Category Archives: IBM

Watson Workspace & Work Services needs Code, Code, Code, Community, Code, Code and even more Code and Community….

IBM has give us glimpse of their plans for the future. IBM has understand the power of conversation. Everything mankind has ever done is based on conversation. Ideas, Research, Progress, Contracts, Family, Love and even Dispute, Conflicts and Wars are based on Conversation. Conversations are the base of our human being. You can believe it or not, but God himself use conversation as part of his creation process. God speaks and thing happens. And so we do to. We speak, make plans and then things happens. But Conversation is a chaotic process. Sometimes it follows some rules, but that’s not the nature of conversation. Imagine computer could follow our conversation, could summaries, could give us advises what kind of action we have to do to fulfill our plans. How powerful would this kind of cognitive capabilities be.

Having BigData and the capability to analyse this data is great. Making strong decision based on this result, also great and needed in our world. But understanding conversations…. that’s a complete different story. And IBM has made the first move to enter to this story by releasing the Preview of IBM Watson Workspace. And with the release of IBM Watson Workspace, we as Developers became also access to the public API. And as Developers, we ask always for documentation, and yes there is documentation. But take a look at the following conversation that Paul Withers and I had during developing our first prototype:

slack-watsonThe fun part was, that all the info that I gave to Paul came to me by two approaches.

  1. I had read the documentation
  2. I had tinkered with the API and found the solution by myself

But I’ve als to give credits to Luis Benitez who convinced my with his explanations that the way I’ve done it, was the right way. My learning curve and also Paul’s Learning curve where part of a conversation and also part of a community approach.

To unleash the power of Watson Workspace its a must to have a community. Watson Workspace is not “another chat tool”, it should become the place where conversations happens and conversations can be analyzed with the cognitive capabilities of Watson Work Services.

But how to build a community? Do we have to multiply the conversation that Luis, Paul and I had? Writing Blog Posts? What is the UNIQUE and UNIVERSAL Language of an Open Source Community? You wont belief. It’s Code. Code, Samples, Snippets. Code is one of the purest form of conversation. If you write a Unit test, you express yourself what you expect to see that your code will do. To learn an API, we do not need to understand all the concepts and Ideas at first, we need simple, nice and well designed code.

Lets start to build code! Let’s start build a community! Here is my first code sample in Python:

Have Fun



One last thing. Watch this video and try to understand why I want to be more focused on providing code:

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Posted by on October 28, 2016 in Community, Development, IBM, Java, OpenNTF


XPages Designer Plugin 4 Eclipse – The Basics!

First, and please keep it in mind, I’m talking about XPages. Nothing more, nothing else. Some years ago, in an open discussion between the XPages Community and the XPages Development Team, we agreed that it would have a huge value, to have a XPages Designer which is based on the latest and greatest Eclipse Release and can be installed as Plugin / Addon.

But where to start? Try to make the IBM Domino Designer loadable from Eclipse? Extract the relevant Plugins from the IBM Domino Designer and make them installable? Or? All this approaches seems to be a pain. So I started to RETHINK the whole stuff.

What does the IBM Domino Designer make, when he has to build an XPages Application?

  1. Convert all XPages / CustomControls to Java Files
  2. Compile all Java Files to classes
  3. Attach all the results in the .NSF Files on the right place

You think this is too simple? Things are become complex without our help 🙂 But let’s assume that this is the way how the IBM Domino Designer builds the XPages Stuff. If you want to proof it, open a Notes Application in the navigator view in the IBM Domino Designer and you will find the following:


Adminsettings.xsp becomse (xsp Package) and then Adminsettings.class & Adminsettings$AdminsettingsPage.class

So how does the IBM Domino Designer this? And is there some special knowledge needed to figure this out? I try to explain it with a simple example. The XPages is an XML file, which describes the combination of Components. Lets assume we have in that file the component . The IBM Domino Designer parse this file and will hit the tag. Based on the xp the IBM Domino Designer searchs all Plugins that are responsible for the XP prefix. If you build your own Plugin, you have to specify an own namespace, like wgcpoi. wgcpoi holds all tags for POI4XPages. But lets go on with the xp:panel. It will figure out which plugin is responsible and the .xsp-config file in the plugin describes what with a panel tag has to be done. It will figure out that a panel tag is hold be a component and it will also give back the name of the class that is responsible for the xp:panel.

With the knowledge of the class name, the IBM Domino Designer build a function that creates a UIComponent (the root of all components) and instantiate the class like this

private UIComponent createPanel(....) {
         UIPanelEx panel = new UIPanelEx();
         return panel;

For each property that is defined in the XML there is a corresponding setter defined in the .xsp-conf. This is the way how the designer builds the Java .class. I know it sounds simple, but there is some more complexity.

Now this class is be compiled and then the whole package is stored in the .NSF.

Already open sourced!

The fun part now is, that the transformation of .xsp -> .java is already open sourced. It is in the XPages Bazaar available.

XPages Designer Plugin 4 Eclipse

Based on all this I’ve builded an Eclipse Plugin that does the following:

  1. Build an NSF like project structure
  2. Transform .xsp -> .java
  3. Compile .java -> .class
  4. Build a .xpjar of all the files and publish this to a IBM Domino Server with some build instructions

On the IBM Domino Server runs a Plugin that receives the .xpjar File (via http) and does

  1. Parse the build instructions (JSON)
  2. Access or create the target Database
  3. Loop thru the .xpjar and produce the neede “Note” Documents in the NSF to store the produced and compiled files.

While I get you some Insides now, I’m working on the first Alpha release. All I’ve pointed out works like a charm, but the preparation of the environment is not “Alpha” ready. But stay tuned 😉

And have fun




Posted by on April 2, 2016 in Java, OpenNTF, XPages


Building NSF using the maven headlessdesigner plugin from OpenNTF

Building NSF using the maven headlessdesigner plugin from OpenNTF

Sometimes I think it would be good to have an assistant who does finalize all my tasks. Specially the tasks, I was not aware that I did not deliver all information to the community. And what a shame, one of my most favorite project was such an unfinished business. The real bad thing was, I didn’t blog about how to use all the code I’ve developed while I was last time in Ireland to meet my friends at IBM.

But a nice blog post by Eric McCormick ( reminds me about my duties. Now Eric, time to explain you how simple you can build full XPages Applications with the headlessdesigner-maven-plugin:

The Project Setup

I’m using the JUnit4XPages Project to explain how to build the example database with the headlessdesigner-maven-plugin. This project is fully mavenized and uses the tycho plugins to build the plugins, feature and the updatesite. The project is with a parent – child structure organized. The following stuff in the parent is relevant for the building of the XPages Application:


ddehd.designerexec and ddehd.notesdata are in this example “externalized” to the environment variables notes-designer and notes-data. Both values are import to invoke the headlessdesigner-maven-plugin. With mvn clean install -Dnotes-designer= -Dnotes-data= can the build be customized.


There is an additional profile, which is only executed if the notes-designer variable is seted. This has the good behavior, that the NSF is only build, if you have specified the location of your IBM Domino Designer. The module org.openntf.junit.odp is with purpose at the end of the  sequence, because we need the updatesite first.

The org.openntf.junit.odp contains in the sub directory “on-disk-project” the on-disk representation of the NSF, which means all the code. This Code need the org.openntf.junit.xsp.feature installed on the IBM Domino Designer environment to build. This is the reason, why we build the updatesite before.

The headlessdesigner-maven-plugin supports the deployment of the feature. The pom.xml for org.openntf.junit.xsp.odp looks like this:


ddehd.odpdirectory points to the on-disk-project. Pro Tip: Take this in a subdirectory otherwise the IBM Domino Designer eats your pom.xml ;).

ddehd.targetdatabasename contains the name of your resulting database. is used to build a timestamp that matches the format of the feature.

feature.url points to the file location of the updatesite. This is very powerful, because you can also point to a URL and I think also to a p2 repository. This means for XPages Application, you are capable to point to all the updatesites of the dependencies you have (yes there is a reason why every new plugin project at OpenNTF should have a p2 repository, and why we push them on the website, more about this later)

feature.version calculates the current version number. We are using for this the org.codehouse.mojo / build-helper-maven-plugin

In the plugins section is the org.openntf.maven / headlessdesigner-maven-plugin with all additional configurations. I want to point to the features / feature block, where you can define all the features that has to be installed for the headless designer to be able to build your application.

templateBuildNames and templateBuildVersion is a powerful add-on from Jesse Gallagher and results in the following information on the database:2016-03-26_22-14-32

With all that configurations, I’m now able to start the build direct from my eclipse


And it will build the full project:


Done…. (btw. the headlessdesigner-maven-plugin is available in the maven central repository, no installation needed for this, only the IBM Domino Designer must be installed).

Have Fun!


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Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Java, Maven, OpenNTF, XPages


Another nice journey with Maven – or how to sign a jar file

Yes I love Maven, for sure. Maven gives you the capability to build project everytime the same and in every environment. I often explain Maven as a brilliant facility manager, who is able to put all the build, test, package and delivery instruments togehter and then build all the stuff according to your building instructions.

But what if I have to sign a JAR file with a code signer certificat? And this certificate is owned by another company, and they will not provide this certifacte to me. How can I setup a project with Maven that let me build and sign the project by a selfsigned certifacte, while my customer other my build server can use the code cert?

First step…

I need a selfsigned code certificat in a keystore. Read the following tutorial on how you can do this Add this keystore now to the project. My keystore is named awfstore

Once we have done this, let the Maven project know that we want to sign the jar file by adding the following snipped to the build section in the pom.xml.


We are using the “maven-jarsigner-plugin”. The configuration is done by some variables, starting with “sign.”. The values for this variables are definied in the properties:


You can build now the project and it will sign your project with the certificat awf from the awfstore. Replace this values, with your values. But how can we achieve that a Buildserver like Jenkins or Atlassian Bamboo can use other values?

Add the following definition to your pom.xml:


This will activate the Profile compSignerKeyStore, which will override the variables with new settings. This settings can be placed in the setting.xml of your Buildserver or of any developer. It can looks like this:


Have fun


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Posted by on November 26, 2015 in Java, Maven, OpenNTF


Maven and XPages Plugin – From Scratch / Part IV The feature

While Switzerland was covered with snow, the OpenNTF Base project has made some progress. There are two new plugins, one is org.openntf.base and the other is org.openntf.base.lib.internal.

org.openntf.base contains all the stuff to register the plugin collection as an extension library and also all “Top Level” classes. org.openntf.base is designed to have all the dependencies to the XPages engine. I try to make org.openntf.base.jaxb.dxl with less dependencies to other plugins, as possible. specially not any dependency to the XPages Engine (as I sad, I TRY). My intention is to reuse the org.openntf.base.jaxb.dxl part also for Notes Client plugins.

org.openntf.base.lib.internal contains all the JAR files which will be used in the org.openntf.base package, but not exposed to the Desinger Client. Maybe there will be a org.openntf.base.lib.external plugin, which contains jars of useful java libraries, that could also be used at the Designer Client level. GSON and GUAVA are candidates for this.

Btw. the org.openntf.base.jaxb.dxl.testsuite is also moved to org.openntf.base.testsuite and is now a fragment of org.openntf.base

Ready for the next move? ….. we need a feature to bring all the plugins under one umbrella. (Btw. the testsuite Fragment will not be part of this feature!)

It all begins with a new ………. module!


And the packaging type of this plugin is “eclipse-feature”221

Once we have the new project, we need to files:

  • feature.xml
  • build.properties222 223

Lets open feature.xml and fill the following stuff into the editor:224

On the plugins tab, please add all the plugins you need225

And on the information tab, please fill at least the Copyright Notice. Without it, you wouldn’t belive, but the feature is not loaded in the Designer Client.226

And on the build tab, please select feature.xml227

Check if everything is fine with your run configuration “clean install”

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Java, Maven, OpenNTF, XPages



Maven and the magic of profiles

Maven and the magic of profiles

POI4XPages has a module called poi.assembly. This module builds the final ZIP file which can be uploaded to the OpenNTF website. One step in the assembly is that the module downloads the source code direct from github. This step takes a lot of time, so each mvn clean build takes a lot of time, because the assembly line is also executed. Fortunately Maven has a concept called profiles. Maven let you define different profiles. In the POI4XPages case, I’ve built two different profiles, which contains different set of modules:

200Each profile has its own id tag. The default_no_assembly profile is activated by default. The <activation> markup let you activate also profile by defining environment variables.

I’ve now to different run configuration in my eclipse client. To run the default profile, I use the following:


But if I need the assembly profile, I use the following configuration:


Merry christmas!

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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Architektur, Java, Maven, OpenNTF, POI4XPages, XPages



Maven and XPages Plugin – From Scratch / Part III – The Testsuite

Part I has covered the building of the parent pom.xml, Part II was about the plugin and now in Part III we talk about the test suite. It’s fair to say that this part seems not to be very interesting, but in this Part we talk also about the why.

Why do I make the org.openntf.base.jaxb.dxl plugin?

The core purpose of the jaxb.dxl plugin is to convert a DXL export of a document, or of some design elements into an object based representation. Imagine this: You have a document with 2 rich text fields, one is a traditional rich text field and the other is mime based. For some reason (like transforming the content of the rich text field to a POI document or PDF document) there is an interest in the structure of this rich text field. A simple export as DXL and conversion to this java objects which are cascaded helps a lot.

Or you have this database, and you want to scan the content of all design element for a specific @Formula….. Export the database to DXL and convert it with jaxb to java object tree. And the scan the tree and analyse.

But why not start with the implementation, that sound better than testing!

Agree. Implementing is always better than writing test for the sake of writing tests. But after reading the book “Test Driven Developement” by Kent Beck, my understanding of test has changed. Tests explains what I want to do. Read the following test:


This test covers my user story “Reading a dxl-document.xml and convert it to a java object structure”. To make this test work, I’ve to writte a lot of implementation stuff, so stay tuned.

The next Maven module -> org.openntf.base.jaxb.dxl.testsuite

Again with the eclipse client:


select as packaging type “eclipse-test-plugin”:

152And we have a new project.

And now repeat the following steps, like you have done for the plugin in Part II

  1. New file called MANIFEST.MF into the folder META-INF
  2. New file called

Open the MANIFEST.MF File and go to the MANIFEST.MF Tab and enter the following stuff:

153The directive “Fragment-Host” makes this plugin to a fragment of org.openntf.base.jaxb.dxl. This is the best behavior to separate test and implementation in a plugin.

Open the File and go to the tab. Enter the following stuff:

154Now is a good moment to do a right-click on the project go to Plugin-Tools and execute “Update Classpath”

Open the MANIFEST.MF again and add the following dependency. This is needed that we can start writing our test class.


Let’s write the first Test:


We have also imported the dxl-db-test.xml and the dxl-document-test.xml. This documents were produced by a nice simple DXL Export.

To make the test compile (STEP 2 in TDD), we have to import the XSD File for domino_9_0_1 and convert it to classes. We use for this the JAXB import

JAXB Import of the domino xsd


Start with menu “New” and select the JAXB Classes from Schema Wizard


Select the target project for the import (yes our plugin)


If you do not have the domino_9_0_1.xsd in a project in your workspace, you can import it from your Notes/Data directory


Please specify carefully the package, where the classes should be produced. Existing classes will be overwritten (note to myself, move the DXLActivator Class to an other package or a level up)164

Select finish. The import will now generate a lot of classes.

You can now resolve the import of the Document object (yes its a …jaxb.dxl.Document object)


Time to finish the compilation problems in the test class.

Create the ConvertorFactor in the plugin (see the package that I select? It’s outside of the dxl package, because the content of this package was generated before).


We build also a dummy implementation of “convert2DocumentFromStream”. 167

Only one step, and we can test (with executing our runtime configuration)

We have to include the *.xml Files in our binary build. We open for this step the MANIFEST.MF and add the 2 files


Lets build the project by executing org.openntf.base clean install169

Oh yes the build fails! This is total ok at this point, because our test fails, and a failing test should stop our build!

Now its time to have some fun and finalize the plugin… The next Part will cover how to build the feature and the update site

If you wanna follow the project, please watch this repository on

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Posted by on December 23, 2014 in Architektur, Java, Maven, XPages


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