Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review "IBM Lotus Domino: Classic Web Application Development Techniques" by Richard G. Ellis (Part 2)

In part one of my review, I looked at the opening and closing chapters of this book. They're fairly non-technical and provide a very useful set of guidelines for the development and testing of Lotus Domino applications - and they're just as relevant to XPages development.

In part two, I want to look at the middle chapters. These chapters cover CSS and JavaScript as it relates to forms, views and agents. The book talks about some features which are only available in Notes/Domino 8.5 but it never discusses XPages.

If you're already a domino developer and you're looking to move into XPages, then this book certainly isn't for you. If however, you've been using Notes and want to quickly port some applications to the web or if you're familiar with classic HTML, CSS and JavaScript but want to get some Domino projects off the ground, then this is the right book.

Of course, if you're on a version of notes/domino prior to 8.5 with little prospect of upgrading in the near future, this book will help you to get the best development potential out of your existing systems.

The book offers a lot of great web development advice and code. It covers basic design rules mentioning some stylistic considerations which many web developers seem to overlook. It looks at form validation, usability and export functionality.

The book exposes each increment in usability/design one step at a time. This will provide people new to domino with an understanding of the effect of each of their changes. It's a great way to cover these topics.

There's also a whole chapter dedicated to navigation. It covers action buttons (how to style them, where to put them and when to use them). It provides tips for adding better URLs to your applications and provides some great coverage of the "go forward" navigational strategy.

This is a really good book with great explanations and good technical detail. If this book had come out three years ago, it would have been a bestseller. Sadly though, XPages is taking over (at least in the minds of cutting domino developers) and this dates the technology in the book a little.

If you're not going XPages yet and you're interested in classic domino development, then this is easily the best book I've seen on the subject.

IBM Lotus Domino: Classic Web Application Development Techniques is available from Packt Publications and Amazon.

Honesty Clause: I was provided with a PDF version of this book free of charge for review purposes.

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