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Why XPages is not LCD any more

By Andrew Pollack on 06/15/2010 at 01:28 PM EDT

LCD (Lotus Component Designer) failed in the marketplace. Since the bulk of it was repurposed for Notes & Domino as the XPages designer, one of its criticisms has been that heritage. While I'm not a big fan of the architecture -- the fact that it relies on J2EE is a huge turn off for me -- I'm not willing to buy the argument that because it came from LCD it must be no good.

First, while I agree with Rob's comments up to a point and while the intent was clearly to just slide in LCD as a low-cost and low-time feature add without it being a huge investment in the client; I believe that attempt failed at being both low cost and low time. There has been a lot of good work since then and I think the biggest thing that holds it back now is that its squeezed into Designer instead of being its own client where the tools could be sensibly designed in a way that works for that programming model.

Second, the reason that LCD failed was far less related to LCD itself, and much more related to the fact that it required an entire Workplace, Portal, Websphere, DB2, and LDAP infrastructure to do anything useful with -- and by useful I'm stretching to include working portal apps as "Useful".

So, calling XPages as warmed over version of LCD isn't really fair or accurate. Be critical of a very poor design environment that doesn't compare well to modern software IDE design, and by all means be critical of sandwiching it into DDE to the detriment of both, but don't write it off for its heritage.

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re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Rob Novak on 06/15/2010 at 01:53 PM EDT
Let me clarify - as my comment on jonvon was multifaceted - that I've not
called XPages warmed over LCD, even if I was a little dramatic about the age of
the concept.

I know it evolved, know it is better, and respect people working with it. But
it is an evolution of the same thing. I open XPages and I recognize it from
when I wrote the LCD dev exam. Better, more modern, yes. Starting with 8.5.1.
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Henning Heinz on 06/15/2010 at 02:04 PM EDT
Well IBM Lotus Connections need at least Websphere, DB2/Oracle and LDAP (but
not Portal) which could drive to the conclusion that without the need for
Portal LCS would have been a huge success?
In fact a SQL database, an LDAP directory and an application server is the
requirement for the vast amount of Enterprise applications (or am I wrong
here). Also both Information Management and Websphere are considered very
successful divisions in the IBM portfolio which again lead to the question if
really Portal was what made LCD fail?
And why is XPages now a Domino only technology although with its roots it
should very well fit as a tool for developing against a Websphere Application
server too. IBM even removed the initial ability to use SQL datastores
(although I think you can still use it but not so obvious).
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Andrew Pollack on 06/15/2010 at 02:10 PM EDT
You're right that an RDB, Web App Server, and Directory server are common needs
across the enterprise, and the IBM makes plenty of sales into that space.

Where they blew it was trying to push the Domino customer base into that space
when we've already had an infrastructure that doesn't require several big boxes
and very expensive licenses -- and three whole skill sets -- just to deploy.

LCD should have been "WCD" (websphere component designer) and maybe targeted at
a crowd willing to go with that infrastructure.

The whole attempt to push Domino server owners into the multi-server WAS world
was, plain and simply, a massive money grab and it has largely failed.
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Henning Heinz on 06/15/2010 at 02:31 PM EDT
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Interesting times ahead so
it seems.
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Sean Cull on 06/15/2010 at 02:51 PM EDT
I don't do much with Sametime but is the same not happening again in that arena
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Andrew Pollack on 06/15/2010 at 03:17 PM EDT
That's certainly my opinion, yes. It looks like the Quickr team has figured
it out and moving back to full support o Domino. For the Sametime team, I
think it would require a complete mindset shift across a large swath of their
development team.
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Heiko Voigt on 06/15/2010 at 02:52 PM EDT
LCD also failed because after Workplace was dead, WebSphere Portal already had
and still has a strong RAD Tool with Portlet Factory that went way beyond the
scope of what LCD was capable at that time.
I was really sorry to see LCD go away at that time because I really liked the
concept behind it. I appreciate it seeing it now back as a vital part in DDE
and to get a second life as Domino Web Development engine. And for me it is
good to have JSF under the covers. It's JSP technology - if you're in Java Web
Development you're pretty familiar with the underlying concepts. If you're a
Notes Developer, the complexity of JSF is well hidden from you, but there, when
you need it for advanced topics. Our first big Xpages projects were extremely
successfull and gave Domino a great reputation as a Web RAD platform back
again. I would love to see more in that area like an iWidget Runtime in Domino
coming from Lotus Mashups. I also would like to see DDE components become
Eclipse plugins to be able to integrate them into other Eclipse development
packages on different platforms.
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy John Mackey on 06/15/2010 at 10:58 PM EDT
As a WD and LCD design partner I would like to add a little to the history of
the product here. I was a DP for the tools as an IBM business partner and then
later joined IBM as an employee.

WD was purchased from a private company and later re-platformed to eclipse and
became the Lotus Component Designer. Around the same time IBM purchased
Bowstreet and provided a competing product with the Portlet factory app. tool.
The PF tool was a couple of thousand dollars per license. LCD was a $600 to
$800 dollars per license (one free license with portal express).

Now these tools both had pros and cons. LCD was still in it's early release
stage and did lack some of the sql support that PF had.LCD had more of a RAD
approach to development of portal apps.

But with that said....if you were an IBM salesperson and worked on commission,
which tool would you market? The one that provided you with triple the
commissions? or the one that was most cost effective?

That is what killed the LCD tool. I was on many assignments where the
customers had heard plenty of info. on PF and never...never even heard of LCD
from the IBM sales team.

To circle back to the main seems like a marketing issue/internal
product issue. That was a big player in the demise of the LCD product.

re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy Heiko Voigt on 06/16/2010 at 05:11 AM EDT
I remember that DP timeframe for LCD and PF. LCD was not only lacking SQL
support but also integration with the Rational Tooling with respect to process
modelling, etc. I'm not sure that only marketing or sales coverage were the
problem for LCD - I haven't seen an IBM sales rep in germany selling PF
actively either. Not to speak about marketing campaigns or anything like that.
I toured conferences like DNUG and Portal Conference to do comparisons of RAD,
PF and LCD and most of my listeners were IBMers, trying to figure out, which
tool was appropriate for what customer problems... :-).
re: Why XPages is not LCD any moreBy John Mackey on 06/16/2010 at 06:25 AM EDT
That's too funny! I understand that is the reason the pulled the plug on it
within 8 months of launch.

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