So IBM thinks it is important that all the LotusScript Developers transition to Java ... where is IBM Education?

September 8 2008

So Bob Balaban did some blogging this weekend on the transition of LotusScript developers to Java and Nathan Freeman blogged about some nuggets around Java and the Notes UI and Front End classes. While the complete message of what is coming is not anything that those of us in the Design Partner can communicate (I just wish IBM would blog/discuss this publically). The path that will come to a head with the final release of 8.5 (that is a guess, it could be 8.5.1 or later) should not surprise anyone and is a long time coming. It should put the Java and LotusScript developers on equal footing.

The problem here is that while IBM has gone out of it's way to preach why Java is so great AND that LotusScript is not going away, IBM has not giving us the tools to educate the typical LotusScript developer. Why has IBM Education not come out with courses and materials to help the LotusScript developer, who typically has no hard-core development background, move to Java? This has to come from IBM directly, not from a partner. We need a "How to write Java to build Notes and Domino applications for LotusScript developers" book and materials. We need the full weight of IBM Education put behind this ... NOW

And for anyone who wants to get snippy about how a Redbook could solve this, no it could not. We need something with lessons and tutorials and a guided path.

13 Responses to “So IBM thinks it is important that all the LotusScript Developers transition to Java ... where is IBM Education?”

  1. 1) Dan Soares says:

    AMEN to that!

  2. 2) Axel Janssen says:

    There are tons of free or cheap resources out there to learn Java:

    Javaranch, Head First books, free or cheap reference books, sun tutorials, there is even a 7 hours movie somewhere on the internet about how to get started with tdd in java on eclipse, blogs, podcasts, good certification program by Sun well respected in the market place, books, opensource projects etc.

    IBM education would only need to publish a map of those resources and maybe a schedule to motivate people. I guess there is no other programming language with so much introductory (and advanced) material out there.

    Whats required from the developer, is a certain grade of perseverance. I've seen people, who were against Java. Than they went to a 3 days event about Java for Lotus experts. They returned home with "expert source code", convinced about the language and never have written a line of Java after that.

  3. 3) John Head says:

    Alex, the best way to not have something get done it to rely on other people's work or resources. This should be from IBM with the IBM logo and stamp of approval. Period.

  4. 4) Curt Stone says:

    Great post, John!

    I'm trying to make this transition. I totally agree with you about some resources from IBM on this deal. I'll take any advice I can get and they should be able to give some guidance.

    Axel,

    I've done several of the "free" tutorials, taken a community college course and have worked through most of the Head First Java book. I'm still left a bit unsatisfied. One major issue I have is the ease to build a Notes/Domino "full" application in a one week class for instance with all the securtity, roles, database and UI features. In a Java, you get a few classes built with no UI, security or database that you have to use the command prompt to interact with. I'd like to see a tutorial that compares Domino application building with J2EE directly as John suggests.

  5. 5) Wayne says:

    IBM/Lotus does need to come out with a how-to/best practices way for doing things with Java. Java integration with the UI is'nt there yet, and most backend/XML stuff can be done with LS, so where is the incentive?

    Over the years, there have bee several articles on Dev-works which illustrate new features and provide example code and context, we need these articles for Java as well.

  6. 6) Jeff Gilfelt says:

    Axel has hit the nail on the head. I just don't see IBM ever being able to produce anything that could come close to the quality of resources like Javaranch and the Head First series of books.

    Look at the IBM certification program for Notes and Domino - it is a complete joke. A trained monkey can pass those exams (I know... I've had to work with some) and the classroom based training is inevitably delivered by someone with textbook knowledge and no real-world experience.

    Want to learn Java? Read Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates' Head First Java, sit the SCJP exam and write as much Java as you possibly can.

  7. 7) Axel Janssen says:

    Curt,

    build the Java app with what?

    EJB2 with Websphere -> bad idea, because especially Entity Beans 2 give more pain than help for simpler requirement and it will take a whole day to set up the environment

    EJB3 with Geronimo -> better idea.

    Spring with Tomcat, ibatis sqlmaps, spring mvc and a bit of dwr -> even better idea.

    Not sure, if Websphere department will like that.

  8. 8) Axel Janssen says:

    DISCLAIMER: Websphere might make a lot of sense, if you have to integrate a big backend infrastructure with 2phase-commit-requirements, a crew WAS Admin wizzards who know all that script automation stuff, etc. Not for a simple application to be developed in a week for comparision purposes with a simple notes application.

  9. 9) Curt Stone says:

    Axel,

    Your comments explain my confusion and clarify John's point.

    In Java, there's so many options to consider.

    I appreciate your comment here because folks in my shop use Spring and will tutor me in that direction. I've been working a bit with Eclipse IDE and it's cut some pain compared to working in NotePad.

    Thanks.

  10. 10) Adam Osborne says:

    John,

    Great idea, but getting IBM to release a book, on a Lotus product !!! This is the mob that no longer prints yellow books (no admin or designer manuals), making it near impossible for beginners to learn how to use their product in the first place.

  11. 11) Tony Palmer says:

    As someone who has already taken the Java bull by the horns, there are plenty of resource to learn pure Java (outside of a notes and domino environment). However, the hardest part was using the Java in Notes/Domino in anger, which is entirely due to the lack of adequate tools - not the lack of instructions, books or online tutorials. Jeff has got the idea - you need to do more Java to learn it.

    With the new set of features in 8.5 such as xPages and the Designer in eclipse, there is going to be a major learning curve for new and existing domino developers. This is where I think IBM education should get their act together - quickly.

    Curt - to qualify. There are lots of options to consider when building application in Java. This is more due to the frameworks and API's that you can use. Java the language, and the Java Domino API is not that much of a stretch from LotusScript.

  12. 12) Wayne says:

    IBM doesn't need to produce material to the degree of JavaRanch. What they do need is to take common LS constructs and show us (Java newbies) how to do the same or *better* in Java. And I don't mean a call for call translation - show us how Java programming structures can overcome limitations in LS, how and where to implement call back routines etc. Otherwise people will simply write LS procedures in the Java language.

    There is a reason LS became so popular, its' lack of complexity is actually helpful in a certain respect as it make review other people code (ie. lotus templates) easier to read and comprehend.

    Back to Java. The issue to learning Java is (a) learning the libraries and APIs' and (b) thinking in Java when building code as apposed to thinking in LS. Without guidance I think many LS programmers will simply stay in their comfort zone. If some of the tedious Java Doc research can be reduced with some well directed tutorials I think they'll get more people on board.

  13. 13) Tim Tripcony says:

    I think Wayne nailed it: just like with a spoken language, once you get firmly embedded in a programming language, you start to "think" in that language.

    A big obstacle to learning a new spoken language is the temptation to try to speak each word in the new language while still thinking of the equivalent word in the old language... and it's often the same with programming. While there's significant overlap between the core product objects in LotusScript and their equivalents in the Notes Java API, a lot is missing. For example, although there's a DxlExporter Java class that's almost identical to the NotesDXLExporter LS class, there's no DomParser Java counterpart to the NotesDOMParser LS class. That would be silly, because Java already has a glut of XML processing classes... but it'd be nice if that were actually mentioned or even hinted at in Designer Help. In other words, as Wayne pointed out, it'd be nice to see some documentation on the gaps between LS and Java, and "real world" examples (compared to the pit.i.ful examples in Designer Help) of how much raw power you can harness by switching to Java. Until that happens, many LotusScripters are going to maintain the attitude that LotusScript is all they need.

Leave a Reply