Anyone using the blog template? What did you modified?

We received  an interesting but rather large request from an internal customer for the IBM blog template. Basically the organization wants to have the template available to order for everyone in their organization.

So I have now two tracks to fill in:

  • Which modifications do I have to make in order to optimize the blog template itself?
  • Which preparations do I have to make so people can order a blog and how can we support it?

I have pretty adapted the look & feel of the blog via CSS and added some images so it comes close (read: it looks better to my opinion) to our Intranet.

I did not go away from a table layout, as used in the default setup. I experienced with using 3 column layout via CSS (aka Holy grail) but I experienced some problems and this was basically because of additional HTML pollution Domino spits out.

Next steps was to spit through the Lotus Notes Domino Blog Template DX Tag Dictionary to see what was available more under the hood. This resulted in some modifications in the Block Templates (available under Advanced \HTML Templates) for the LeftSideBar and RightSideBar documents. I added:

  • Hot Topics
  • Blog roll
  • Recent edits

Under the item templates I added the author image in the document Default Item. This image is taken from a user profile document, when registered.

For now the blog looks and works great, but I guess there is always room for improvement therefor the following question:

  • I am just wondering what other available options I might have overlooked and which you think are added value ?

I know there are a lot more options (documented / undocumented) available in the template.

So far for track 1.

For track 2 I was thinking about setting up a Wiki (or another blog?) to give users support how to use the blog. In the blog itself I want to include a link so people become aware that there is a common place to look for information / instructions. I know that there is help available in the normal Help database but users tend not to start looking here.

I also would like to setup an Feed aggregator that collects all the RSS streams from all the blogs. This aggregator could work as the homepage when people enter

  • Which Domino based solution would you suggest for such an aggregator?

I know on OpenNTF there are some initiatives for Feed aggregators, but I have not tested them myself, maybe you have done already? It would be nice to have something running before Project Vulcan comes available =)

I also have to figure out the easiest way to setup a mechanism for url mapping so each blog installation is mapped to a user name ex. and users can check availability of a suffix.

Hmmm… more work to do then I expected…