RealTime IT News

Web Services Support All in the Groove 2.5

Collaboration software specialist Groove Networks is set to roll out Groove Workspace 2.5, a new version that features tighter integration with Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint and supports SOAP, WSDL and UDDI, the key protocols for Web Services.

The Beverly, Mass.-based firm, which raked in a $51 million investment from Microsoft last October, said the marriage of the workplace collaboration software with Outlook would let enterprise clients move multi-person conversations from e-mail to the Groove interface in new and shared workspaces.

For the first time, Groove users would be able to integrate Outlook contacts with Groove Workspace contacts, allowing access to Outlook contacts from within Groove Workspace. With Groove 2.5, Outlook calendar entries can be sent to Groove Workspace project calendars and users would also be able to publish calendar entries from both the Groove calendar and meetings tools to Outlook calendars.

Groove senior product manager Donna Carvalho told internetnews.com the option to publish calendar entries was also fitted with the ability to synchronize the entries with the Outlook calendar.

Groove 2.5, which comes with a $50 per user price hike for the professional edition, also touts a new toolset for Microsoft's SharePoint Team Services (STS). The toolset provides a team Web site software that would support online and offline use, and work securely across company firewalls, Carvalho said.

She said Groove Workspace v2.5 would also feature file-sharing and bandwidth updates and an enhanced file-sharing tool that includes Microsoft's Visio viewer for previewing Visio diagrams. It has also been fitted with a digital ink-enabled chat tool that supports Microsoft's Tablet PC platform.

The company, which was launched by Lotus Notes pioneer Ray Ozzie in October 2000, also rolled out Groove Web Services, a standards-based integration framework that puts the collaboration software at the fingertips of a range of new customers, devices and applications.

In an interview with internetnews.com, Groove Web Services product manager Matt Pope said the platform would support the usual SOAP , WSDL and UDDI APIs in addition to XML, which is already featured in previous Groove releases.

Groove Web Services would provide a way for distributing, accessing and processing information stored in Groove Workspace by using the Web services protocol, he explained. It would provide users with access to Groove Workspace from any standards-compliant application or device.

It also features local access to Groove Web Services that lets developers create software that talk to Groove with other applications running on the same device. For example, Pope explained, a developer might use the Groove Web Services API to integrate Groove online presence and instant messaging into an application.

The said SOAP interfaces would be provided in Groove 2.5 for account, contacts, members and awareness services, as well as for popular end user tools, like shared discussion, files and calendar.