Genii Weblog

Don't miss new book on Classic Web Development for Domino

Tue 5 Apr 2011, 04:05 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Just in case you were under the impression that XPages were the whole ball of wax, and that Mastering XPages was the last word in IBM Lotus Domino development, I wanted to let you know that Packt Publishing has released:

IBM Lotus Domino: Classic Web Application Development Techniques

Find it on or on or on or on
... or even on

There's a lot more to Domino web development than XPages, and a well prepared developer will be prepared for both kinds.

Copyright 2011 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

986.1. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/06/2011 01:09 AM)

As exciting as it is when you discover a new socket wrench, Nathan, it may not be advisable to think it will replace your hammer or screwdriver. Different purposes, different needs, may require different techniques. I certainly wouldn't hire a developer who thought that their new nifty expertise was all that mattered.

986.2. Turtle
(04/06/2011 01:52 AM)

Nathan, have you ever seen a book by the late cartoonist legend, B. Kliban, called "Two Guys Fooling Around With The Moon?" One of the illustrations is called "Inside A Modern Balloon." It's a cross-section cutaway of a "modern" helium carnival balloon, showing all the belts, gears, and circuitry.

Sometimes a site is just a site, not an "app," and nothing pisses users off than having to sit through a 600K download and a bunch of Flash and Ajax hoopla when they just wanna get an address to send a payment or send a simple feedback. XPages shouldn't add back to the problem the things that the clean simplicity of @language cleared away.

986.3. Nathan T. Freeman
(04/06/2011 03:34 AM)

Shucks, you guys are right. I don't know what I was thinking. Give me @functions or give me death!

986.4. Adam Osborne
(06/04/2011 04:05 AM)

Nice find Ben.

I sent you a couple of emails over the last two months and haven't got a reply. Did you get them ?


986.5. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/06/2011 04:23 AM)

@Adam - I don't think I have. I just added you to the whitelist, so could you try again?

986.6. Fredrik Malmborg
(2011-04-06 11:13)

I guess Nathan have got the new clothes of the Emporer on. Looks great on you ;-)

I agree that new techniques can be great but they also often solve new problems/needs better than old ones.

Damn it is irritating with younger people that think they are brighter than me ;-)

986.7. Paul Hannan
(04/06/2011 12:57 PM)

It's telling that this book uses the word 'Classic' in it's title. It implies legacy. The old ways of doing things. Obsolete.

Conventional rather classic might have been a better choice here. But then again some will argue that XPages is now the conventional, standard way to develop Domino web apps.

986.8. Bruce Lill
(04/06/2011 01:03 PM)

I don't think a book on Classic Domino web development will sell a lot. It would be for developers that are maintaining current Domino web sites.

For new sites and apps it's been XPages or more often, move to Grails, Ruby or another technology.

It depends more upon the company's web developers. You could easily take a plain web app and put it into Domino Classic. Now you would have to rewrite it in XPages.

If you have to rewrite it, then you can be open to using anything.

986.9. Henning Heinz
(06.04.2011 13:50)

I am baffled that a book about the old classic web development is considered a threat to XPages (at least so it reads in some way). The success or non-success of this new platform does not depend on a single book.

I still hope that XPages will convince through power and features not through putting everything else EOL asap.

Any book about Notes and Domino is a good thing.

986.10. Darren Duke
(04/06/2011 02:09 PM)

The JSF spec 1.0 was released in 2004. Hardly new. Yet this is what IBM throws to the downtrodden masses and we greet it like new car, not a 8 year old used auto.

I may have to get a copy of this as I'm pretty sure 98% of all current Domino web facing code is not XPages. And I echo Henning, any book is a good book (even though the title irks me).

986.11. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/06/2011 02:16 PM)

@Henning - That surprises me as well. I would think that any new book on Domino development would be welcome. The future may be dominated by XPages (and may not - I'm lousy with tea leaves), but I think it would be hard to be a Domino web developer with no significant knowledge of non-XPages techniques. Unless Nathan also feels that there will be no new developers (and hence, a gradual but steady decline in the Domino web server market), I'm not sure why he wouldn't want well rounded and well educated developers who were not relying on development books written for R5 or ND6.

I heartily applaud Richard Ellis and Packt Publishing for putting this out now. I hope many developers support them and embrace the full extent of Domino web development, not simply the newest bit.

986.12. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/06/2011 02:19 PM)

@Darren - Fwiw, "Classic" sounds a lot better than "Conventional" to me. Maybe they should have called it IBM Lotus Domino Web Development: Mastering Everything Else

986.13. Nathan T. Freeman
(04/06/2011 03:14 PM)

"I am baffled that a book about the old classic web development is considered a threat to XPages"

"a threat?" Are you serious!? Who here was threatened?

This thread is an incredible case study in projection.

986.14. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/06/2011 04:16 PM)

The hyperbole is getting a bit thick here. I want to be clear here. As a business owner, I would be unlikely to hire a Domino web developer who had no experience with XPages or one who had no experience other than XPages. I could replace the word XPages with "Javascript", "LotusScript", "formula language", "HTML", "XML" or many other terms.

Classic web development poses no "threat" to XPages, but likewise, XPages does not obviate the need for other development techniques. You started this by suggesting such with your reference to the Model T.

986.15. Mark T Hughes
(04/06/2011 04:35 PM)

Just curious for an example of why the "need for other development techniques" using classic web dev instead of xpages?

986.16. Henning Heinz
(06.04.2011 16:42)

Nathan I am not a native speaker so of course I might get things wrong. Still I think any book about Notes and Domino can only be a good thing (if I forget the one that just copied Wikipedia content).

Shame on me but I even like the title of the book.

986.17. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/06/2011 04:52 PM)

@Mark - The most significant and obvious answer is that most software development is neither brand new nor focused on the very latest release.

The first is an issue because if I have a web app that has been used for several years in my company and want to do some new things with it, I don't want to say, "Scrap the whole interface and do it again in XPages because they are way cooler and would have been much faster, er, if we'd started with them."

The second is an issue because many companies are in some slow progression towards 8.5.2, and may have clients and servers that are on 8.5.1 or 8.5 or 8 or 7, and XPages aren't the same or don't exist. This issue will slowly fade away, but slowly. Again, I don't want to say, "We have to move everything to 8.5.2. no. no, wait, 8.5.3, because it has fixes for the limitations in XPages 8.5.2." The very fact that classic techniques have changed less quickly in recent years is a bonus for those companies.

986.18. Mark T Hughes
(04/06/2011 05:10 PM)

so its good for maintaining older notes web apps,

For updating an older app -

I guess you would have to think, how much do these new features gain me, and how much would moving it to XPages gain me in the long run...maintenance, adding more new features. Its almost like maintaining VB6 apps, instead of moving them to .NET.

I personally have just been moving them over as time permitted. It is a great chance to re-think and revamp older applications.

986.19. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/06/2011 05:21 PM)

@Mark - Decisions about "moving apps" to a different design methodology are not always simple. You may have the luxury of doing that with certain types of apps, but the cost might be prohibitive for an app that has evolved and grown for a decade. Beyond that, there are many instances where the weight and complexity of XPages are not worth it. Don't build a train line to get to the local store, even if it is a maglev bullet train. Just take the car. Classic apps offer a great deal, among them the ability to use honed Lotusscript libraries that are harder to use with XPages.

Customers may want the best and most powerful web app without wanting to start as far back as a move to XPages would entail. Not that XPages won't play a part, but it may be limited and integrated with a great deal of classic Domino. Learning how to get the most out of that classic Domino, even learning how to understand code written by others which you want to migrate to XPages, requires developers well grounded in Domino techniques. Maybe every developer you know is already an expert in every classic technique, but I like the idea of a book for those you don't know who may need a refresher not and then. Especially if they spend most of their time with XPages.

986.20. Adam Osborne
(07/04/2011 04:15 AM)

Email resent.. see if you get it.

986.21. Nathan T. Freeman
(04/07/2011 05:59 AM)

"As a business owner, I would be unlikely to hire a Domino web developer who had no experience with XPages or one who had no experience other than XPages."

I believe you've stated on several occasions that you have no employees, so this seems like a red herring. As a business owner, you would be unlikely to hire anybody at all, right?

That's not a bad thing. That's just history.

986.22. axel
(07.04.2011 10:12)

Why have some people problems with terms like classic or legacy?

I'm working in a project where EJB2 and JSF 1.2 is used and we all call it legacy. The programming started in 2008. I guess that on the .NET side too, lot of people code on a legacy architecture, design, framework.

The rapid development in frameworks automatically leads to a faster innovation cicle. There are good reason for the app live cicle to decouple a bit from the innovation cicle as changing the framework, design, architecture of a application adds costs.

So we should expect that there are more legacy apps out there on our servers. Nothing bad about it.

986.23. Ben Langhinrichs
(04/07/2011 11:43 AM)

@Nathan - It is a valid point, but I should clarify. I have hired no employees. I have certainly hired consultants, including Domino web consultants, when the situation has called for it. I have also contracted services with The Turtle Partnership, for example, for years now.

It is to the hiring of consultants that I meant to refer in my comments.

986.24. Betsy Thiede
(04/29/2011 05:03 PM)

So, Ben. Have you looked at this book?

I have had the luxury (I think luxury, as I love the Notes client) of only developing Notes Client applications for the last 10 years.

But now, I am being forced out of my comfort zone and may have to do some Domino web development.

This book could help me, perhaps. Just wondering if I should purchase it?

And I sure enjoyed reading the comments. I find I love the comments more than the actual article these days. People sure don't hold back.

Thanks for providing such an entertaining Blog.