Genii Weblog

On the bright side: XPages clearly rock

Tue 28 Jul 2009, 12:10 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Stepping away from the controversial topic of my last post, one thing that IQJam and Elenchus do both demonstrate is that there are tremendous possibilities in XPage development.  My good friend, Andrew Pollack, has written about some real concerns with the architecture behind XPages, and I always take his opinions very seriously, as he has proven his good judgment over the years, but I also feel it is important to give IBM their due.  Clearly, the feat of programming prowess demonstrated by Tim Tripcony in developing his demo project in XPages, and the feat of creating a polished and shippable product by the Elguji team using XPages, both go to demonstrate that there is a lot of power in the technology.  I must admit, I have not done a lot with XPages, but both of these feats tend to encourage me to look into them further.  The improvements in 8.5.1 also seem to warrant kudos for the IBM developers.  I look forward to seeing what other projects and products emerge from the development community.

Copyright 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

843.1. Ben Langhinrichs
(07/28/2009 05:50 PM)

Thanks for the correction (I fixed the post). Sorry about that.

843.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(07/28/2009 07:56 PM)

Another excellent example, and I'm glad you brought it up. I have not yet had a chance to look at Service Communicator, but it looks quite interesting from the little I have seen.

What did you think of developing with XPages? Was it easy or difficult? Any issues to watch out for when getting started?

843.3. Julian Buss
(07/28/2009 09:28 PM)

If one is a "real" developer, that means a developer who thinks in concepts and not in a programming language, it's more or less easy.

If you already have knowledge in web techniques (html, css, javascript, javascript frameworks) you will get productive with XPages very, very fast.

I already had knowledge in web technologies, although I worked with other javascript frameworks before. I had some hard first days until I got the basic ideas of XPages, but then I drove faster and faster down that road.

What really is helpful is a good book about Dojo, it helps a lot since the Dojo documentation itself is a pain sometimes. I took the one from O'Reilly.

And beside that most helpful is to learn by example from,, domino designer wiki etc.

Overall I cannot express enough how much I like XPages. Mostly for the opportunity to finally build UIs the way I want them to, not the way Notes forces me to.

843.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(07/29/2009 03:39 AM)

OK, those last two posts have convinced me that when I want an XPages project done, I'll contact somebody else. Sometimes you just have to know when to farm out the project to somebody else and stick to your familiar CD records.

843.5. Paul Withers
(29/07/2009 09:44)

Just a few weeks after going on an XPages course, I built an intranet for one of our clients utilising XPages.

I had had some web development experience, but predominantly client experience. That lotusscript experience made it very easy to implement server-side javascript to do some very powerful stuff, with less coding that using AJAX and agents. You need to use scoped variables sooner rather than later, because you'll be using them all the time. Repeat controls gave amazing flexibility on displaying information from documents collected from a view, producing a 'view' that looked nothing like a standard Notes view.

It also allowed me to create aview of information from two other databases, without needing to amend the design of those databases.

I did have some problems I needed to work through, but the various tutorials and 8.5 forum have been very useful. You also need an awareness of Java, e.g. facesContext and vectors and how to create them. Documentation in the 8.5 help and on the web does not seem to help you get a way in very easily. With a better understanding, I am sure I could make it more powerful.

It's not an overnight task to transfer existing web apps to XPages, but I have also been able to use XPages seamlessly alongside traditional web design. I would agree with the post about needing a good book on dojo, but it's also worth being aware 8.5 uses dojo 1.1 framework and I've been unable to link it in with dojomino. From what I've heard 8.5.1 will use dojo 1.3, which will offer greater power for rich functionality applications on the web.