Developing plugins for IBM Notes on Mac

I’ve been developing plugins for IBM Notes on Mac for years now but never really got around to sharing the steps on the blog. The below steps – in very crude form – works with Java 8 on Mac OS El Capitan (v. 10.11) using IBM Notes 9.0.1. The below sections are additions to the regular steps on creating a target platform documented otherwise on this blog


Run a product:

Execution Envionment: JavaSE-1.6


Program arguments:

-ws cocoa

VM Arguments:



  • DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=/Applications/IBM
  • NOTESBIN=/Applications/IBM

OSGi, OSGi, OSGi – OSGi everywhere…

As mentioned in my OSGi presentation at AusLUG OSGi is a key technology for you if you dabble in IBM/Lotus products. Among other things it forms the basis for Lotus Expeditor (and therefore Notes, Sametime and Symphony), XPages and the XPages Extensibility Library. OSGi is now also part of Java application servers such as Websphere Application and the free and open source JBoss AS 7. The JBoss AS7 OSGi Full Presentation + Demo highlights OSGi in JBoss and has a nice introduction to OSGi. Highly recommended.

“JBoss AS7 (​as7) is a game-changer for both Java EE developers as well as application server administrators. And while JBoss is best known for being a Java EE container, in this session, we will focus on the OSGi capabilities of the new JBoss AS7. Starting with background information on OSGi in general, Thomas Diesler introduces the main objectives of this technology and explains the unique JBoss OSGi vision. Combining the best of two worlds we show how modern Java EE applications on AS7 can use the OSGi component model and vice versa.”

DOTS and automatic startup of bundles

Domino OSGi Tasklet Container (or DOTS for short) is an uber-cool OpenNTF project that allows you to write addins for the Domino server in Java. The project used to be called JAVADDIN which kind of gives the purpose away.

At UKLUG I was asked if there was a way to specify which bundles to automatically start at server startup. I didn’t know the answer so I wrote an e-mail to David Taieb who’s the author of the project and he quickly responded that this is indeed possible. Below is Davids answer:

Yes, you can create a file called config.ini in
{data}/domino/workspace directory and add the following line

Restart http task and verify that the plugins specified are
>tell http osgi diag pluginId1
>tell http osgi diag pluginId2
>tell http osgi diag pluginId3

Best Regards

The above is for Domino 8.5.3 – for Domino 8.5.2 the config.ini file is in the workspace.config directory.

There is a caveat though. The automatic startup isn’t performed until an XPage request is made. An extension point to make bundles automatically startup when the server is started will be added for Domino 8.5.4.

Eclipse Helios (3.6) and why it’s important to Notes administrators

Notes 8 is based on Eclipse and Eclipse use OSGi for bundle lifecycle and dependency management. Part of OSGi is the OSGi console that is a console into the inner working of OSGi. The console is very useful and may be used to diagnose Eclipse and Notes 8 issues. I’ve previously blogged about the OSGi console and how to access it in Notes in my “SWT@Notes 8: -console” post back in 2008. One of the cool things about the OSGi console is that you can write administrative commands for the console that you may invoke using the text based interface.

One major shortcoming of the OSGi console was that one could only access it once the platform was invoked that is it couldn’t be accessed once Notes was started. This is a real bummer as it could be very useful in certain troubleshooting scenarios. This is about to change.

In the upcoming Eclipse 3.6 (Helios) release we’ll get even easier access to the OSGi console as you may attach to OSGi console after launching the platform. Yeah!!

On his blog Chris Aniszczyk of Redhat has a post called “Easier access to the OSGi console“:

In Eclipse 3.6 M7, it will be easier to access the OSGi
Console within the running Eclipse. The Equinox team
added a org.eclipse.osgi.framework.console.ConsoleSession
service that you can use to get the input and output to a
console session. The PDE team took advantage of this
recently by extending the org.eclipse.ui.console.consoleFactories
extension point and allowing you to bring up the OSGi
console easily...

Using EventAdmin for interprocess-communication

One of the tricks to really loosely coupling components in Eclipse is using an event broker to publish events and subscribe to events. You can roll your own which is easy enough (lets face it – it’s a listener interface and a list keeping track of listeners) but it adds a constraint among plug-ins. Another solution is to use the OSGi EventAdmin service.

EventAdmin uses a concept of hierarchical topics much like a messaging system (JMS) and is available from all plugins. You simply add a dependency on and you’re laughing.

This “Event Admin Service specification explained by Example” post has all the info you need to get started and if you ask nicely and there’s enough interest I might even share my EventAdmin test plugin with you… 🙂