IBM Bluemix – take your skills to the cloud

This article was originally posted on and is being reposted with permission (Feb 2016)


For whose of you who do not know me. my name is Mark Roden and for those who do not know me I am a Web Developer for PSC Group LLC in Chicago,IL.

I have been awarded the honor of being an IBM Champion for 2014 and 2015. You can find out much more information about me on my blog – and you find me on twitter @MarkyRoden

My Evolution

My career has been built on Lotus Notes, Domino and in the last 4 years XPages. I call myself a web developer because that is what I do, I build websites.

What my progression through Domino and XPages has taught me is that evolution and progression as a developer is essential, necessary and a lot easier than having to deal with other people forcing you to adapt on their time frame.

Everyone is different, some are drawn to the logic of a database interaction some to the user experience and some in the middle. Many classic Notes developers kinda fell into it without having a classic programming background. The great thing was Notes was the Model (Data), the View (Notes form) and the Controller (LotusScript) all at the same time. This made life easier, quicker and ultimately served the point of Rapid Application Development.

Today “RAD” is often done using tools which don’t require any programming whatsoever. With online tools like Quickbase and a host of others, users are able to create websites which collect and process data, run basic workflows, send emails and perform tasks, without programmers. But there is still a pervasive need for programmers, to automate those tasks which cannot be simplified to a couple of screens and an approve button.

Programming The Future Cloud

Cloud is something which has been around forever. From Compuserve to yahoo mail, cloud as a service has existed for decades. What has changed is not only a better marketing strategy of managed services, but a general acceptance that connectivity, security and critical business services can be run on other people’s networks.

Cloud is many thing to many people, Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (Paas). In our XPages world the cloud we have been able to use for a while not is Softlayer which is really IaaS. Someone else provides the hardware and network connectivity, but you have to run the server and patch it yourself. Platform as a Service takes care of that as well for you. With a PaaS you are entirely responsible for how “much” of a server you need, not the server itself. For more on what is cloud check out this link (

IBM Bluemix

IBM Bluemix is a Platform as a Service (mostly) cloud offering and XPages is coming to it. In June 2015 IBM will release XPages in two available forms within Bluemix. The release will be “experimental” which means

  1. Free
  2. Not perfect yet but in principle functional.

XPages will be offered as a “Build Pack” which means you can use the underlying XPages JSF runtime to build your apps on it, and it will also be offered as purely a data storage NSF. This means that you will be able to use a non-XPages buildpack to be able to run your web server/application server and use Domino as a data store.

To find out more about IBM Bluemix you can sign up for a free account at – for at least the next 6 months the XPages runtime and data store will be free to use without limitations. Once it goes from Beta to production ready the cost will be based on usage.

Your Evolution

Going back to my original point of evolving as a developer, this is an amazing opportunity to be able to play with something completely new, while at the same time using something which is completely familiar. Ignoring all the business benefits of a PaaS for the moment and focusing solely on a personal growth perspective, this is an amazing opportunity to learn.

Within the Bluemix environment, one of the things I have learned to appreciate is the working tutorials which are provided. IBM is also pumping out lots and lots of example blog posts and code samples so that you can begin to learn all the cool features.

If you have been struggling with XPages and or the idea of writing Java – no worries!! Bluemix gives you an opportunity and a chance to still work with something you know, the data model (Domino data), and at the same time learn something new like node.js (A powerful, scalable web server coded entirely in JavaScript).

Evolve yourself, it will be the best decision you have made in years.



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