Lotus to offer Organizer 97 for Web, and later for Notes

Lotus next week will unveil server-based software that allows users to access its Organizer 97 from the World Wide Web or a proprietary intranet.

Lotus next week will unveil server-based software that allows users to access its Organizer 97 from the World Wide Web or a proprietary intranet, a Lotus official says.

Organizer 97 Web Calendar will enable users to view and update their appointment schedules, and also to share calendar information by issuing passwords to colleagues and friends, according to Jim Burnham, director of marketing for Lotus Calendar and Scheduling. The software will be demonstrated at next week's Internet Expo in Boston.

The company has also developed a version of Organizer for Notes, which will run off the Notes 4.5 server and take advantage of replication and security features native to the Notes system, Burnham said. Called Organizer 97 GS, the version will be shipped 30 to 60 days after Notes 4.5 ships, Burnham said. The company is also developing a version for Lotus cc:Mail, he said.

The Web software, which should be available for free download in November, will work only with Organizer 97, the latest version of Lotus's personal information manager (PIM), which was released in June and runs on Windows NT and Windows 95. The company hopes the Web capability will entice users of Organizer to switch to the 97 version, Burnham said.

"There are tens of millions of browsers out there. If we don't provide capabilities over the Internet we'll get left behind," he said.

Use of the PIM by home users is dependent on Internet service providers installing the software to their Web servers, and Lotus is currently trying to persuade ISPs to do that, Burnham said. The software is compatible with both Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications Corp.'s browsers, he said.

Companies using the Web Calendar over an intranet can assign different passwords to give employees read-only or read and edit access, Burnham said.

Lotus will ship European versions of Organizer 97 in November, in French, German, Spanish, Italian and other languages, Burnham said, and users there should also be able to download the browser software also.

Lotus will continue to support the vCalender data format specification proposed by the Versit consortium, made up of Apple Computer Inc., AT&T Corp., IBM and Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG, Burnham said.

"In the longer term we want people to be able to do group scheduling; we're hoping to get to a point where you can look at my calender and see when I'm free and schedule an appointment, even if we have separate products," he said.

Using the vCalendar spec, Lotus hopes also to enable users to make point-and-click entries to their PIMs from Web calendars, such as concert and theater listings, Burnham said.