Project Spotlight: OpenLog, XPages OpenLog Logger, XLogBack

Paul Withers | 6 days ago | Comments
For this month's project spotlight, I wanted to highlight error logging. Firstly, it's worth making a clear distinction, that the projects on OpenNTF help with error logging. But error handling is a completely different topic and no framework, regardless of the language, can ensure errors are appropriately handled for custom applications. Error handling comes down to managing the process in which the error occurs in a way that best supports the user and application, to ensure quality and integrity of data. For example, proper validation on both server-side and client-side would fall under error handling, but if the developer doesn't apply validation correctly in the right places, errors won't be handled adequately. Error logging is designed to aid support, not improve data quality and integrity.

Domino has had logging in-built in its core API for some time via the NotesLog class in LotusScript, corresponding to the Log class in Java. This allows logging to a Domino database, an email, a file or each agent's internal log (accessible via Agent > Log) in Domino Designer. But like the core Java logging mechanism, many (and possibly most) developers have chosen a more extensive open source solution for Domino - Julian Robichaux's excellent OpenLog.

For anyone not familiar with it, OpenLog not only captures logging from LotusScript and Java, but also JavaScript. It captures considerable information, including client versions, user triggering the error, access levels and roles, source of the error and stack trace. This is invaluable for tracking down the actual cause of an issue and has, in the past, allowed me to quickly identify the cause of an issue was an upgrade to a user, when I wasn't even aware upgrades were planned. Logging also allows document links to be added, to help identify document-related causes. In addition, notification profiles can be set up and standard Domino archiving processes can be utilised to keep database sizes manageable.

When XPages came along, a server-side JavaScript version was created for TaskJam by Matt White, but the project was not Apache-licensed, causing a problem for other projects that wanted to utilise it. That is why XPages Help Application included a Java library based on Julian's original OpenLog Java Script Library.

But the opportunity for XPages-specific enhancements increased as XPages and knowledge of the framework matured. This caused its evolution into a separate project XPages OpenLog Logger, by the same author, Paul Withers. XPages OpenLog Logger supported easier use from SSJS, filtering of errors so the same error was not logged for multiple phases of the XPages lifecycle, capturing uncaught exceptions, greater configuration and flexibility using notes.ini or xsp.properties and much more. It also allowed the library to be deployed within each application or server-wide as an OSGi plugin. Full documentation has also more recently been migrated to OpenNTF's Confluence server, in a specific space. The database errors are logged to and form used have not been changed - it still uses the original OpenLog project. But it brings a greater flexibility to error logging.

For those utilising the OpenNTF Domino API ( a growing number of developers), XPages OpenLog Logger comes as part of that plugin, making it available to XPages, to other OSGi plugins and applications, or even beyond Domino, in CrossWorlds.

But beyond the Domino space, Java developers are used to a different standard error logging approach. Historically this has meant log4j, but that has evolved into and been replaced by LogBack. Serdar Basegmez has taken that library and integrated it as a separate OpenNTF project, XLogBack, for a more a more Java-ish way of logging. The documentation (available to browse in the readme file on the Stash repository) gives a nice table of comparison with XPages OpenLog Logger.

So whether you're still developing Notes Client applications or using XPages, DOTS and going beyond Domino, OpenNTF provides best practice options for developers from a variety of backgrounds.

If you're developing or have developed a project with just print statements or no error logging at all, consider working with either Serdar or Paul (or the other project chefs of XPages OpenLog Logger) to leverage proper error logging. XPages OpenLog Logger has already been integrated into projects like Resource Reservations Extended and we would be happy to help include more robust error logging in other OpenNTF projects. And if you are interested in the ICS Developer Contest, having XPages OpenLog Logger or XLogBack integrated by another person would constitute having multiple contributors, and therefore a team!

Build your Team for the IBM Collaboration Solutions Developer Competition 2016

Christian Guedemann | 7 days ago | Comments
Yes you should really think about participating the "IBM Collaboration Solution Developer Competition 2016". It will be fun and a real good experience.
Before I was the Chairman of OpenNTF, I had the chance to build myWebGate with our Development staff. We where a gang of 6 team members, but if you think 6 Developers... you would be wrong. My Friend Peter was our project manager and delegated from the management team to lead the financial aspects of this project like effort and deliverables. My role was more Enabler and Architect then developer. And to be honest behind the scene was Roman our CEO who had the role of the business sponsor. He was also in a way part of the team.

During my time of building XPages Toolkit and POI4XPages, I get a complete different view of what is my team, because I figured out that best request came from outside of our development team. To be honest for XPages Tookit and POI4XPages, the most important *team members* are the developers who use the framework and builds the applications. They are like the *Business Sponsors*. They know what they really want (If you are using one of this project and you are not part of the corresponding slack channel, join us today).

But now there is this absolute cool IBM Collaboration Developer Contest, which you have to attend as a team. Please rethink "Team". Because we are not talking about a "Team of Developer".... No we are talking about a Team. And I think your Team should contains the following type of members:
- Someone with a clever Idea or a real world need!
- The one who can develop the code for the clever idea
- A real good Tester
- Documentation? Yes documentation.... and there are People who loves to do documentation

So build your team,join the Competition!

Have fun
Christian

IBM and OpenNTF present: IBM Collaboration Solutions Developer Competition 2016

Christian Guedemann | 3 weeks ago | Comments