DominoJam – The need for an appstore

With a couple of days left to a DominoJam here in Stockholm  was thinking what I think is really desired (perhaps needed) at the moment for development in IBM Notes.

Perhaps besides a stable and enhanced Domino Designer (hint) I would probably benefit most from a real appstore for Domino. With appstore I mean some sort of updatesite provided by IBM.

We all use the extension library in some form, if it the version that is shipped with the Domino server in form of an feature pack or a version that is available via OpenNTF.

Can you imagine starting a project WITHOUT that library nowadays? So this is a practical example of something that is good ON TOP of the Domino server when using it as an APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT platform, so MORE THAN JUST EMAIL.

In the beginning I heard several administrators and hosting companies (including IBM) complaining that they was no guarantee on the library. Well I do not know how many crashed servers you have had due to that extension but I can not remember a single one.

So if IBM would somehow guarantee the quality of plugins on that appstore (do some quality- & security checks and some code review) and there is hardly no argument for administrators not to install of plugins from that appstore (in Production).

An easy install from the Domino console (similar to npm – install) and voila! a plugin is installed. For paid plugins you should provide somehow a registered IBM account (you know how to bill us).

It would also could make Domino more attractive to developers if plugins could become available with a reasonable price (you do the suggestion here).

I do not think that the amount of plugins on the appstore will so overwhelming (lost opportunity?/not the most important) but at least the threshold to have the ability to extend the Domino server for your development projects is much less.

Good initial candidates for the store are:

My apologies if there are OpenNTF projects that I have been using during the years and do not appear in my list. Perhaps some projects could be split up in several projects with dependencies.

My goal would be a quicker, easier, latest (update) installment of stable and secure plugins and perhaps a wider range of offerings. This would enable me to quicker adapt new technologies and perhaps trigger myself to learn how to write an extension one day.

Ending with an adapted famous movie quote:

All right, plugins, plugins, plugins! Come on in plugin lovers! Here at the Titty Twister we’re slashing plugins in half! Give us an offer on our vast selection of plugins, this is a plugin blow out! All right, we got white plugin, black plugin, Spanish plugin, yellow plugin, we got hot plugin, cold plugin, we got wet plugin, we got smelly plugin, we got hairy plugin, bloody plugin, we got snappin’ plugin, we got silk plugin, velvet plugin, Naugahyde plugin, we even got horse plugin, dog plugin, chicken plugin! Come on, you want plugins, come on in, plugin lovers! If we don’t got it, you don’t want it! Come on in, plugin lovers!

 

Or more decent (from a colleague) :

When you roast old bread it becomes tasteful again.

Happy DominoJam 🙂

A happy camper?

A day lost due to DDE incapabilities

Today I lost a complete development day due to errors related to DDE. After building a project I constantly get errors as followed:

HTTP JVM: com.ibm.xsp.webapp.FacesServlet$ExtendedServletException: javax.faces.el.EvaluationException: java.util.MissingResourceException: Can’t find resource for bundle java.util.PropertyResourceBundle, key strings

and:

HTTP JVM: java.lang.SecurityException: Error verifying signature for resource WEB-INF/classes/se/acme/namis/app/Application.class. For more detailed information, please consult error-log-0.xml located in E:/IBM/Domino/data/domino/workspace/logs

The way I am forced to work now is to clean the project, build the project, sign the complete database, PRAY.

Is there no way to build an XPages project OUTSIDE of DDE?

This is no workable way of developing anymore.

XPexit?

Passing a SSJS function to a custom control

Introduction

I am building a custom control that mimics the viewPanel control but it is a repeat control which data is not a view but a managed bean that returns an arraylist of java objects (representing Notes documents).

I am using a Bootstrap table for display I in a previous post I have demonstrated how I can provide a JSON object to have flexibility in the columns I want to display and the values I want to display.

Next step is the option to provide custom actions to the custom control, in a way that the code under an action button in the custom control is provided via a property. So in one case hitting the button could print all selected documents, in the other case it could remove all documents from the database.

Step 1 – Creating an arraylist of unid’s

Key here is that I have an arraylist of unid’s to work with. The technique how to select documents in a repeat control was demonstrated by David Leedy in Notes in 9 episode 25. Instead of buttons I use a checkboxgroup:

So now I want from my xp:button in my custom control do something with this arraylist of unid’s…

Step 2 – set up the property definition

Next step is to setup the property in the property definition of the custom control:

Not the most common type of class and editor you use for a property.

Step 3 – setup the event handler for the button

In order to have the button to understand that the action to be performed is coming from a action property we need to specify that in the onClick event:

(Note: my property resides in the group property actionButton)

Step 4 – set up the SSJS  function you want to run

So now our button knows it’a action comes from a propert we need to write the SSJS function for the button. I have placed it in a SSJS script library. Here is an example to remove documents from a database:

Step 5 – Add the SSJS to the property

The last step is the most tricky one. In the property you are not allwed to provide any parameters or parentheses for the SSJS function. So our action property becomes as followed:

Result

As a result I have the following UI:

  • A custom control with a button which onClick action is provided via a property on that host xpage.

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A generic approach to display Notes data via a Bootstrap table

This week I became inspired by a question I noticed on Stackoverflow regarding collecting values from Java objects.

For a project we were discussing what to use for display “Notes View data”:

  • jQuery DataTables plugin and use a customRestService via a Java class as data provider for the JSON.
  • a Repeat control and display an Arraylist of Java objects.

Some of the participants liked the jQuery approach because it provides a lot of functionality out of the box (sorting, search, responsiveness,…) and their lack in knowledge regarding Java.

Others were questioning of the Repeat control approach would be flexible enough so we could display easy different sets of data with different number of columns.

So… to the drawing board.

Mostly in Notes views (e.g. via the View Panel control) one column serves as link (often the first) and all others just display data of all kind. In the DataTables plugin the display is flexible because you can define a custom render function for each column which is great. So you could display a button that will call a dialog to interact with the underlying document for example. However this custom render definition resides in a CSJS library so becomes part of the design.

I had already a custom control that could consume properties for the data and how to set a fixed set of columns. So the last part I needed to make flexible.

Because I have an arraylist of Java objects as source for my Repeat control I need to access the fields “on the fly” when rendering the column values. This turned out to be quiet simple because the fields are already in my Java object.

In my approach I provide the columns via a JSON object that could look as followed:

dyntable00

 

And for my columns I repeat it and collect the value from my underlying Java object:

dyntable01

Note: my code is not final, I would to define more types of data and the option to provide a custom render function for each column. So far I only have computation for string and date fields.

I also applied some basic functionality as Pager controls (top + bottom), a Page Sizer control, icon display and row numbering.

Here is what a result might look like:

dyntable001

Nothing special but now now I have just one custom control to display 80% of my tables/views.

Here are the GIST files for the custom control and its configuration xml file.

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Using the beanNamePicker dataProvider for a namepicker

For an application I needed to provide a namepicker with data from a NotesView. Unfortunately I could not use the default dominoViewNamePicker option as the data provider because the column to select from may not be a multi-value field or contain multiple fields. 😕

A search on google provided me an example how to use a beanNamePicker that will read the data from Domino Directories.

I created a GIST for the XPage: https://gist.github.com/PatrickKwinten/0bcc951a8eb1f5ef287c0c9b05a535a3 and for the Java class it uses: https://gist.github.com/PatrickKwinten/4aa15ea09717833bcc9fd1a941d9e5a8 .

Basically here is how you set it up:

<xe:namePicker id=”npDomino” for=”person1″>
<xe:this.dataProvider>
<xe:beanNamePicker dataBean=”org.wordpress.quintessens.demo.app.NamePickerDirectory”
loaded=”true”>
</xe:beanNamePicker>
</xe:this.dataProvider>
</xe:namePicker>

Key is that you return an object of type SimplePickerResult containing a list of objects of type <IPickerEntry>.

For my case I needed to go to a view where all the activities for users for the application where logged. Again I used a similar setup:

<xe:namePicker id=”npDomino” for=”person1″>
<xe:this.dataProvider>
<xe:beanNamePicker dataBean=”org.wordpress.quintessens.demo.app.NamePickerView”
loaded=”true”>
</xe:beanNamePicker>
</xe:this.dataProvider>
</xe:namePicker>

But now I go to a different class which I created a Gist for: https://gist.github.com/PatrickKwinten/c3580344a48704b3589251c0d5bbb8e5 .

Key difference is that my data source has become a Notes view and I check the type of column (columnValue instanceof String, ArrayList, Vector) because I have different type of fields and values in my first column.

So once you understand how you can extend the basic functionality within XPages you gain much flexibility and new opportunities with out of the box controls.

Please IBM provide us with more examples!!!

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Java and XPages

I still meet Domino developers who want to use XPages in the way IBM told them how to use it. Completely wrong I would say. Now that you have to chance to learn Java skills – EMBRACE IT!

Okay the other way around is sometimes a pain in the ass and complete examples are scarce but it gives you a better way to control your application and it’s behavior. After a while you get better understanding of the underlying technique and there is nothing wrong with that.

At the end it is mostly about creating, reading, updating and deleting stuff.

So for those developers I have setup a simple presentation to get a better understanding of JSF, Java and XPages:

DDE does disruption (4) – xHausting

Yes, DDE is disruptive again!

Today I wanted to copy some code from one application into another, straight via DDE, an a phenomena that I experienced earlier occurred again:

Most XPages and Custom Controls became signed with my Notes ID

With most I mean ALL XPages (20) and most Custom controls (31 out of 34). All other design elements in the NSF (forms, views, pages, agents, script libraries, java design elements, java libraries etc were untouched.

At the moment I had only open: one server-side JavaScript library and one XPage.

Do you have any explanation for this?

I am running 9.0.1 FP 9.

DDE does disruption (3) – Perhaps DDE is not build for it?

I am still complaining about DDE because I am facing the following situation:

I am working with a colleague on a project. Our code resides in a central repository on TFS. We both develop with a local clone and we sync towards our own NSF on a Domino server where we do our development work. The problem  is that she is unable to build the project and have her NSF running. I do not have those problems but perhaps that is because I have written most code lately. When I build HER NSF, the application WILL run.

We have a similar setup (version DDE, installed plugins).

When she performs a clean, build, refresh she does not get errors or anything whatsoever. What might cause that her build process does not succeed or complete?

DDE does disruption (2)

For some reason I was unable to open JavaScript libraries in the JS editor in DDE. It concerned both client- and server-side libraries. LotusScript and Java libraries I could open just fine.

The only thing I could see was this:

The problem was not concerned all databases, but at least the problem was consistent in multiple NSF’s. Building and refreshing the project no effect. Also removing the applications from the workspaces, restarting DDE and re-opening the NSF’s did not change the editor’s behavior.

At this point I was getting a bit annoyed. Colleagues reported similar problems in the past but none had a suggestion other than re-installing the client.

So I let my stubbornness win and installed Feature Pack 9 instead. After 10 minutes (!) the installation was complete so I started DDE and opened the unwilling script library. Hurraaaah! The problem was solved, I could see the code in the editor.

However I noticed some missing in DDE: the nice Swiper 2.0.1 toolbar buttons where gone! So I removed the files from the notes/data/workspace/applications folder, downloaded Swiper from OpenNTF again and installed them. Back to normal. Well not quiet yet.

When working on an XPage I noticed that all the plugins I was using where not recognized anymore. For example the Debug Toolbar plugin. Again, I could not see the plugin disabled under Application Management. So I removed the files, downloaded the plugin from OpenNTF and re-installed it. Now the plugin was visible again in DDE.

So the feeling I am left with is that this Superhuman Software is not so Superhuman anymore.