Last week two announcements were made in the world of XPages that were worthy of further mention. The first was the new IBM course on Modernizing IBM Lotus Domino 8.5.2 Applications. The main author of this course is Jeremy Hodge, with whom I’ve been working on the upcoming Extension Library book. He has been involved in a number of other XPages courses for IBM and has also used some of my tutorials on Dojo charting in the courses. Given his expertise and willingness to draw upon the expertise of others, I have no doubt these courses are a useful addition to the body of XPages training courses available from various providers.

The other announcement was about an interview with Dennis Chen about being selected as one of the winners of the inaugural XPages Development Contest on OpenNTF. Although there were a host of worthy entrants and winners of the contest, his involvement is particularly welcome because he has no background as either a Domino or XPages developer. His expertise is in Java. The are two aspects here that are particularly noteworthy.

The first is that now more than ever Domino is being opened up to developers with no expertise in Domino. XPages provides Java developers with an established enterprise-level web engine and a host of in-built controls, all building upon Eclipse with which many Java developers are familiar. With XPages In the Notes Client there is the potential for providing a rich interactivity between XPages and the rich client platform via plugins, a potential that is as yet predominantly untapped. This area is one Java developers will have a head-start on, because plugins are developed using Java. Regardless of Java knowledge, with 8.5.3 it looks like XPages can be integrated as sidebar plugins without any recourse to web authentication or Composite Applications, providing a host of new opportunities to developers. Perhaps, like Composite Applications, this will not be used to its full extent, only the future will tell. With the right vision there is great potential for maximising the power of the Notes Client and re-energising it.

The second aspect is that his project brings Java functionality developed independently of IBM to XPages developers. This is particularly interesting and a validation of the approach taken by IBM with XPages, in that we are no longer dependent on IBM for development tools; no longer dependent on Domino developers; no longer restricted to just HTML, CSS or JavaScript-based tools; we can now leverage the host of Java tools such as ZK Spreadsheets and, hopefully, other ZK tools if developers can build on Dennis’ experience to make them available to the community. Our universe is becoming wider in the spectrum than just yellow, although that chunk of the rainbow is still very significant. And hopefully Dennis Chen’s success will encourage others to expand their horizons in the tools made available to XPages developers.

Of course a review of recent news cannot pass without mention of the upcoming release of Domino 8.5.3. The work on OSGi and Designer enhancements of Java elements and Source Control will, I believe, be seen in hindsight as significant as the inclusion of the Xpages Extensibility Framework in 8.5.2.


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