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Warning. Despite finally getting to the point where my XPage does the things I want it to do and finally having the code patterns I wanted to start building a real application that users will interact with, I'm writing this blog post entirely in sarcasm font, specifically to blow off steam after an incredibly frustrating day working with this environment. If you came here looking for deep technical insights for xpages -- you're really too early. I don't have any yet. What I can offer are opinions born of frustration piled high, and somewhat assuaged by a bit of success thanks to a whole lot of trial and error and some help from notable xpages leaders in the community.
1. If you thought there were way too many options placed in obscure locations that are hard to find, you're not looking hard enough. There are at least 100 times more than just "way too many".
2. That option doesn't do what you think it does. No matter which options we're talking about, or what you think it does. The truth is, it doesn't do that. That's why I've renamed XPages to "TrialAndErrorPages".
Ok, seriously -- there are a few things worth knowing if you're new to coding on xpages. There are lots of good demos and specific "how-to" articles. To all that hard work, I add the following mostly usesless observations...
1. Creating an XPage is far more different from creating any other kind of page than you'd think. It's nothing at all like a form with some pass through HTML and a lot of rendering. An XPage is more like a compiled program that spits out code to the user when it wants to. The reason that's important is that most of what you do gets translated a couple of times before the browser sees it. You're not creating a web page with the xpage development tool. You're creating an application that creates a web page. If it wants to.
2. For the love of all that you hold dear, the first thing you need to do is drop a "[Display Errors]" control on the page.
I'm done ranting now. Maybe tomorrow I'll have nicer things to say about XPages, because when all is said and done -- we're all going to have to use them as long as we stay with Domino.
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