Jan 24, 2008

Lotusphere 2008 - Day Four - January 23, 2008

I decided to stay an extra night to see the Application Development keynote this morning. I am glad I did. Allistair Rennie, VP Development and Technical Support, Lotus Software was originally slated to deliver the keynote but he was not there. Instead Kevin Cavanaugh, VP of Messaging and Collaboration, Lotus Software did the honors (a formidable substitute). Despite the change up the keynote went very smoothly and was informative. Unfortunately the keynote only had a one hour time slot. I suspect the session could have gone for at least another hour on all the new tools to develop and/or customize applications, widgets, mashups, portals and more for IBM Lotus solutions. Kevin even admitted at the end of the session that there are many permutations of tools and options for developing for IBM Lotus products that they had not been able to get to.

The session focused on new stuff for Domino and Portal development tools. The biggest news was that Domino Designer is been ported to eclipse and will be available in the Notes/Domino 8.5 timeframe - which is slated for release later in 2008. Sadly developers will have to be patient and wait until then. Maureen Leeland demonstrated some of the improved experiences that the Designer will have in 8.5, such as robust, programmer-grade script (LotusScript, JavaScript) editing and management tools, new design elements for creating widgets and XPages. The XPages seem to be a remnant of Lotus Component Designer (LCD) pages that have been added to the Designer elements list. It allows developers to create a web page via graphical tools and pre-built objects (e.g., pre-coded Submit buttons), apply style sheets and connect to multiple data sources. The demo showed how to build a widget in the Designer and then use it in Notes as well as in Portal. The demos dove home the concept that the developer builds a widget in Designer and it can be used in other platforms like WebSphere Portal. Let's hear it for standards!

The next set of demos illustrated how to customize WebSphere Portal (WSP) 6.1 applications using new features in the browser-based portlet editors. There is support for JSR 268 and WSRP 2.0 for inter-portlet communication in WSP 6.1 (I think I just hit the legal limit on the number of acronyms that can be in one sentence). Dee Zepf (who I had the pleasure to work with on Domino.Merchant in 1997) did a nice demonstration of a few new Portlet Factory (an eclipse plug-in) features for building portlets that can also run in Notes and Expeditor clients. Although this version of the Portlet Factory provides custom widgets that came out of the Dojo toolkit, the ability to create widgets in Portlet Factory will be provided in a later release.

The keynote wrapped up with tools that are part of the Notes 8.0.1 client (due end of February 2008) to create widgets and live text elements that can bring external data in Notes composite applications. The Composite Application Editor (CAE) has been beefed up with many more options for wiring together components in composite applications from the comfort of the Notes client. The final tid-bit showed how to embed a Symphony Editor control into a composite application inside of Notes.

I have to say I'm still unsure of the development model for Domino development. I would have liked to have seen a tools strategy slide in the keynote so I had a frame of reference for all of these options. Who would use them and when would they be used? There was no mention LCD and what happened to it. There was also no mention of building and customizing Quickr or Lotus Connections interfaces. I hope I will be able to get a more complete picture of the strategy soon.

1 comment:

Jan ElvegÄrd said...

Hi thank you for your report. It is very good information for us who did not attend Lotusphere this year.
I have also searched for information from IBM how developers are supposed to work with Quickr and Connections - and found nothing. I agree, we certenly need a roadmap to get a picture of what to expect and plan for.