Learning XPages … D8L55 is done … Puh

OK, I made it through the IBM XPages course D8L55. Not without a few hiccups, but they are minor.
First I had problems getting the db’s on the server. The darn thing – a Foundations Box with 8.5.1 FP4 – just refused to let me put copies or replicas of the databases in notesdata. The silly box always had the impression I had no right to do it. I used local replicas, which worked pretty well (I tried to create replicas today again and … sure, it worked – Argh).

The next issue. I should have used an English client. Sometimes it was pretty hard to find the German labels and the German help confused me more, than it helped.

The radio button exercise was the major hiccup. There must have been a huge change between 8.5 to 8.5.2. In the course I had to put for every choice a separate radio button, but there are only radio button groups as controls. As instructed I tried it with 3 different radio button groups, which all had the same name. That couldn’t work.

The last trouble shooting exercise should have shown a minor problem with a view header, instead it showed a complete runtime error for the whole page. But the fix was the same. I just did not learn anything from it.

All in all, it is a good course. You see quite a lot of important things and many concepts I struggled with before, are much clearer now. I can only recommend it. IBM really tried to get a course together, that gets you started. I am not an expert now, but at least I can continue on my own. Oh, and get an iPad or something for reading the stuff, that made my life a lot easier. I could even read about XPages in bed. Boy, it took only seconds till was fast asleep.

Now where I go from here. First to the fridge….









(got it from my local Coop. Amazing, that they have a sense of humor)

I think I am going to watch a few videos from David on xpages.tv … have to get chips.

Oh, Sonia thanks again for the course. If you are ever in the region, drop me something lite, like a note. I owe you at least a few beers or glasses of wine.
If somebody is also in the same position as me, no courses in your country, start whining. You will not get my course. I promised. I am a good boy.

PS: Is there already a Vulcan and a iPad CSS available?


Learning XPages … Struggeling with ressources

After a weekend of grape harvest, I should be in a better mood, but my father in law gave the grapes away to somebody … for free. We don’t even get to taste the wine. And it is especially annoying, because this year it took us ages. Wasps had damaged the grapes and we had to cut of everything dry. It was hell, but it gave me time to reflect, what I had achieved with XPages in two weeks.

First there was me whining about not knowing where to start. Then there was the avalanche of information that buried me. Where am I now?

I tried the redbook wiki. I read most of the first part, which was interesting and gave me basic information. Then I watched the first two hours of David Leeds stuff. That helped me a to go on, because the Redbook wiki is outdated. Next, I did the free TLCC course. Accidentally, there was a webcast about it at the same time, which helped me to go on. Then I bought the bible of Xpages development, „Mastering Xpages …“ and I started reading it. Now, if you are a hardcore developer, who thinks the only way to write code is in a simple text editor, you will like this. I for the matter, don’t see the sense in making my live harder as necessary, because in the end, we will all use every tool we can get to finish the work as fast and good as possible. And no, I don’t believe that learning a programming language is the same as learning any other language. That’s why I gave up learning XPages with „The bible“ on chapter 5. It will certainly help me later on as a reference, but reading XML all along, does not motivate me to continue. There is no doubt about the quality of the book, but often it just goes beyond the scope a beginner can handle (that’s why it is called „Mastering…“?). Now I am using the IBM course material, that was made available to me and I am happy. Really! Even though it looks like it was made for 8.5.1 and Windoof XP, it works for me. It takes a bit time, but I learned a lot in a short time. I am half way through it still makes fun.


Learning XPages … got „The book“…

Ok, I got the book „Mastering XPages“ and it is pretty good. I got it from Amazon as a Kindle book. What puzzled me first, was the size of the font. All my IT-books are rather big and fat, good for throwing after lions and kill them instantly. It looks like this one is a small size paperback in real life. Wouldn’t kill my cat.

The Amazon price is slightly lower then the IBM Press price, but if you buy through IBM, you get a watermarked version of the EBook with your name in it. Makes it your personalized copy … mon oeil! Why don’t IBM tells us, that they don’t like it, when you copy your Ebook for your „friends“? That would be OK, no? If I wrote a book, I would not like that either.

I have registered my copy with IBM press to get the download-able extras. AFTER registering the book using the ISBN number, I got a 35% off coupon. Argh. Now I have to buy the next book, too.

Now, somebody with lower moralities then me, could find out, that he (or she) could register the ISBN at the IBM Press site, get the coupon and THEN buy the book from IBM Press for 35% less… personalized for you if you wish. But that would be unfair, wouldn’t it? IBM makes it extremely easy to cheat.

The Kindle for Mac, is lousy. It hangs once in a while. On the iPad it works pretty good.

I run the Designer in Windoof 7 in Fusion. It isn’t very stable. Once in a while, it crashes while saving. Fortunately after the saving.
If I click on web preview button, it opens the text editor. I have to click on Internet Explorer but the settings are correct. Any idea what causes this?

Now back to learning XPages. It starts to make fun.




Learning XPages … and getting back from the dead

One week passed since I started whining about the resources out there for learning XPages. Boy, that stirred something up. I got lots and lots of help and even IBM woke up.
Sonia Malik send me the whole course D8L55G. Everything! I could even set up the whole course room, servers, everything (except the software). And before you ask, I can not share it with you. For my eyes only. Every page has a water mark with my name. I feel bit flattered. How did that happen?

What is the plan?
I have watched a few videos on xpages.tv. Since David Leedy’s experience is similar to mine, I get along with his explanations quite well.

Next I am going to finish the free TLCC course, which is a very good start and then I am will do the D8L55G course or I just follow „The book“ which was so often recommended – Kindle Edition.

Right now, I can not recommend the easiest way to learn XPages by yourself. I would prefer a classroom course. I don’t like videos too much, but I go with it, if necessary.

I would not use the Redbook. It is too far behind by now. The example I tried, does not work anymore.

I will start this week to build my first XPage application. Let’s see how that works.


Trying to learn XPages … and fail … probably not?

First of all. Thank you for your comments (apart the ones from that very annoying spammer. Need Nike or Lacoste?), they are very encouraging.
It helps a lot, when things get recommended and what it showed again, Google is not always your friend. Several things did not show up in my searches or I did not find them, because they where too far down in the list.

XPages TV: I am watching the first two hours of if right now. This does help a lot. There are several information’s I did not get anywhere else, but are very important for me to understand the structure behind it.

TLCC: I am doing the free course right now and I will be in the webinar today. I did only realize that the webinar is the course, once the confirmation arrived. It will be interesting.

The books: Once through all that stuff I am doing now, I will probably buy the Mastering XPages Book.
As I mentioned before, I have downloaded the Redbook and I am not too happy with it.

Others: Sonia Malik from IBM promised to drop me a few things from Lotus Education in a DropBox. I am looking forward to this.

In the news: Nicklas Heidloff has updated the link for the Learning XPages blog of Declan.

Bruce Elgort asks, where my problems are: Wanna talk about it?
No seriously, when you start something new, the problem are the mountains of information you know are there, but you can’t see them through the fog. Everybody has to find his way of getting the right information absorbed to make it work.
I am a top down person. Which means I go from a big picture to the detail. Or in other words, I take things apart, to find out how they work (drove my parents crazy). The other half of the population is bottom up, which means they build things up from parts to the whole. Now I have to find a book/tutorial/webinar and so on, that is done top down. David Leedy looks like to be my kind of guy. His presentations made it much easier for me to connect the dots. But I can not tell you a specific problem right now. I have to wade through the mud by myself, until it becomes clearer.

Where I go from here? Continue the TTCL course. Looking through the NotesIn9 presentations and start the little private project I am carrying around in my head for the past few month.

If it works out, I keep you posted and thanks again. That’s the spirit of the yellow universe.


Trying to learn X-Pages … and fail.

I am frustrated. The last two weeks I try to get into X-Pages. I looked at the different free tutorials, I downloaded the Red Book Wiki and now I am stuck.

First I refreshed my knowledge about JS and HTML/XML. Then I tried the first tutorial:


Did anybody realise, that the first two screen shots are the same? Looking at the comments, some did, but the error got not rectified since 2009. Does it make sense to follow a tutorial that is not up to date and uses a Domino Designer that is two versions behind? I don’t think so.

Next I tried that one from Declan Lynch:


If you see nothing, me neither. That’s the problem. Is it going to be fixed one day?

My last try was a Red Wiki example. I tried the second one. I got to the point where I had to import the .png files from the domino server. They are not there. Stuck again. It sucks.

A few month ago, IBM Switzerland asked if any Bussiness Partner was interested in X-Pages training. But they offered the advanced course, where you need X-Pages experience. How silly is that.

With all that bad experience behind me, I wonder who else gave up on X-Pages and moved to other pastures, just because they did not get the training they needed. OK, Switzerland may be the worst country you can be for Notes, but it is never too late to learn something new and since I don’t like web developement too much, X-Pages would be nice for my purposes.
Is there somewhere I real good tutorial that works and is up to date?


Networking, Name Dropping … how boring

Last friday I attended for the first time the alumni networking day at my old university. I am no friend of networking. I went there, because I was invited by my old friend Jan Martel, who happened to sponsor the event through his company Martel Vines. We had some very interesting speeches and I have to change my opinion about the host, Stephanie Berger she is an ex miss Switzerland and actually very funny. The a speech from Peter Hogenkamp, apparently the swiss social web evangelist, which was ok, but nothing new. More impressive was the presentation of Benno Kehl, a well known ex monk, who left the church for the love to a women. A very impressive person, who works with junkies and at the same time looks extremely happy. It took him six years to leave the church. The story about his decision to go with the love to a woman, is something I will remember.

Dieter Meyer from Yellow was there, too, but by far the most impressive speech  came from Ruth Metzler-Arnold.
Nobody of my readers will know her. She was a member of the Federal Council – the Swiss government (if you want to know, how Switzerland works, look here, if not, let me tell you, it is different from everything you know). Since I don’t care a lot about politics, I did not expect a lot from her. Boy, was I surprised. She talked about networking and how she feels that this new buzzword and trend is somewhat not the real world.  She believes, that part of her success is, that nobody knows her network and that it is not the quantity of connections that count, but the quality.
You don’t have just normal parties anymore after such an event, no more drinking beer with old friends, no, it’s networking. Everybody thinks, they are there just to meet the next customer. It’s like having a constant sales pitch. Name dropping is becoming a way of selling yourself.
Having friends is giving and taking. It’s not selling you or your company to everybody you meet. If parties are becoming huge sales events, we have lost our souls. In the end, one must come to the conclusion, that accumulating friends on Facebook, isn’t worth a lot. Sure, once in a while you will find a customer or even a friend through Xing or whatever else there is, but a real friendship develops only face to face.
Will I go again? Not at the normal price. It was nice to see it for once, but I don’t think, it will help a lot. Regarding meeting friends, just two other guys from my year where there and I did not get any business cards. Looks like I am not important enough or the networking part is a huge failure. Everybody is just there to meet old friends and have a good time … looks like it was just an ordinary party with a new name.