It has been a record breaking month for OpenNTF

During the month of June the OpenNTF community has achieved several significant records. The first is the number of project releases that have been cleared for the Apache Catalog which was 26. The second is the the number of new project releases which came in at 50 of which nine were from IBM Contributors and 41 from community Contributors. While the number of overall downloads didn't break a record this month, it was in fact the second best in OpenNTF history coming in at just over 16,000. Not to be overlooked are the 26 new XPages Custom Controls that were submitted for the OpenNTF Development Contest.

All of these achievements can be attributed to the passionate and vibrant Notes and Domino community who participate and support OpenNTF.


New Sample on OpenNTF: How to write Servlets and Video how to set up IDE

I've created a new project Servlet Sample.

Sometimes it's necessary to return some data as result of an HTTP request which is not supposed to be rendered as HTML (e.g. your own WebDAV protocol implementation) or you want to generate HTML yourself to have maximal control.

There are various ways to do this. For example you can use 'XAgents' which are XPages with a property rendered=false set. See Stephan Wissel's blog for more details.

You can also write something similar to a servlet within a NSF where you receive an HTTPServletRequest and need to return an HTTPServletResponse. See in the Extension Library for a sample.

This project shows how you can write a real servlet in your Eclipse IDE that can then be deployed as OSGi bundle.

You can then call your servlet globally or in the context of a database:



The video also shows how to use the Eclipse IDE to debug your Java code without having to deploy/redeploy anything.


I will code for...

The first ever OpenNTF Development Contest is in full swing with over 22 XPages custom controls already entered (the contest ends August 19, 2011). The prizes for this contest include three Apple iPads which are being supplied by the contest sponsor We4IT. We have begun to plan for a possible second contest and were wondering what types of prizes you would like to see offered.

What types of contest prizes would you code for?


Teaser: REST APIs for Domino and XPages

I've played around with the new Domino Access Services (DAS) and I'm very excited. Since we're still finalizing the last details I wanted to share some more details before we'll release this on OpenNTF. Here is an overview that the developers Dave Delay, Rama Annavajhala and Stephen Auriemma provided.

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The Domino Data Service is a built-in service that represents Domino data in JSON format. Once you install the extension library, you can begin using the data service without creating an XPage or adding any Java code to the Domino server.

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The XPages REST Services Control is a component you add to an XPage. Often you add other controls to the page that directly reference the REST Services control. For example, a Dojo Data Grid can reference a REST Services control on the same page. Once you save the page, the service also becomes available outside the page through a well-known URL.

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A Custom Database Servlet is a Java class you add to a database design. The servlet handles incoming HTTP requests usually by delegating to one of the REST service classes in the extension library. This type of REST service requires detailed knowledge of the Java programming language, but you have complete control over the definition of the service.


New Controls, new Videos and updated Projects Overview

I've created eight more mini videos of controls that were contributed as part of the OpenNTF Development Contest sponsored by We4IT.


This includes the new controls from Ferry Kranenburg and Serdar Basegmez.

Ferry's asynch uploader control:

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Ferry's scrollpane control:

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Serdar's properties control:

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Additionally we've updated the projects overview pages and the downloads page on XPages.info.


IBM announced XPages Functionality coming to OpenNTF: Mobile, Social, REST, Relational

Today at PACLUG, Philippe Riand announced four significant  features that IBM will make available to XPages developers in the next several weeks. This contribution to OpenNTF will deliver capabilities requested by customers and partners as well as reinforce XPages' strategic direction. Support for building mobile applications is improved, new functionality to build social applications is added, new data sources to access relational databases are added and Domino gets a new API to access Domino databases via REST.

XPages goes Mobile

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XPages goes Social

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XPages goes Relational

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Domino goes REST

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New Page on XPages.info with Videos of XPages Controls

I've started to create some mini videos of the new reusable XPages controls that have been submitted to the OpenNTF Development Contest sponsored by We4IT.


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The page contains the first 10 controls in no particular order. I'll continue to add the other ones. For each control there is a small screenshot, a description, a link to more screenshots in the project and a mini video.

The videos are not detailed videos with walk throughs of all features, but only clips that show the core functionality in action. You can also watch a video with all controls in a better quality on YouTube.


Ferry Kranenburg: A quicker way to document your XPage custom controls

Ferry Kranenburg posted a tip on his blog about how you can more easily document the properties of your XPages custom controls.

"When developing Xpage custom controls it is useful to document the properties along with you application documentation. When it comes to developing controls that are going to be placed on OpenNTF, it's a good practice to document all properties."

Read Ferry's blog entry on A quicker way to document your XPage custom controls >


Nathan Freeman: Making Domino Designer work like you want

OpenNTF Steering Committee member Nathan Freeman posted a recent blog entry entitled "Making Domino Designer work like you want" that every XPages developer should check out.

"If there's any common refrain I hear from developers when it comes to Domino 8.5, it's that they have issues with Designer. Struggling with an IDE is always painful, no matter the platform. Simple issues like how to auto-format code or how to control content suggestions can make a developer feel incompetent and frustrated in about 10 seconds. Developers are, in fact, the worst kind of users -- always expecting their tools to implement the "do what I want" interface."

Read Nathan's blog entry on Making Domino Designer work like you want >


OpenNTF at PACLUG next week

Next week I will be attending and presenting at the
Pacific Lotus User Group (PACLUG) event being held in Las Vegas. My session will cover IBM's Project Vulcan and more specifically the OpenNTF Social Enabler Project. There are also several XPages related sessions including:
  • Developing Mobile apps with XPages
  • Organizing an XPages Development Team
  • Application Development Strategy
  • and others
I will also be attending The View Admin/Developer 2011 conference and will be in Las Vegas through Friday and would be happy to talk with you about OpenNTF, XPages or anything else. Hope to see you there.


Positive News about OpenNTF and XPages

Just wanted to quickly share some numbers.

Over the last month we have received 40 new releases from people in the community plus more releases from IBMers. This is more than OpenNTF has ever had in one month.

Part of the reason for the high number of contributions is certainly the development contest sponsored by We4IT. So far developers published 20 reusable XPages controls.

Since mid of October 2010 we've listed XPages related articles on XPages.info. This week we reached 500 articles. Only in the first half of this month we got >40 articles which is 3 per calendar day.

Non code contributions are also increasing. Especially for the Extension Library we get a lot of input. Since September last year 350 documents (discussions, defects, requests, etc.) have been created.

The number of downloads is also pretty high. In the first half of this month 8000 releases have been downloaded.

The number of visitors is also higher than in the last two years.

A big thank you to everyone supporting and helping OpenNTF and the XPages community in any way!


New Page on XPages.info with Japanese XPages Demos

Atsushi Sato from IBM Japan has created a new page on XPages.info that includes some Japanese XPages applications - http://xpages.info/demosjapan.

One application is a Japanese version of the OpenNTF profiles application, the other two are workflow applications that require to log in as certain users who have mail accounts.

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Eight new XPages Controls on OpenNTF

Eight new controls have been contributed to OpenNTF as part of the XPages Development Contest.

1) Ulrich Krause: PagePeel Control

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2) Ulrich Krause: TimeGlider Control

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3) Martin Meijer: Google Maps Control

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4) Ulrich Krause: ActiveBar Control

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5) Frank van der Linden: Search and TagCloud Control

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6) Naveen Maurya: RSS Reader Contro

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7) Ferry Kranenburg: Resizable Panel Control

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8) Ulrich Krause: Stocks Control

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Some New and Updated OpenNTF Projects

Over the last week there have been a number of project updates and several new projects that I wanted to share with you:

- New Project: RSS Reader V1.0

- XPages Extension Library V8.5.3.201106101558NTF

- XPages API Inspector V5.0

- View PickList Custom Control V1.2.2

- New Project: New Project: XPages ActiveBar Custom Control V1.0

- New Project: LUG Template V20110610

- New Project: XPages Page Peel Custom Control V1.0

- Google Maps Custom Control V1.0

- XPages Help Application V1.1

- New Project: XPage Search And Tagcloud control V1.0


Featured Project of the Month: LUG Template by Matt White and Warren Elsmore

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This months OpenNTF Featured Project of the Month showcases the XPages based LUG Template built by Matt White (Elguji Software and London Developer Coop) and Warren Elsmore (Bluewave Technology). The LUG Template has been used by user groups around the world to help plan and administer events. The template includes attendee registration, sponsor registration, session submission and management and much more.

Learn more about the LUG Template >


New XPages Control in the Extension Library: DumpObject

As Mark Leusink pointed out in the blog entry from yesterday there is one more really good debug tool - a new control in the Extension Library - <xe:dumpObject>

The control dumps all properties of Java/JavaScript objects that it can find through introspection. This works for Notes documents (see screenshot), for JavaScript objects, the user bean and various JSF objects: page, servlet request, http session and the different scopes. The control is very helpful if you want to check properties of certain objects in the web browser without having to build your own labels and text fields for every single property. Since objects can have many properties there is a filter mechanism at the top.

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How to find out what's really going on in your XPages Applications

There are several ways to find out what's going on in your XPages applications. Some tools like Firebug are well known, but other tools and features might be a little hidden.

XPages Toolbox

The XPages Toolbox provides several features to monitor XPages applications. There is a CPU profiler (see screenshot), a backend profiler, run time monitoring, a memory inspector and logging functionality.

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Medusa is a Firebug extension. It displays the server side DOM (see screenshot) and you can type in code in a command line that is executed on the server.

Update:  As commented by Nathan below the current version is not compatible with 8.5.2.

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XPages API Inspector

The XPages API Inspector helps to find out what Java classes are used on server side for the UI elements and displays their methods and fields.

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Debug Java Code

The big advantage of writing server side code with Java (instead of server side JavaScript) is that you can easily debug it. This video describes how to debug Java code in a NSF.


You can use OpenLog to print debug and error messages if you use some extra code from TaskJam. Mark Leusink describes how.


Social XPages App: Universal Inbox for iPad

In order to test the new (coming soon) functionality of the Social Enabler project, I've created a little sample app 'Universal Inbox'. This app can be used to check quickly for updates from various sources without having to launch the specific apps. This could be useful to quickly check for updates in the morning when still laying in bed or in my case check for updates in the evening from the couch via iPad.

While I think that the scenario is a good one, the app is really only to proof the new APIs rather than providing a full app with a new interface for existing services. You can get updates from Twitter, Facebook, the IBM Social Business Toolkit, IBM Connections, IBM Lotus Domino mail or any other Domino applications. The data is read via REST services mostly using JSON and sometimes Atom.

Watch this two minutes video to see the app in action.

There is no tone yet. So you might have to pause a couple of times to understand what's going on but it should be self explanatory. I've planned to create another video with more details and a description of the new Social Enabler functionality.

It would be necessary to add functionality and an UI to easily subscribe to these sources for a real production app. Also it would have to be possible to launch into the specific apps to actually respond and perform actions (right now the app is only read only).

Screenshot (full resolution):

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Almost one month later...

Back on May 9, 2011 we launched the first ever OpenNTF development contest and to date the number of XPages re-usable custom controls submitted has exceeded our expectations. So for those of you who have already submitted an entry I wanted to say thank you on behalf of the OpenNTF Steering Committee and wish you good luck.

For those of you who haven't yet entered I would suggest you do the following:

- Read about the contest at http://contest.openntf.org.

- Did you catch the information about the 3 great prizes?

- Check out some of the custom controls already submitted by reading some of the previous blog entries.

- Ask questions you may have by sending us an email (support at openntf dot org).

- Visit the We4IT's website to learn about the development contest sponsor.

Looking forward to seeing your contest entry!


Some New and Updated OpenNTF Projects

Over the last week there have been a number of project updates and several new projects that I wanted to share with you:

- XPages Extension Library - New release

- File Navigator - New release V1.0.8

- New Project: XPages Stocks Custom Control - V1.0

- New Project: XPages Resizable Panel Custom Control - V1.0

- New Project: XPages Timeglider Custom Control - V1.0

- New Project: Mail Merge - V1.0

- View Picklist Custom Control - V1.1a

- New Project: Daily Dilbert Custom Control - V1.0

- MailMerge Excel to Notes - V1.1