XPages sufficient for line of business type of applications?

Hi there, currently I am following another Angular course since it seems to have become the leading development framework at work. So back to learning all the rules within Angular.

At the moment I am modernizing a Domino application with the help of XPages which:

  1. Implements Model-View-Controller architecture, mostly inspired by the guys at Pipelia since IBM never told us to do so.
  2. Is written in Java to support the MVC architecture and to have close integration with XPages runtime.
  3. Is using Expression Language wherever possible to avoid usage of SSJS.
  4. Uses the lifecycle of JSF in XPages at the max.
  5. To cover support for different devices I am using Bootstrap as front-end framework. So I miss some native behavior which I do not tend to cover-up.

So far so good and I think I have come quiet long in my project so I still dare to call it rapid application development.

The code-base has been reduced dramatically and all exotic upcoming JavaScript libraries from the early 2000 I have been able to replace with just XPages. With my latent UX skills and extending the out of the box Bootstrap I might now even call this application ‘sexy’ 🙂

I know I haven’t touched many areas discussed in the XPages community such as:

  • Websockets (I do not see a use-case yet).
  • Writing Java servlets (please pass me a demo NSF).
  • Watson services (cloud is still a sensitive topic).
  • set up micro-services with smartNSF and consume them in my Java code with an mapper library (requires changes in the environment).
  • Integration with IBM Connections.
  • Redefining my data with the help of a Graph DB.

Either I see little usage, it is not possible or there is no-one to guide me (the information is certainly not provided by the vendor).

So now back to Angular. Learning all these rules, technologies and new tools setup I was wondering what new technical options this framework will bring me at work. Reflecting on the type of customer-orders I receive I am wondering:

Is XPages not sufficient for most of your line of business apps?

Perhaps you have a though about this?

Happy development & enjoy your summer 🙂

Display JSON pretty in a textarea control

In an application I am using heavily JSON default as the data-format. To make debugging a bit more easy I am working on a toolbar to be able to check the content of the JSON objects.

Normally I use JSONLint most of the time to prettify (and validate) the JSON so it becomes a bit easier to read and check. But this copy and paste habit becomes more and more obnoxious so there I wanted to have a toolbar (like the debug toolbar) to have a good overview of the JSON objects.

However if you write the JSON object to a computed field or text area field (inputTextarea control in the XPages world) it is just plain, unformatted text. Not pretty for the eye and not much helpful for the brain.

So I tested a simple approach which turns out to run just fine. I display the json object in a textarea input control and then with CSJS I format the content. Here is some sample code:

<xp:inputTextarea id=”input-fieldx” defaultValue=”#{javascript:App.currCollection}”>
</xp:inputTextarea>
<xp:button value=”Make Pretty” id=”button1″>
<xp:eventHandler event=”onclick” submit=”false”>
<xp:this.script>
<![CDATA[var name = x$(‘#{id:input-fieldx}’).attr(“name”);
prettyPrint(name);]]>
</xp:this.script>
</xp:eventHandler>
</xp:button>
<xp:scriptBlock id=”scriptBlock1″>
<xp:this.value>
<![CDATA[function prettyPrint(id) {
var obj = dojo.byId(id);
var ugly = obj.value;
var json = dojo.fromJson(ugly);
var pretty = JSON.stringify(json, undefined, 4);
obj.innerHTML = pretty;
dojo.setAttr(id,”rows”,10);
}]]>
</xp:this.value>
</xp:scriptBlock>

Here is what it looks like:

json-before

The content how it looks initially.

json-after

The content how it looks like after running the code.

Note I had to include the [ ] signs in my code to make the JSON valid due to circumstances in my code, I removed it from the sample code above.

At least now I understand my JSON objects again and I can avoid some copy and paste to JSONLint 🙂

This is probably my last blog of this year so I would like to wish you some wonderful Christmas days. Take care and best wishes for a healthy 2017!

 

 

Adventurer

I have always known that I am an adventurer. My Lotus/IBM Notes career started as a adventure into an international professional working-experience and the people who know me will probably say that it will be very hard to make an ordinary “9 to 5” office guy out of me.

I could never resist the call of the trail – Buffalo Bill

So far about me as person. The occasion of this post are several calls in the community to take a look at Salesforce as an application development platform.

So I took the time to take a look at it to find out if it would be of interest of me. As suggested my journey started with Trailhead. My journey, so far has lead me to finish the developer beginner trail.

I will write about my first experience and will not do any comparison, simply because my knowledge on Salesforce is limited to do so.

If you read this trail description it tells you it will take you up to 15 hrs and 45 minutes. Well I can tell you: it took me much more time. There is a LOT of text to read, video’s are  included and there are challenges to complete modules and to earn points for badges. A challenge can be a list of questions or an exercise.

So let’s assume all the effort and time-investment does contribute to your understanding of the platform.

Before starting, a couple of developers told me about the similarities with Notes and XPages and I have to say it is nice to recognize that building XPages applications have brought Notes developers closer to genuine application development (as far as it compared with Salesforce).

Salesforce biggest ugliness at start is of course it is not NonSQL as Notes is.

A nice feature is Salesforce web enabled development interface. I have not come to the Eclipse IDE yet. I have used the classic web interface, since in Trailhead the examples and screenshots are from the classic interface. I can not say I am in love with a web interface since I noticed some genuine lags compared to the XPages IDE (autocomplete for example). Also getting into read mode after performing a save action I found annoying.

I admit there are similarities programming in Salesforce compared to Notes and XPages, but I guess this comparison is similar with other programming languages. When it regards to building custom user interfaces Visualforce reminds me a lot about XPages.

So after completing this first trail I find the learning curve not that steep. Using Trailhead is just very time-consuming. An instructor or video-learning would have been much more time efficient. But if you want to gain some deep knowledge it doesn’t hurt to spend time on the approach.

A quote I heard is that Salesforce is the platform Notes should have been (if IBM would have prioritized it more) and that there are many more goodies to be found in the trail Develop for Lightning Experience so I am looking forward to take another hike. Ofcourse with my newly earned Adventurer badge on my backpack 🙂

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:

cover-document

 

Here is the table of content:

toc

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.

teamroom_graph

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 !

 

 

The IBM Notes and Domino roadmap mantra *sigh*

I guess it was at IconUK Sept 2016 that IBM presented on their roadmap for Notes/Domino since a long time. The “big” news was that Q4 2016 IBM would come with an announcement regarding “updated tooling explored”.

What they meant with that was not clear to me, but “updated tooling” refers to me to what exists today, and that is currently just XPages if you ask me.

So last week during a webinar co-hosted by TeamStudio and TLCC the results of this exploration was expected to be presented as part of the roadmap for Notes and Domino. To my surprise instead of taking the opportunity and time to explain the findings of this exploration IBM simply repeats “updated tooling  explored” but adds the line “more during Connect 2017”. WHAT?!?

Didn’t you first come with a press notification that in Q4 2016 you will explain more about application modernization plans and invite people to come and listen to your views and then during this press report you simply say that people may wait another quarter?

And what does “more” in “more during Connect 2017” mean? How much more can people expect?

I am not sure what it means in English but it Dutch it sounds to me like a “zoethoudertje” but it has a negative interpretation. Probably the best translation is “compensation” It never satisfies any party in the long run.

Customers and developers want to move on and modernize their applications. And I am doubting if IBM is delivering it for Application Development in Notes Domino. If I look at the job market, the market is dead. If I read the modern development forums it is JavaScript (Node JS, Angular, React), Java, NonSQL databases where data is stored directly in JSON, GraphQL or any other Graph db, Websocket connection streams etcetera. Hell yeah blend in a couple of services from Bluemix if you like.

So yes, I am very disappointed in this announced “delay” and this unprofessional “procastination” by IBM. I am not sure what you are doing at your offices. Talk with your customers and development team. Write the technical opportunities down in a living document. Keep the document fresh and fruitful. Allocate sufficient resources so you come to deliverables.

Nobody wants to spend 2 hours listening to a roadmap-mantra that brings “nothing more on updated tooling explored” except Java 1.8, probably.