Monday, December 1, 2003

The world of Domino blogging


By Thomas Duff

In my last article, I took you on a whirlwind trip into the subject of blogging, why people blog, and how to get started. This time, I'll focus specifically on the world of Domino blogging. We'll look at what makes a Domino blogger and how Domino blogs are being used. I'll also examine the three main Domino blogging applications and share some thoughts by their authors.

So what is Domino blogging? Prior to Lotusphere 2003, the term "Domino blog" meant someone who hosted a blog that had a specific focus on Domino technology. The blogger was usually a techno-geek who was an expert in development or administration, and wanted to share that knowledge with others. Domino-based blogging tools were in their initial iterations, so there were a wide variety of applications in use, such as Blogger and Moveable Type, in addition to home-brewed applications written in Domino. As the concept was still new, you found very few bloggers concentrating on Notes/Domino technology.

Lotusphere 2003 was a turning point in the Domino blog world. Due to the instant publishing nature of a personal blog, some attendees at Lotusphere started to post same-day thoughts and observations of the event. Even IBM/Lotus personnel, such as Ed Brill, used their blog to keep readers up to date with pre-conference news as well as significant happenings during the course of the conference. After the conference concluded, many people realized that the ability to easily share within a blog framework would allow for continued interaction and networking with other like-minded individuals. Thus started the explosion in Domino blogging.

The three main Domino-based blog templates (BlogSphere, DominoBlog, and DomBlog) started to gain attention and followers. In many cases, a number of people would start writing enhancements to the packages and contributing them back to the original writers. As more people started to consider the use of Domino-based blogging tools, each application rapidly started adding new features and releases to keep up with the "open source" type development efforts. This also gave rise to our own, Domino-flavored variant of the "Blog Wars." Each application started to develop its own flavor and direction, and people started to get territorial about their choices. While the environment is calm now, those were some very tense times in the Domino blog universe.

Each week seemed to bring a handful of new Domino bloggers to the scene. With the increasing number of bloggers came a split in what a "Domino blog" meant. Originally a Domino blog was one that focused on Domino technology and may also be running on a Domino application. Now there were an increasing number of people considered "Domino bloggers" who were Domino professionals, but chose to use Domino blogs to talk about other areas of interest, both personal and professional. As the list of Domino blogs that someone followed grew, you ended up with a mix of blogs that covered the gamut from Domino to PHP, software development to book reviews, administration tips to personal details on life. No longer was a Domino blog restricted to just programming information.