The discussion database in IBM Lotus Domino
has been around for a very long time getting minor updates as different
versions of Domino came out over the years, mostly just color updates.
When Domino 8.5 was released the discussion database design was given a
major overhaul with a nice new XPages interface and for the future there
may be even more changes with the news from OpenNTF that IBM may be looking
at open sourcing the template.
IBM is considering
open sourcing the discussion template, which would allow the community
to extend it. IBM could then take the extensions back into the product.
Personally I’ve never been a big fan
of the discussion template, mainy due to the way it does threaded replies.
When doing threaded replies ( and replies to replies ) there are two ways
to display them, either just display one reply at a time and show the subject
lines of the threads below, very similar to how the forums on notes.net
currently work, or you can try display all the entries on screen at the
same time and indent the replies, only problem with this is with an active
forum with lots of replies to replies you end up with entries displaying
in about one inch on the side of the screen.
My prefered discussion forum format
is the Bulletin Board style where all the replies to a topic appear directly
below the main topic entry. This format is mainly used in forum software
like phpBB or VBulletin and even the most excellent DomBulletin that you
can currently get on OpenNTF in the projects section.
So I decided to write a phpBB Bulletin
Board style XPages application TWO days ago. I start with a blank database,
pulled in my base oneUI custom control layout design documents, created
FOUR forms with about SIX fields on each one, created FOUR views and FOUR
XPages containing the custom controls for the layout and one of FOUR custom
controls on each XPage to display the contents for that XPage and I came
up with xTalk.
You can try it out here : http://blog.dnaware.net/openntf/xtalk/xtalk.nsf
I’ve granted anonymous access the ability
to create new topics and reply to existing topics however in a production
environment a login would be required to capture the name of the person
posting to the forum.
There’s still a few things to do, add
sticky entries, grant the owner the ability to lock threads or forums and
a little more CSS work to tidy things up. Hopefully once it’s all finished
I’ll be able to release it on OpenNTF and who knows, maybe there will be
two discussion databases in the next Domino release, one for threaded style
and one for bulletin board style.