An update, of sorts

Remember my plea for help? Well, you might be wondering what happened with that. In the end I wrote to the client and told them it was an admin issue and if not that it's something they need to take up with Lotus Support. The reason I took this approach was that I wasted about 3 days on it and that was just feasibility testing. I never got the chance to tender for any work.

So, Friday gone was the day I met with another client in London. The one that wants a recruitment website and doesn't care how I do it. Today I am working on a quote for them. I am almost 100% sure it's going to be in PHP. It's going to be an interesting experience and so, assuming I get the work, you can be sure I will be mentioning stuff not altogether Domino related over the next month or so. I will try and make it as interesting as possible.

Anyway, as Mike's already said today, we met up on Friday and spent an hour or so chatting about various things. Blogging mainly. We are now both acutely aware of blog length. Don't worry I am getting to my point. Something Mike said to me, and something that I had to agree with, is that when I talk about PHP I shouldn't do it from the angle that it's better than Domino. Looking back I can see that I am always trying to show how great PHP is compared to Domino. What I should be doing is simply introducing you all to PHP's greatness and leaving Domino be. That's what I will try and do. Who knows, maybe I'll even talk about how Domino is better than PHP.

I know there are those of you who have no interest whatsoever in PHP and think I should shut up about it. But, for each of you, there is another who welcomes the introduction to something new. Even Mr Notestips himself expressed an interest in playing with it.


  1. Well count me in the "welcomes the introduction to something new" clan. I'm a Support Person by day (although I'm expected to develop Notes apps too)and have an interest in everything technical.

    If your PHP content is as interesting as your Domino articles then I'm sure it will make great reading.

  2. I'm one who welcomes it...


    • avatar
    • HUK
    • Mon 21 Jul 2003 10:37

    I'm all for it jake, get some php tech articles going!

  3. Anyone who shuns learning something new in the current environment is on a career suicide mission. Let them continue on their way. No "web developer" in their right mind can afford to ignore things like ASP and PHP. We haven't all got time to learn them, unfortunately. To receive invaluable information from someone who is already making the transition from Domino, for free, well, it's money well spent in all but an idiot's book.

  4. I'm all for the PHP posts. After all, this is codestore not DominoCode or NotesStore. The thought that Domino alone can solve every problem we have is crazy. In my experience, it is a little harder to get started (getting everything you need set up) with PHP than with Domino. A "getting started" article might be helpful to the rest of us.

    • avatar
    • HUK
    • Mon 21 Jul 2003 13:37


    I dont think anyone is saying domino alone can solve everything. A getting started article is a great idea.

    • avatar
    • Jaap
    • Mon 21 Jul 2003 15:05

    Sure Jake, php for dummies (I am talking about myself OK).

  5. PHP's certainly come a long way from "Personal Home Page Tools", hasn't it? (No, PHP does NOT stand for "PHP Hypertext Preprocessor", no matter what the johnnie-come-lately GNU-heads tell you.)

    There was a time, not very long ago, when I would have crawled all over you for suggesting to a client that a "real" site be created using PHP. (For anyone who likes to point out the various situational weaknesses of Domino, you ought to get hold of the pre-Open Source PHP and play for a while. Not unlike playing with regular expressions sans reference, one could create a fast and elegant infinite loop using only six characters that would continue to run long after the power was removed from the server.)

    The only real problem with PHP is that, as with other Open Source initiatives, it's really hard to find somebody to sue when things go wrong. Oh, and it has no good acronyms associated with it, so it won't impress the pointy-haired people who need to see multiple TLAs in the colour glossy spreads....

    PHP is fairly "close to the iron" when compiled, and there's no disputing that a structured-offset table makes a better query source than unstructured data ever will, as long as the data can be crammed into a table. When it's right, use it. And that's from a Domino zealot.

    • avatar
    • Heini
    • Mon 21 Jul 2003 17:59

    Hi Jake,

    years ago (:o) when you wrote about more focusing on PHP I said that I will definetely enjoy the ride. This has not changed. As I am not that enthusiastic about Java I am still looking for a brave one that does not follow the usual IBM path. Sorry but from a Domino perspective PHP makes more sense that a back-end language like Java. If you do something with it I will follow you (which does not change anything as I am a loyal reader of codestore.net (or org)).

    Enjoy your work and become rich.



  6. hey hey ... I know PHP as well, although I am not very good with it. I just play around with open source products and stuff.

    Would be great if we have a PHP section. =)

    Greetings from Singapore. =)

  7. I recently got started with php (last week), I have reviewed some useful php sites.

    The best of the best are as follows:





    The tutorials are very good especially at the sitepoint website.

    • avatar
    • Jef
    • Tue 22 Jul 2003 00:44


    With all this recent PHP talk I decided to continue my own Apache/PHP experiments (prompted by Jake's previous series of blogs on the subject). And the Apache/PHP part really is not a problem. However when trying to get Domino and Apache to play nice, things tend to go tits up. Everything seems to work - the proxy thing almost works, but I keep getting 403 errors when trying to access e.g. names.nsf:

    [Tue Jul 22 07:40:42 2003] [warn] proxy: No protocol handler was valid for the URL /names.nsf. If you are using a DSO version of mod_proxy, make sure the proxy submodules are included in the configuration using LoadModule.

    Any idea anyone ?


  8. Glad to hear that you are finding gainful employment. Guess that means that Karen's going to be sulking during her summer holidays though! Like the others, I welcome your articles, whatever the subject. I've always found being something of a generalist is very helpful in this game - it prevents people pulling the wool over the eyes, and prevents you from loosing your own foresight in whats best. What would be useful though, if you can find the time, is to explain how certain PHP features compare to Domino. Most here are primarily Domino centric, and it will help them see the relevance of other technologies. Keep up the good work!

    • avatar
    • Jef
    • Tue 22 Jul 2003 05:15

    Well finally found some usefull information (on the apache.org site - go figure ;-) and it would appear that I was missing some lines in my httpd.conf file. Got Apache and Domino playing side by side nicely now...

  9. Jef,

    you might like to elaborate on that last comment!

    Not wishing to pre-empt the pre-ordered "PHP from scratch" tutorial that we all know Jake is about to commence writing (is this Radio 1 - do you take requests? ;O) ...

    I would add that my strengths (like most of you, I would expect) are with Domino. Any technology that can help me leverage my already-significant-exposure/investment is better than a brand new "orphan" technological technique.

    But sure, bring on anything that helps get the solution built! I'd even write machine code for the Vic 20 if I thought it would make a .getDocumentByUNID fucntion faster.

  10. Jake,

    Please *do* write about php..

    I work with Domino since 1997 (and god knows 'til when :o) ), but I'm eager to learn something new!

    Sandra Borges

  11. Best way to start learning PHP is to just jump in with both feet first!

    Both PHP and Domino are great tools. Put them together an there is nothing you cannot do.

    Try out some of the open source PHP applications if you really want to shorten that learning curve. PHP Nuke and PHP Post Nuke are pretty good apps to start off with.

    Best of luck!


  12. Forgot to mention that PHP has excellent documentation including contributed comments (wish Domino doco was this good). You can download html, pdf or windows help format versions here.


  13. I'm all for new things too. Believe it or not, I'm not sure I see a long-term future for myself in development. My main concern is with the clickInvites site. Any conversion would be purely for personal reasons, but not necessarily for personal growth of my resume.

    I think knowing Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP is a good thing, but I really want to use Mac or Linux as my development client, and to use something where I can develop quickly. Who knows? I may even decide that Puakma or ColdFusion might be my route.

    I enjoy what Domino has to offer. The stumbling block with a different technology is my lack of MySQL knowledge. I do not know enough MySQL to be able to mimic our current method of "replication" between two servers.

  14. Why not use both Domino & PHP. Domino as the data store for replication and code distribution.

    And PHP for some raw unadultered processing power.

    Also - I am working on a project currently where mySQL data is being distributed regularly between 3 servers. And this is not simply by using the native mySQL replication features. This is a custom method. So it can be done.

    The best way to learn is by example. And to "crack" the ice by trying things out.

    PHP, Apache and MySQL runs on all platforms now.

    The only IDE you need is a good text editor.

    MyPHPAdmin provides the mySQL IDE.

    mySQL is just a relational database - so if you've worked with MS Access or bigger then you will have no worries.

    Everything is well documented and there are heaps of support forums.

    Give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.

    I am continually amazed at what you can do with PHP, MySQL, Apache and Linux.

    • avatar
    • Ben D
    • Tue 22 Jul 2003 08:00

    I have to agree with Justin: PHP and Domino make a killer team. I did a Java class last year where we were playing with JSPs and MySQL. PHP is definitely easier than JSPs, and MySQL, well, it's relational so it's the missing part of Domino.

    Mind you, I'd love to experiment Domino and MySQL with DECS or LEI. Might not need the PHP then...

  15. I have been reviewing the links attached by Kuldipc- good stuff. Even a primer (including an overview of where they fit and the installation of the software) on SitePoint. Good stuff and thanks.

    • avatar
    • HUK
    • Tue 22 Jul 2003 14:22

    interesting, domino will run php>>>


  16. You can check out phpBB and InvisionBoard which are run by the popular combination of PHP and mySQL.


    • avatar
    • Brett
    • Tue 22 Jul 2003 23:45

    Why not do PHP for Domino Developers type angle, as to ease the learning curve for domino developers

    • avatar
    • Jef
    • Wed 23 Jul 2003 01:13


    I'm sure I read somewhere on the PHP site that there are two ways of using PHP and that this way is the least secure of the two. Of course if security isn't an issue in your (test) environment then go ahead by all means, but assuming you'll want to implement this one day in a live environment as well, you'll need to use the other (loading PHP by means of the appropriate SAPI module) which would either require a php4domino sapi module (which doesn't exist if I'm not mistaken) or the use of another http server (e.g. Apache)...

  17. FYI: I tried the Junkheap method ({Link} of integrating PHP & Domino. Didn't work initially, but with some tweaking & playing you can get it to work, and it is seamless integration.

    For example: I've used the Junkheap method to have a PHP page that integrates with a Website CMS for automatically converting the HTML Pages into PDF.

    If anyone is interested to know the tweaks required to the Junkheap method drop me an email.

    Explore, learn and have fun


  18. Hi everybody,

    I'm very interested with Php and i agree with you Jake when you said that we need to add strings to our bow.

    I just want to say that an important bow for us Domino Developpers or Domino Webmasters should be ( must be ?) the Websphere Environment.

    Indeed, all the articles i read about the future of domino talk about the convergence (maybe a fusion) between Websphere and Domino.

    I agree with you for PHP but i just want to say, be careful don't forget Websphere and Java.

    I'm very interested to know how you can implement a Single Signon solution between a Php application and a Domino application.

    Didier from Belgium

  19. As I see it, Websphere is far too complex to implement solutions quickly. The learning curve is too steep. Not to mention the costs of actually purchasing the required software and tools.

    PHP is a good middle ground between the three main players on the Internet. Which are: PHP, Java and .Net.

    Well that's my opinion anyway.


    • avatar
    • HUK
    • Fri 25 Jul 2003 08:59

    Justin, well said!

  20. You're right Justin, i'm not a defender or a pro-websphere, and i'm very interested in PhP too. And it's true, Websphere is expensive, and the marketing of IBM is really obscure with several names and packaging.

    But we cannot be unaware , if we want to continue to develop applications with domino, of Domino is becoming a part of the websphere environment.

    In the case of a platform-independent developper i understand and agree with your point of view, but working for a company it's not my case and i must follow.

    Didier from Belgium

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