I have been a Domino developer for the past 13 years, and for as long as I have been working with the platform, I am continually surprised and dismayed to have to explain to technical recruiters or interviewers what Lotus Domino is and what you can do with it. My dismay is because although there are a few key features that make Domino stand out from other application development platforms, I've heard repeatedly throughout my tenure as a Domino developer that "Domino is dead."
Thus, I write this article to set things straight.
There are a few key features that make Domino stand out from other application development platforms. In this article, I want to describe these features and show you how they can benefit your bottom line.
A Brief History of Domino
So what is Domino? Lotus Domino is an IBM product that has a history going back 20 years. At its core, Domino is a cross-platform application server. It provides security, database, mail, web, and job scheduling services. Also, Domino can be extended through add-ons to provide additional functionality.
Figure 1 A single Domino server provides a wide variety of services.
The latest release of the Domino server is version 8.5. A Lotus Domino 8.5 server can be installed on Windows (Windows Server 2003 and 2008 including X64 versions), Linux (Novell SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux), Sun Solaris, and IBM AIX 5.3 and 6.1.
Most people have heard of "Lotus Notes" or "Notes Mail." The latter is a bit of a misnomer because mail is only one of the services and applications that come included in the platform. Within the platform the Lotus Notes Client is the "client" and Lotus Domino is the "server".
Originally, you purchased a Lotus Notes Server along with as many Lotus Notes Clients as you needed for your business. In 1995, when Notes R4.5 was released, the server portion of this client-server relationship came with an integrated HTTP server that provided web access to the Lotus Notes applications that it was hosting.
From that point on, you no longer needed to buy Lotus Notes Clients to access Notes applications, not even for the email application.
Now you had the option to use a web browser as your application client. HTTP integration marked the point when the server product began to be sold separately as the Lotus Domino Server and was a key turning point in how HTTP integration allows you to develop Domino applications targeted at web browsers in addition to, or instead of, the Lotus Notes Client.