Lotus Component Designer - IBM Lotus Notes

Lotus Component Designer is the new version of Workplace Designer, with support for WebSphere Portal 6. It is a development environment built on top of Eclipse, which allows for the creation of document-based applications using visual design methods with no need to know the intricacies of J2EE. Forms are the building blocks for applications built with Lotus Component Design. Applications can have more than one form associated with them. Each form then contains one or more controls. Controls include views, images, text boxes, combo boxes, radio buttons, and tables.

Once the controls are placed on a form, the built-in JavaScript editor can be used to customize functionality. The JavaScript editor supports color-coding and code-assist, so developers who are comfortable with developing in Domino Designer will feel right at home.

The forms and controls within a Lotus Component Designer application are used to manipulate an XML-based document model, which is stored in a relational database. This allows for the separation of the look and feel of the application from its data. Here are a number of new features of Lotus Component Designer:

Migration tool

Lotus Component Designer allows you to migrate components created with previous releases into release 8. The migration tool is a part of the component import process and can detect older versions of components. When an older version is detected, its pages are converted to the new XSP format.

Help and enhanced welcome page

As shown in the following screenshot, the new Lotus Component Designer welcome page offers a rich set of options including an overview, tutorials, samples, web resources, and context-sensitive help:

Help and enhanced welcome page

Accessibility

Lotus Component Designer is an accessible software development tool with which you can create accessible components. It is compliant with IBM Corporate Instruction 162 (CI 162) which meets the U.S. government's federal accessibility guidelines for information technology. It requires that the hardware, software, services, web pages, and internal applications are accessible to persons with disabilities.

Composite application support

With Lotus Component Designer, you can now create applications that can work within the IBM WebSphere Portal composite application model. These components can interact with components created with Notes/Domino 8 as well.

Controls and pages

There are many new features and additions to controls and pages. A few favorites are as follows:

  • Preview images directly from the Choose Image dialog box without having to add it to the page first
  • Create custom controls, which combine two or more controls into a single control
  • Add UI controls that are not listed in the standard UI Controls palette, such as supported AJAX controls
  • Web page preview without having to leave Lotus Component Designer.

Data connections

Some of the new features and enhancements for data connectivity are as follows:

  • Local connections are supported in components. Connections are the sets of information used to connect to a data source such as a database.
  • The schema editor has been improved so as to provide an easy graphical way to create and edit XML schemas.
  • Components can now store data in external data sources such as Domino databases and XML files on a target server.
  • A new query editor is available to provide a more granular and flexible way to populate view queries.
  • Components can now consume external web services and manipulate the data received with JavaScript.

Scripting

Some of the new features and enhancements for deployment are as follows:

  • There is a new XSP file format for registry and page loading which has been made public.
  • A new XSP tag library is available, offering a library of UI controls, data sources, simple actions and other controls. This library is located in the doc controls directory.
  • A JavaScript debugger is now included and can be used to debug any JavaScript code that runs on WebSphere Portal 6.x.

Deployment

  • Some of the new features and enhancements for deployment are as follows: One can deploy components to servers without having knowledge of J2EE applications and without the administrator credentials
  • Components can be deployed to a cluster for production deployment by exporting the components Web Archive (WAR) and Data Definition Language (DDL) files and providing them to your administrators
  • Basic authentication is now supported for WebSphere Portal 6.x

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