I am a certified Graphista

Sweden has many IT solutions to be proud of. I assume you are using/have used Spotify or Skype.

Perhaps you are not aware but another “Swedish” product you might have been using is Neo4j, a graph database management system. Graphs are all around us. Typical use cases are recommendation systems, fraud detection and social networks.

You can also make your IBM Notes data more ‘connected’ by using the Graph DB capabilities available in the OpenNTF Domino API.

I chose to walk the easiest path to learn about Graph data modelling and that was to learn the probably most documented, described, leading Graph Db: Neo4j. After a while I felt comfortable with all the terminology, concepts and programmatic use so I felt confident to take the test to become a Neo4j Certified Professional.

And voila!, here is the result:


The test was harder than expected, the time pressure was significant and some subjects out of scope of my experience (administrator experience in a Production environment) but with logic and wishful thinking I came to a positive result 🙂

So far I have not read too many use-cases where IBM Notes data was used within Neo4j or applications written in XPages using the graph db of Neo4j. But what is not is yet to come…


Hands-on: Your first GraphNSF

With more people talking about the usage of Graph data modelling with data residing in IBM Notes documents there is still a threshold getting started writing your first XPages application using the concept or technology.

I had the opportunity to spend a day or two to setup a simple basic construction, document it and demonstrate and explain it to a couple of developers.

The document is available under the following link:



Here is the table of content:


The document walks through the setup of the implementation and several design elements for the application.

(Again) I have used the Teamroom application, because it’s common available for IBM Notes Domino. On top of the existing XPages application for a Teamroom I have added several XPages to have a simple app showing the Graph capabilities within the OpenNTF Domino API library.

The result of the tutorial is the option to import Notes data into a Graph DB and have a look and some interaction with it. Of course the end-goal is to get some insight in how to set up a basic construction and understanding of some core Graph terminology and how to translate this to an XPages application.


I hope it may help you and if you have questions or are interested exploring graph capabilities I am happy to hear from you!

Add 20 years of experience to your workforce

You can 20 years of experience within IBM Notes and Web development to your workforce by hiring me.

Interested? Read my curriculum vitae on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickkwinten and get in contact.

I am happy to work WITH you !



Graph – a closer look at the data


A graph database data is represented as ‘vertices’, sometimes called ‘nodes’. The relationships between vertices are represented by connections called ‘edges’. Graph databases also store metadata or ‘properties’ about vertices and edges.

Domino Explorer

If you look at the data in Domino Explorer after the source databases names.nsf and catalog.nsf are scanned you can group them in the same categories vertices and edges.

If you look further at the Graph related properties on the Vertices documents you notice that the next level of division is the Java class the vertex is added with to the Graph (Java object-type Vertex = graph.addVertex(id, Java.class).

Each class defines specific properties for the object and also the relation(s) to other Vertices. These Edges contain properties like label, direction (in/out).

Adjacency annotate getters and adders to represent a Vertex incident to an Edge. AdjacencyUnique extends this idea to ensure that there is only one instance of an Edge with a specific label between any two specific Vertices. This allows the user of the graph to call an “add” method and return the existing adjacency if it already exists.

So when and where are these relations defined? That depends on your code.

When you “like” a post on Twitter, the relation between you and the tweet is created when you click the “like” icon.

In Domino Explorer relations are created when you run the setup by selecting one of the “Start Scan” buttons.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 13.46.55

Scan Databases

When you select to scan the databases the $ReplicaID view in the catalog.nsf is opened and for each entry found a Vertex is created using the DXDatabase class and committed to the Graph.

View allDbs = catalog.getView(“($ReplicaID)”);
DocumentCollection col = allDbs.getAllDocuments();
for (Document db : col) {
String replicaId = session.evaluate(“@Text(ReplicaID; \”*\”)”, db).elementAt(0).toString();
DXDatabase databaseVertex = graph.addVertex(replicaId, DXDatabase.class);
String dbTitle = db.getItemValueString(“Title”);

// ACL
scanAcl(graph, databaseVertex);

Then then Graph is “scanned” with the newly created vertex. Here the database ACL is collected and for each ACL entry a new vertex is created using a specific class. Also the relationship between the database and aclentry vertices is created:

DXACLEntry graphAclEntry = graph.addVertex(aclEntry.getName(), DXACLEntry.class);

The addAclEntry method is defined the DXDatabase class which the db object is created with:

@AdjacencyUnique(label = “hasAcl”, direction = Direction.IN)
public void addAclEntry(DXACLEntry ae);

If you look at the Vertex object in the Domino Explorer NSF you notice these properties for a DXDatabase Vertex object:

#Note-UNID 82753B9B92522221033D1650C7BE35D4
$$Key 85256714:00725208
_ODA_GraphType V
form DXDatabase
filePath AgentRunner.nsf
replicaId 85256714:00725208
server CN=dev1/O=quintessens
title Java AgentRunner


  • note-UNID is the document unique id
  • $$Key is the same as the replicaId of the (target) database (different for Vertices created with other class)
  • _ODA_GraphType, V stands for Vertex
  • form is the Java class the document is created with
  • _COUNT_OPEN_IN_hasAcl, counter. Not sure where it’s used for.
  • _OPEN_IN_hasAcl, for all Vertices empty

If you look at a DXACLEntry Vertex document notice the following properties:

#Note-UNID B9962995F0A05DCBAE35F07C64964A1C
$$Key -Default-
_ODA_GraphType V
form DXACLEntry
_COUNT_OPEN_IN_hasAcl 110
_OPEN_IN_hasAcl 110
level 6
name -Default-
_COUNT_OPEN_OUT_member 1

If you search through the Edges document you will find a document matching the note UNID’s above and carrying the label “hasLabel”:

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 15.00.21

and carrying the following properties:

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 15.01.06

Hereby the Graph db recognises a relationship between one Vertex of type DXDatabase and  another Vertex of type DXACLEntry.

Because this is not the only relationship the DXDatabase object has when the ACLService remote service is called, provided with the replicaID of the Database more than one matching relationship is returned under db.getAclEntries:

DXDatabase db = graph.getElement(replicaId, DXDatabase.class);
if (db != null) {
int count = 0;
Iterable<DXACLEntry> acl = db.getAclEntries();
for (DXACLEntry entry : acl) {
JsonJavaObject aclEntry = new JsonJavaObject();
aclEntry.put(“name”, entry.getName());
aclEntry.put(“level”, entry.getLevel());
aclEntry.put(“levelName”, ACL_LEVEL[entry.getLevel()]);
data.put(count, aclEntry);

Here for each found relationship the DXACLEntry object is collected from the Graph and properties from it placed in a JsonJavaObject, placed in an array and returned.


After taking this deeper look under the hood and analyzing the data I hope you have gained a bit more understanding of the Graph concepts and the implementation of it from it via OpenNTF’s Domino API in Domino Explorer.


Another Graph sample from Domino Explorer


In a previous post I dove into Domino Explorer, an XPages application that cans the Domino Directory and the Catalog by using the Graph capabilities in the OpenNTF Domino API.

In this post will describe another XPage in that application. Perhaps it helps to get a better picture on the Graph db and how to build an application around it using XPages, JavaScript, & Java.

Hopefully I will be ready writing before a European football final kicks off…


The xpage I discuss is allacl.xsp. Basically it displays at start a table with ACL entries for the entire catalog. When I click on an entry or row in the table I get presented a list of applications where the selected ACL entry resides in the ACL.

The result of the scenario above captured in the following screen:


As the image suggests the entry [Anonymous] resides in 4 applications. Let’s dive in a little deeper into the XPage to see how it’s done…

On document ready

The XPage contains a JS library whichs fires an AJAX call to collect the data for the DataTable object. The rest service resides on the XPage and is accessed via it’s pathinfo property. The restservice is bound to a custom servicebean which resides in the application.

The AJAX call does not provide a parameter to the restservice, so the java class will collect all the vertices of type DXACLEntry.class. For each vertice a JSONJavaObject containing name and level and placed in a JSONJAVAArray object. This array is placed in a JSONJavaObject and returned as a string to the restservice.

When the data is received in the DataTable object only the name property is placed.

The routing is visualized in the next image:


On row click

In the JS library for the DataTable object is also defined what should happen when a row in the table is clicked.

Here the name value for the selected row is used in a function that initiates a second DataTable object. Again a call is made to the same restservice. However now the name value is send as a parameter (“?name=” + name value).

The servicebean picks this parameter up (String name = request.getParameter(“name”)) and get’s all the vertices from the Graph with the provided name, matching the DXACLEntry (DXACLEntry aclEntry = graph.getElement(name, DXACLEntry.class)).

Similar as in the document ready event for each found DXACLEntry object a JSONJavaObject is created, now with some more properties (title,filepath, replicaId,server) and placed in a JSONJavaArray. This array is returned as a string to the restservice.

When the results are received by the DataTable object the four properties are displayed per column.



The scenario is that simple. The DataTable plugin is really a great plugin that does a lot for you and can save you multiple design elements (view controls) by defining in your code what you want in it as result and in which order.

Now let me enjoy my evening of football with a cold beer! Happy development =)



Exploring the Domino Explorer


We live in a connected world today and also the data in your IBM Notes/Domino platform is more connected that you perhaps realise:

I work work for company X at department Y and besides my assignment as “ICS product specialist” I perform in different roles, sometimes as developer, sometimes as a solution architect, sometimes as project manager etc. I own a range of devices to do my work, bought in by different suppliers under different conditions/contracts. Now a external project-leader (they claim they are the best) has became responsible for a new project (Z since it is the final project the company is ever going to run) and to make a huge impact the project-leader want to equip his team (which I have become member of) with the latest and greatest of devices to make our work most convenient and the impact of the project delivery as huge as possible. BUT of course he is unaware about the devices the team owns already and the lifetime of the contracts. He also does not want to make top management angry so he suggest to provide this team with devices just 1 configuration level below top management. So how does the project-leader require the information he need to know (a list of end of lifetime for the current devices the project team owns compared with the list of current devices top management owns) ?

All objects in the story above (organisation, departments, employees, devices, contracts, suppliers) are represented in Notes documents. By connecting them in a Graph DB new information can be gathered!


Lately I have been exploring Graph data modelling more closely. Mostly because I see many opportunities to connect/model unstructured data in fluid ways. Faster than relational datasources sometimes can.

For now I have been mainly looking at Neo4J because most Graph related education is focussed around this product. But for IBM customers you have IBM Graph (cloud only?) and since recent IBM Notes via the OpenNTF Domino API.

Graph need NoSQL

Graph needs NoSQL databases since NoSQL is capable of describing the variety of objects that are around in enterprise data. As it turns out Lotus Notes is around as one of the first NoSQL databases!

ODA & Tinkerpop

The OpenNTF Domino API has included Tinkerpop and an implementation to store content in a graph database structure.

This is great because as Domino developer you are concerned that your data is stored in an NSF. Probably you want to avoid the hassle of moving your data to another technology first and focus on developing applications directly.

Domino Explorer

Recently Oliver Busse has released Domino Explorer. It scans the Domino Directory and the Catalog application to show the capabilities of Graph in an XPages application. Getting the Notes data into a Graph data model is done via the OpenNTF Domino API.

In the next part of this post I will focus on how this is was implemented…

Document: Exploring the Domino Explorer

This document describes the setup of the Domino Explorer (DE) application (app) available on OpenNTF (link). The DE app demonstrates the Graph db capabilities via the OpenNTF Domino API (ODA) (link).

By exploring the architecture of the app better understanding of the Graph technology is aimed to achieve and how to implement it in XPages applications.


It is presumed that the reader of this document has advanced level of understanding of XPages technology, intermediate level of Java programming language, medium level of understanding of IBM Notes data and low level of the graph data model.

If not turn around or educate yourself on these topics 😉

Graph glossary

The view design element “graph” group it’s containing documents into the two basic units in the Graph Data Model (Graph/GDM): Edges and Vertices.


Vertices (singular:vertex) are the objects in a graph.


Each edge has two (or in hypergraphs, more) vertices to which it is attached, called its endpoints. Edges may be directed or undirected; undirected edges are also called lines and directed edges are also called arcs or arrows.

IBM Notes data

When we translate this to IBM Notes data, vertices are mostly objects that contain values or properties (edge). E.g. a user is member of a group. An order has a date-stamp etcetera. With graph you can make queries to find different types of objects connected via shared properties e.g. A car-leasing company may have a fleet of rental-cars which may have present or past drivers.

General overview

Design elements in scope of the dissection

To have some sort of start we will start easy and give an overview of the design elements involved:

Design element Purpose Scope
Views Used to store documents that are used in the graph data model.
Documents are of type Edge or Vertex(Vertices).
XPages Used to initiate business logic and present the result to the user in a web interface. X
Custom controls Used to break parts of XPages into reusable pieces. X
Script libraries Client-side javascript libraries used to interact with the web presentation. X
Java Java classes that contain the business logic. X
Images Used to enhance the web presentation.
Style sheets CSS definitions used to enhance the web presentation.
Themes Use to set rules for the application regarding style, behaviour, resources
faces-config.xml Configuration file for the application, mostly used for registering managed beans.

For the rest of this document we will only focus on design elements that are marked with X under the Design elements will most likely be discussed in the logical order how the graph data model is implemented in the DE app.

Managed Beans

Managed Bean (link) is a regular Java Bean class registered by the XPages framework. Important beans registrered in the DE app for Graph are:

Bean name Class
config net.notesx.domex.controller.ConfigurationController
scanner net.notesx.domex.controller.ScannerController


The ConfigurationController class controls the configuration for the GDM. It  sets which databases are in scope for the GDM (Names.nsf, catalog.nsf).

It uses the:


Java class Usage
net.notesx.domex.graph.GraphHelper Setup of the Graph
net.notesx.domex.graph.Configuration Configuration of the Graph

DFramedTransactionalGraph<DGraph> configGraph = GraphHelper.getGraph();

Configuration configuration = configGraph.addVertex(“configuration”, Configuration.class);





In the code above the Graph db is loaded and the configuration added as a Vertex.

Configuration class

The configuration class contains the following properties:

  • $$Key (??? identifier for current configuration)
  • ApplicationName (name for the application, display only)
  • namesPath (location of the names.nsf)
  • catalogPath (location of the catalog.nsf)

GraphHelper class

The GraphHelper class sets up the Graph in the following order:

  • Setup an element store for configuration
  • Add the types (Vertices) to the element store
  • Create a configuration for the Graph
  • Add the element store to configuration and set the default element store (= filepath of current database)
  • Setup the Graph by using the configuration
  • Return it

// set element store for configuration

DElementStore configStore = new DElementStore();

Database currentDatabase = Factory.getSession(SessionType.CURRENT).getCurrentDatabase();


// setup the type



// create a graph config

DConfiguration config = new DConfiguration();

DGraph graph = new DGraph(config);

// add the config element store



// setup the graph

DFramedGraphFactory factory = new DFramedGraphFactory(config);

DFramedTransactionalGraph<DGraph> fg = (DFramedTransactionalGraph<DGraph>) factory.create(graph);

// return the graph

return fg;


This class adds the database, user and group objects to the Graph according the specified class for each object.

Important methods:

  • scanPeopleAndGroups
  • scanDatabases
  • scanAcl
  • scanMember


  • Get the path of the catalog db via the ConfigurationController class
  • Initiate the Graph datamodel via the GraphHelper class
  • Put all documents from View $ReplicaID into a document collection
  • For each document add a vertex to the graph using the DXDatabase class
    • Set properties for the vertex
    • Commit it to the Graph
    • Run the scanAcl method for the databaseVertex object


  • Get the name of the names db via the ConfigurationController class
  • Initiate the Graph datamodel via the GraphHelper class
  • Put all documents from View $VIMPeople into a document collection
  • For each document add a vertex to the graph using the DXUser class
    • Set properties for the vertex
    • Commit it to the Graph
  • Put all documents from View $VIMGroups into a document collection
  • For each document add a vertex to the graph using the DXGroup class
    • Set properties for the vertex
    • Commit it to the Graph
    • Run the scanMember class for the groupVertex object


  • For the given database (vertex object) get the database object
    • Grab the ACL
    • For each ACL entry add a vertex using the DXACLEntry class
      • Set properties for the vertex
      • Add the ACL entry vertex as an Edge to the DB vertex (the label “hasAcl” will be used)
      • Commit it to the Graph


  • For the given group (DXGroup class object):
    • For each member in groupmembers list:
      • Check if it contains a “/” ( This is a user)
        • Create a user object with the DXUser class from the Graph
        • If the user object is not null (in the Graph) add it to the group
      • If not (this is a group)
        • Create a group object with the DXGroup class from the Graph
        • If the group object is not null add it to the group
      • Set a property for the vertex
      • Commit it to the Graph

Other classes

DE contains more classes stored under several packages:

  • Common
  • Domex
    • Controller
    • Graph
    • Rest

Common package

Classes under the common package are used for setting properties for application e.g. navigation, page behaviour etc. They are out of scope for this document.

Domex \ controller package

Classes under the domex \ controller package are ConfigurationController and ScannerController and available as described earlier as managed beans.

Domex \ graph

Classes under the domex \ graph package are directly related to the Graph data model and describe the Graph data objects (vertexes):

  • Configuration
  • DXDatabase
  • DXACLEntry
  • DXGroup
  • DXUser

Each class describes the type of the object, the properties the object has and how to get & set them, the edges the object has and in which direction they go.

Annotation Description Example
@TypeValue Interface annotation for marking the Element property-value that may contain type information. @TypeValue(“DXACLEntry”)
@Property Property annotations are for getter and setters to manipulate the property value of an Element. @Property(“$$Key”)

public String getKey();


public void setName(String s);

@AdjacencyUnique Adjacency annotate getters and adders to represent a Vertex incident to an Edge. AdjacencyUnique extends this idea to ensure that there is only one instance of an Edge with a specific label between any two specific Vertices. This allows the user of the graph to call an “add” method and return the existing adjacency if it already exists. @AdjacencyUnique(label = “hasAcl”, direction = Direction.OUT)

public Iterable<DXDatabase> getDatabases();

Below is as example of the definition of the DXUser.java class:

package net.notesx.domex.graph;

import org.openntf.domino.graph2.annotations.AdjacencyUnique;

import org.openntf.domino.graph2.builtin.DVertexFrame;

import com.tinkerpop.blueprints.Direction;

import com.tinkerpop.frames.Property;

import com.tinkerpop.frames.modules.typedgraph.TypeValue;


public interface DXUser extends DVertexFrame {


public String getKey();


public String getUserName();


public void setUserName(String s);

@AdjacencyUnique(label=”member”, direction=Direction.OUT)

public Iterable<DXGroup> getMembershipInGroups();


The GraphHelper class is described earlier in this document and is used to setup the Graph.

Domex \ Rest package

The classes under the domex \ rest package create collections of json objects for the objects in the Graph data model. Some classes take in parameters, some don’t. Each class defines what type of graph object is in scope.

The way these classes are initiated is as follow:

  • On XPages rest service(s) of type customRestService are defined. The servicebean property directs to which class the service is bound to.
  • The XPage contains JavaScript libraries.
    • In a library can be defined which rest service should be called when the document is ready e.g. to build a collection of database objects.
    • In a library can be defined which rest service should be called when a link is being clicked e.g. a row in a data table control and if a parameter should be send (e.g. the replica Id of the database). Also is defined what should be done with the data returned from the rest service.


The design elements described above come together in the XPages design elements. We will demonstrate by describing an XPage.



Type Name Purpose
Custom Control _layoutBS3 Reusable layout for application.
JavaScript library alldbs.js Calling Rest Services.

On document ready: data

On click table row: acl

Rest service control Pathinfo: data Bound to Java class net.notesx.domex.rest.AllDatabasesService
Rest service control Pathinfo: acl Bound to Java class net.notesx.domex.rest.AclService
HTML table datatable Placeholder for result from rest service under pathinfo data
Div acl Placeholder for result from rest service under pathinfo

XPage logic explained

On document ready:

  1. When the document is ready an AJAX call is made to the rest service under pathinfo data. This initiates Java class net.notesx.domex.rest.AllDatabasesService.
  2. The class gets the Graph data model and collects all objects/vertexes of the type specified in the DXDatabase class.
  3. For each vertex a JsonJavaObject is created which is being filled by properties from the vertex.
  4. Each JSON object is a JSONJavaArray.
  5. The array returned to the rest service which returns it to the AJAX call.
  6. When the data is returned the HTML table is updated. Note that the table is of type datatable. This is a Bootstrap plugin. When the data is returned to the datatable object it knows how to update the content (rows and columns) of the table.

Below you find the process visualize:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.09.02

When clicking a row:

  1. When the document is ready a listener is registered for each time a table row (TR) element is clicked.
  2. When such a TR is clicked an AJAX call is made to the rest service available under pathinfo acl. As data the replicaid value is send with the call. This value is stored in the data-set for each row.
  3. The AJAX call initiates class net.notesx.domex.rest.AclService. Here with the value of the given request parameter replicaid once again the Graph datamodel is opened and searched for the DXDatabase vertex that has a matching replicaid property.
  4. The returned vertex is bound to the DXDatabase class (name = db).
  5. If the DXDatabase is not null a collection is setup of type Iterable and filled with objects of type DXACLEntry for each item from the method db.getACLEntries.
  6. Then the collection is walked through and for each item a JSONJavaObject is created and filled with properties from the DXACLEntry object.
  7. The JSONJavaObject is placed in a JSONJavaArray. This array put as a string in a new JSONJavaObject which is returned to the rest service.
  8. The rest service returns the data back to the AJAX request.
  9. The AJAX request clear the DIV with id acl and fills it with the data received from the rest service. For each JSON object in the array a line with values is written in the DIV.

The process is visualized below:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.11.07

The processes described above are the most basic types. The Graph is called for basic objects, not correlated.

As a result the following information is displayed on your screen:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.17.13


Perhaps you are thinking: what the fuzz?! I can do something similar with document collections, perhaps showing a single category from a categorized column or perhaps create a jsonarray containing jsonjavaobjects and iterate through them and find a match.

Perhaps you can for THIS example. But I rather would avoid to create an unnecessary amount of design elements for it. Also in this example a very basic query is performed. Rethink the story in the beginning of this post. How are you gonna search your data under those conditions?

Also the combination to display your result data with the DataTables plugin you can build on the fly custom tables and reduce the amount of Notes views to a minimum.

In a future post I will describe more enhanced queries. Stay “connected”!

Links of interest



Stress testing with ODA Graph

I am very interested in Graph data modelling and with the Graph capabilities in OpenNTF Domino API I decided to setup some demo environments just to get my head around the subject and how you can implement it in XPages and use Notes data.

To my opinion reading Notes data in the Graph database structure can bring interesting new opportunities, far beyond what we can deliver with Views and Collections today.

Oliver Busse has provided a great starting point with his SUTOL demo application so I started with that one.

Besides the implementation and Graph capabilities I am also curious about performance.  So I run some tests on my working demo app. With the help with a simple agent I decided to be gentle and create a set of only 20.000 user documents.

The first test was about returning user profiles (nodes) matching certain properties (relations), presented in a repeat control. Below the list the time to load the filtered set is displayed.



When I compare the result with a normal view filter (by category or FT search) the results where a bit disappointing.

I also noted that navigating through the list was very slow (20 seconds or more returning a new set of rows of 10 documents). More than I expected I received timeouts.


The reason for this performance is still unknown. I guess there is no index created yet for the user node in the graph db structure. Why navigating through the list is so latent in performance is also a mysterie.

Nevertheless, my demo is up and running so expect more results on Graph in XPages with Notes data in the future on this blog.

Below are sampels of performance using the “traditional” FT search filter capacity in Notes. Notice the difference.



I would like to thank Oliver Busse for his guidance getting the demo app up and running and for explaining some basic concepts of the implementation.