Andrew Pollack's Blog

Technology, Family, Entertainment, Politics, and Random Noise

XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You Needed

By Andrew Pollack on 01/28/2008 at 01:48 PM EST

Hint: It isn't all about the UI features. XPages are not a secret any more, but I think you'll find a perspective here that you may not get elsewhere.

XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You Needed


Writing anything in conjunction with the IBM Lotus people can be a real exercise in frustration. This is the third or fourth time I've done it, and will likely be the last attempt.

Note: For those who want to link to the article, but don't want to link to this blog post as it is a bit strongly worded, feel free to use this ugly page.


Back in mid 2007 as part of a design review team I was given the opportunity to see XPages for the first time. There is a core functionality here that is very important for Domino developers and hopefully will also be important to Notes developers really soon. I asked the development team which was at that point led by Martha Hoyt if I could work with them to do a preview article about them to help explain some of the important but esoteric benefits in advance of Lotusphere 2008. As this information was entirely restricted by NDA agreements, I couldn't just go off and write my own without permission. I don't always agree with Martha, but I can say she's always been pretty willing to look at ideas like this and get them approved and moving. This was no exception.

It took some convincing, but Martha lined up the appropriate people and by November everyone was all on board. I'd referenced the success of the Notes in Eclipse presentation I gave in 2004 (when it was called IWCT-RE -- IBM Workplace Client Technology, Rich Edition) under a similar agreement and how well it turned out.

The goal in this case, was to get the information out to help build buzz around the feature and seed the OGS crowd with people who already understood some of the benefit. This was to help with the immediate acceptance as more information came out later in the week. More important, it would let the all important analysts in the front hear some excitement about this obscure feature so that they'd work to find out more. That's how they work.

Unfortunately, by the time the article was ready, Martha had moved to another group and I was now working with Mark Jordain. The original permission to publish seemed to go away, and I'm told Kevin Cavanaugh decided that releasing it before the show would somehow remove the excitement of the announcement at the OGS. I like Kevin and he's always been straight up with me in the past so I was a bit surprised and disappointed by the decision -- but hey, he's running the show and isn't the least bit obligated to do anything just to make me happy.

Question: did you guys catch the excitement? They gave Maureen a whole 4 minutes to show everything her team had done for the last year on the most critical part of the entire product line. I'm relieved we didn't eat into that excitement or there may have been only 2 minutes worth of things to talk about.

Now we get to the final straw, and one that has pretty thoroughly ticked me off. On January 21st -- once Lotusphere had started -- Mark sent me a note telling me that now the Dev Works team had decided to reject the article because it didn't contain pretty screen shots or code examples. The fact that the article was written as a preview before such code and screen shots could have existed seem to not even cross their tiny little editorial minds.

The only good news is that now I do have permission to self publish what I'd written. It still doesn't contain pretty pictures but I think most of you are smart enough to gain value from it anyway -- even if it is not good enough for the paragon of Pulitzer prize quality journalism that is the hallmark of the devworks editors. Unlike other content you may have found there, this article is a quick read and carries a straightforward explanation of why this new feature will help you.

XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You Needed


As I've said, this is the third of fourth time I've done some writing that had to go through Lotus to get published and will likely be the last attempt. Each time the rules have changed half way through the process. Each time I've had to deal with people who think they're editing for The Times. Each time I've come out the other end feeling like the goals I had when I started just weren't met.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Timothy Briley on 01/28/2008 at 02:33 PM EST
It was good to meet you at Lotusphere, (actually while walking out of Islands
of Adventure). When are you moving here to Florida? ;)

I understand your frustration, but you really might want to edit this post and
remove the name-calling if you ever want to work with these guys again.

Just my two cents.
I think I will leave it be.By Andrew Pollack on 01/28/2008 at 02:38 PM EST
There are no names here which are not 100% accurate in their use so far as I
know. If I never publish through devworks again, my world will probably be a
better place.
re: I think I will leave it be.By Timothy Briley on 01/28/2008 at 03:20 PM EST
Sure, I just thought I've give another person's perspective.

As to the actual article. Wow. I saw the introduction to XPages in one of the
sessions, (Maureens?) and failed to grasp just how powerful XPages can be in a
Notes app until I read your article. Thanks.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Devin Olson on 01/28/2008 at 03:43 PM EST
WTF? Were we at the same Lotusphere? I must have had my head stuck in the
sand because, except for your article, I've heard NOTHING about XPages.

After reading your write up, I have to agree with this blogpost's title.

Thanks for the info,
-Devin.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Richard Schwartz on 01/28/2008 at 03:51 PM EST
Editorial standards at the Times are way down these days. Might have to pick a
better metaphor ;-)
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Charles Robinson on 01/28/2008 at 05:10 PM EST
My thoughts exactly on the promise of XPages. Now if only they were viewable
in the Notes client. Hopefully they'll put that in for 8.5 instead of making
it browser-only.

@Devin - I hear you, this should have been shouted from the rooftops because it
addresses SO MANY things that we have been asking for over the past 10 years.
I say without any hesitation that XPages was the biggest announcement at
Lotusphere for any Notes or Domino developer. They were mentioned briefly in
the OGS, then they were featured in the Domino Web Developer Futures session by
Bob Balaban and the Domino Designer session with Maureen Leland and Mark
Joudain, and again in the Transforming Domino Web Apps session that I think
Rocky did.

I spent two hours in the UX lab reviewing Domino Designer 8.5, focusing mostly
on the new IDE (I don't use Eclipse) and XPages. I'll do a writeup later this
week on what I gleaned from the sessions and my hands on experience.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Timothy Briley on 01/28/2008 at 06:06 PM EST
I'm having trouble telling from your doc. For 8.5 are XPages only for the web
or also for the Notes client?
You can't tell for a good reason.By Andrew Pollack on 01/28/2008 at 06:42 PM EST
I can't talk about that decision. At this time, Lotus has not committed in
public to XPages in the client being released with any specific version.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Timothy Briley on 01/28/2008 at 07:33 PM EST
"XPages, by letting you use a single design element to work with data on
multiple documents at once, solves one of the biggest user interface challenges
developers face."

"I can't talk about that decision. At this time, Lotus has not committed in
public to XPages in the client being released with any specific version."

Let me get this straight. A design element that solves one of the biggest UI
challenges developers face will be likely be available for the browser long
before the client? What the...?
I agree.By Andrew Pollack on 01/28/2008 at 08:39 PM EST
I wish they would commit to full Notes Client support for XPages in a specific
version, but so far they haven't so I can't comment on it.

The excuse, as I understand, is that the browser needs the most immediate
help. They don't want to delay a whole version just to get XPages working in
the client. I'm sure if they determine it can be done without impacting
timeline, then it will.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Dan Sickles on 01/28/2008 at 08:58 PM EST
Philippe Riand suggested that the experimental XUL output may drive a
rich-client implementation. That would require an SWT/JFace/Expeditor XUL
engine and would keep the XPages output as markup.

The reason we have XPages for the web in Domino is that it is the Workplace
Designer. Notes forms can now be the schema but this is most of the dev tool
for Workplace shown at Lotusphere 06. It's extremely cool.

It runs on the server jvm and uses javascript as the application language. For
licensing reasons, IBM wrote their own jvm javascript engine instead of using
Rhino. With Rhino shipping in java 6, they should be able to ship it in
Designer 8.5 (or later). The licensing problems may have been around the
extensions like @Formulas and type declarations. Classes, modules/namespaces
and type declarations are coming in javascript 2 and even google is helping to
get that implemented in Rhino. I'd hate to see a non-standard, javascript
engine underlying the coolest web development technology in Domino.

Speaking of Rhino, the "most important new feature that is not as certain to be
in 8.5 as XPages" uses Rhino and other jvm scripting languages on the client.
If this makes it into the product, two years from now most new Notes
applications will be written in neither Lotusscript nor Java. I'll leave it at
that.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Nathan T. Freeman on 01/28/2008 at 09:36 PM EST
"two years from now most new Notes applications will be written in neither
Lotusscript nor Java."

LMAO. You're funny.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Dan Sickles on 01/28/2008 at 10:07 PM EST
Okay...they could use LS2Java or whatever it's called but what's the point when
you have Javascript 2, JRuby, Groovy, Jython etc. in the client and can
interactively build perspectives, views, sidebars and all the other
RCP/Expeditor goodies with a few lines of code?

Did you see the demo in the lab?
Only partly the case, Dan.By Andrew Pollack on 01/28/2008 at 10:53 PM EST
Much of XPages clearly stems from CD, but don't make the mistake of thinking
that it is lifted and dropped in or that the things it can and can't do -- or
even how it works -- can be determined by what you know of CD. In at least
some of what you're guessing at, you are definitely not correct. Wish I could
say more.
re: Only partly the case, Dan.By Dan Sickles on 01/29/2008 at 12:13 AM EST
Yes I'm just guessing and I didn't spend much time looking at it last week but
it is fundamentally the Workplace stuff, which is a good thing. I do realize
that it was not just a drop-in...there had to be quite a bit of work to
integrate and extend for Domino. I wish you could say more too ;-)
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Nathan T. Freeman on 01/28/2008 at 09:37 PM EST
Andrew, your experience on this matter is one of the reasons why we created
Bleedyellow.com. Stay tuned.
You're funny, Nathan.By Andrew Pollack on 01/29/2008 at 07:19 AM EST
When "Bleedyellow" is what's on your mind, almost anything ends up being "one
of the reasons why we created...."

Bleedyellow looks like a good thing for the community, and its great to see
Lotus-9-1-1 growing in its influence.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Craig Wiseman on 01/29/2008 at 01:36 PM EST
xPages were two of the top three take aways I had from LS2008.

1 - web dev
2 - notes dev

I guess I only have 1 of those two in 8.5...
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Maureen Leland on 01/29/2008 at 09:19 PM EST
On the rich client question - it is on our plan, it is just not yet known
whether it will make 8.5 or not, so we're being cautious. We are committed to
doing the web first, but clearly the client is also a large part of the
ultimate vision.
Thank YOU!By Andrew Pollack on 01/29/2008 at 10:22 PM EST
Thanks for letting that cat out of the bag, finally, Maureen! It doubles the
value of XPages.
re: XPages: The Most Important New Feature You Didn't Know You NeededBy Craig Wiseman on 01/30/2008 at 09:41 AM EST
Thanks! This is the most amazing community.
Thanks for Notes offline at least soon somewhere doan the raod, tooBy Bernfried Geiger on 02/03/2008 at 03:14 AM EST
Big time thanks for that post, Maureen.

After Lotusphere I was wondering if there is a reason why XPages can't be
allready used in Notes8 when online via the http Interface when online, but did
not find the time to ask nor to try to find out.


Other Recent Stories...

  1. 10/21/2014Quick update on the Domino SSL v3 "POODLE" , TLS, and SHA-2 issues -- Good newsI've been more than a little sidetracked on some family things for the last week, but my good friend Gab Davis forwarded me these two links today that should address these critical issues. They're long overdue already, and will be another couple of weeks, but let's be glad to be getting them. TLS Support in a fixpack for 8.5.1, 8.5.2, 8.5.3, 9.0, and 9.0.1 within a "couple of weeks"http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21687167 And ...... 
  2. 10/16/2014Summary Recommendation for dealing with the POODLE SSLv3 Vulnerability on Domino serversRather than repeat what everyone else is writing about POODLE today, I want to give Domino server administrators a few quick items as it relates to them. In Brief -- and based on what I've been able to quickly learn: IS Domino affected? Yes. All Domino servers that are accepting direct HTTPS connections are impacted. THIS MEANS ALL TRAVELER SERVERS AS WELL. What is the risk to my server or data? The most immediate risk is access to user data and user impersonation. POODLE is the type of attack we call "Man ...... 
  3. 10/14/2014Speaking tonight ath the ICU One (aka NE Notes Users Group)For my Boston area friends in the Notes and Domino community, I'm speaking tonight at the ICU One (aka NE Notes Users Group) meeting in Cambridge. Come say hi. ...... 
  4. 10/09/2014Presentations from AdminCamp 2014 
  5. 09/17/2014IBM Domino Servers STILL don't support SSL SHA-2 Certificates - and it is about to be a PROBLEM 
  6. 02/09/2014Changing what I do at the Fire Department 
  7. 02/07/2014Dammit. I think I broke facebook. 
  8. 02/06/2014Sochi Olympics Pub Chat - Now Open 
  9. 02/05/2014Question for mobile app developers - what development platform do you recommend? 
  10. 02/03/2014Are you using a Surface Pro 2 or another Windows 8.1 Tablet? Want to use Traveler on the touch screen? It works! 
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.