|Latest 7 Posts
| Go Evergreen|
Tue, Oct 17th 2017 32
| Change is in the Air|
Fri, Sep 1st 2017 1
| Open Source Contribution|
Fri, Jun 16th 2017 4
| Docker Quick Tips|
Fri, Apr 28th 2017 2
| Notes in 9: Dev Tools Grab Bg|
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 2
| Custom JSON Serialization With GSON|
Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 5
| Recapping 2016|
Mon, Jan 16th 2017 5
| Go Evergreen|
Tue, Oct 17th 2017 32
| Building Java Objects From JSON|
Thu, Jan 22nd 2015 10
| Server REST Consumption with Authentication|
Mon, Aug 18th 2014 8
| Headless DDE Builds With Jenkins CI|
Fri, Mar 25th 2016 8
| When You Need a Comparator|
Thu, Jan 8th 2015 7
| MWLUG Success|
Wed, Aug 24th 2016 7
| When You Need a Comparator|
Fri, Jan 9th 2015 6
| Notes in 9: Docker + SonarQube|
Wed, Feb 24th 2016 6
| SCM Survey Results|
Tue, Apr 12th 2016 6
| Using Node to Connect to ... Almost Anything|
Mon, Apr 18th 2016 6
||REST is Best
REST is Best
Recently I became a father. It’s pretty awesome. I’ve got a daughter who gives me some pretty good smiles and other funny faces, so I’ve always got some good motivation to go home at the end of the day. This also means I’ve gone through some birthing classes in recent history. So consider this post’s title to be a play on words, regarding the interpretation of infant feeding. You know, the old adage of “<piece of mammalian anatomy that rhymes with REST> is best” (unless contraindicated by medical or other conditions).
Why is AJAX Not Good Enough?
My last post, How to Bore Your Audience, spent a bit of time on the “big picture”, for the structure of modern and awesome XPage applications. It also outlined my general distaste for overly large AJAX calls (specifically dojo xhrPost) when a simpler method (at least an xhrGet) would suffice. AJAX can return JSON data, though it is, by default, Asynchronous JS and XML. So what AJAX really is, if we’re data format agnostic, is really just a programmatic network call to return a data payload of something.
XPages does this by that dojo xhrPost call to call out where (the partialRefresh id) to inject/replace the newly returned data. This happens to be (usually) HTML, a Dojo data store (in the event of an xp:restService control, depending on your properties), and more (like if you refresh an xp:scriptBlock). This works, but when you keep your application logic on the server (and I suggest you do), that means you’re often sending increasing amounts of information back and forth, in a partial(Refresh) capacity.
REST is Lean
Having recently read Paul Akers’ book, 2 Second Lean, and having seen him speak in-person, I can honestly say that when I look at a process, I think “I see waste” and I want to eliminate it. This is a part of what we do as developers, and I’m sure is intuitive to you, but we must always strive for the path of least resistance in our applications. It makes for better application structure and better user experiences.
Let’s compare a simple thing in XPages. Using the stock xp:viewPanel, xp:pager, with the partialRefresh option, this is a fairly normal way for an XPage developer to put a View into an XPage. This is also my hallmark argument against this variety of implementation, for such a simple task. Here’s what happens when I hit “Next” in the pager:
When we execute these AJAX calls, it takes time and processing effort (both for the server and the client/browser). Here’s what I mean:
The above doesn’t show a whole lot of time elapsing, only about 38ms. It also shows a hover state being fetched; I didn’t even plan on that (and is an argument against Dojo, IMO; I mean, lazy loading images for button styles?!?). I can also tell you that that server is having a good day and isn’t refreshing anything more than the xp:viewPanel for this page (so less intense computations). The application above has been re-developed, as a case study (with which I’ve been able to sell to my management and direct my development efforts accordingly), into a Bootstrap 3 with AngularJS application. Here’s what happens when I perform the same paging task in the Angular version of this app. Apologies for the reduction in quality with the gif and redaction of company-specific information.
No network requests during paging, it’s that cool. What’s happening? It’s behaving as a modern web application; a single page app, in fact, but I’ll get to some of those specifics in a moment. Here’s the same page again, with live full-text searching, across all fields (keys, as in JSON key: value pair, you can also filter by key) in the data array.
SPAs and Application Structure
You knew I was going to bring up application structure, didn’t you? The dichotomy of the server-side application logic and the client-side application logic must be apparent now. It’s precisely why, when Mark Roden gave his Write Once, Run Anywhere: Angular.js in XPages session at MWLUG, he admitted (begrudgingly, I might add) that to properly build a larger application, a developer would want to enforce application and work flow validation on the server; aka- “everybody needs a Toby”. This would be done by writing a custom servlet or REST implementation, which would validate before directly committing into a Domino document. If your application is simple and your field data is strictly textual and you trust your users to not put bogus data into their network POST or PUT operations, DDS is great.
Domino Data Services
This is the biggest downside of the Domino Data Service in my opinion. The Domino Data Service gives us the ability to perform the CRUD operations against Domino Documents and Views, but there’s no computeWithForm, which would give us as least a way of invoking an agent on save. But, it’s better than nothing. So, would a developer benefit from structuring their application with data models and controller classes? Absolutely! In fact, you might think there was a reason I wrote that long winded post last before this one ;-).
As you can see, M-V-C is a thing. It’s great idea for your server-side application logic and there are a great many awesome M-V-C client-side frameworks (like Angular) that can help you expedite your front-end logic. So please, let’s build better apps. REST can get us there with lighter weight network requests and in-browser processing of data and application logic. We can reduce our network calls, sizes of data transferred, and made our performance response time nearly negligible (limited only to the time it takes the client-side JS code to perform the rebuild of the HTML and the initial page load).
No silly Keanu, it just might keep us sane.
Sep 17, 2014
| Recent Blog Posts
Tue, Oct 17th 2017 4:00p Eric McCormick
Happy 🎂 Day IE 11! On the 17th of October in 2013, Internet Explorer 11 was released from Microsoft. That means that as of today, this popular* browser is now four years old and, with all respect to it, it really ought to go. Good day sir. I said good day! Evergreen Browsers What makes a browser, or any software for that matter, evergreen? Well, the basic requirements for a browser, or any piece of software for that matter, are specifically the support of automatic updates, that bring in:
Change is in the Air|
Fri, Sep 1st 2017 1:00p Eric McCormick
I’m Back What Can I Say? In Case You Missed It If you find yourself asking “where was Eric?”, this should summarize it all: Instead of trying to do everything all summer, I tend to take a break from blogging and a lot of open source endeavors over the summer. It means I can focus on family time along with yard and house projects. Ah... Summer That’s all paid off and, with fall fast approaching, I’ve found myself wanting to start those things back up; ramping up into winter when
Open Source Contribution|
Fri, Jun 16th 2017 5:00p Eric McCormick
Intro It’s time to clear some of the backlog. I started this post a few months back and it should probably be sent on its way to clear the pile of drafts I haven’t finished yet… 🤔 I have a bit of a passion for open source software. My preferred distribution of Linux has been Ubuntu since 4.10, the Warty Warthog (I was even a minor contributor on a short lived, wildly popular project that aimed at improving the Ubuntu experience early on), I’ve enjoyed most open source projects I’ve
Docker Quick Tips|
Fri, Apr 28th 2017 3:00p Eric McCormick
Docker If you have been living under a rock, Docker is pretty much amazing. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you may be getting used to the idea of Docker, but still have the occasional question. I’ve found myself using Docker in increasing amounts and complexity over the last year or so. I’ve recently decided to start recording some of the tasks I’ve found useful, some of which may be less familiar to a beginner. If you’re so inclined, check out the playlist, embedded here.
Notes in 9: Dev Tools Grab Bg|
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 1:00p Eric McCormick
Intro I’m on Notes in 9 again, with a “grab bag” of a couple of tools I’ve put together recently that may be of a varying degree of useful for other Domino + XPages developers. You don’t need these to do development, but for the right person, they may help with their development workflow. Also of note, with the upgrade to Swiper with the FP8 release of Notes + Domino Designer, the limitations previously mentioned are no longer there! This means that my second tool I talked about, node-
Custom JSON Serialization With GSON|
Mon, Jan 23rd 2017 2:00p Eric McCormick
Mon, Jan 16th 2017 3:00p Eric McCormick
Per usual, I’ve had a little break between things and decided to catch up with a bit of a summary of some recent things that each didn’t necessitate their own post.
2017 IBM Champion
For starters, I’m honored to be named an IBM Champion in Collaboration Solutions (/ Social Business) for the third time. This would be a hat trick in (ice) hockey 🏒. I’m happy to be recognized with a group of people, developers and more, who are passionate about both their work and the plat
Rebirth: An App of Ice and Fire|
Wed, Dec 14th 2016 4:00p Eric McCormick
If you read my blog for any of the Saga of Servlets series, then I hope that you’re excited I’m returning to the application I put together for it. This time, it’s as a conversation piece in regards to some of the build process modernization I engaged in recently, in order to unify the code base in its git repository. In any case, it’s helping pave the way forward before I update some of the back-end elements, when it will again be a talking point for some additional rework and
Scripting Server Upgrades|
Fri, Nov 11th 2016 2:00p Eric McCormick
This one might be slight departure from my usual, but those that have followed my blogging this past year will have noticed a bit more of a leaning towards DevOps in some of my posts. This echoes a lot of what I’ve been concluding as increasingly a necessary part of development; that we need to consider a picture large enough to encompass the themes surrounding development functions and, like any good developer (DRY ~= “lazy”), automate the heck out of it.
I had p
Everything Old is New Again|
Mon, Oct 24th 2016 8:00p Eric McCormick
Every so often, it’s good to reassess one’s position. This is good from both a standpoint of being inquisitive and even interrogative, but when it comes to the ever changing landscape of the front-end development space, it’s not only inevitable, but must be embraced for what feels the need to “stay afloat”. I’m changing theme of my blog, hopefully for the better. The previous theme was good and did a great job of getting things started, but while I had forked a copy of a good