Yesterday I attended the Xpages workshop called “Developer Summit 2010” in Montreal. This is a workshop based on the Show and tell presentation done at Lotusphere 2010 given by Matt White and Tim Clark. I never had a chance to go to the Sphere so having on of the Sphere’s part coming home, I couldn’t resist, especially since I’m about to start developing a new project and Xpages was the chosen language for that project.
Another cool thing is that we had the chance of meeting Philippe Riand, that made the trip from Boston to Montreal,who’s quite involved in some OpenNTF’s projects (most known project being the XPages Extension Library). It was nice to have a french speaking presenter in a french speaking province (doesn’t happened often). I was a bit late and missed what role Philippe has at Lotus, but it clearly has to do with Xpages, and at a high level in the company.
The presentation was most likely very similar to what was presented at Lotusphere 2010. Xpages were described, explained, demoed and we saw the evolution of enhancements since they were introduced up to 8.5.2 and even a bit of what is coming for 8.5.3. Philippe was a great presenter and that portion of the day was highly dynamic. It was also clear that Philippe loves his job and is very happy about all that is going on with Xpages right now.
The second half of the day was basically following Matt’s and Tim’s walk through to build the LOANr application. At first, the number of pages in the book we were given was a bit intimidating, but there are a lot of screen shots in there so it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Hands on exercises are the best I think to learn a new technology and we had what we needed to do so (a step by step guide and a PC). We were told that we were the second group having this workshop, and through the afternoon, some little things were noted in the guide we had. Nothing major but a few things that slipped by. I guess corrections will be made as more and more of this workshop happens so it’ll get better. I remember going to the Notes 4.6 web workshop beta, and this one was a lot worst as things that were missing. But hey, just like a rock band in the first shows of a new tour, it is quite expected that some things are not quite 100% on the first shows. and to be honest, nothing major was missed in our guide.
The small problem I have with a step by step walk through is that you don’t really know why you are doing this or that step, and you don’t really understand exactly what you are doing. Sure you’ll be able to reproduce what you are doing in the exercise but why is that specific line of code is written in that specific place? I have to say though that the guide we have is very well done and it is explained, not on every step but in many, the goal and the explanation of what you are doing. This is a big plus compared to many step by step guides I have done.
The workshop is clearly targeting people that never really played with Xpages development. I can’t say I have learned a lot, but having THE Xpages guy as speaker and also having a chance to get back into the DDE was appreciated and I don’t feel my day was lost. In fact, I’m really happy I went to that workshop as my newest project is almost ready for coding, and this was a really nice refresher.
Now, I am ready for more advanced Xpages development. And like many of you I guess, advanced documentation and training material is, or used to be quite sparse. We now have a lot of training available: Xpages101, Xpages.info, TLCC’s Xpage course, an upcoming book and many others. What I am looking for now is a well organized advanced training option, with lots of hands on. I have heard rumors about such a thing coming soon, and I’ll talk about it a bit later. Stay tuned!
Happy coding everyone, and I am so happy to get back into Notes development after a deep dive into the Microsoft .Net environment. That too will be an upcoming blog entry a bit later…