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A Brief History of Lotus Domino

written by: John Hewitt•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 10/29/2008

Lotus Domino was first released in 1996, and it changed the way that users and administrators interacted with their Lotus application suite forever.

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    The Domino Theory

    The early versions of Lotus Domino were internally developed at IBM as an HTTP server, but that work was rapidly integrated into Lotus Notes after Lotus was acquired by that company in 1995. At the same time as their business was exploding, the Lotus developers had to contend with an array of voracious competitors powered by the rapidly accelerating internet revolution.

    The release of Domino provided far greater value to clients, integrating web functionality with all the useful features that came with the base Notes package. This allowed all Notes documents and data of all kinds to be fed onto a web page in real time wihle maintaining security.This feature helped to increase the functionality of Notes relative to other, similar software packages, as it was built into the program itself, requiring no special fiddling to get it to work properly. Clearly, this added substantial benefits to using Notes for documents and messaging, as it allowed work to be broadcasted to thousands of users simultaneously without putting undue stress on the server.

    This also rebranded the Notes package as Domino, although it technically only referred to the server itself.

    Beginning with Release 5, Domino became more completely integrated with the web and the internet in general. It became a more able application development environment, making it far more efficient for programmers to create and integrate all sorts of online-enabled applications in far less time than in previous versions.

    One other advantage Domino had was the consistent interface across various operating systems along with the common file formats. This made it ideal particularly for businesses that had those kinds of issues to deal with.

    Release 6 focused primarily on improving the ease of use of the software while increasing efficiency, particularly for large clients - which by that time made up the majority of Domino's customers. Release 6.5 also included secure instant messaging for all users provided as a free upgrade, making it easier than ever for users to communicate with one another within the application platform.

    Release 7 allowed for the use of DB2 databases as a back-end to increase the stability and functionality of the platform for large amounts of data while providing much stronger encryption than before. Usability and efficiency was further increased.

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    Version History

    • 1996 - Release 4.5
    • 1999 - Release 5
    • 2002 - Release 6
    • 2003 - Release 6.5
    • 2005 - Release 7
    • 2007 - Release 8