Introducing IBM Lotus Domino Designer 8.5. Now with Eclipse

Here is my report of jumpstart session 206 ‘Introducing IBM Lotus Domino Designer 8.5. Now with Eclipse!’.


Eclipse brings a modern IDE to Domino developers. Almost everything seems to be property-driven. The infoboxes are migrated to Eclipse properties panels which allow easier copy & paste of information that is stored in the properties.

NSF files are presented to Eclipse as an Eclipse Project, called the Eclipse Virtual File System (VFS).

A Domino Designer based upon Eclipse means further that other vendor tools can now be plugged into Domino Designer easily.

New features

  • Via Themes a set of stylesheets can be applied easily on a web application. This is for all web applications, not just applications based upon Xpages.
  • Xpages (ofcourse). More on this in separate sessions probably later at Lotuspere.
  • Through custom controls (see them as ‘subforms’) you can create reusable components for your Xpages. Each control is pointed to a particular data source. Any control can have a seperate data binding panel, in which the data source is selected. Since everything in Xpages is property driven these custom controls can look/work different based upon the Xpage which will contain them.
  • New editors for HTML/XML/CSS/ JavaScript with auto-completion. HTML editing is done via creating a new file in Eclipse. It gets saved as an HTML file in your application in the “Files” section of your project. The JavaScript editor has inline error control.
  • Right-click function to compare two forms and their design changes. It uses native Eclipse DXL functionality to evaluate all the code.
  • ‘Working sets’ allows you to filter applications you are working on. You can pick and choose different sets of applications by group. If you are working on a project that involves updating a group of applications, you can create a working set to only show these applications. You can switch between working sets anytime. 

The near future

 It appears that in Domino Designer 8.5.1 we likely will get:

  • NEW LotusScript editor with advanced code editing and all the stuff you expect from Eclipse.
  • NEW Java Editor that works as an ‘Eclipse java project’ inside an NSF database.

The reason why the new Java editor did not appear in the current Domino Designer release, 8.5 has apparently something to do with the way Java code is stored in a NSF. It looks like IBM has found a way to work around this and in Domino Designer 8.5.1.

  • iWidgets support.

 From what I have understood iWidgets support the resuse of  XPage applications as widgets in the context of Lotus Mashups or inside the portal iWidget container. 

Since Xpages are based upon Java Server Faces which are not restricted to a specific client the development team revealed the plans to bring XPages to run in the Notes client. This allows for off-line/client execution of applications built with the new XPages paradigm.  

  • Multiple datasources

 Xpages are now limited to get their data from NSF files but this is likely going to change.

Something missing?

General I noticed the ‘wow’ experience was missing among the attendees which I think is quiet odd. I have some great new feautures (mainly Xpages). However I have some recommendations for 8.5.1:

  • Add some effects options on Xpage controls. Why not have fade-in/fade-out effects on for example navigating through documents? Get some inspiration to Scriptaculous. I am sure the Dojo toolkit is able to provide effects.
  • Get the Help page back in the startpage for the Domino Designer as someone in the audience als0 noticed.
  • No support for version control or anything in that direction. 

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