We survey approaches to nonrelativistic density functional theory (DFT) for nuclei using progress toward ab initio DFT for Coulomb systems as a guide. Ab initio DFT starts with a microscopic Hamiltonian and is naturally formulated using orbital-based functionals, which generalize the conventional local-density-plus-gradients form. The orbitals satisfy single-particle equations with multiplicative (local) potentials. The DFT functionals can be developed starting from internucleon forces using wave-function based methods or by Legendre transform via effective actions. We describe known and unresolved issues for applying these formulations to the nuclear many-body problem and discuss how ab initio approaches can help improve empirical energy density functionals.