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Paul Withers Blog: Background and Purpose

12 Jul 2016

For the last six years, I have blogged heavily (375 posts in 3 years and nine months, more than one post per week) on Intec’s blog. So the question naturally arises why I should choose to start a personal blog, and why now.

All of that blogging and other community activity has been about the IBM Domino platform (more on that shortly) and, predominantly, IBM’s JSF-based XPages development framework. Much of the focus of the last two years has been on delivering that to IBM’s Bluemix Platform-as-a-Service, with the on premises version taking a back seat. Apart from some minor server enhancements and upgrades of CKEditor and Dojo (mostly required by browser upgrades), there have been no real officially-supported enhancements. That’s not to say there have been no improvements from IBM. A regular stream of updates to the XPages Extension Library - a set of open source components comprising a significant percentage of the XPages components - have been released on OpenNTF. Moreover, community enhancements and fixes have been incorporated into the Extension Library, including a number from me. The open source community have also contributed to expand the power of the platform, with open source projects like POI4XPages, OpenNTF Domino API and an API providing JNA access to IBM’s C API methods. There were also other equally significant projects, which it’s not my position to discuss.

But previous announcements to open source all components, provide encryption and update the version of Java have gone quiet. That’s IBM’s prerogative. But three years since the last significant set of core on premises enhancements, many people are growing impatient for a reason to commit their time and resources further. A further announcement of “something” is expected in the coming weeks, but what’s really needed is quality and timely releases, not words.

But as it’s IBM’s prerogative to choose their focus, it’s the prerogative of developers to choose theirs. Over the last 18 months I’ve expanded my knowledge beyond XPages, Domino, Java, and generic web development skills. I’ve built some experience of Vaadin, Websphere Liberty, graph databases through the Apache Tinkerpop API. Thus far, that’s all been in the context of IBM Domino. Over the past weeks I’ve been extending that further. And because it’s not really linked to Intec’s core business, it’s right for those blog posts to appear on a personal site.

So that’s the reason for this blog. And the first step will be a sort of “frame of reference”.