Two weeks ago a new version of the XPages Extension Library was released live on stage during a session at IBM Connect 2016 in Orlando (slides available here). This release is a substantial one, containing many important updates, enhancements and fixes. Described below are the most notable changes, including an upgrade of Bootstrap, an ExtLibX update, responsive dialogs & pickers, new Bluemix utilities, accessibility enhancements and community contributions. For more detail about each of these changes and other changes not covered here, please consult the readme file within the ExtLib 16 release zip, which also includes a full changelog.

Bootstrap 3 Upgrade

The biggest change in this release of the Extension Library is that the Bootstrap version has been upgraded. This brings the Extension Library bang up to date with the most recent Bootstrap version, v3.3.6.

WARNING:  This upgrade does come with a warning as there is a small potential for breakages in pre-existing responsive XPages applications.  Refer to the ExtLib readme for more info, specifically the section titled “Bootstrap Plugin Refactoring”.

Bootstrap v3.2.0 was added to the Extension Library back in November 2014, bringing responsive web design to the XPages tool set. In this release, Bootstrap has been upgraded to the latest version, v3.3.6.

This upgrade includes a large amount of changes and additions that were delivered to the Bootstrap codestream.  A summary of some of the significant changes is as follows:

•        100s of CSS and JavaScript bug fixes and enhancements.
•        Carousel performance improvements.
•        Accessibility improvements.
•        Glyphicons updated to v1.9, adding over 50 new icons.
•        Normalize.css upgraded to v3.0.3, for improved cross-browser, cross-platform consistency.

For full details on all the changes, refer to each of the Bootstrap change logs, e.g.

Bootstrap 4 Alpha in ExtLibX

Towards the end of 2015 it was announced on their blog that Bootstrap 4 was in the development pipeline. As part of its development process the Bootstrap team have released two alpha versions. It is not yet clear what the final release date of Bootstrap 4 will be, but the XPages team has already started the work to bring it to XPages.

For now this work will remain in the ExtLibX project, which will act as an incubator for this effort. A new Bootstrap 4 plugin has already been added to ExtLibX, containing the foundation of Bootstrap 4 support in XPages. So far the plugin is comprised of the Bootstrap 4 alpha.2 resources, some XPages specific CSS and JavaScript resources, a new ‘bootstrap4.theme’, and a number of new renderers for controls such as the Data View, Application Layout and Navigator.

The latest version of ExtLibX has also been incorporated into the latest ExtLib release (901v16), by updating the set of ExtLibX plugins contained in that release. This means that when you install the XPages Extension Library from OpenNTF, you can start experimenting with the Bootstrap 4 support that is currently under construction for XPages.

As well as trying it out, you can also contribute! The ExtLibX project has its own GitHub repository: From there you can:

• Fork & clone the source code.
• Make changes within the Bootstrap 4 plugin.
• Test the changes on your Domino server.
• Create pull requests that can be reviewed by the XPages development team.

Once your changes are accepted, they will be merged into the ExtLibX project and you will
become part of the team building Bootstrap 4 support in XPages. Consult the documentation in the ExtLibX project to discover how to go about this process, if you are interested in contributing:

Open source projects are defined by the strength and depth of the community that contributes to them. Bootstrap has a large community of developers and adopters from which it benefits greatly. We hope that the ExtLibX repository for Bootstrap 4 support can also be a resource for community open source development that will truly enhance the capabilities of XPages in the future. Don’t be afraid to get involved!

Responsive Dialogs/Pickers

For the Bootstrap themes the Dialog control, Value Picker control and Name Picker control have been refactored to make these controls fully responsive. Now when you utilise these controls on smaller devices, they will be responsively optimised for usage on small screens.

In the screenshots below, the left-side of the image shows the dialog/picker as it now appears on larger devices. Whilst the right-side of the image shows the dialog/picker as it appears on a small mobile device. Due to this work, the usability of dialogs and pickers on small devices is much improved.

Responsive Dialog
A picture named M2

Responsive Name Picker
A picture named M3

Hybrid Bluemix Context Utilities

Additional utility methods have been added to the Bluemix Context class/global SSJS object. These new methods are to facilitate XPages developers creating hybrid Bluemix applications.  The three new methods added are:
·        isHybridApplication() – returns boolean indicating if the app is configured for hybrid.
·        findHybridDatabaseName(String dbPath) – return formatted String that can be passed to ‘databaseName’ property of data sources.
·        atHybridDbName(String dbPath) – returns a Vector containing the server reference and dbPath. Designed to imitate the @DbName at-function.

Accessibility Work

A large number of accessibility fixes have been added in this release. The Bootstrap3_flat theme will be the chosen theme that provides an accessible path for XPages application development. This work improves the usability of XPages applications on web and mobile, enabling XPages developers to create applications that are fully accessible.

Community Contributions

There were two contributions from the community that are part of Extension Library release 16.

1. getXspProperty(String name) convenience method – Eric McCormick – This convenience method returns the XSP property with the given name.
2.    Bootstrap upgrade – Jesse Gallagher – Some of the code in this pull request was merged into the latest ExtLib release as part of the Bootstrap v3.3.6 ugprade described above.

Responsive XPages Webinar

Earlier this week the XPages team, in collaboration with and teamstudio, gave a webinar on Building Responsive Applications Using XPages. A topical session given the new ExtLib content described above, the webinar presented the details of the Bootstrap 3 upgrade and the work in ExtLibx on Bootstrap 4. If you missed it, the webinar was recorded and the replay is now available on the TLCC website, as well as the slides.

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