IBM Lotus Symphony eXpresso Integration - Case Study

SBP provided implementation and support for the IBM Lotus® Symphony™ integration into the eXpresso extensions for IBM LotusLive™ on several different operating systems and browsers. The main goal of the project, which was initiated by eXpresso Corp., was bringing real time collaboration features to IBM LotusLive™, in a cross-platform / cross-browser solution.

You can download a PDF version of this case study here: SBP eXpresso IBM - Case Study.pdf

 

Parties involved in the project

IBM

IBM Corp. is the world's fourth largest technology company and the second most valuable global brand. IBM is one of the few information technology companies with a continuous history dating back to the 19th century.

IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software (with a focus on the latter), and offers infrastructure services, hosting services, and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.
 

eXpresso

eXpresso Corp. is an award-winning SaaS provider of real-time document collaboration for Microsoft® Office. Its patent pending Asymmetric Collaboration service enables business users to share and collaborate on business documents from any location.

Document owners may control an individual’s editing responsibilities by personalizing the visibility and rights for specific file elements.

Since its launch in 2007, eXpresso Corp. has added customers from a variety of industries: Manufacturing, Shipping, Dealerships, Retail, Banking, Education, Real Estate, Churches, Non-Profit, Consulting, Travel, Household Services, Insurance, Security, and more. The privately-owned company is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.
 

SBP

Software Business Partners is a software outsourcing company based in Bucharest, Romania. It provides programming & consultancy services for a wide array of technologies. Well established yet constantly seeking to improve its professional practices, SBP brings technical expertise and strategic vision to its worldwide partnerships.

Operating in a dynamic outsourcing market, that rapidly expands on a global level, SBP has responded to the increasing interest (displayed by North American and European companies) for offshoring to highly trained staff located in Eastern Europe, and Romania in particular. SBP's long term strategy and goals rely on promoting the Romanian IT&C excellence on the competitive international outsourcing market.

 

General objectives

The main purpose of the project is to bring the real time collaboration features of the eXpresso engine to the IBM LotusLive™ environment. Using the eXpresso engine, users can work in parallel on documents, and are able to view the changes in real time. This greatly simplifies collaboration and avoids the confusion caused by multiple document versions.

    

“For the first time, document collaboration could take place on documents without dependency on the application preferred for editing.”

George Langan, eXpresso Corp. CEO

An equally important objective is to support these collaboration features across different platforms:

  • Microsoft® Windows
  • Apple Mac OS X
  • Linux

and across browsers:

  • Windows Internet Explorer
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Apple Safari



SBP's contributions

  • Integration of IBM Symphony™ into the eXpresso extensions for IBM LotusLive™ on  Windows
  • Integration of IBM Symphony™ into the eXpresso extensions for IBM LotusLive™ on Mac  OS X
  • Unified JavaScript interface for website integration
  • Support for running in parallel with the offline application
  • Real-time event notifications


eXpresso Symphony™ controller for Windows

  • The IBM Symphony™ controller, developed by SBP, represents the part that integrates IBM Lotus® Symphony™ into the eXpresso extensions for IBM LotusLive™ within the user interface of Internet Explorer
  • It enables the website to communicate and interact with IBM Lotus® Symphony™, by performing the following tasks:
    • Translates commands from the website into IBM Lotus® Symphony™ actions – such as opening a file
    • Forwards IBM Lotus® Symphony™ events to the browser as JavaScript events – for instance when a file is modified

eXpresso Symphony™ controller for Mac

  • Similarly, on Mac OS X, SBP has implemented a controller required in order to integrate IBM Lotus® Symphony™ into the eXpresso extensions for IBM LotusLive™ (on Safari and Firefox)
  • More integration challenges were present, due to the different process model used by IBM Lotus® Symphony™ on Mac
  • The public interface of the controller is identical to the Windows one, in order to simplify the interaction with the website

Mozilla Firefox compatibility for the eXpresso Office controller on Windows

  • The Microsoft® Office controller for Internet Explorer uses the ActiveX technology, which is not supported by Firefox
  • SBP has implemented a compatibility layer that allows the controller to be used with Mozilla Firefox
  • The compatibility layer has the same communication interface as the Internet Explorer controller, avoiding the need of website code updates       

 

Technologies

  • Java
  • Lotus® Symphony™ Toolkit
  • Lotus® Expeditor™ Toolkit
  • Microsoft® Visual C++ 2008
  • Mac OS X Carbon
  • Xcode

 

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