Accessing advanced properties from an XPage component

A question from the business partner forum was asked how to access a components preference, the ones entered in the Advanced Preferences panel in the Composite Application Editor.  I got this tip from Padraic Edwards on the XPages team.  This should help anyone wanting to get an XPage component into a composite or an Eclipse based perspective.

I edited my XPage component to include a new property named “BobsValue” with a value of “The Value is RED”:

xpage-comp-props-1

What you have to do in the XPage application is access it using the context API’s.  First thing you need to do however is add a parameter with the same name in the component definition.

xpage-comp-props-2

Now when you access the property in your XPage event or page you simply call the method as follows:

context.getComponentParameter("BobsValue");

Here I just printed the value to a dynamic label on the XPage component:

xpage-comp-props-3

Buyer’s Guide to SaaS E-mail

So I just got my Information Week and there is a great article in it called “Buyer’s Guide to SaaS E-Mail“.  You won’t see the nice comparison table in the online article – which is why I get the printed version – so I will attempt to explain a little of it here.  In a nutshell, IBM Lotus Live is the cheapest by far when you include the fact encryption is included for free.  It is tied for the lowest amount of free disk space (1 GB) with NaviSite but I am not entirely sure if that is a blocker for many.  What I am surprised is how many companies are trying to get into this game.  The table shows 10 players which include the usual cast (IBM, Microsoft, and Google) and of course 7 others, a couple other popular companies but most of which I have not heard of.  The author goes into some detail about Active Directory integration and how most SaaS providers will not offer it.  Interestingly enough, the article barely mentions IBM or Lotus but the chart clearly shows its one of the least expensive options.

You can learn more about Lotus Live and what it offers on the Lotus Live site.

Should the Lotus Notes client be an Open Social container?

When you think about the different sites out there that offer “integration” with other technologies you quickly think about sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, SalesForce.com, etc.  You also see products like the Lotus Notes client becoming more and more aware of these other sites as explained in the post by Ed and how Howard Stern uses Lotus Notes.

So while you can do this with the many technologies introduced to Notes 8.x, should it even be easier by making Lotus Notes an Open Social container?  Where web applications based on the specification can be easily integrated on the glass with the beefy rich client?  Being based on Eclipse and with the introduction of E4 technologies into the proper versions of Eclipse things like this is becoming a quick reality.

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VMForce.com looks interesting

I was actually researching the OpenSocial specification and did a Google search on what sites use OpenSocial.  To no surprise, there are clearly two camps here – Facebook and OpenSocial.  With the announcement of MS Office for Facebook you can clearly see the two camps that have been formed.  Check out an interesting slide presentation from Jawad Shuaib – yes it was posted quite some time ago but I think it is still somewhat relevant (you can also see it below).  One small point is that SalesForce.com supports OpenSocial and it is arguably an extremely successful product.  With the introduction of VMWare integrated with SalesForce.com services (vmforce.com) the development platform potential is amazing.  Check out the article written by Bernd Harzog where he outlines some of the speculations of what this will actually be.  A key attractive point from one developer (me) is this:

“Then how about if developers of Force.com applications are given the option of building these apps in the traditional SalesForce.com tools, or also via Spring, Groovy, and Grails (the SpringSource development tools). This would in the long term get SalesForce.com out of the developer tool business, which it probably does not want to spend money on in any case.”

Kids writing games with XNA

Bradley Jones has two great articles for programming XNA (XBox games).  I really like XNA and played with it for quite a while.  I think it is the perfect tool set and framework to get into game programming.  The framework hides a lot of the dirty details with video, sound, and synchronization but also allows you to really dig into the concepts at a fairly low level.  Check out these two articles and when you mix the tooling with other freely available tools like GIMP, Blender, Audacity, and ImageMagick.

Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and XNA Game Studio

Moving Items with Microsoft Visual Studio, XNA Game Studio and A GamePad

Did Microsoft just derail Google?

I am pretty sure most, if not all, of the readers of this blog have read about or have seen Microsoft Docs and how it integrates with Facebook.  There was another article on ZDNet that asked this same question “Is Microsoft Docs really a ‘Google Docs killer’ and four other questions (and answers)“.

I think this is a great play for Microsoft because Facebook is so damn popular right now; they are going to hit a ton of young and old users right out of the gate.  A key line from the ZDNet article is this:

“Those documents will always have the polish and finish of Office as they move easily from the cloud to the desktop to a mobile device and back. No one else provides this type of seamless experience across the PC, mobile phone and browser.”

The challenge I think is, are people really going to use this on Facebook?  I do not know many people who are using Facebook for actual business data.  I can see this as a play for Microsoft’s future – ie. get our kids hooked on MS Office so they are trained for it when they hit the business world.  And when they hit the business world they will just expect a “seamless experience across the PC, mobile phone and browser”.

Oh Canada…

2010-canada_034_tnThe trip is over, after 4 days with 5 kids and just me and Kim I think I need a vacation!  I lived in New York almost my entire life and I had never been to the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls.  As you can see from the pictures the falls are a lot different from the other side – it was very cool!

We went on just about every attraction related to the Falls as you can.  The Maid of The Mist boat ride was awesome, of course it was like taking a shower but the ponchos came in very handy.

2010-canada_036_tnThe horse shoe falls are much more exciting than the American Falls.  We went behind them in one of the tours and then we watched the Niagara Fury video along with the new attraction – the kids loved it and learned a lot.  Going behind the falls was somewhat anti-climatic since the only thing you saw was falling white water – which, in the pictures just looked like a bright white wall behind everyone.

There was certainly a lot of mist on the boat ride!

My favorite quotes from the 5 kids (who ranged from 7 years old to 15) are these:

“Is France in Canada?  No.  Then why do they speak French?”

“Can someone roll down the window, someone is breathing all of my air?”

“Are most Canadians left handed?”

On the way home – “What state are we in?” (btw, we live in NY and its attached to the Falls).

I also wanted to say thank you to all of the kids, you were great!

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