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GroupWise XTD APIs

Articles and Tips: article

01 Sep 1995

View of the Landscape

Delivering the "defacto open system" for groupware computing is the goal and objective of the GroupWise XTD API Set. This may sound ambitious in view of the perceived head start which Lotus/IBM claims to have with their groupware product, Lotus Notes. If we take a step back and analyze the underlying foundation of Notes we observe it is built upon a replicated database model with limited messaging functionality. GroupWise XTD is built upon a replicated messaging model with limited database functionality. Both models have limitations.

The intent of this section is to highlight the the API set that will functionally enable GroupWise XTD and third-party applications to embrace a vastly improved replicated messaging model. This new API set will provide the foundation for a whole new family of groupware-centric, message-based applications. The plug-and-play nature of the GroupWare Component Objects as displayed in Figure 1 will leap-frog the current functionality of the replicated database model.

As a result of this effort, GroupWise XTD will become the first groupware-centric, open system. ISVs at all levels can easily participate and ultimately be successful with their own groupware-related applications' offering if they embrace this new and more open system offered by Novell.

The crux of the matter is simply this: Today, there is no single API standard, let alone set of standards, capable of expressing "groupware." There is limited cross-platform support as well as technology support for things such as telephony, heterogeneous data types, video conferencing, PDAs, and wireless connectivity. With the current industry dilemna in mind, Novell will deliver an API set in beta format prior to the GroupWise XTD release. It will offer the following groupware-savy advantages (See the figure):

  • Uniform, coherent access and function

  • Broad access to the groupware space

  • Cross-platform objects via multiple development environments

  • The ability to mix with other APIs

  • Query across data-types and stores (e.g., E-mail, forms, documents or document libraries)

  • Rules and rule sets with access to client extensions

  • Document management facilities (e.g., Versioning, full-text indexing, check-in/check-out)

  • Private, shared, and public foldering

Novell presents this set of GroupWare Component Objects to the developer community as the preferred method for building solutions around GroupWise XTD. Novell will still maintain its full support of other industry standards but views this API set as a superset of the other APIs, having more power than other niche API sets. A robust replication-application facility will utilize this same API set for defining and integrating ISV applications within the GroupWise XTD environment.

ISV solutions interface as a special aggregate of extensions. Solution components are registered with the client and have the ability to integrate with the user interface. The solutions can be distributed to user machines and inherit built-in functionality such as replication and API access. ISV solutions can be any combination of folders, executables (API and ID-based access), UI customizations, new object types, rule sets, primitive commands, token hooks, button bars, macros, views, and display parameters (sorting, filtering, property lists).

This high-powered object API set becomes the cornerstone and foundation of Novell's first-to-market groupware developer initiative. The initiative meets head-on the new and growing list of requirements evolving from the groupware marketplace. It once again confirms Novell's commitment to innovation and cooperation in the development and ISV community.

For future information regarding detailed functional overviews of each API category mentioned briefly in this document, please refer to Novell's GroupWare homepage at the following URL: For information on how to join Novell's Corporate Developer Relations Program call 1-800-REDWORD.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


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