Friday, September 16, 2016

Thoughts on my XPages Experience

It is painfully obvious that XPages is on its way out as a technology solution.  Although I will always have a fondness for XPages, its time of relevancy was much shorter than I ever expected.
As someone who dived head first into XPages, I have no regrets learning the technology. What learning XPages taught me was invaluable for moving forward in the world of software development.  For me personally I am currently immersed in the java world.  Right now, I am only working on back end services, but I hope that this changes in the future.  Getting the job I have now would not have been possible without the experience gained using java within XPages. I plan on staying where I am for a long, long time.
So it occurred to me that sure, learning OneUI was a waste, there were many more lasting benefits that I gained from learning XPages.  Here are a few that come to mind.

  • Hands on Java.  I embraced the use of java managed beans, and used them over SSJS whenever it made sense.
  • Javascript. Even proprietary SSJS was beneficial in becoming very comfortable with the language of the web. The more you use something the better you are at it.
  • Bootstrap – still very popular and another skill used everywhere. 
  • JQuery – I used this heavily, and another skill that any developer is expected to know.
  • Relational database exposure – Because my company had a policy of using backend DB2 with XPages, I benefited greatly.
  • Dojo – I am not all that fond of dojo, but it is a skill that is good to know outside XPages. For instance, my company uses dojo as part of one of their key applications (not XPages).
  • Front end javascripts frameworks. This is the future here, and XPages opened the door for me in this area.
  • REST services – it was the XPages Extension Library that introduced me to this concept.  This goes hand in hand with the previous bullet point.
  • Using frameworks in General.  XPages taught me to see the benefit of using established framework to structure an application.

There are probably even more, but this is the list of skills that helped me the most. Because of these skills, I have entirely no regrets about diving headfirst into XPages. I loved working with it, and in some ways wished that time lasted longer.  XPages is still an incredible technology developed by some brilliant people, but market trends and business decisions have brought us to its current state.
If you are still developing XPages, do not feel that you are spinning your wheels, but also proactively plan for the future.

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