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The State of Domino App Dev Post-Connect-2017
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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, I'm aiming to speak exclusively as me personally here. This event was the fated hour for the "app modernization" story promised over the course of the last year. In general, I'd summarize the pieces we have to pick up as (put as neutrally as possible): The promised feature packs are coming along apace. The big-ticket items for the next two remain Java 8 (and a full refresh of the surrounding Java infrastructure following), exposing ID Vault and user-specific doc encryption to the lsxbe classes and XPages, an expansion of the ExtLib's DAS to support more PIM actions, and then misc. improvements (doc-level summary limit increase, some new @functions, and so forth). A current version of the 9.0.1 ExtLib will be folded in to the main product in FP8, with the implication that that sort of thing may continue to happen. This brings some long-existing features like the Bootstrap renderkit and JDBC data sources into official support. The implication is that Feature Packs will bring features more rapidly than a normal release schedule would. Open-sourcing the UI components of XPages is still on the table. The recently-released OpenNTF project SmartNSF is an encouraged way to write REST services in an NSF and is a candidate for inclusion in FP9 and, sooner, ExtLibX. For modernization/mobile needs, IBM is providing a tool from Panagenda to analyze your existing apps and recommends the products from Aveedo, Sapho, and Darwino. So... okay. Aside from Java 8 (which is a "rising tide lifts all boats" improvement), it seems like the focus on the additions to Domino is to encourage apps that use Domino rather than run on Domino. The additions to DAS are useful if you use Domino as your mail/calendar/RnR platform and want to integrate it with your other activities. SmartNSF smoothes the process of writing customized services to deal with NSF data in a more structured way than the raw DAS data service. The three encouraged "modernization" vendors each connect to or replicate data from (presumably old) Notes apps to expose it in a new UI, in two cases in order to use a "form builder"-type tool to make an easy app. I see this as a codifying of the message from MWLUG: "learn something other than XPages". The improvements to the Java stack and various smaller changes will keep XPages apps running, but the focus is clearly not there. Nor is there an implication that there's a big "apps on Domino" revamp beyond the secondary effects of the OSGi update. So I think it's reasonable to consider XPages supported primarily in the "maintenance mode" sense. That stings, but it is what it is. If you're currently working in XPages, there's no need to stop immediately or anything. You should, hoever, guide your development in the direction of being more adaptable elsewhere: heavier focus on writing REST services, much ligher focus on "Domino/XPages-isms" like embedding business logic right on a page with SSJS, and, if possible, getting used to toolchains like building OSGi libraries. Additionally, even if it's not immediately useful, I implore you: try out other environments. Spend a weekend with an Android or iOS tutorial, give Angular/Vue.js/React a shot in a test app, and so forth. The more you can learn another toolkit - any toolkit - the more you'll be comfortable with what's different elsewhere and what's the same. It's always been important to do these things, but now it's required. No excuses - get out of your comfort zone. As I have a chance, I'll be expanding on what Darwino's role is in all this, and shortly I'll be posting the slides from the sessions Philippe and I presented, one of which covered this topic. In the mean time, we're heading towards the weekend - this could be a perfect time to kick back and learn about something new. Maybe take a look at Swift if you haven't before. You don't have to form all of your future strategies right now - just learn a bit more every day.

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http://frostillic.us/f.nsf/posts/020C644DEAAAAC88852580D1007604D1
Feb 24, 2017
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Recent Blog Posts
8
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
10
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
9
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
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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")
9
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,
7
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
7
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
5
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
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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!
5
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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