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I got schooled in xPages...

I was lucky enough to get an invite to an internal Lotus911 "Introduction to xPages", presented by ol' Darth Balls himself. I guess being Fan Boy #1 has it's benefits!

So, after getting some amazing information and feeling like I'm ready to jump into xPages development, I thought to myself... how could I explain just what xPages are - and what can be done with them - in a single sentence? Here's my first try:

xPages are an API for a new Java-based content rendering engine.

Huh? Well, from what I've seen - there's two major components to xPages: User Inteface (UI) and the Runtime Engine.

Now, the user in this case is the Developer, as he sees the xPages goodness in DDE - which will allow them to create Web 2.0-like data navigation, multi-document/single-form form objects, and pull from their current toolkit @Formula, LotusScript, Java, and JavaScript.

The Runtime Engine.... well, all of that super sexy RAD xPages UI development that you've done really does nothing more than generate markup that's fed into a runtime rendering engine. Hell - you could write the DXL in Notepad if you really wanted to and only bring it into DDE when you needed to "build" the xPage.

If you check out DB's xPages example post, you'll see him using an in-code @DBLookup. Do you think the Rendering Engine actually uses an Evaluate-like call to perform this lookup? Hellz no! This is more for our benefit than anything... and I gotta say that I'm thankful to both the xPages Development Team and IBM that they're not giving us this awesome advance in the technology and then saying "but now you MUST learn this!".

So thank you gang at Lotus911, and thank you IBM (specifically the development team behind xPages)!

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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