quarter.

IMAP4 and POP3 client and post office support will be offered in early 1997.

One analyst said the use of Java in E-mail clients is inevitable. "The minimum requirement now is to provide a gateway to connect E-mail to the Internet, but having a Java E-mail client will be necessary for adding features and functionality," said Eric Brown, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

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