Monday, March 29, 2010

Creating the MWLUG 2010 Web Site Using UX Pages version 0.4

Last year I was working on a new thing that I called the UX Pages and DLEX Engine. It was based on the XML declaration language used by Adobe Flex. UX Pages is similar to the approach now used by XPages but has a number of advantages.

I did not have the time to devote to it last summer given all the work that had to be done for the Midwest Lotus User Group Conference plus my full-time job. So I never moved forward on developing the technology any further. However, this has changed.

This year, NEOLUG is handling a big portion of the effort for MWLUG 2010 so I have more time. In addition, I needed it for building a number of customers applications. Therefore, I have a major incentive to develop it further especially since we are developing more and more Web applications and moving away from developing Notes client based applications. Does this mean that I will not develop using XPages. Not at all. I would like to have developed the Web applications using XPages, but the applications that we are developing are not suitable with XPages at this time.

So for the past two months, I have been working on building the features of the UX Pages engine. I have been incorporating components of Dojo and JQuery into the engine. One feature that I have added the past week is the ability to version and archive the web application. This feature has already saved my butt this week.

The new MWLUG Conference 2010 site MWLUG 2010 is currently running v0.4 of the UX Pages Engine on Domino 6.5. I could easily have set up a Domino 8.51 server, but I did not want to spend the time and resources. Since it does not depend on XPages rendering, I can build the web pages using the UX Pages XML declarations and have the compiled version run on any version of Domino 6.5 or higher.

The previous version, v0.3, relied on Web agents to handle a great part of the work. The latest version, v0.4, eliminates agents to generate the web pages and runs faster. The next version v0.5 will fully incorporate Dojo and JQuery into its architecture.

One may ask why I am doing this. First, XPages does not give me all the control that I need. Second, I wanted the generated code to be cross platform so that I can easily convert the web application to work with other data sources besides Domino. Third, the process forces me to learn Dojo and JQuery. Also, I can use the latest versions of Dojo and JQuery if necessary instead of replying on the version that IBM has put into Domino. Fourth, I can still use the Notes Basic client to generate the Web application since the UX Pages tool runs as a Notes client application. The Domino Designer 8.51 is still too slow for me even with a fast Dual Core and 2 GBytes of memory. So stay tuned hopefully for some Camtasia video of UX Pages.

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