WebSphere vs Domino Comparison

If you are an IT web applications architect making the decision between Domino and WebSphere or both, you need to know how well the product aligns with the task it is being asked to perform. For example, we all should know that Domino is an excellent choice for collaborative tasks and WebSphere is great at transactional based tasks. I’ve compiled a table that provides a general ranking of how well Domino and WebSphere align to a list of commonly encountered tasks or system attributes.

Task/Attribute Domino WebSphere Comments
Object types Moderate Excellent Domino uses a proprietary object model featuring items such as forms, views, documents, agents, pages, and databases, and has adopted Java. WebSphere uses the open development language Java via Servlets, Java Beans, Gasps, and EJBs, and thus is limited more by language and programming feasibility. Domino 6 and future versions will open the proprietary Domino Object Model to other tools. The technologies used are XML for data transfer and Domino tag libraries for exposing the Domino Object Model in a JSP environment.
Scalability Good Excellent Domino systems can become large, while WebSphere can scale to massive sizes.
Skills required Good Fair Domino developers require moderate to high skillsets, but a power user can create productive applications. WebSphere developers require high skill levels and power users cannot readily participate in creating applications.
Development models Good Good Domino can use Formula language, Lotus Script, BASIC, COM/COM+, Java, J2EE and more. WebSphere is limited to the Java (J2EE) model.
Clients supported Excellent Very Good Domino supports Notes, browsers, mail clients, and LDAP clients. WebSphere supports browsers.
Protocols supported Excellent Good Domino supports NRPC, HTTP, IIOP, SMTP, IMAP, POP3, LDAP, and more. WebSphere primarily supports HTTP and IIOP.
Application tools Moderate Good Domino can use Domino Designer, WebSphere Studio, and third-party tools. WebSphere developers have a variety of tools, such as WebSphere Studio, VA Java, and more.
e-Mail Very Good NA Domino is a market leader for e-mail. This functionality is not native to WebSphere.
Discussion forums Good Poor Domino has database templates dedicated to this purpose. WebSphere would require a relatively high amount of programming to achieve this functionality.
Distributed content creation and approvals Good Good WebSphere requires additional software and configuration. Domino requires workflow application development or third-party applications.
People-oriented workflow Good Moderate WebSphere would require significant programming effort. Some templates that ship with Domino include workflow capabilities. Workflow functionality can be added to any Domino application without significant programming effort.
Rapid Application Development Good Moderate WebSphere would require significant programming effort.
Integration with other systems Good Good Both Domino and WebSphere do well. Domino integration is typically simpler to install and configure, whereas WebSphere integration tends to be more robust.
Highly scalable systems integration Moderate Good Both Domino and WebSphere are scalable vertically and horizontally. Domino tends to be less scalable due to the overhead of server tasks which make it a heavier server. The Domino server is therefore more closely tied to the addition of memory and processing power. WebSphere is designed to perform jobs it is programmed to do, making it lighter. WebSphere also, by design, makes it simpler to distribute processing tasks across multiple pieces of hardware.
Transactional processing Poor Good The Domino data store excels in document-based computing, but not in transactional processing.
Relational data Fair Good (via DB2) Domino touches relational data only via use of connector tools. However, it is possible to use a relational database as the data store via LEI. WebSphere connects to DB2 databases via EJBs or JDBC.
Java development Good Excellent Java development in Domino tends to be centered around the Domino programming model. Java development is currently more robust in WebSphere. New in Domino 6 is the ability to instantiate Java objects, call Java objects methods, and read/write Java object properties from LotusScript programs. This functionality is known as LS2J.
LotusScript development Good Poor WebSphere does not support LotusScript.
WebSphere MQ Integration Excellent Excellent Both Domino and WebSphere have connectors and APIs to WebSphere MQ.
Serve HTML Excellent Excellent Both Domino and WebSphere perform well as HTTP servers.
Multi platform Excellent Excellent Both Domino and WebSphere have excellent histories supporting multiple platforms.
Enterprise Solution ready Good Good Both Domino and WebSphere have connectors and APIs to various third party applications and technologies.