XPages is now available as an experimental release in Bluemix. As of July 2015, anyone can sign up for a free Bluemix account and try out the new XPages in the cloud capability.
What does Experimental mean?
Within Bluemix there are three levels of capability “completeness”. Experimental, Beta and Production ready. Experimental has no Service Level Agreement, no promise of availability and the code base can change at any time without notice. The reason IBM uses this level of completeness is to test drive an application’s capabilities and to elicit feedback from users. They understand that XPages in Bluemix is different than what we are used to on premesis. There is some getting used to the difference in coding patterns when we want to to “@DbName()” for example is now – bluemixContext.getDataService().findDBName().
So experimental means is that it is not production ready and IBM is honest and open about it. For me, it is better to have something than nothing and exciting to thing that in some small way I might be able to help drive the direction of the platform in this manner. Don’t forget – so can you !
The current version of XPages release on day 1 does not have all the same features as an on premises installation. For one, as a developer you do not have direct access to the server, you do not have programmatic access to the server. Your code will run as a designer, but never as an administrator. You cannot have multiple databases on the same application route. This means that many on premises application cannot just be ported straight to Bluemix. Notes client applications will not run in Bluemix (oh well eh……..)
And at the same time there are features and capabilities within Bluemix that are not available on premises. Some examples are:
- Scaling you application and running it on multiple instances
- Automatic failure and restart if the application crashes (which is does, this is experimental after all)
- Integration with a multitude of services that do not exist on premises
- Git source control integration at the click of a button
- Devops capabilities like:
- Automatic Build and deploy
- Monitoring and Diagnostics
- API Monitoring tools
- Hybrid capabilities
- The ability to run an XPage application securely, in the cloud, while accessing data securely through an encrypted tunnel back inside the enterprise.
- and the list goes on……
- and on…..
Feedback for IBM
If you have any questions and or would like to get more information on XPages in Bluemix there are a number of ways you can do that:
- Developerworks Bluemix Questions https://developer.ibm.com/answers/smart-spaces/12/bluemix.html
- Stackoverflow: Tag with [Bluemix], [XPages-Runtime], [XPages], [XPages-Service] http://www.stackoverflow.com
- The XPages forum: http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/xpagesforum.nsf
So how can I get started?
- Go to http://www.bluemix,net
- Sign up for a 30 day free trial
- Follow the instructions and guides shown below
- Watch videos, read blogs and learn
I started using Bluemix so that I could prepare for XPages arrival, but also so that I could learn new technologies like nodejs and cloudant. As I mentioned before, I strongly recommend you take this as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn something new.
To get you going here are some resources to check out for more information
- XPages runtime help – https://www.ng.bluemix.net/docs/starters/xpages/index.html
- XPages service help – https://www.ng.bluemix.net/docs/services/XPagesNoSQLDatabase/index.html
- XPages Bloilerplate start kit help – https://www.ng.bluemix.net/docs/starters/XPagesStarter/index.html
- Basic capabilities demo – https://developer.ibm.com/bluemix/2015/07/23/xpages-on-bluemix-video
- OpenNTF Extension library – http://extlib.openntf.org