Posted by: Benoit Dubuc | 2011/01/17

Why I chose not to go with xpages for my current project

I am working on a web site that will be, I hope, a reference for a specific business domain.  Since the data model and the web functionality required by that site are somewhat basic, I decided to go with XPages development.  Things that made me go the “traditional” way: time to market is important, fast reaction time to correct bugs as they show up and “known” server behaviour.

The business I’m dealing with is most active in a specific period of the year and I need to be up and running before we get to that time of the year.  This is actually a key marketing issue: if you want a gift eStore, you need to be there before the Christmas period, right?  As for fast reaction time, any professional site or application needs to have a quick reaction time to correct bugs and I don’t feel confident enough with XPages right now to offer a decent reaction time.  I am still figuring out how to do some intermediate things in XPages.  The last thing is that I don’t have real life experience on how a server running XPages applications reacts.  On the other hand, I know my way around server settings and the nhttp task.

I will miss a few cool and needed XPages features though: the easy type-ahead text boxes and mostly the partial update feature.  I need that partial update in several places in my site, and I will have a bit of digging to do in order to see how I will replace that XPage feature with traditional web development.

It’s too bad I won’t be using XPages as I really wanted to dive deep into this new technology.  I’m sure that once comfortable, it will be a lot quicker and easier to develop web applications this way.  But for now, I just don’t have time to “learn on the job” without an available coach to guide me when issues come up (and they seem to come up quite often).

Don’t get me wrong: I do believe in XPages, but my current project is just too big and too time sensitive for my first “real” XPages project.  I’ll need tools to administer parts of the site and I am planning to build those on XPages.  Maybe I’ll be able to convert the whole application to XPages eventually.


Have a nice Sphere to all the lucky people who will be there (it is currently -20 Celsius in Quebec so I would really really like to be in Florida right now!!!)



  1. Xpages is good only if you know it well. I think once we all get familiar with developing this way the Lotus Notes client will be become legacy… I mean the future of cloud computing and all. Everything seems to going by way of the browser and finally bringing all the Notes apps to the web is the way to go. Unfortunately many companies see the Notes client apps as legacy apps (and some definitely are that). The future of Notes apps is in Xpages… it would be an easy sell to management to upgrade the Notes apps with Xpages and get rid of the Notes client. Better than the alternative to re-engineer every single application to a different platform.

  2. You’re doing the right, and professional thing.

    Learning a new technology on a production system = Using a beginner to build a production system.

    Best to use pet projects for learning the new stuff.

  3. Start off small and even with proof of concept applications. Use things like the applications put on OpenNTF as reference and see how they work in your environment. In short, I think it was a good choice but you might want to consider doing the same application in XPages in your spare time to see how well you could do it.

  4. You don’t have to miss the type ahead and partial refresh. If you’re on an 8.5.x server, just use dojo since you will have access to it. Not hard at all to set up a type-ahead dijit and only the slightest more work to make a dojo ajax call and then do something with the result.

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