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Domino conference - The VIEW 2002

Introduction

The VIEW had a Domino Technical Conference in Amsterdam, and I got to go. My first techie conference since Lotusphere Europe 2000 in Berlin!

  • Similarities to Lotusphere: the conference centre set-up, the smoky atmosphere just about everywhere (urgh), the iffy lunches, moaning Germans :-), good overall content.
  • Differences to Lotusphere: shorter (three versus five days), lab sessions, not as many toys.

Anyway, the advice given at the start of the conference, prior to the amazing keynote (!), was that participants would get the most out of their conference if they selected sessions that matched up in a variety of ways: choose topics you know about, choose some you want to know about, and choose a few that are just different. Good advice, and I followed it. My principal points of focus were to attend sessions on XML and J2EE (know some things, need to know more). but I also learned some new things when I didn’t expect to…

XML

Russell Maher covered a lot of the XML sessions, and I attended all of them bar the “jumpstart” one — I figured I knew at least that much! Anyway, his sessions concentrated on Domino and XML: getting it in to Domino, and getting it out again. He also ran a lab which was quite handy — you could code some Java / Lotusscript to do nifty wee tricks with XML, and this is especially easy (if a little verbose) in ND6 now that there are the new XML-related Lotusscript classes. He also touched upon web services, a topic which came up again and again. Russell is a good speaker, and I think he did a good job of making a subject interesting again (I must confess to a little weariness of XML prior to the conference!)

J2EE

Bob Balaban was the principal speaker with regards J2EE, Domino, Websphere, integration of the two, and so on. Bob’s an entertaining speaker, and knows his stuff. He ran some good “overview”-style sessions plus some more in-depth stuff talks (e.g. Coding Patterns for Domino in J2EE which was full of practical advice / gotchas). Whilst the focus was, naturally enough, on Websphere for scaleable applications, using Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs) and so forth, the advice given was more generic, and could apply to any J2EE platform.

Web services

Michael Mohen and Gary Devendorf both looked at web services. Michael’s talk was more about the detail of web services, and briefly covered how one might go about providing and consuming them. Gary’s talk showed lots of code, with Domino accessing and providing web services either through Java or the MS SOAP Toolkit. Gary’s page has more on using SOAPConnect in R5 etc.

Using Lotusscript to call Java

I also attended a talk all about the new “LS2J” stuff in ND6, i.e. the Lotusscript to Java calls one can now make. Again, this was Gary, and he demonstrated the new Lotusscript classes, how one can pass Java signatures to the underlying code, and discussed the pros and cons of using Java libraries in your application. This was very interesting stuff, and this feature is one of the more valuable developments in ND6 for developers I think. He did another talk about the other new features in ND6, i.e., the new @functions, commands and Lotusscript classes. Again, this highlighted some useful stuff. And yes, they pulled the “official” @formula debugger from the 6 client — still too buggy! As an undocumented feature it’s still there, though a lot of people seem to have trouble with it. Advice is to look for it in a future release.

Many speakers seemed to refer to future releases as “version 7” but I think there might be the odd point release between now and then… ;-)

Other stuff

I went to some other sessions which covered topics like “web gotchas” and web UI design with DHTML. These were generally good, although some of the Domino development advice given in one of the sessions was somewhat suspect….

But one session was especially good. Andrew Pollack, President of Northern Collaborative Technologies gave a spirited talk on Lotusscript, specifically coding it for re-usability and performance. I thought I knew most things about LS, but I got some good tips here, some of which I may touch upon in my Lotusscript docs (which are due an update).

I gather that a few of the administrator-oriented sessions were rather iffy / targeted at too low a level. This area is new to the conference in 2002 though, so perhaps things will improve there.

Further reading

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.

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