Is Domino an E-Business Development Environment?

Misconceptions about Lotus Domino have circled in the AS/400 community ever since Domino for AS/400 was first announced. Nobody could seem to make up his or her mind about whether Domino was a set of development tools, a web server, a database, an application server, e-mail server, or group calendaring system.

Well it is a combination of all these things and many more! You can easily see why everyone was confused, because how could it be so many things and be good at all of them at the same time?

This combination of features and abilities make Domino for AS/400 a good e-business development environment and e-business server. Domino for AS/400 was ported from the Unix version of the Domino product with the native version available in February 1998. Release 5.0 became available to AS/400 customers in 1999. The AS/400 system also has a Dedicated Server for Domino (DSD) that was released in September 1999 with major upgrades and a wider server line introduced with V4R5.

The primary development tool that comes with Domino is Domino Designer – it is a rapid application development tool that can be used to create secure, end-to-end e-business solutions. It also comes with web-ready templates for security and workflow using Domino Objects. Enterprise integration is achieved through database connectors and Lotus Enterprise Integrator (LEI). Open standards like Java, HTML 4, CORBA/IIOP, and OLE are supported, providing the means to connect and link to other applications in the enterprise.

Also included are Page Designer (WYSIWYG HTML Authoring Tool), Frameset Designer, and Outline Designer to provide the high impact user interfaces demand.

Domino Objects require further mention as they allow for rapid development of messaging, security, and workflow in applications using your choice of Java, JavaScript, CORBA/C++, or Lotus Script. User Interface Applets are also included that provide features like re-sizable columns and rich text without any programming.

Underneath all the development tools are the ‘guts’ or core functionality that allow for such a rich combination of workflow, messaging, and dynamic/transactional solutions. These are the features Domino and previously Lotus Notes were known for and still make up the core functionality that makes Domino unique. These include the e-mail server, calendaring system, workflow, Domino HTTP server, Domino Transaction server, and LEI (formerly Notes Pump).

What is most interesting is the combination of solutions that can be built – pure Domino, Domino and Legacy, Domino and WebSphere, Dynamic web sites, and transactional web sites (see (new window)). For instance an application with a web-based user interface with authentication can be built that links to, and has add/delete/edit access to a legacy database. In a business-to-business application users can place orders, check on shipping information, book an appointment with their account representative or review their account status - all securely. In the background the Domino HTTP server and LEI are providing the user with the application itself and legacy data access. Additionally, internally processes are likely setup that notify the account manager if an out of stock order is placed, the order confirmation is sent via the Domino e-mail server, or an appointment to review their ordering plan for the coming year is logged in the calendaring system. All managed and developed in Domino and all part of the built in features.

IBM has many case studies and examples of high impact sites built with Domino tools on the Domino infrastructure (see (new window)).

To find out more about Domino Designer and other Domino development tools and services, visit the Lotus Web site at (new window). You can also refer to the Developer Central site at: (new window).

Think of Domino next time when evaluating technologies for your new e-business application. It’s rich set of features and standard functions provide the bang many developers are looking for.

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