Introducing newest Lotus blogger – Wil How

I am excited to welcome another Loti blogger to the community.  And having him as a member of the Lotus team at PSC makes it so much more special.

Wil How (yes, it is Wil with one L; I had to add him to my custom dictionaries) joined PSC about half way through 2010.   And since then he’s been almost exclusively working on a large XPages project, converting existing Domino application(s).  It’s been a great journey of learning for Wil and I’m glad that he finally decided to start sharing all the little tidbits as he overcomes one challenge of XPages after another.  I’m sure other XPages developers will find them useful, too.

And as Wil does quite a bit of hardcore web development out of XPages as well, from time to time you may see not strictly Lotus-related entries on his blog at


XPages? Why?

Somebody asked today, “If you are using a Discussion database in your environment, have you converted it to the new XPages template?”. My answer, “Why?”.

In all of the excitement around XPages, amongst numerous blog posts one message seems to be missing. Why XPages? Why should I care? The I in this question is not the geeky technologist I who gets excited by the new technology and the <xp:this.resources> tags. The technology is very cool and it lets me do things I was never used to be able to do in Notes and in ways I could never use.The I in this case is a business person and an executive. Why should I care about the XPages? Why should I invest in my team learning and using XPages as opposed to any other technologies?

Adoption of XPages (just like of any other technology) in the business world will and should be driven by benefits and cost savings and not by cool tags.

Whether you’re staying with Notes or migrating to another platform, if you have an investment in Notes applications, XPages is for you and your team.

If you’re migrating away from Notes or moving to the cloud, chances are that you will no longer have the rich Notes client on many desktops. In an organization’s portfolio of Lotus Notes applications about 25% of applications can be categorized as Business Applications. Those make heavy use of custom workflow and security. They are very complex and could be very costly to rebuild using any other technology. These apps are the perfect candidates to be moved to the web using the XPages technology.

You will be able to move your apps to the web, remove dependency on the Notes client and provide users with a modern Web 2.0 UI.

If you are staying with Notes, then you’re upgrading the rich client and your users want modern web based applications but your development team is still using methods from 10 years ago, which all leads to same robust tired looking applications. With XPages you can kill several birds with one technology:

  • make your users happy with modern looking applications
  • make your developers happy by letting them write modern code
  • extend your apps to the web and mobile device with the same code base

In both cases, you will have a happy user community impressed by UI improvements your team was able to achieve. And generally, Happy users = Happy IT department. And nobody has to know how much money you saved by converting the apps to XPages vs. rebuilding them from scratch in some other technology.

PSC kicks off another XPages discovery project

As organizations are upgrading to Lotus Domino 8.5.x, the XPages technology is attracting interest and gaining acceptance in the corporate world.  Last week, the PSC Collaboration team kicked off another XPages discovery project to assess the effort involved in converting an existing Lotus Notes application to XPages.

Our client’s project management application was built and web enabled over the course of many years using the traditional Lotus Notes approach: build the client UI, then web enable it.  As the result, it looks like a typical Lotus Notes web enabled application — not very pretty.  The XPages technology will allow us to offer a modern Web 2.0 interface to this application and get away from the practice of maintaining 2 code bases.

So one of our Lotus Notes consultants and I are reviewing the application to estimate the effort involved in modernizing it using XPages.  Can’t wait to complete the discovery phase and start building it.  If the client liked examples of our previous XPages project, I think they will love how XPages will transform their own application.

First GRANITE User Group West Technical Meeting

We have discussed the idea of holding a Technical meeting in the Western Suburbs on the months opposite the Loop meetings. At yesterday’s GRANITE meeting, we decided that PSC will have the pleasure and the honor to host the first of these meetings at its Schaumburg office on Monday, March 15th from 3pm – 7pm.  Our office is on the 5th floor in suite 500.  (Google Maps link is here.)

We also decided that the main topic of these meetings will be XPages. Specifically, Mike McGarel and Roy Rumaner will be starting everyone off on how to build an XPage application. Where do you start, what do you need to know and how does it work with an existing Notes application.

They are going to use Declan Lynch’s excellent 54 step tutorial as the focus of this project. At the first meeting we will be walking everyone through the first ten steps (more if time permits) in his tutorial. We will then ask everyone to do the next ten on their own before the next meeting.

If you want to start reading through the tutorial before the meeting, it can be found at

Please let us know if you are interested in this idea and if you are going to attend this meeting. If you have any other topic ideas, we are also open to hearing them.

We would like to get a count of how many people will be attending.  That will determine which room we will use for the meeting.  Roy started a thread on LinkedIn.  Please respond there or on our blogs.