Is there value in Domino as a ’blogging platform?

You may well have seen Mitch Cohen’s post, What is the Future of Domino as a Blogging Platform? It’s worth a read, because it articulates something that has been on a few keen minds for quite a while (I’ve been gving it some thought too).

Take, for example, this very site. It is way overdue a refresh, both in terms of design and content, and I have been dithering: should I keep it on Domino or move it to a standard ’blogging platform. The decision is significant, because this site is “hand-rolled”, rather than being based on a common template like Dominoblog or Blogsphere. But then, perhaps any Domino site move is significant, because neither of those templates are especially active either.

I put together a site based on the Dominoblog template recently, and I found it reasonably straightforward to use. That said, it would be fabulous to have some proper theme management, quick-start documentation and the like, and it’s in areas like that the real value of an open-source template comes into play: given enough enthusiasm and interest, someone will write the necessary.

Aye, there’s the rub: the Domino open-source community is somewhat lacking in committers at the moment, beyond each individual’s “pet project” (early days though? IBM only announced open-sourcing in October last year).

So I suppose it’s down to the individual: what would you consider in determining the future of your Domino-hosted site? Is it important to your business that you’re seen to be hosting on Domino? Do you like writing and using your own Domino code? Is the local replica aspect important to you?


  1. Hi Ben… Good questions. There seem to be so many blogs out there now and so much information to keep track of, it is difficult to imagine lige without a good feed aggregator. Unlike the "old" days of blogging I rarely bother to look at the bloggers Web site. I just read the article that caught my attention (Possibly comment) and then move on to the next item. So these days I care less and less about what blogging software a blogger is using and all the stuff they stick around the sides of the blog site. Its the content of the blog that I am after. Personally I would rather see bloggers spending most of their time worrying about the quantity and quality of their blogs rather than consuming that time customizng their own blog site. Others may see it different, especuially if they dont use an aggregator.Peter Presnell#
  2. I believe it is viable, but not with the standard notes domino blog template. I'm currently using notepress for a blog that I'm putting together, (its not live yet). I'm planning on building a plugin architecture for it similar to wordpress, but its a long way to go before its as good as wordpress.

    As far as I'm concerned however, if you're promoting Lotus Domino, and talking about it, you "should" use it as that platform. Put your money where your mouth is so to speak.

    I think a big problem with domino developers (me included) is they're all developer and no designer, which drives adaptation. So I'm working on a blog to solve that.

    you can see my testing at http://www.dominobros.comJon#
  3. well, at least, contributing to openntf should be made easier. IE: I'm unable to find the "Individual Contributor License Agreement" from here (will give Error 404)Giuseppe Grasso#
  4. @3 -

    "In order to contribute code to OpenNTF follow these steps:
    If not already done register.
    Become an official OpenNTF contributor. You either need to be named on your employer's (as an Alliance member) Corporate Contributor License Agreement or have executed an Individual Contributor License Agreement for yourself. "$file/OpenNTF%20ICLA.pdfNathan T. Freeman#
  5. @3 Giuseppe, we are without our official IP Manager at the moment - so I will take the task to get that cleaned up. We need to streamline our messages.

    But don't let the documentation step stop you from contributing. Just one detail in a bigger world :-) John Head#
  6. We can perhaps get an ideajam thing going for Domino Blog and have a community effort to get stuff added it needs. I'm sure my wife will donate me to the effort one sunday :)

    Steve Castledine#
  7. @Nathan, @John: thanks, I don't wont to bash anyone but point out that *just getting started* could be not so simple even for someone active in our little yellowverse.
    And before we go there, Yes, I understand and agree on Why the IP Process has been put in place, and Yes, I'm also guilty of not giving back some code, something that I'm going to try to fix.Giuseppe Grasso#
  8. Hmm.. Over the past few years, I have noticed that IBM has a bit of the "black hand" when it gets involved in something that they've acquired.

    If only IBM would acquire some banks..LOLGiulio#
  9. As a Domino blog template author myself, I can think of only two reasons to stick with Domino:

    - Evangelism, because of an emotional tie with the platform.
    - NSFs allowing for replication and very easy backups

    That's it, really. Other than those reasons, Domino blog templates are miles behind what a platform like Wordpress offers, in features, plugins, widgets, mobile clients, etc. I don't think we will ever catch up, either. Blogging is commoditized and the big players have the budget, software, brand/popularity and eco system of developers.

    This is not to say that Domino blogging is dead. It is a noble cause for our community to improve Domino-based blogging tools that can be used by ourselves. Personally, I think there are more worthwhile causes to work on. I have stopped maintaining my own blog template and will in the future switch to Wordpress. The world has solved blogging already, it does not need another tool. Since we cannot compete with the standard tools, my take is to just use them. Bloggers in other tech communities (Java, .NET) also tend to just use the standard tools, a .NET developer could care less that his blog is built in PHP, just like he does not care that Facebook or Digg is built in PHP. It's a service, and Domino has no differentiating advantages to offer in this area.Ferdy Christant#
  10. Sorry, forgot to mention the following. Besides Domino not offering any real advantages in blogging, it has a few disadvantages as well:

    - Hosting. Sure, you may be able to solve it. But Wordpress hosting (which is PHP hosting) is widely available and dirt cheap. Domino hosting is not.

    - Compatibility. Once you go Domino for blogging, it is hard to switch later on. There are migration tools from MT to Wordpress, but none that I know of for Domino. Domino's URL scheme can be a problem as well if you want your links to keep working.

    - Integration. The common platforms allow for a lot of integration scenarios, for example a blogging client for the iPhone, or Twitter integration. These plugins and clients obviously do not work for Domino based blogging templates.

    All in all (my two entries combined), the only reason I can think of why to use or stick with Domino for blogging is emotional. Ferdy Christant#
  11. I have some same considerations.

    For me the 'open source 'community for Domino has been mainly focussing on building small solutions. Not really systems that can be rolled out as a complete, mature solution.

    For example I have the same questions regarding a WCM system.

    In my opinion it would be better to clearly define on OpenNTF which solution will be build and how designers can contribute.

    For now it are 1 sometimes 2 persons projects, not a bigger developer team say for example 10 persons.

    I guess working on such projects can be more rewarding (more downloads, better reviews).

    But that is my opinion…Patrick Kwinten#
  12. I am using domino blog template for a while in my blog. I am blogging for the Turkish Community.

    I totally agree with Ferdy. Evangelism was an important factor selecting DominoBlog template.

    About customization, No big effort was needed at code level. The biggest problem was;

    - To provide Turkish support, I should have changed some script libraries,
    - To add English short summaries, I changed form element and added a couple of Lotusscript and javascript tricks.

    One important problem was that I couldn't find a list of special tags to be used. I had to examine script libraries to understand complete structure. Documentation effort is urgently needed.

    New tags may be added easily but I didn't want to change the main template considering future upgrades.Serdar Basegmez#
  13. @Serder - try these: Castledine#
  14. Some interesting Comments here but I think Ferdy hit the nail on the head. The only reason for a Domino Developer to use Notes as a Blogging tool is for evangalism.

    Wordpress, is 100 times more powerful, robust, and flexible for online content such as a blog.

    I also agree one of the biggest problems with adaptation is hosting cost. Hosting for Domino is not cheap. Getting a wordpress blog hosted is ridiculously easy.

    Keep Domino where it belongs, in the enterprise. I still think its one of the most powerful Enterprise tools you can have, so that should be the focus. I still think however if you are evangelizing Domino, your blog should be an NSF, even with all its short-comings. Jon#
  15. @Steve,

    Thanks. I had seen your site after I designed my blog :))) Tagged as 'review urgently'…

    However, I didn't see the wiki page. I had a quick view and I would like to add some more details to the entry later.

    @Jon, Some hosting companies like provides free-blog-hosting services. I just didn't need them because I have already my server for Lotus User Group co-located. But yes, it is easier to use wordpress or blogspot than dominoblog.

    Serdar Basegmez#
  16. Jo, if you need to have a .nsf for evangelic reasons, you could use a directory myblog.nsf and come up with something like http://host/myblog.nsf/entry :-)Volker Weber#
  17. @Ferdy: The Domino URL cruft and other limitations you have outlined should be a thing of the past now. There is absolutely no reason why an XPages version of a Domino blogging application should have those limitations, even if it never manages to get its URLs quite as clean as, say, Django. Think back to 2000, folks, and what a typical Domino website looked like at the time -- a time when we, as a community, were just about to overcome a mass failure of imagination. We now have at our disposal an absolutely amazing "pure web" tool, and it's time to exploit the thundering crap out of the possibilities it presents.Stan Rogers#

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