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Darwino for Domino: Conceptual Overlap and Distinctions
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Jesse Gallagher    

I've talked a bit so far about how Darwino related to Domino from a development perspective, but I think it'd also be useful to delve into specifically which concerns thw two platforms address, to see where they overlap and where they don't. There are two main categories to cover, since Darwino inherits Domino's unusual trait of pouring over from "database" to "app-dev platform". Database As I covered a few posts ago, the two are similar at a conceptual level, both being replicating document databases with document-level access control. Aside from the difference between an NSF note's format and a JSON document, the main distinction is that Darwino doesn't cover the actual physical storage of data. Instead, it is based on top of existing SQL servers of various stripes (PostgreSQL and SQLite being the most common). A Darwino application creates a series of tables and uses them as the backing store for the conceptual document database. This has a number of implications. The main one is that there isn't a "Darwino server" as such - instead, there are SQL databases and Darwino applications acting in tandem. In developing an application, this isn't generally a concern: the Darwino APIs are the same across each database, in the same sort of way that a Domino application doesn't care about the ODS version. However, being backed by a SQL server has some distinct advantages: the server can be administered and optimized using the same knowledge you would use for a "normal" SQL-backed app, and the ability of modern DBs to index JSON data opens up a world of possibilities (think NSFDB2, except good). The flip side of this bleeds into the second category, as it means that a Darwino application consists of at least two parts: the SQL database and the application, which veers from Domino's "everything in one package" promise slightly. Application Things diverge most significantly (though at least as promisingly) when it comes to the application level. Domino has a few "official" ways to develop applications (Notes, legacy web, and XPages) and then hooks to sort of act like a Java EE server, albeit with some notable limitations. Darwino, on the other hand, exists as a sort of "glue layer" in between the database and the application: lower-level than XPages but higher-level than just a database driver. Darwino provides a common platform for writing Java-based applications, with various services for managed beans, user directories, and so forth, written to work consistently across all of the platforms it targets. Again, this starts out similar to Domino, but diverges in the areas where Darwino takes advantage of other technologies. At the low level, since Darwino's main requirement is "a Java runtime", it is able to run smoothly on various Java EE servers, on Android, on iOS, and on pretty much anything that provides a capable-enough Java environment (such as, say, Domino). It also, incidentally, means that it works great on Java 8. At the high level, Darwino doesn't prescribe a specific UI framework, so the field is open to use any of the tremendous array of rapidly-developing Java frameworks on the web side and, as desired, native UI toolkits on mobile. There's a bit of an inherent bias towards REST+client JS applications, since then the same code entirely can be used on both web and mobile (as not every Java web tooklit works on the mobile mini web server as it is now), but that's not obligatory. Overall So the overall idea is that Darwino doesn't solve every problem that Domino does, but the problems it chooses to farm out are in the areas where that brings tremendous benefit. In each area where Darwino uses third-party support, it benefits from the tremendous advancements made in recent years, without requiring jumping through weird hoops to get modern techniques to work.

Jun 01, 2016
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Recent Blog Posts
Side-Project Monday Evening
Tue, Jun 27th 2017 1:49p   Jesse Gallagher
Yesterday, in one of my various Slack chats, the topic of JShell - the Java 9 REPL - came up in the context of how useful it would be for XPages development. Being able to open up a "shell" into a running XPages application could be really useful in a lot of ways - and I think that the XPages Debug Toolbar has an SSJS-evaluate feature that would do something like this. Still, it got me looking around a bit, and I ran across Groovysh Server, which is a project that combines Apache's SSH
Including a Headless DDE Build in a Maven Tree
Tue, Mar 14th 2017 4:45p   Jesse Gallagher
Most of my Domino projects nowadays have two components: a suite of OSGi plugins/features and at least one NSF. Historically, I've kept the NSF part separate from the OSGi plugin projects - I'll keep the ODP in the repo, but then usually also keep a recent "build" made by copying the database from my dev server, and then include that built version in the result using the Maven Assembly plugin. This works, but it's not quite ideal: part of the benefit of having a Maven project being au
That Java Thing, Part 17: My Current XPages Plug-in Dev Environment
Sun, Feb 26th 2017 4:23p   Jesse Gallagher
It's been a while since I started this series on Java development, but I've been meaning for a bit now to crack it back open to discuss my current development setup for plug-ins, since it's changed a bit. The biggest change is that, thanks to Serdar's work on the latest XPages SDK release, I now have Domino running plug-ins from my OS X Eclipse workspace. Previously, I switched between either running on the Mac and doing manual builds or slumming it in Eclipse in Windows. Having just t
Slides From My Connect 2017 Presentations
Fri, Feb 24th 2017 9:29p   Jesse Gallagher
At this year's Connect, Philippe Riand and I co-presented two sessions: one on ways to integrate your apps into the Connections UI and one on Darwino's role for Domino developers. I've uploaded the slides to SlideShare: DEV-1430 - IBM Connections Integration: Exploring the Long List of Options DEV-1467 - Give a New Life to Your Notes/Domino Applications and Leverage IBM Bluemix, Watson, & Connections (effectively, "the Darwino session")
The State of Domino App Dev Post-Connect-2017
Fri, Feb 24th 2017 9:28p   Jesse Gallagher
I'm en route back from this year's IBM Connect in San Francisco, and this plane ride is giving me a good chance to chew over the implications for Domino developers. First off, I'll put my bias in this matter right up front: Darwino, which I've been working on and discussing quite a bit, is one of the three "chosen" vendors for app enhancement/modernization/what-have-you. So, while this post isn't going to be about Darwino specifically, it's certainly pertinent for me. In any case,
Reforming the Blog in Darwino, Part 2
Thu, Feb 16th 2017 8:41p   Jesse Gallagher
During the run-up to Connect next week, I turned my gaze back to my indefinite-term project of reforming this blog in Darwino. When last I left it publicly, I had set up replication between a copy of the database and a Darwino app. After that post, I did a bit of tinkering in the direction of building a (J)Ruby on Rails front-end for it, next to the "j2ee" project. That side effort may bear fruit in time (as I recall, I got the embedded web app serving default pages, but didn't implemen
Connect 2017 Final Stretch
Wed, Feb 15th 2017 12:16p   Jesse Gallagher
IBM Connect 2017 is less than a week away, and I've been furiously prepping for a couple parts of what is promising to be a busy conference. On Monday, before the official kickoff of the conference, OpenNTF is co-hosting a Hackathon, where attendees will work on one of several potential projects. The goal is to learn about new development methods, work with new people, and hopefully kick off some useful open-source projects to boot. During the conference proper, I'll be presenting two se
December Is Self-Aggrandizement Month, Apparently
Sat, Dec 17th 2016 3:21p   Jesse Gallagher
It's been a busy month (couple of years, really), but the last few weeks in particular have involved a couple minor announcements that I'm quite appreciative for. On the 14th, IBM announced the 2017 class of IBM Champions for ICS, and they included me on the list. It's been a joy to be considered a Champion for the last few years, and 2017 promises to be an interesting year to continue that in our slice of the development world. Mere days later, IBM sent out notifications about Connect
The New Podcast is a Real Thing: WTF Tech Episode 1
Mon, Oct 31st 2016 10:31a   Jesse Gallagher
As intimated at the end of the last This Week in Lotus, Stuart, Darren, and I have launched a new podcast in a similar vein: WTF Tech. Since we're all in the IBM sphere, that'll be the natural starting point for the topics we cover, but it's not going to be IBM-focused as such. For this first episode, we lucked out and had a couple-weeks period chock full of announcements, so we had plenty of material. Give it a listen!
Cramming Rails Into A Maven Tree
Mon, Sep 26th 2016 1:25p   Jesse Gallagher
Because I'm me, one of the paths I'm investigating for my long-term blog-reformation project is seeing if I can get Ruby on Rails in there. I've been carrying a torch for the language and framework for forever, and so it'd be good to actually write a real thing in it for once. This has been proving to be a very interesting thing to try to do well. Fortunately, the basics of "run Rails in a Java server" have been well worked out: the JRuby variant of the language is top-notch and the

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