Thursday, May 05, 2011

Book Review "IBM Lotus Domino: Classic Web Application Development Techniques" by Richard G. Ellis (Part 1)

I'm doing this review in two parts because the opening and closing chapters of this book are vastly different from the rest.

I have to admit to wondering, when I was first asked to review this book, exactly what the market was that it's aimed at. After all, aren't all domino developers heading towards XPages now? Could a book on "traditional web programming in domino" still be relevant today?

Well, surprisingly it is.

The opening chapters deal with issues and requirements that our developers and I still constantly struggle with . They cover version control, issues logs, staging servers, commenting/documentation, standards and the big killer "scope creep". There are sections on using the "champions" in your office to drive projects, maintaining consistent URLs and setting up a developer test environment.

These are aspects which affect all domino development regardless of the technology level (XPages, Notes, Pure HTML or JavaScript/CSS). If you regularly contract domino developers to develop applications for your environment, those first chapters are absolutely required reading. They're not overly technical and are very suitable for management level reading.

The last two chapters of the book cover Security, Performance, Testing and Debugging. Again, these are mostly high-level. The security sections discuss planning for security, ACLs, reader and editor fields, the problems of hidden fields and sensible additions such as edit prevention after approval and logout facilities. The performance sections discuss archiving, code optimisation and the measurement of response time. The testing and debugging chapter talks about the requirements and limitations of user-testing and suggests various ways this testing could be improved. There are also some great sections on debugging which will help those new to domino to track down issues in their applications.

As for the rest of the book, I'll cover it in part two of this review suffice to say that a long time ago, my favourite domino book was a web development guide written for release 4. The book was amazingly useful all the way up to release 6.5. This book feels, in every way, to be a sequel to that book, picking up more or less where it left off and delving into CSS and JavaScript with a specific domino slant. All that's missing now is a book which covers XPages as neatly.

This isn't a book for the seasoned domino developer but if you're new to Domino or new to CSS and JavaScript or if you're a technical manager overseeing domino web development projects then this book is definitely for you.

1 comment:

quintessens said...

think I will skip this one and wait for the next XPages book...