Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Double Quote Avoidance - Using JsonJavaObject + JsonReference to output function references

Recently I have been developing an an XPages UI control for JQuery jqGrid. JqGrid, like most javascript components, relies very much on configuration using json.I haven’t done much in this area before and I thought things would get pretty ugly if I had to manually output all the javascript / json.However turns out there are some handy utilities built into the XPages runtime to manage a lot of this for you. This article on Jesse Gallagher’s bloggave me exactly what started, and it was super simple to build all these options into a JsonJavaObject or Map, and then output the Json using the JsonGenerator / Json Writer.
You can read the full post on my new blog here

I have recently moved to a wordpress blog at camerongregor.com I am just waiting on my planet lotus profile to be switched over to the new blog feed so I am posting links to my new articles here until that is updated.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

New Blog address - camerongregor.com

After encountering a problem with my RSS feed going invalid, I decided it was time to move from blogger to wordpress.

Over the summer break I migrated all my content to my new wordpress blog at camerongregor.com.
I have to say I really like wordpress and it's plugin environment!

This domain gregorbyte.com will eventually be directed to the same wordpress blog, but for now it will stay on the old blogger blog, as I am just waiting for the planet lotus feed to be switched over to the new site.

Until then, all new posts will be on camerongregor.com but I will also post a links to them here!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

PanelGrid XPages Control - for simple table based layouts

I can't remember the circumstance, but whilst looking around the web I stumbled across a control called 'panelGrid' that is available in standard JSF.

I really liked the idea of it so I decided, why can't we have it in XPages? we can!

What does panelGrid control do?

Basically the panelGrid renders an HTML table, but does so using minimal markup on your xpage. It does this by following a convention.
The panelGrid has a 'columns' property which specifies how many columns the 'grid' should have.
As each child component is found, it is rendered in a <td>, when it reaches the number of columns, it will start a new <tr> and carry on.
So basically, it will render children left-to-right top-to-bottom in a grid layout using a <table><tr><td> pattern.

For example, here is the same output, rendered 2 different ways

  1. using <xp:table> style, defining tr's and td's as necessary. 
  2. using the panel grid
As you can see visually it is the same result.

Now lets have a look at the markup in the xpage

Here is the markup for xp:table method:

<h3>Using the xp:table layout method</h3>

   <xp:label value="Label" id="label1"></xp:label>
   <xp:inputText id="inputText1"></xp:inputText>
   <xp:label value="Label" id="label2"></xp:label>
   <xp:inputText id="inputText2"></xp:inputText>
   <xp:label value="Label" id="label3"></xp:label>
   <xp:inputText id="inputText3"></xp:inputText>
   <xp:label value="Label" id="label4"></xp:label>
   <xp:inputText id="inputText4"></xp:inputText>

and here is the markup for panel grid method:

<h3>Using the Panel Grid</h3>
<gb:panelGrid id="panelGrid1">

 <xp:label value="Label" id="label5"></xp:label>
 <xp:inputText id="inputText5"></xp:inputText>

 <xp:label value="Label" id="label6"></xp:label>
 <xp:inputText id="inputText6"></xp:inputText>

 <xp:label value="Label" id="label7"></xp:label>
 <xp:inputText id="inputText7"></xp:inputText>

 <xp:label value="Label" id="label8"></xp:label>
 <xp:inputText id="inputText8"></xp:inputText>


As you can see, the panelGrid is a much cleaner design on the xpage.

Other features

The control also has a header and footer facet, which is rendered as a colspanned td at the top and bottom of the table. The control is styleable and themeable.
If you need to put more than one control in a 'grid cell' you can nest them under a span or div.

Here is a 4 minute demo video to see the features in action.


It is not for every situation, if you have a complex layout that you want to merge some cells, then the panelGrid might not be a good fit. But if you need a simple grid based layout that looks nice a clean on your xpage markup then give this a go! You will soon learn when it is appropriate.

Implementation details

It wasn't too hard to create for Xpages, the necessary renderer com.sun.faces.renderkit.html_basic.GridRenderer is already part of the XPages runtime as part of the core JSF that has been extended. It just hasn't been surfaced for a component.

To enable using the panelGrid I needed to create the UIComponent UIPanelGrid (extending XspTable), define the component tag properties via an .xsp-config file and register the rendered via a faces-config.xml file

How can I use it?

I have started my own 'extension library' where I will be putting all the controls that I develop on this blog ( I plan to move emailvalidator there and also finish the phone number control!).
There are 2 other controls in there 'text differenc' and mime inspector which I plan to blog about very soon.

I have just created the first release on github
Download the updatesite zip file from the release, extract it and install to Domino Designer as well as your Server
You will need to enable the com.gregorbyte.xsp.library for your NSF in the xsp.properties editor. 

If you don't want to install the plugins, you can also install the necessary components into an NSF yourself. To Do this:
You need the UIPanelGrid java file in the java section
You need the .xsp-config in your WebContent\WEB-INF folder
You need the entries from the faces-config.xml file (above) in your faces-config.xml file in the NSF
That should do it' you may need to clean and build a couple of times.

Good luck, Please let me know if you have any questions / problems!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Setting up JRebel for XPages OSGi Plugin Development

When developing plugins for Domino in Eclipse, one of the drawbacks is the constant
'restart task http' to pick up any new changes in your class files.

It may only take 30 seconds but it is slow enough that every time it happens, maybe you check your email, news, social media, maybe you distract one of your colleagues.

Previously, the In-built eclipse remote debugging previously to allow hot-code replace for small changes, however I have found that since a few domino versions ago, it will now crash the server! not ideal!

JRebel looks very promising, it is designed to watch your class folders and automatically update the JVM with no restart.

I had seen JRebel a couple of years back and had one failed attempt at getting it to work with domino and then gave up. I have heard others mention a few times 'maybe it would work with Domino?'

Anyway, thanks to David Leedy's video on setting up YourKit profiler, it gave me a clue into how to set up JRebel in a similar fashion using the JavaOptionsFile

Today I managed to get JRebel and Domino working, I have only used it for a day but so far it is going pretty good. I thought I would share how I got it set up so that others might give it a try and let me know if it is working for them.

Here is the video demonstrating the set up and use of JRebel

If you have any trouble setting it up let me know and I will see if I can help

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Using Editor Templates for Repetitive Code

I've been doing a little bit of XPages control development lately, and if you ever dabble in the dark art of this you will realise there is a lot of repeating yourself when it comes to writing the getters and setters for Control properties.
If your control properties are going to support value binding, then you will do the same pattern over and over.

For the getter:
If property is set explicitly Then return property,
Otherwise, If there is value binding, compute and return the value.
Otherwise, return the default.

For the setter:
normal setter!

Eclipse (and therefore Domino Designer) supports the idea of Templates, there are many default templates available, but you can also craft your own, so if you do a lot of repetitive code, it might be worth having a look into creating your own templates to use.

So I made myself a nice little Editor Template (this one in Domino Designer as I do the prototyping in there before moving completed files out to an OSGi plugin in normal Eclipse).

I have submitted the template as an XSnippet To use, copy the xml to an XML file then go to
Domino Designer Preferences -> Java -> Editor ->Templates
Click Import, select the xml file and you will have a new template 'vbgettersetter' which means ValueBinding Getter and setter.

Here is a 2 Minute video of it in action.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Using the Eclipse Copyright Tool to prepare for OpenNTF Submission

I'm in the middle of Preparing my 'Swiper' project for OpenNTF, and in the submission guidelines it states that source files such as .java, plugin.xml, feature.xml .properties must include the Copyright notice at the top.

I thought, what a pain, I'm going to have to update each file, and then I thought, surely Eclipes has something that does this?
By default eclipse can include a copyright notice for each new Source file that you create, however I already have created my source files, and want to update the existing source with a new Copyright message.

A quick google and I found the following article which explains how to install and use the Eclipse Copyright Tool

After installing I simply went to the Preferences and updated the Copyright template.

Then Right-clicked on the plugin Project and selected 'Fix Copyrights'

My Java files all had the copyright notice



Running it on the feature project it updated feature.xml too!

So if you are looking to convert an existing project to be submitted to openntf, give the Eclipse Copyright Tool a try.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Uploading Plugins Headlessly to Open Eclipse Update Site

This is a very rough blog post! I am responding to a question on twitter about how to upload plugins to an Update Site NSF automatically (e.g. from a build server) So I thought I would put it in a blog post so it would be available for all.
Any questions / corrections please just comment, there will probably be a mistake or two

Domino comes with a standard 'Eclipse Update Site' NSF which you can load your plugins into, and then configure notes.ini so the server will load plugins from that NSF. It has the advantage that it will replicate to other servers and you don't need to touch the filesystem.

Using the standard update site, you can only upload manually, there are UI Dialog's involved etc.

IBM open sourced the template, and Karsten Lehmann made a modified version available on OpenNTF which is exactly the same but has an agent '(API)' that can be called 'headlessly' to upload plugins from a build server.

It also allows deleting Features one-by-one however it won't delete disabled features I have found.

I have made 3 minor modifications to it for our version
  • I made the icons blue instead of purple so I can instantly tell if it is a modified template version
  • I added a Form 'HeadlessImport'. When you run the agent, you pass it a document, I decided to allocate this document to a form so I could inspect it after it had run.
  • I added a View 'HeadlessImports' to view the HeadlessImport documents.

Importing from Build Server 

On the build server, you can run a java program (using jars from jvm/lib/ext) to Create a notes session, get the updatesite database, and then call the (API) agent.
You pass a NotesDocument to the agent, and the notesdocument has necessary instructions to either delete all plugins or to import from the  site.xml
 I have a project on github which has some utilities related to building Xpages and plugins camac/BuildXPages 
Within it I have some custom ant tasks, one of which (as of this week!) is the ImportPluginsTask which does all this for me

Now you don't need to be using ant, you can simply take the same algorithm from the source code (in the execute function) and put it in your own java program. Just make sure you have the Notes jars on your classpath. and maybe you need notes prog dir on your system PATH. I am running it on a server with an id that has no password, so you may need to modify it if your have a password on your id file
The task takes the parameters for server, database and location of site.xml file, creates the notesdocument, runs the agent and then checks the document afterwards to see if there was an error.

Note: when I run the agent I see 4 'Object Variable not set' in the output, I don't think this is impacting upon the success of the plugins, I am still to investigate the cause.

Generating a Site.xml

You need to have a site.xml file, I also have a task to generate one from a list of features and plugins.

Let me know any comments questions!