Andrew Pollack's Blog

Technology, Family, Entertainment, Politics, and Random Noise

Enough theory! Here's how my first real foray into building something with XPages is going

By Andrew Pollack on 06/24/2008 at 01:24 PM EDT

After all the time at the workshop doing walk throughs, all the demos, and all the talking -- I decided to try building something useful with XPages today. Even with all the background information, I'm finding my knowledge to be a little too theoretical and when it comes to practical code I'm really having to work for it.

The idea is simple enough -- but revolutionary from a pure old-school Notes perspective. I have two forms. One has company data, the other has record data. The records have a many to one relationship with the company data. It's like an invoice, or maybe a directory. You want to store the company information which is the same for all people in one place, and use another place for the data on each record. What you don't want, is a lot of navigating from place to place, editing on one form, then redrawing and doing a bunch of look-ups.

In building the thing, its tricky to keep track of the scope and bindings for each object. I've found that John Mackey's posting has been a great walk through refresher. In particular the slide deck he provides. Since I'm changing things as I go, I still stumbled in places but once I'd started using John's example as somewhat of a road map the stumbling became much more manageable.

I've got a working prototype now. It's taken me several hours to really understand what was going on, but that's a first timer (newbie) learning curve. Its a steep one, but its manageable. Re-doing this would now take only an hour, and after I've done a few it will be the work of minutes.

In the prototype, you can select the company or select "New Company". The company data is editable, and a save button tied just for that allows you to update it in place. The individual records display in a panel below, and can also be selected and edited.

The big learning curve here, as in anything else, is going to be developing your design patterns. For example, some early "Ah-ha" moments and patterns that I see emerging are as follows:

"Panels" will allow you to bind elements together that work with common data very well. For example, if I've got two data elements on my XPage, I can use script on a button to save each separately, or save them both. If the button is on a panel, and the panel is bound to a data source, a simple action "Save Document" will save the elements for the document which is bound to the panel. There's no confusion because the panel itself is tied to a document and the button is on the panel. If I don't tie things together on panels -- because I want to mix them up for display or whatever -- I can still call a save, but I need to know the name of the data element I've bound and call it's save function.

Generally speaking, you're going to want to create "Custom Controls" - think of these as Sub-Xpages, but without any implied limitations - for each of your form and view elements. Make them work as units, then drop them on the main pages. This will make debugging and reuse much easier.

No screen shots today, since the data is confidential.

I'm sure there'll be much more as I go.


There are  - loading -  comments....



Other Recent Stories...

  1. 09/04/2018With two big projects on hold, I suddenly find myself very available for new short and long term projects. In twenty five years, I don't think I've ever written an entry like this, but if you need the kind of work I do now would be a great time to get in touch. Both of the big projects I had lined up for late summer and early fall have been placed on hold and will be that way for a while. With the kids now all off at college and careers, I'm open to more travel than such than I have been in decades, but unless something else comes along, I'll be here working on updates to Second Signal and other things that ...... 
  2. 07/13/2018Who is HCL and why is it a good thing that they are now the ones behind Notes and Domino?We need to address some biases here. IBM has made a deal under which the Notes & Domino software and intellectual property is now being developed and maintained by HCL America. HCL America is part of the very large "HCL Technologies" company that has grown from its roots in India to become an 8 Billion Dollar company with a global presence in the IT Industry. You could be excused for initially believing, as many people do when they hear this, that "they've outsourced the code to India where they'll milk it ...... 
  3. 03/21/2018Domino Apps on IOS is a Game Changer. Quit holding back.BOOM. This will be as important for the platform as Traveler. If your company has ditched Notes and Domino, I feel sorry for you. For companies that do use Notes/Domino this is a game changer and Apple should be paying attention. Here's why: There are hundreds of little Notes client applications you'd never spend the time and money to build and deploy for your internal user base on IOS that we use Notes for all the time (those of us still using it). Now, those are suddenly ALL available on the iPad. ...... 
  4. 02/15/2018Andrew’s Proposed Gun Laws 
  5. 05/05/2016Is the growing social-sourced economy the modern back door into socialism? 
  6. 04/20/2016Want to be whitelisted? Here are some sensible rules for web site advertising 
  7. 12/30/2015Fantastic new series on Syfy called “The Expanse” – for people who love traditional science fiction 
  8. 10/20/2015My suggestion is to stay away from PayAnywhere(dot)com  
  9. 08/07/2015Here is one for you VMWARE gurus - particularly if you run ESXi without fancy drive arrays 
  10. 08/06/2015The Killer of Orphans (Orphan Documents) 
Click here for more articles.....


pen icon Comment Entry
Subject
Your Name
Homepage
*Your Email
* Your email address is required, but not displayed.
 
Your thoughts....
 
Remember Me  

Please wait while your document is saved.