You can't do that in Notes

by Volker Weber

There is an old trick to get excellent Linux advice. If you ask "how do you do that with Linux" you may be waiting for advice forever. But if you state "you can't do that in Linux", Linux advocates will fall over themselves trying to prove you wrong.

If you watch carefully, you will see when I am applying the same trick to other communities. :-)

Sometimes however people saying "you can't do that" are seriously trying to get into the way of people actually doing what they think can't be done. It's currently happening to Bruce of elguji software, who are building LinkJam, a social bookmarking application as a pure Domino solution. This can't be done, since you need WebSphere, and Portal, and DB2. And pay $$$ to IBM for Connections in order to get DogEar. Or maybe you can?

Customers are probably going to love this. They can run their social bookmarking application on their existing Domino infrastructure. IBMers compensated for Connections revenues may not like it so much. Same goes for business partners who want their cut of the revenue stream. Or pundits who know this can't be done.

elguji has shown it before. They built IdeaJam for a lot less money than competing implementations. I bet they can do it again.


I think that if you remove the scalability argument, there is very little that you "can't" do with Notes/Domino compared to the Websphere products. Whether or not Notes is the best product for a given application is always open to debate, but typically I have found that you almost always CAN do that with Notes.

Ed Maloney, 2008-05-14

I guess that's the point. IBM likes to look at other companies with 380,000 employees. But what if you "only" have 3,800? Or 38?

Volker Weber, 2008-05-14

Scalability and Websphere do not necessarily go hand-in-hand anyway: (Does Not) Workplace ran on Websphere—remember that?!

Ben Poole, 2008-05-14

How many servers did the "expensive exercise in showing independence" have? :-)

Volker Weber, 2008-05-14

Um, let me think… In simple terms, excluding WAS network deployment, Workplace “cells” etc:

Websphere Application Server
Websphere Portal Server
IBM Lotus Workplace Server
HTTP stack (can be on WAS box)
Directory service (i.e. LDAP box & associated database)
RDBMS (DB2 or Oracle if memory serves)

I think that covers it? ;o)

Ben Poole, 2008-05-14

It was a three digit number. Seriously. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2008-05-14

A single Domino box doing all this stuff is not good for IBM. It doesn't drive enough consulting, trying to get all these WAS, DB2, Domino, LDAP etc. servers speaking to each other, now that is perfect. Conveniently, it also requires more server hardware, which IBM just so happens to also sell.

When we say to IBM, building these solutions on none Domino platforms gives the image that Domino doesn't scale, they always push back saying that isn't the reason. I can see the fact that Domino isn't relational being a valid response, but we very rarely hear that as the reason either.

Carl Tyler, 2008-05-14

I see this kind of scale everyday on other social bookmark services that do not have many servers when starting out. If we are only after social bookmarks, you do not need a full Connections implementation, but still need the same base software. So you do have a few servers to handle. But a clustered NSF with a bookmarklet? That would be a fine solution

Chris Miller, 2008-05-14

I don't buy the scale argument. Good planning and good code-fu will give you solutions in Domino that scale far beyond what people expect. No, you're not going to run on a Domino server. At least not on a single one :-) -- but it isn't always about that is it.

Twitter is having massive scale problems with their database. I don't know how they built it, but I know if it was me I wouldn't be using a database at all. Twitter is more like a switch than a data store. If they're powering it with an RDB, someone needs to rethink what they're doing.

Domino DOES scale. It scales very well. IBM tried to build notWorkplace out of WAS, DB2, Portal, etc. Guess what? It didn't scale even 1% as high as a SINGLE Domino server. Why not? Because its not about the platform, its about the design.

Andrew Pollack, 2008-05-16

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