David Clover


    A Corporate Discussion area

    David Clover  7 February 2013 21:15:28
    We've been reviewing an excellent IBM Domino 9 template from OpenNTF which seems to offer a well-conceived, well-programmed and generally useful 'Social' utility which we can exploit to create small online 'communities' for research and other projects.

    The look and feel of the 'Intrapages' environment from Thomas Adrian in Sweden owes a lot to existing public social networking environments - a strength in that the conventions people have already learned from using them in their private time are readily applied here. The template uses IBMs Domino 9 beta server which we have installed (it can also use Domino 8.5.3 with the OpenNTF Extension Library) and it is written using IBMs immensely powerful 'Xpages' Java-based programming environment. It's a professionally-crafted and, so far robust, easy-to-understand  interface. Here's an example:

    Image:A Corporate Discussion area

    The template offers 'Self Signup' - a distinct plus as it allows people external to the University to take part in the discussion - as well as offering an integrated Domino Directory sign up for organisations with users who reply on Domino for other workflow and mail-enabled applications. However, to meet all our needs, it will also need to offer Active Directory signon using LDAP. If that can be added to the design it has potential to become a seriously useful tool for us in providing services to researchers on projects. In fact we already created an Active Directory/LDAP login on our locally modified version of Declan Lynch's 'Large File Sender' template a while ago so I hope it should be feasible to add it as an option here too.

    Installing and configuring this powerful tool, a single .nsf database with no external dependencies, took all of 20 minutes from a standing start. Using Thomas Adrian's clear instructions, the parameterisation and tailoring of the interface was extremely easy to do. It offers the option of integrating logins with public networks such as Facebook and Linked in as well, though we shan't be doing that just yet.

    I've been critical in the past of some of the offerings at OpenNTF which have promised much but then been incompletely finished, buggy or not maintained, but this one feels as though it shares the same build and programming qualities we found a long time ago in Steve Castledine's 'Domino Blog' which is now released by IBM with its Domino server as an official 'core' template (indeed this blog uses it).

    There are lots of organisations out there with a Domino infrastructure for whom this could become a really important tool in exploiting the significant power (and backend simplicity) of IBM's Domino infrastructure. Thomas Adrian has made a test environment available at where you can try it out.

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