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I've decided to move forward with migrating Second Signal away from Domino before the end of Q1 2013. There are a number of platform choices to consider and I'm looking for suggestions.
Since I know the majority of readers on this blog will of course be Domino fans, let me point out that I'm fully aware of the strengths of Domino as a platform. I did pick it, after all. There are reasons to migrate away, however, even if it means I've got to do more of the work for security, replication, and indexing myself. The short answer to that is that no matter how good it is, it is no longer relevant in the marketplace.
The longer answer is, at some point down the road I want the option of selling the business or doing something else with it. Domino is a major roadblock to that. I've been involved with several startups and I know how negative a result having a platform in the back end that isn't considered mainstream (and Domino just isn't for external facing sites) can have on the process and interest level of prospective partners or buyers. Add to that the licensing rules and costs around Domino as a service provider and IBM's demonstrated unwillingness to treat the platform as a first class citizen in its offerings, and top it off with my current disgust and utter lack of confidence in product management and my need to migrate becomes clear.
The most obvious choice is probably the Microsoft IIS/.NET stack. I'm already using .NET to build Windows based software for the client side applications and it would certainly not present any issues for prospective business partners or buyers in the future. On the other hand, the traditional open source approach with Apache, Tomcat, and PHP connecting to a PostgresSQL or mysql database would leave me with an entirely open source based solution at the back end with all of the obvious advantages inherent in that.
I've had Salesforce.com recommended to me for a variety of workflow apps, but I don't think it's a good fit here and I'm very reticent to build something like this on someone else's infrastructure. Frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Drupal seem to get a lot of attention, and I suppose those should be looked at. My concern with frameworks is keeping them up to date and avoiding security problems when in reality I would probably be using very little of their inherent functionality.
NoSQL style databases have their appeal, but I'm not looking to adopt another platform that I have to explain to anyone I want to talk to about the business. I think there is room for a major player in that space, but so far nobody is stepping out into that role.
So,... I've put my initial thoughts out here for you. I'm curious to hear what you come up with.
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