You are asking the wrong questions

Friday, February 1, 2019 4:57 PM UTC

While the discussion about XPages’ health or death is going on I had some interesting chats and talks about the future of development on Domino in general. The questions should be about the tools and the way to work with the tools instead of asking for future plans for a certain technology whether it’s XPages, Node.js or whatever.

What do we have?

We have Domino Designer as a stand-alone client since R5 and since 8.5 we have the Eclipse-based monster which gave us new editors (more or less good), new ways to handle code (source control) and a lot of chances to crash the whole system - not a fault of IBM alone, Eclipse itself is a monster and a memory-consuming monolith.

What do we have - with other platforms?

Those of us who looked around the corners explored tools like Sublime Text, VS Code, Jetbrains Webstorm or IntelliJ Idea to develop in Java, Node, Javascript, HTML etc. - you name it. All of these editors and IDEs share a common feature: they are faster and more extensible than Eclipse seems to be. I am biased, I hate Eclipse and I will do forever. And I like IntelliJ and VS Code. Unfortunately we cannot use these tools to completely cover everything that it takes to develop with Domino apps like XPages, Forms and Views - and Code. Of course you can edit sources in tool A and sync everything to DDE and the NSF, but this is just a workaround. Jesse’s way of implementing „something“ that allows XPages developers only to use a single Eclipse IDE instance, compile and build it into an NSF is a nice PoC - but I doubt it will become my way to work with it. It’s rocket science to me and - as I said - Eclipse - as the fat client app - is not my toy.

What do others have?

I don’t know many other IDEs where you develop for a certain platform with special tools, but I saw what you can do as a Salesforce developer. You can either use local IDEs or - and this is what I’d prefer - a browser-based IDE running on a server/cloud environment. The downside to the latter is that you always have to be connected to work on your stuff. The benefit is that you don’t need any of those huge IDEs on your machine and you always have every single line of code available regardless where you are, on which computer you work and which operating system (sic!) you use. 

What if…?

Wouldn’t it be great to code Domino apps on your Mac just using your favorite browser, test it and build it right from a dashboard or similar? Wouldn’t it be great to have version control built-in without building a git server first? Wouldn’t it be great to have the chance to share code and snippets like gists on Github with your co-workers? And all of this would be available centralized either on a SaaS cloud offering or on premises - or even on your local machine (Docker or similar). This is what I would like to see for the future of development in Domino.

The idea: the Domino V Next server could ship with a new designer-task that provides the environment I described before. This then could be accessed from your local installation of Domino (installed or as Docker image) or even on your own server farm or in the cloud. The system could have all those build and test systems optimized for NSF apps and also offer wizards to create new stuff like Forms and Views and even XPages - like you were used to use with DDE. Aveedo works like this and we already have it but it lacks a version control and comfortable editors at the moment.

The best: there is already a tool that offers all of the above (except the Domino-specific stuff of course). It’s called

Eclipse CHE

I will leave you alone now with that idea and I encourage you to check it out - just to smell the spirit we may have one day with Domino. It’s just a thought, there’s nothing planned - but you can point HCL to that direction if you also like this idea. Also: there are other solutions like this, this is just a starter.


I am looking forward to your comments! Cool

Latest comments to this post

Stephan wrote on 02.02.2019, 02:52

Che and Detroit would fit nicely into a Domino strategy. HCL engineering has more leeway to decide. 

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Jean Deloitte wrote on 01.02.2019, 18:29

The whole chain from code to deployment is badly covered. If so who has implemented it and how is it set up? CICD support is a strong argument for development these days. Hopefully HCL is not letting down us developers with inferior tooling.

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