Why I’d Love To See Full DXL Support in Lotus Notes

At the ‘Ask The Developers’ session at
Lotusphere the first questions was one that the developers were expected
and that was to fix DXL in Lotus Notes. Now
Brent
Peters
has detailed on his blog
that it is being looked into.

Question: Nathan
Freeman.  We need DXL fidelity.  How many developers do you have
assigned to it and when will we get it?

Response: We are shifting people to DXL now. We have much feedback on this.
Focus has been Designer and xpages.  We will be rolling features out
incrementally rather than a 2 year wait time.

Post Lotusphere 09 answer – This work is currently staffed. Designs being
vetted, would like to push the DETAILS of effort in a DP call. Looking
at what can be done for first incarnation in 8.5.1. One items is to ensure
no crashes.

Well I’m not a design partner so unfortunately
I won’t get to find out about the details of efforts or even give any suggestions
on what I’d like to see in the 8.5.1 incarnation but I can blog about it
here in the hope that somebody who is part of the DP process might spot
it and pass it on to those who need to know…

One of the great things about DXL is
that you could use it to build forms or views in a database on the fly.
Basically most design elements could be created while the application was
still running. In theory you could get some basic info from an end user
and use that information to build customized forms and views etc. This
is extremely powerful when you start thinking in terms of plugins for Lotus
Notes applications. We already have plugins for the Notes client, The sidebar
and even the SameTime client so why not plugins for applications.

Take the BlogSphere blog template for
example, lets say you want to add in a new sideblock. With full DXL support
in Lotus Notes it could be possible that somebody else has already created
the sideblock that you need and published it in a plugins catalog for Blogsphere,
you download a set of DXL documents, import them into your database and
bingo, the blog template now has a new sideblock type. Take this a little
further and one of the DXL items you import into the database could be
a document to say the plugin is installed and then have code in your target
database to allow you to ‘disable’ plugins on the fly also.

Yes, something like this would need
a little bit of background work, some naming scheme would have to be developed
for the target database so plugins don’t overlap but with full DXL support
for EVERY design element available you could develop some serious plugin
support for your applications and this is just one of the reasons I’d love
to see full DXL support in Notes/Domino in the future.

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3 comments on “Why I’d Love To See Full DXL Support in Lotus Notes
  1. John Head says:

    Interesting idea there Declan. At some level I would like to see something where we can plug in pieces into the Rich Client views (what people call java views but that name is horrible). Like the picker and where follow-up is in the mail view. Not specifically a view or form, but maybe its an xpage i wrote for my crm app. I think we as the development community might have to embrace the Rich Client view model more because I am not sure we can get something fully supported from IBM in a traditional frameset going forward.Good ideas to talk about as DXL gets some attention

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  2. Declan Lynch says:

    I just used SideBlocks in BlogSphere as an example for this blog posting but if you expand the idea further in context of a ‘Java View’ with a CRM app you could develop plugins for reports, the plugin updates the outline, installs a view or agent or script library and the end user then has access to that new report.Full DXL support could allow application developers the ability to distribute new addons for their apps that users of the app can install as required.

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  3. Actually, I do this NOW for one of our apps … its got the ability to plug in a wide number of features (additional forms, views, etc etc) through the use of templates and the DBDesign class by Damien Katz … it works really well .. I’ve got it built so that a user can run through a wizard, set up criteria for a new database, the wizard creates the database, plugs in the features they want, runs scripts to set up the features (including applying settings and keywords, etc for the plug-in). It does require that plug-in developers follow a set of guidelines so that things plug in correctly into the app, but its quite extensible and works pretty flawlessly. Hmm maybe i’ll blog about it sometime…

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