Full DXL round-trip of DESIGN ELEMENTS 
Use this IdeaSpace to post ideas about Domino Designer.

: 319
: 322
: 3
: Domino Designer
: DXL, Design, Database
: Rocky Oliver1843 26 Jan 2008
: / Email
There is another idea for Full DXL Round-trip, but it is for both design and data. This idea hopes to take smaller bites of the elephant that is DXL support. Lotus should begin by making design elements 100% round-trippable in the next version of Notes. This would open many doors to developers and ISVs, as well as Lotus dev itself.
I know that some members of management and engineering in Lotus do not believe that any extra effort should be put into DXL, because they believe that it is not being used. I say that this is a "chicken and egg" situation; if DXL was guaranteed to be 100% round-trippable on design elements, you would see a plethora of new development efforts in the community - and that hasn't happened because DXL is broken.
Lotus has released this API to the public, and right now it is broken. It is a supported API, and as such it should be given as high a priority as LotusScript and Java.

1) Axel Janssen6869 (26 Jan 2008)
DXL IS USED. I know people with a very traditional notes programmer background who use it a lot.
2) Christopher Byrne458 (27 Jan 2008)
I had never appreciated how much easier DXL would make my developer work easier until I started using it. Now I cannot live without it, and round-tripping would make it much easier (especially in version control).
3) David Wiser13 (27 Jan 2008)
In a session at Lotusphere, I heard Bob Balaban state that DXL round-tripping was on the list of things to support in 8.5. Of course, it was stated like a wish-list, and not a definite priority, but he did acknowledge that it was an obvious thing to fix.

I think being able to "export" both design elements and data to plain text format is an integral part of being an open architecture. If IBM wants us to believe that the products are embracing an open philosophy, this should be an essential part.
4) Don McNally1424 (27 Jan 2008)
I guess I don't understand why it doesn't work now. If you can export with (presumably) fidelity and can import, why doesn't it round-trip now? I'm not looking for an explanation; the question is rhetorical.
5) Richard Schwartz4594 (27 Jan 2008)
Since forms are basically rich text fields that contain some extra controls, and since the majority (if not all) of the problems in round-tripping data notes come from failure to fully represent some of the more esoteric rich text features, I think solving the design note problem essentially requires also solving the data note problem. Nevertheless, I vote Yes on this in addition to voting Yes on the more general idea.
6) Julian Woodward2032 (27 Jan 2008)
@5 you've said pretty much what I would say - it's hard to imagine fully solving design element round-trip without also cracking the data side
7) Charles Robinson8913 (27 Jan 2008)
@4 - It doesn't work now because it's broken. It neither exports nor imports with 100% fidelity across all design elements. Some design elements work better than others, though. DXL is buggy and poorly implemented, or as Rocky says, broken.
8) Jesse Gallagher13 (28 Jan 2008)
I've had tremendous success with DXL with what I've used it for so far (creating forms), so I can definitely say it's used and functional today, but I certainly wouldn't mind having the remaining gaps plugged.
9) Jim Roysdon1264 (28 Jan 2008)
I've tried to work with DXL, even attended a few LS sessions, but have yet to get it to work how I think it should I can see ALL sorts of uses for it, if we can just get it to work right.
10) Matt Retz13 (28 Jan 2008)
I use DXL quite successfully to allow end users to modify the design of databases without the need to learn to be designer. Let's bust this puppy wide open!
11) Mike Miller10 (28 Jan 2008)
I have used DXL many times with forms to locate keywords embedded in some of the events. Beats eyeballing the entire form and potentially missing something. With the benefit of an XML editor and a little knowledge of X-Path, you can take multiple design elements and locate every key item of interest. Round tripping would be an awesome final step to this process.
12) Andrew Magerman54 (28 Jan 2008)
Hell, yes, please please please. That way you can at last start automating small design changes from one database to another. Things like being able to make different language databases start becoming feasible. Yerrrss please!
13) Tim Tripcony875 (28 Jan 2008)
I suppose everyone already knows I'm a DXL fanatic, but it's exhilarating to see how many others realize the potential here. It truly is a "sky's the limit" item... if it works fully and reliably, there isn't much we won't be able to do in the way of integration between Domino and other platforms, dynamic generation and analysis of data and design elements... the potential is enormous.

To be honest, I use it constantly and have rarely encountered any problems with it (offhand, the only example I can think of is view selection corruption, and the first time I ever saw that actually happen was about three weeks ago, and that bug is already fixed in 7.0.3 and 8). However, a lot of people shy away from it because so many people talk about how buggy and incomplete it is. I do want them to finish all the pieces we can currently only get as encoded binary, but mostly I want them to fix the round-tripping so that we can all embrace this with confidence.
14) David Vasta2524 (28 Jan 2008)
To be honest. I understand the concept, but not really sure what to do with it. Let me say this, if Rocky says it's a good idea then it's a good idea. Hoo-Rah for Rocky!
15) Jason Hook2740 (28 Jan 2008)
@13 - I couldn't put it better!
16) Elijah Lapson668 (28 Jan 2008)
Yeah! Voting hits triple digits! Oh yes and I think DXL is very sexy as well.

17) Sean Cull604 (28 Jan 2008)
Round tripping would be great - I am a huge DXL fan but I regularly get frustrated by issues with it ( my on doing in some cases ). As an example :

We use DXL to send patches to customers so that we can replace a single form or view easily. Since layers are not supported in DXL in the 7.x codestream we have lost the ability to update any form with layers for most of our clients - even though layers were introduced in version 6

My request would be that no new design elements should ever be added to Notes unless they are dxl compatible

Please vote for this round tripping idea !!!
18) Mike Gray183 (29 Jan 2008)
Full fidelity would've been a major to boon to me whilst developing for a major project. I was able to dynamically program some key design elements about 99% of the way leaving that classic last 1% as the major time hog for finishing up.
19) Mac Guidera38 (29 Jan 2008)
What is the reason not to do this?!
20) Mr Frunobulax360 (29 Jan 2008)
In theory, if we had full round trip DXL one could start with an abstract model of an application (eg an EMF model) which described the data and relationship between the data and then, at the touch of a button, automatically generate the appropriate forms and views to implement the model as a Notes Database.
21) Bill McNaughton25 (29 Jan 2008)
I used it when it was first released for copying design elements but it was frustrating due to the many limitations. If it was more robust it would make the Notes design process much more dynamic and open up new markets for ISVs.
22) Julian Buss275 (29 Jan 2008)
We would use DXL heavily in our CRM software, but we don't since it's not 100% safe.
23) Rob Goudvis8695 (30 Jan 2008)
I vote for this idea.

But lately I switched to C API to do my manipulations on design elements. I created a LS that will generate a form based on some externally defined parameters. And I created another LS that does this for a view.
24) Ralf Petter78 (30 Jan 2008)
I have tried DXL to customize forms in our CRM database, but there are to many bugs and limitations. If Lotus fix the bugs and make this 100% reliable than i will be using DXL heavy in our databases.
25) John Dillon408 (31 Jan 2008)
I've been reluctant to try DXL because of the infidelity (ha ha) of the data on the round trip. However, if we knew that an import from a DXL export matched EXACTLY the original design elements, we'd have greater appreciation for it.

Additionally, and IMPORTANTLY, if you're using a Software Configuration Management (SCM) solution such as Perforce, you can use proper SCM tools for all your design elements at a far more granular level than the NSF container. At least, that's what I heard at Lotusphere: the upcoming Eclipse-based versions of Designer will support Perforce and its ilk.... I sure hope so!

But back to the main topic: PLEASE provide full fidelity in DXL for design elements in both directions.
26) Roy Holder13 (31 Jan 2008)
Anyone who thinks that DXL isn't used is living on planet Cuckoo. For both data and design manipulation (once you get the hang of it) there's nothing more powerful in the non-API development world.
27) Colin Macdonald95 (02 Feb 2008)
Yeah, having a working product feature that would ACCELERATE the growth of the product and LEVERAGE the efforts of the development community doesn't make sense and isn't a priority.

Sometimes you just want to take a cricket bat to these guys.

At the moment we can only realize 10% to 15% of the potential solutions using DXL because there is no 100% fidelity.

So IBM, get over yourself, yes it's going to be some work, but do it once, do it right and move forward!
28) Johnny Jiang23 (07 Feb 2008)
Yes, please do it IBM if you want Lotus Notes keeps living.
29) Harkpabst Meliantrop3799 (08 Feb 2008)
This seems to turn out as the acid test for how much IBM cares for IdeaJam results.

I still remember how impressed I was when the DXL Toolkit 1.0 beta was presented at Lotusphere Europe 2000 (and just to make it clear: that was back in September 1999). While it's good to see, that there are slight improvements from release to release, IBM really SHOULD take this seriously.

Personally, I had always assumed, that DB2NSF would be moved to storing DXL instead of BLOBs sooner or later. Maybe I was all wrong ...
30) Andre Guirard121 (08 Feb 2008)
I don't offhand know of anyone at IBM who thinks that development of DXL should stop or be de-emphasized (even before this leaped to the top of the list). "Round-trippability" is definitely a goal in development (no specific timeline commitment, as usual), but I think some DXL basics are even more important -- such as meeting our own validations, being able to import anything we export, and being able to export any design element (e.g. we have a problem at the moment with agents whose Document Selection is not formatted in a particular way).
31) Joerg Kopp20 (29 Feb 2008)
That would be great!
32) Rocky Oliver1843 (03 Mar 2008)
Andre, contact me via IM, and I'll give you a name of someone who is extremely opposed to it - and he's got say in whether it happens or not.
33) Arshad Mahmoud32 (10 Jun 2008)
I totally agree with rocky, if DXL was not broken, it would be used a lot more. It would be a great development tool. I have several projects that could use DXL if it could do a round trip.
34) Ken Haggman579 (05 Jul 2008)
The NotesHound set of tools were originally built around DXL.
Eventually, we have had to re-build the tools one by one using the C API, simply because the unreliability of DXL.
There are workarounds that sometimes can fix the problems but in many cases there are no solutions available for the bugs.
Seems like the DXL Exporter is more stable than the DXL Importer, which I guess is understandable.

Some bugs were fixed in 7.0.3, but there are still way too many around.
As a tool-developer, we just can't wait for IBM to fix the bugs, we have to build other solutions.

I have used DXL successfully on more than one occasion.
As an example, using it to build dynamic forms for a survey-creator application.

DXL has enormous potential, it's just a shame it doesn't work well enough to be trusted.
By IBM not being more responsive to fixing these things, it makes me believe it will never work well enough.
35) Frank Strunzkus350 (18 Mar 2009)
We tried to use DXL for checking in and out of design elements to subversion, but the project failed. Not because of the concept, but because DXL did not import what what was exported. Having DXL working properly would open many new options.
36) Luc Moreau13 (05 Jun 2009)
We use DXL a lot. Currently, we are working on a xpage project, and using a source control tool (GIT) based on a file system repository.

Each time we deliver, we need to rebuild the .nsf base from dxl. Works fine for most elements, but it's a real pain because XPages and custom controls are not understandable in DXL, and server side javascript dxl import is broken.

DXL is a fantastic tool. It deserves some support.


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