Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I have to say, Portlet Factory is pretty cool

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I'm currently in the process of writing an article for developerWorks to describe the process of creating portlets that use the Lotus Connections APIs.

As you know, I'm a "true" developer. Thus, I cringed at the thought of using tools such as Visual Basic (back in the day) or Portlet Factory. I didn't feel comfortable having a machine generate code for me. I didn't feel comfortable not owning the solution. I didn't feel comfortable not writing a single line of code. I didn't feel comfortable not being in control. What if the machine generated code didn't perform well? How complicated will it be to build a UI with drag-n-drop? And so on, and so on...

Anyway, as I was saying, about a month ago a co-worker approached me and pitched the idea of creating an article that described how to use the Lotus Connections APIs from WebSphere Portlet Factory. I looked around and found no step-by-step example on how to do this. I only found a site with some examples, but it didn't explain how those examples were built. Therefore, I figured it would be of great value to the community to create this and, at the same time, it would be a good learning experience to get to know Portlet Factory.

Fast forward to today, and my section of the article is done! I was able to write two portlets that talked to each other and retrieved data from Dogear by using its RESTful APIs. And how much code did I have to write? I had to put together 10 lines of HTML!!! That's right! I didn't have to use Java, XML, Atom feeds, JavaScript, or anything like that!!!!!

I did run into two snags, but I was able to resolve them within hours thanks to the WebSphere Portlet Factory Support Forum. Stay tuned to the Lotus Connections developerWorks page where the article should be posted in the coming weeks!

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