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Notes 8.x gives us this rich platform to work with as developers. There's this ability to do stuff at the GUI layer, to hook into the framework itself and do ....stuff. So why aren't we seeing more stuff being done beyond the "example" level of complexity? To me, as I try to get my head around building for this environment there are four challenges. Three are technical. I'm not going to attempt to answer these here. I just want to start by identifying what I see as the challenges that need to be address by documentation, & tools. I see real opportunity here for someone to create a designer suite targeted to this. Team Studio?
Most of the introductory "What is it" kind of information about building composite applications was pushed out too early. It was pushed out before there were any tools at all to actually build anything. Presumably, with 8.x progressing and 8.5 due out soon, these tools are starting to become more realistic.
The first problem is just simply time. Dealing with each of the three technical areas is going to take solid blocks of real concentration and work. I don't know about you, but I've found it isn't so easy to set aside this time lately.
From a technical perspective, I see these as the basic challenge areas:
1. What am I hooking into, and where? There's this whole Eclipse framework model but finding your way into it seems to present some challenges. This comes from a kind of mixed signal problem. When I use Notes 8, I don't want to think or hear about Eclipse. I'm not using Eclipse. I'm using Notes. Then suddenly you want me to design for something that seems to be entirely different. Must it specifically be a Lotus Composite Application, or will any Eclipse project work? When does my code run? Can I connect to it from inside plain old Notes applications? It just isn't obvious to me.
2. How can I deploy my project? Can I package it with an installer? Who needs to authorize it if I want to send it to an end user? If I want to sell desktop licenses at 30 dollars a pop, can corporate users buy and use them without getting the whole of their IT department involved?
3. What do I use to build the UI? What constrains it? How does it know how to fit into the rest of the Eclipse framework?
I think there's been a big disconnect between the people creating the Notes 8 framework and those of us who are used to doing plain old Notes development. There is an assumption that we'll understand where to start bridging the gap. I think that's a mistake. I think there needs to be time spent beginning with what you can use it for, moving through where to build things and how do they connect, and moving on to realistic deployment models. Don't worry too much about the internal code. For most of us, once we understand the event model, the hook points, and where the code goes, we'll figure out something cool to do with it.
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