Book Review – XPages Extension Library – 4/5

I was recently given a copy of the latest XPage book to review and I have found it a very worthwhile read in many ways but also a bit frustrating.

The book was written by some of the best experts in the XPages community,  talented developers that use XPages day in and day out and people who regularly present at the User Groups and Lotusphere. They are also people that are also particularly generous with sharing their knowledge within the community via blogs and wikis. One of the key benefits of the book is that it brings much of this information together into a single concise volume.

The book also marks a turning point in the functionality that my team and I can use in developing XPage Applications. Although I was an early adopter of XPages ( or perhaps because I was ) one of the policies within FoCul  has been that we should not get too close to the bleeding edge. The book clearly shows that the Extension Library has come of age and will add real value to XPage projects. The functionality is a game changer for Notes developers – from little things like the value pickers to much bigger things like the mobile controls.

The book is an excellent reference for understanding the various properties associated with each design element and I am sure that we will be reaching for it on a regular basis ( we have already bought extra copies ).

The bit that frustrated me was that from my perspective this is a technical reference book rather than a “Step-by-Step Guide”. Over the last 6 months I have become more of a Project Manager and an Architect rather than a full time XPage developer so I may not be representative of the target audience. My learning style is also to reverse engineer examples rather than to work through text books line by line – but I suspect a lot of Notes developers are like that too.

While the book lists many examples they are not available for download – the text typically says to go look in the TeamRoom template for examples of their use. The problem with this is that while the TeamRoom template is a tremendous example of best practice it is also very complicated – you find yourself looking at complex pages and trying to understand Managed Beans as well as things like the Data View that you wanted ( Managed Beans are great by the way and you should take the time to understand them ). I really struggled to find concise examples that I could run and understand before moving onto more complex examples.  By way of example try creating a Data View as set out on page 206 – how do you set up the facets or data sources ? An another example was page 171 for the Dynamic View Panel where it suggests creating an XPage and then adding lines 1 through 67 from the listed code in my paper book.

I do think that this is a very valuable book and every XPage developer needs to have easy access to a copy. I would highly recommend it as a reference but concise downloadable examples and an overview of the actual mechanics of how configure the facets would have given it 5/5  rather than 4/5.

SSL Certificate installation errors – copy the key from the email source

Image:SSL Certificate installation errors - copy the key from the email source

I have been pulling my hair out trying to get a Globalsign  / 123reg SSL certificate installed on a Domino server. It’s something I have done a few times but this time I was stumped.

What was different was that this SSL provider emails the certificates as plain text which you can then paste into the dialog in the Server Certificate Admin application. In the past I have always either downloaded certificate files or copied the text from a web portal.

I realised what was going wrong when I could install the intermediate certificate from the vendors site but not using the text string sent to me. I then compared the text and apart from some line breaks the strings were the same. When I created a .crt file the Windows 7 OS could open the certificate and browse it happily whereas Notes baulked.

Eventually I opened the email and viewed the string in the email source ( View > Show > Page Source ) and copied the text string from there. This then worked fine – only 3 hours of my life wasted.

The error message was

—————————
Error
—————————
Error decoding certificate
—————————
OK  
—————————

Hopefully this will come up in Google when you need it.

Can you help with a Show and Tell session abstract for UKLUG ?

Image:Can you help with a Show and Tell session abstract for UKLUG ?

I would dearly love to submit an abstract for a “Show and Tell” session for the management track at UKLUG in September – something to show managers how Notes / XPages can add value to the bottom line.

The idea is that maybe 5 people each do a very quick presentation a successful app.

Both Business Partners and IBM customers would be welcome but it would be a “non commercial” presentation about a real world example.

Would anyone be interested ? I am happy to do the co-ordination.

The submission needs to be in my the end of the month.

Please leave a comment or click on the contacts tab above to contact me.

Thanks, Sean

Hello World Download for the Mobile Controls Extension

There are some good tutorials for the new Mobile Controls in UP1 / Extension library but none of them have a complete download.

This is a simple NSF which is based on the tutorial from the wiki and the discussion template XL with everything removed apart from the bits needed for this simple demo. It looks very similar to the one in the Extension Library book.

The bit that caused me the most grief was realising that the mobile XPages needed to have a prefix ( m_ or similar ) which in turn activates the mobile themes which in turn call a couple of script libraries which are needed for the transitions. Themes in XPages are not just about UI so don’t skip them !

Download => https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/focul.bucket1/public_downloads/sean/mob_demo.nsf

I’ll post a demo later – I’ve just realised I don’t have UP1 on my server – I hang my head in shame ;-(

p.s. thanks to @pdhannan for spotting my error and for writing the wiki tutorial in the first place.

Update

Bruce Elgort just reminded me about his excellent slide pack and download