Composite thinking

In the issue of the Lotus developerWorks newsletter that I received in my inbox today there is a link to an article on creating applications using the Property Broker of Lotus Expeditor (Creating collaborative components for IBM Lotus Expeditor Property Broker). This was kind of funny since it coincided with me receiving a Java newsletter with an article on using the PropertyChangeListener of the Java SDK.

For those not in the know, the Property Broker is the middleware which is used in the Lotus Expeditor framework to dispatch property change events between components and hence is the glue that makes the different components of a composite application work together. The Property Broker is configured either declaratively using an UI or using an API.

The approaches described in the two articles are quite similar and both describe how using a declarative approach (much like extension points in Sametime 7.5 development) allows for a much more flexible solutions that are less brittle and prone to breaking caused by API changes. An added benefit is the absence of compile time checks which means that you may develop and deploy components that doesn’t need to know of any other components that acts on the property changes it fire. The alternative to declarative events is the use of the Observer design pattern and Listener-interfaces en masse e.g. like in Swing.

Reading the articles has really got me thinking about how to leverage these capabilities in new and existing applications. I see great possibilities and the possibility of having many applications work together to form a greater whole.

I think the advent of composite applications will mean that the job of the application architect will become more challenging and you need to change the point of view from which applications are designed and developed. Applications will move from being monolithic entities to being composite and hence you need to decide on which properties to expose and how to work with “client” applications. This you need to decide on at design time. Applications should be designed and built as smaller interconnected components and not as the CD-ROM AutoInstall, 7-databases-in-one, applications of today.

Sounds intriguing but challenging…

All these possibilities are exciting and it will be interesting to see how many of the Lotus Expeditor capabilities will be exposed by the Notes 8 client and how many Notes 8 customers will pick up on it.

Becoming a NOMAD

I received my new 4GB USB key today and have already loaded Notes 7.0.2 on it using Chris’ excellent howto (Lotus Notes 7.0.2 – NOMAD Review). There wasn’t much to it and I didn’t even have to manually add admin.exe and designer.exe since I used a full Notes install image. Very nice… 🙂

The USB key comes loaded with the U3 software so now I need to find an IPSEC VPN client that is U3 compatible or one that can be installed on an USB key to be on Cloud Nine. The client should work with Cisco appliances.

Looking forward to lighter roaming.

J9 Launching plug-in for Sametime 7.5 development

Since I get some questions on how to find this plugin I thought I would post the URL. The plugin can be downloaded here (link to full URL at dev.eclipse.org) or you can get it via this http://tinyurl.com/w97so as long as it works… This is even more relevant where the link posted in the Integration Guide of the Sametime 7.5 Java SDK doesn’t work anymore.

What brilliant person decided to publish a document with link pointing directly into CVS with specifying the revision? I would say that a short redirection link via ibm.com would make much more sense!

IBM Workplace Designer mentioned in Eclipse Magazine


IBM Workplace Designer is mentioned and used as an example on how to leverage Eclipse as a foundation for rich-client applications. Too bad Expeditor, Sametime or Notes 8 isn’t mentioned…

Eclipse Power in IBM Workplace/Domino
“Eclipse is a robust functional platform that IBM Workplace/Domino developers can put to full use in their current and future projects. In this article, we focus on the benefits of Eclipse as a client foundation that has a cross platform, rich UI widget set that is based on native widgets, a rich UI framework, pre-defined dialog basis: Wizards, Preferences, Properties, and other UI: Perspectives, Views, Editors, Workbench (as a base), ActiveX support in SWT on Win32 (platform integration), and a good Help system. Eclipse as a client foundation is an extensible platform that features a plug-in extensibility model, shared programming model with tools development, education that is already developed for tools offerings, core services, extension points, core frameworks, production quality platform with two major releases in the market, and an Open Source code base. “

Eclipse Magazine, Issue 5, December 2006.

Doclinks in Sametime 7.5

You might know that a doclink is actually nothing more than some text in a special format. The below snippet is a doclink to an e-mail in my mail database. As you can see it contains the replica id of the database and the UNID of the view and the document to go to.

Mikkel Heisterberg - Vedr.: Re: mail sync.
<NDL>
<REPLICA C1256833:0079BF90>
<VIEW OF38D46BF5:E8F08834-ON852564B5:00129B2C>
<NOTE OF1B86D647:A8161190-ONC125723D:005E6086>
<HINT>CN=server1/O=Example</HINT>
<REM>Database 'Mikkel Heisterberg', View 'Inbox', Document 'Vedr.: Re: mail sync.'</REM>
</NDL>

The same is the case for a view link except that there’s no document UNID present.

Mikkel Heisterberg - Inbox
<NDL>
<REPLICA C1256833:0079BF90>
<VIEW OF38D46BF5:E8F08834-ON852564B5:00129B2C>
<HINT>CN=server1/O=Example</HINT>
<REM>Mikkel Heisterberg</REM>
</NDL>

A database link is even more slimmed down and it only contains the replica id of the target. For some reason the chat area fail to convert this into a notes:// URL – could be that the regular expression IBM use to match a doclink doesn’t take database links into account.

Mikkel Heisterberg - Inbox
<NDL>
<REPLICA C1256833:0079BF90>
<HINT>CN=server1/O=Example</HINT>
<REM>Mikkel Heisterberg</REM>
</NDL>

Does anyone know whether this is a known issue or something I should report to Lotus Support or even worse write myself? Actually I don’t think it would take too long to write since it’s a slight modification of the acronym sample plugin supplied with the Sametime SDK. I would of cause prefer not to… 😉