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Whatever Happened to “XPages Extension Library: Second Edition”

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I’ve mentioned at user groups that there is unlikely to ever be a second edition of “XPages Extension Library” and many of the reasons have been apparent for all well before now. Whatever the decision about the future of application development on Domino that IBM release, whether at the end of this year or later, I am now more convinced than ever that there will be no point in writing a second edition.

A little over two years ago, “Mastering XPages 2nd Edition” had been published and I was happy to be one of the technical editors for the book. This was in the summer of 2014, some months after new features had been announced for Domino Next. That version of Domino, fully expected to be called Domino 9.0.2 seemed a fitting time to release an update to “XPages Extension Library”.After all, the Social Enabler content had moved out of ExtLib into the apparently moribund Social SDK, RDBMS support had been moved in from  ExtLibX, Bootstrap and jQuery were imminent and would completely change XPages mobile development, and I had a greater understanding of Java and the source code from which to add better insight in various areas. I also had a number of blog posts tagged “Second Edition” from which to draw.  Paul Hannan had since moved from XPages and we had lost Tim Tripcony, but I was willing to revise the book on my own if needs be. So I contacted the XPages development team to try to find out a rough timescale for that release, to try to coincide a release of the book with a release of what we expected to be Domino 9.0.2.

I don’t need to tell anyone that that release of Domino never happened.

But that was not the reason a second edition of the book was shelved. I was given advanced knowledge that the concept of the “Extension Library” as an extended set of components and functionality would cease to exist. Even in summer 2014 the XPages team work planning to open source all of the XPages components. With no concept of an extension library, there was no point in having a separate book going into depth on just a subset of the open sourced components. So, silently (because the information was not public knowledge at the time) the idea of a second edition of the book was dropped.

It’s unclear what the future will hold, but either way there will be no new edition of the book, even though I’m as painfully aware as anyone that it is out-of-date in some areas. If application development takes another road, then obviously there is no point spending effort on a second edition. If XPages is front and centre of a vibrant renaissance for Domino application development, then I’m confident we’ll see the full set of components being open sourced, as previously broadcast but not currently (as far as I’m aware) on any roadmap. They will become part of the Extension Library, although “XPages Component Library” would then be a better name, and be extended and enhanced as the Extension Library itself by IBM and the community has over the last couple of years.

AUTHOR - Paul Withers

Paul Withers has been an IBM Champion since 2011, has been an OpenNTF Board Member since 2013, has worked with XPages since 2009, co-authored XPages Extension Library and was technical editor for Mastering XPages 2nd Edition. He is one of the developers on OpenNTF Domino API as well as contributor to a variety of other OpenNTF projects.

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