Comparing Lotus Domino to SharePoint via Twitter Search

Yesterday I started using TweetDeck instead of Twitter.com as a tool for reading/posting tweets and boy am I glad I did. If you're stilling using Twitter.com, stop!

Anyway, first thing I did was set up some search columns - two of which you can see below. On the left is a "real time" feed of tweets that have the word sharepoint in and on the right those that have the words lotus and domino in them.


The picture kind of speaks for itself -- there seems to be a tweet about SharePoint on average once a minute (if not more), whereas Domino tweets are about a dozen a day.

My point being that one of them seems a happening, buzz-filled place to be and the other doesn't.

Perhaps this isn't fair? It's hard to track down all of the Lotus Domino tweets via search, as searching for just Domino brings up too much other stuff, while looking for both "Lotus" and "Domino" undoubtedly misses out tweets about Domino which don't have both words in them. But, nonetheless, I think it speaks volumes. Not looking for a flame war (it's not like I'm firmly on either side or anything), just thought I'd mention it.

Going to have to remove the sharepoint search for now, as there are so many popup notifications that's it's a constant distraction.


  1. You will find there is actually quite a lot of buzz if you do a search for "lotus notes". It's almost entirely from users expressing how they would prefer to inflict pain upon themselves in various ways rather than continue using the product.

    1. That's exactly what I was going to say. There's a lot of twitt-hate out there against Lotus Notes...

  2. Or, maybe Domino programmers are busy coding, and Sharepoint programmers are busy tweeting. :P

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 12 Aug 2010 08:46 AM

      Maybe. But I'm one Domino developer who isn't busy coding. Not with Domino anyway. I'm having to scrape a living any way I can at the moment.

      Show the rest of this thread

  3. As Jeff said, I was going to say that a Tweetdeck search of "lotus AND (notes OR domino)" might have been more representative, but then you could argue that you would need to "counter-balance" that with a Tweetdeck search of "SharePoint AND Office" or "SharePoint and <client app name>". Still an interesting observation, though.

  4. You could also compare the number of blog posting and hits on PlanetLotus versus PlanetSharePoint. I rarely (if ever) use the term "Domino" in my tweets.

    • avatar
    • Timothy Briley
    • Thu 12 Aug 2010 09:51 AM

    This is pretty much a "dog bites man" post, Jake. What's the point?

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 12 Aug 2010 11:10 AM

      Dog bites man? Huh?

      Not sure what the point was really. Probably isn't one. I'm just in a funny place right now and feeling very lost. Thirteen years in to my career, aged 35, with a mortgage and with 4 kids to feed I find myself in the terrible situation of having no idea what my future holds or how much longer I can reasonably expect Domino to provide an income. It's not a nice place to be. That's the topic of an upcoming blog though...

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Martin
    • Thu 12 Aug 2010 10:15 AM

    I suppose it is normal - there is also much more .NET programmers (who code stuff for SharePoint) to Lotus Domino developers. Try compare it even with PHP or any other technology and I assume the Domino list will be the shortest. Just normal.

  5. What do you get if you use Microsoft Sharepoint?

    • avatar
    • Ferdy
    • Thu 12 Aug 2010 11:13 AM

    The Lotus Notes/Domino application scene is just a lot smaller compared to SharePoint and its .NET technology. .NET seems to be the standard for custom application development in most companies nowadays.

    Recently there was a new IT employment site launched in the Netherlands, focusing only on developers and such. They neatly categorized entries into PHP, .NET, etc each holding dozens or hundreds of entries. Domino wasn't even a category, as if it does not exist at all. Quite disturbing if you have to make a living from it.

    • avatar
    • kritika s
    • Thu 12 Aug 2010 12:37 PM

    Lotus notes loosing market. it is only a legacy software used in companies for old applications. better to learn .net, sharepoint if you want employment.

    lotus notes also not having rdbms technology to store data, and only some internal structure which not very efficient for reporting.

    they are talking about xpages and all that.. it is not much if u see .net. ms have done man things.. people like jake having problem is bad for notes people.. better start learning something ...

    1. "better to learn .net, sharepoint if you want employment.

      lotus notes also not having rdbms technology to store data, and only some internal structure which not very efficient for reporting."

      The irony is of course that as you are not meant to access the back end (relational) data store that MS designed for SharePoint, you can also see SharePoint as itself non-relational, like Notes. You get at SharePoint data through its API - lists and list items, not directly to the SQL store.

      So there *are* conceptual similarities between the Notes and SharePoint. I've already said this but SharePoint, IMHO, is so widespread because

      a) its cut down version (WSS (SP 2007) or SharePoint Foundation (SP 2010) ) is free - a trojan horse that seems similar to the tactic Sony used in their PS3 Blu Ray implementation (vs HD-DVD)


      b) MS know marketing.

      • avatar
      • Notes/Sharepoint Developer
      • Fri 13 Aug 2010 12:38 AM

      SharePoint is a loosing ship... but it takes some time as the licenses are new....No one in the world loves sharepoint developement and Notes developers loves their environment a lot. There is no comparision in terms of ROI of Domino and SharePoint.

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Rishi
    • Thu 12 Aug 2010 10:47 PM

    You should never stop learning new technologies in IT..Brands never pay your bill , Its your knowledge and exposure.. BTW, Why do some people slam jake for adopting SharePoint ?

    1. Slamming Jake is a case of "shooting the messenger". Jake has arguably been the most high-profile Notes/Domino person (external to IBM) for about a decade. Obviously if he is finding that Domino work has dried up then that's a clear indicator of the state of Notes/Domino. I've been an adamant supporter of Lotus Notes since 1995 but even I have to admit now that it's a fading star. And it's not so easy to be loyal or idealistic when bills need to be paid and food needs to be put on the table.

      If you want to stay in development then .NET or Java are the two options which offer maximum security imho.

      Best of luck Jake.


      Show the rest of this thread

  6. It's pretty telling that you need one word to find information relating to Sharepoint: Sharepoint. To find information related to Notes and Domino, you need a somewhat complicated query.

    In other terms: Marketing.

      • avatar
      • kritika s
      • Fri 13 Aug 2010 09:46 PM

      there is no marketing for lotus notes..ibm never have strategy for lotus..

    • avatar
    • J.J.
    • Fri 13 Aug 2010 03:28 AM

    I think it will be really hard to attract new Domino developers. The Domino development has still quite a few strong points, but it lacks in certain features that modern programmers take for granted these days.

    For example:

    - Lack of source control. In the <insert language here>-world, SVN or CVS are commonly used for source control, mainly because it's free. In the Domino world, you have to spent a lot of cash for a decent source-control system.

    - Trivial taks take a long time to accomplish (and no, I'm not kidding). Try to change the background-ground of all your views in a database. Imagine this is a database which consists of 50+ views. Ofcourse, there are external tools that allow you to do this, but once again, they ain't cheap. In a dotnet or pure java environment for example, you just store those settings somewhere (ini-file, db, whatever).

    - Speed and stability of Lotus Notes have decreased since the R8 eclipse-based release. Since the Designer became eclipse-based too, even the most simple task like opening a Database design element takes forever. Oh well, at least we have auto-completion of our own classes now ... that's something already.

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Fri 13 Aug 2010 03:32 AM

    I'm the same as most of the posters here - been developing (and loving) Notes/Domino for 13/14 years and starting to worry where the next job will come from

    The annoying thing is I am loving getting my hands dirty with XPages and seeing the things it can do, but no job sites are giving results for XPages!!

    It may be time to move away from development - the guy who said Java offers the best security obviously has never met my boss. He doesn't see the point of hiring Java developers when there are cubicles and cubicles of "offshore resources" that he can use for "3 per hour

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 13 Aug 2010 03:46 AM

      "It may be time to move away from development"

      That's actually something that's crossed my mind on more than one occasion. I know the grass is always greener but I couldn't help thinking about the idea of going in to custom playhouse manufacture for parents with more money that sense, while I worked on this http://www.codestore.net/store.nsf/unid/BLOG-20100525-0401?OpenDocument

      As a 35 year old I can't help feeling that I'm at my peak (which makes my current situation all the more frustrating) and that in 5 years time - aged 40 - I'll be considered "old" and out of touch when it comes to finding work as a developer. Whereas age and experience are a bonus in lots of trades is that true of coding?

      It would be a difficult move to make though, as I truly do love my job as a coder/hacker and maker of things.

      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Les Z
    • Fri 13 Aug 2010 05:30 AM

    "and that in 5 years time - aged 40 - I'll be considered "old" and out of touch"...

    Ouch, that really hurt Jake!


    Someone who is older than 40

  7. Agree with Volker: simpler product reference. Is there really a need for a "Notes client" and "Domino server" any longer? Can't it all just be "IBM Lotus Notes"?

    Jake, I can't tell you exactly how to do it since I don't have my TweetDeck client in front of me, but there is a way in the Settings to turn off notifications for specific columns. I have turned them off for my search columns for the exact reason you mention.

    • avatar
    • James
    • Fri 13 Aug 2010 10:28 AM

    I don't think this represents anything that we all don't already know - Domino Development is pretty much done.

    Ultimately it's IBMs fault for letting it die. It seems to me like they spent a lot of time on the client wars at the expense of everything else that Domino can do. The release 8X notes client software was an improvement but it's inherently buggy and just not good enough. Microsoft won the client war a long time ago.

    It's shame that IBM let this happen - I feel like I can get so much done working in this development environment, but the writing is on the wall and I have moved on to other technologies.

  8. Jake,

    what is at the root of your concerns with Domino ?

    Are you not convinced by XPages or is it that your traditional domino client base is not convinced by XPages ?

    If you could easily deploy XPage applications in an virtual or physical Appliance mode or SAAS would that help ?

    I have been waiting a long time for Xpages, obviously I didn't know that it was called XPages at the time, and it is looking good. Write once for Notes and Non Notes customers ( assuming 8.5.2 client runs XPages at a decent speed unlike 8.5.1 ) is an awesome capability. We have already sold a re-worked Notes application to an "ex notes shop" as Xpage applications running on a virtual appliance.

    I know that the documentation has been crap but there is a ton of community created content which helps ( almost too much in fact ) and the learning curve is not as steep as it was now that it is less buggy.


      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 13 Aug 2010 03:55 PM

      It's not a concern about the product itself. It's all about the demand. If there was a demand for me (Rockall) to deliver XPage apps then I'd "happily" go about learning XPages. Yeah, sure, I'd whine and pick fault all the way, but you'd expect that of me, right? Right now though I'm not seeing any demand for Domino work at all. What little I do with Domino is supporting and sometimes extending existing customers' apps.

      It's possibly a catch 22 situation. I've been known in the past as a Domino hacker who could bend it to get the best out of it and that has made both this site popular and me quite busy workwise. Now though it seems it's all about XPages and I haven't adopted it, so perhaps that's why I'm not seeing any new Domino work coming in. I'm no longer considered on the cutting edge of Domino. I doubt it, but it could explain what I'm experiencing.

      But yeah, I'm yet to be convinced XPages are all they're made out to be. It seems the same goes of my clients. Especially my best client who's dropping Notes completely!


      Show the rest of this thread

  9. Having thought long and hard about all this, I now reckon that Lotus are doing exactly the right thing.

    Read Nathans post about hybrid integration between Lotus Live and Domino, and expect Domino to get even more SaaS in 9.

    I see the future contest between Lotus Live, Google Apps and the Windows Cloud.

    I don't see the point of traditional server/client setups anymore with fast internet, and have been providing SaaS apps to clients for 4 years now on Domino. I am now looking at a way to integrate my offerings with Lotus Live.

    This I think is the weakness of Sharepoint....Old thinking, so I no longer use it....Back to Domino full time in the cloud.

    I suspect the era of traditional in-house admin/development may be drawing to an end, and we will all have to live with it. I think the market will shrink as things become centralised in the cloud.

    I also suspect that someone with Jakes talents will be fine...Shonkier programmers such as myself may have a problem.

    • avatar
    • Joel
    • Sat 14 Aug 2010 12:42 AM

    Referring to the freelance sites, I just saw my first posting for a Notes/Domino app today - someone wanting help wire-framing a composite application together. .Net development does somewhat better, and Java maybe a bit better than .Net, but by far most of the work in that sphere is going to LAMP/WAMP developers. Be they large projects or small, it seems that most of the new commercial sites being put up are being done in PHP. Which I suppose makes sense, with it being free and with what seems to be most of the popular shopping cart programs built in PHP. I guess the fact that all of the software required for PHP development/deployment can be obtained easily and for free might have something to do with it's popularity as well.

    • avatar
    • Joel
    • Sat 14 Aug 2010 12:53 AM

    Someone suggested on a blog somewhere (I don't now remember who) that IBM might be better served to separate xPages development out into a separate product entirely from the traditional designer (keeping only the bare minimum other components to create data stores.. forms and views possibly) and market it as their web development platform. I don't remember whom it was, but they made a good argument for it. The only problem would be IBM messing it up and we all know how capable they are of that.

    • avatar
    • Patrick Niland
    • Sat 14 Aug 2010 03:43 AM

    Hey Jake,

    I've finally come around the your sort of thinking. Notes and Domino is still too low key for IBM. Web Sphere, is still their answer to Share Point.

    In regards to moving away from Notes and Domino, I was advised about 2 year ago, by an ex-Notes and Domino Developer to move to Sales Force. He was moving at the time to a position with Sales Force. Only recently have I started to really look into it and from what I can see, it seems more of a natural progression for Notes and Domino developers. From the youtube videos and demos, it looks the "bee's knees".

    Give it a try, you may like it.



  10. Jake, you're not alone. This is a common issue among most independent consultants. It's the inherent problem with being a one man company with basically a single service. In the early 2000s when the dotcoms bombed and everything was going overs (from the US to India) it was *not* a good time to be any sort of a programmer. Your rates were cut in half and basically you competed against thousands of developers and engineers who suddenly found themselves on the street.

    I think you're doing the right thing, diversify your skill set and services you offer. Why don't you teach? With your credentials and clearly the respect you have here in the yellow-world, I don't think lining up teaching gigs would be that hard and that might be a nice steady stream of income.

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