Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

Developing your XPages skills

When a body of knowledge reaches a certain size specialisation kicks in. So while we all can try to be like Leibniz or Da Vinci at the end some specialisation keeps us sane. With the growing body of knowledge in XPages you need to think where you want to go deep unless of course you are a Jack of all trades
XPages skills go in all directions
There are different directions to go: front-end or back-end, business applications or common components.
  • When you look at the back-end you want to understand the Domino server and storage in detail. You will encounter XPages' JSF underpinning and manage quite some beans. You will boldly go where "no LotusScript programmer has gone before". That is an area where knowledge of Java is a must. You might link XPages to host systems or RDBMS taking advantage of all the Java libraries at your hand
  • Deep inside the back-end there is the OSGI extension model. You write your own components to extend the available capabilities. Most likely you don't write them for a single purpose but for general reuse
  • On the front-end you want to understand JavaScript and the Dojo Toolkit. When you build shared components and controls you design them to be parameterised for easy reuse. The Dojo types you create can simply be used by your business developers in a declarative way. You have a good understanding of the IBM OneUI and reasonable CSS skills
  • You are the UI guy. You know CSS inside out, as well as all the Browser quirks. You design new Themes
All these specialisation types were almost non-existent in classic Notes development and you actually can get away without them still building great Domino applications on XPages. You are the Lotus Domino Business application developer (a.k.a the Classic): You work with what is given. Only now the group of givers has grown (see above). You work with script and are OK to switch from LotusScript to JavaScript. The only thing you care about Dojo is to know the name of the controls to put in the XPages control properties. You are perfectly happy using the OneUI. AND: You understand your users (you always have), prototype applications rapidly and create happy users before morning tea break. That was what Notes and Domino development are about: rapid user satisfaction.

Posted by on 09 July 2010 | Comments (3) | categories: XPages


  1. posted by Peter Presnell on Friday 09 July 2010 AD:
    Interesting article Stephan. I wonder if in time we will start to see specialization of skills such as full-time Lotus XPage front-end developers and full-time Lotus XPage back-end developers much as we do with other major Web development platforms.
  2. posted by Brett H on Friday 09 July 2010 AD:
    Thanks Stephan, this is a great breakdown of development areas. I'll definitely be keeping this as an excellent reference piece.
  3. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Tuesday 13 July 2010 AD:
    @Peter: actually we already see some specialization. But not along the lines of front-end / back-end but apps and reusable components. All the components on OpenNTF are build for generalized reuse. A feast a corporate developer would have little time for.