Posted by: Benoit Dubuc | 2011/01/21

Why I chose to FINALLY go with xpages for my current project

In my last post, I talked about the fact that I would miss the type-ahead functionality and the partial update capability of XPages in my current project by using “traditional” Notes web development.  Of course I knew Dojo was offering the same capabilities but I would have to do a bit of digging to check how they work and how to build the technical aspects of these functionalities.  Not a big deal.

After posting my article, I decided that because I will need to dig a bit more whether I was using XPages or Dojo, I decided to give XPages an extra day of my time to see if I could achieve some respectable results in a day.  If it wasn’t conclusive after one day then Dojo would take over.  After all, I have 2-3 books on Dojo and non on XPages (just because it is not out yet!).  Both technologies have a dedicated community that I can count but books are a bit privileged as they usually have answers a bit faster (no offense to the communities: I understand you all have day jobs).

The fact that my application is not a really complex thing helped a bit in deciding to give XPages a try.  The data model is pretty close to a CRM application: Companies, contacts, activities.  The highlight of this project is the way users will be able to search for the information they need.  Not all great applications are complex – see IdeaJam, not very complex but SO useful and a great idea – and mine fits well in that category.  The searches being done in LotusScript anyway, why not go with the easy way of doing type-ahead and partial updates!

Of course I am struggling with little annoying issues, like how to pass the company value to a new contact document on creation: should I use session scope variables, a parameter in the URL or is there a very easy way to do this that I’m not aware of?  How to get the “computed when composed” Unique ID field to get computed when creating a new document (although I think I found it but not sure what are the impacts of having validation run on open besides that computation)?  So yes, I will struggle a bit to piece it all together but I know that with all the help available, I’ll do it and it won’t take much longer than going with Dojo, where I would have struggled a bit anyway but make it on time as well.

I’ve always been a guy that likes playing with the latest technologies around so why not go with XPages right now instead of pushing back the “real life” experience of building a real business application versus some internal applications that are not quite how I want them but it doesn’t matter as they are internally used.  This time it’s for real and XPages will have to make the application work according to specs.

They say only fools don’t change their minds.  In my case, I’m not if the fool isn’t the guy that decided to finally go with XPages but we’ll see how it goes.  Worst case scenario:  go back to pre-XPages web development and with everything that was done bby me and other yellow bleeders on the web, this will be a fast and easy route.  Too easy maybe, so why not add some challenge to it and add some XPages bumps here and there!

 

 

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Responses

  1. Good post. Glad to see you’re giving XPages a go. There IS a learning curve, but unless you go around the curve you’re never get to your destination. I’m still inside the curve myself.

    Regarding some of the issues you mention – like the scoped Variables, UniqueID etc..

    I used the company/contact metaphor in an early blog series – before NotesIn9. You can find it on http://lotusnotebook.com – look at the side bar for “XPages In Pictures”. It’s dated a bit, bit I think I’ve covered some if your issues there.

    I’m sure I’ve done several NotesIn9 shows on the similar Metphor also. Show 18 on Data Relationships might be relevanet for what you are trying to do as well.

    Best of luck!! Looking forward to more blog posts as you work through things.

    Dave

    • David,

      My afternoon will be looking at your work on Notes in 9. I already had in my notes the show on relational data so for sure I’ll go check it out again.

      This morning, I had to concentrate on making a good part of the pages to look nice (incorporating external design into the Notes application) so I can have something to show. I have to say that this part was actually quite easy, with panels, and I also managed to split sections of a page using custom controls. All that reading I’ve done on various XPages sites seemed to have found a nice place to stay in my memory!!!

      Thanks a lot for the info and again, thanks for that cheat sheet as I’m sure it will be very handy next week, when I’ll be working hard while a lot of you guys will be in warm Florida. Here we are going to be very cold for the next few days : (


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