Monday, August 3, 2009

The missing piece of the Lotus Foundations puzzle

I suck at coding in HTML.

Sure I can do it, but with about the same efficiency as I have when typing on a Dvorak keyboard. It's not that I don't understand what HTML does but it uses this weird language that bears no resemblance to my native tongue of Forms, Fields and @functions.

So when I set up Lotus Foundations Server to run my office I left the Home Page alone for a couple of months until I finally forced myself to change it from the default and add some blurb about why I was better than all of the other Lotus Business Partners in Sydney. It took me about a day to code everything I wanted and I decided that I wasn't going to revisit that Page unless I moved offices and needed to update my company details.

Then a couple of weeks ago Bob Baehr pinged me with news about his new baby - Advanced Web Configuration for Foundations - and told me that he could make my Foundations Server work like a proper Domino Web server.

If you've worked with Foundations you'd know that by default your domain name points at your Apache Web server and shows a default Login page. It's a functional but somewhat uninspiring screen and it has no interface with your Domino environment. You can create a URL to a Notes database on your server eg: , but that's rather ugly and I don't think many customers could be bothered to do that much typing. They'd much rather just type in and rely on your server to send them to your Notes-based Home Page.

Advanced Web Configuration for Foundations promises to let them do just that.

The product comes as a zipped 800k .pkg file that drops into your server's autoinstall folder. Although the software manual is fifteen pages long the installation process is so simple that I think Bob could have listed the instructions on a single page. Sure enough, the software installation process was over before I knew it. Click here, tick there, reboot the server and five minutes later my domain name was reading from a Notes database.

A regular native true-blue ODS-rated Form-View-and-Agent-enabled Notes database.

That's more than exciting - it's a whole d@rned revolution in the Lotus Foundations server space because now I don't need to dick around with text-based HTML. I can dust off my old NotesPortal.nsf and provide links for my visitors to get through to all of my other public access web-enabled databases. Lotus Foundations Server is now a viable upgrade path from a traditional Domino server for any SMB customer with a home-grown Domino web site.

You can check out Advanced Web Configuration for Foundations at

The downside is that I can't run my Apache server any more but on reflection I don't really see that as a downside. The standard Foundations Webconfig access screen still runs and that's all I need.

Now excuse me while I go and add another link to my Home Page using a Notes interface - the way nature intended it.


Henning Heinz said...

I was not able to get detailed information for Foundations yet but for IBM Lotus Domino Collaboration Express Anonymous HTTP access is not allowed. Or to be more specific for Anonymous HTTP access (and authenticated accounts that do not have an Express license) you would need an additional Utility Express license (>2000USD). I am very curious how this works for Foundations.

Graham Dodge said...

Not sure I understand. This product runs on your Domino server to redirect incoming HTTP sessions to your home URL.

If you are authenticating with that Foundations server (via HTTP or NRPC) then you need a Notes client license and username/password just like any other Domino server. Where does IBM Lotus Domino Collaboration Express come into it?

Bob Baehr said...

Foundations allows anonymous access to Domino web apps out of the box....over non-standard ports!

That's where the BOBBAEHR.COM Advanced Web Configuration for Foundations comes in.

Bob Baehr
The Unofficial Poster Child for Lotus Foundations, Lotus Notes, and Domino

Henning Heinz said...

That is an intersting point.
Now this has nothing to do with Collaboration Express by itself but if you use it you will notice (to the surprise of many) that anonymous HTTP access is not allowed (licensed) with the product.You need Utility Server Express to achieve this (and more). So if Foundations has a different licensing this would mean a clear advantage for Foundations & AWC for Foundations.
It is a good thing.