GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkAJAX Phone Directory Portlet With Domino Back-End
02:21:50 PM
Written By : Richard SchwartzCategory : AJAX With IBM Lotus Domino
Location : Nashua, NH

Jeff Crossett has posted some interesting code up on OpenNTF.

Ok, not really a portlet by JSR168 standards, but just an example of a portlet that uses AJAX methods to respond to phone directory queries. In a traditional directory portlet, a request to search for an incomplete employee last name would involve an HTTP post and a refresh of the entire page wrapper. This method does not rely on the portal server refreshing the entire page, but will query an XML view and display the results in a popup layer.

I find it a bit hard to reconcile AJAX with the portal/portlet paradigm. In a sense, they're a match made in heaven. In another sense, though, it seems to me that AJAX kind of subverts the whole idea of the portal server as the be-all, know-all, manage-all-state thing. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing :-)

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Comments :v

1. Jeff Crossett08/22/2005 06:37:10 PM

Definitely a situation where people should pick and choose carefully. I just figure all these little apps/portlets where security is not a priority (phone directory, user polls, weather, etc..) could easily be done this way and save some portal server resources. Of course, if the phone directory is served from the same box, then it's a wash.

2. Lance Spellman08/23/2005 09:46:55 AM

You've hit the nail on the head. Serious Domino developers have been looking down their noses at Portal for awhile. The prevailing attitude is one of, "I can do all that in Domino, why the heck do I need the overhead of a big Portal server."

My take is that Portal provides a nice component infrastructure, is easily themed, and has a good security model for dealing with multiple back-end systems (ala credential vault). It also has a number of pre-built portlet components, and a wider market for continued development of same. It's a standard that many people will be trained on.

Take the alternative of the single Domino guru who builds his own framework where very few people will ever know the underpinnings. While it builds nice job security for the guru, it does little for staff scalability or the IT depts ability to hire new people who can immediately jump in and be productive.

Now, add AJAX into the picture, and you can build a very "portal-like" environment for Domino. But you still have some of the underlying framework standardization issues. Adding AJAX to portal pages seems compelling to me in that you could still have the "wired" connections but now perhaps save the roundtripping to the server for the whole page. I haven't spent much time there yet, but I'm interested in getting into it.

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