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!