Last week, we launched a new project in OpenNTF: the Unplugged XPages Mobile Controls. This project is designed to assist developers who are new to either XPages or mobile development (or both) in streamlining the creation of new XPages applications on the Unplugged platform. The project makes it easier to mobilize existing Domino applications.
We’ve learned a lot over the last year, and while our initial Unplugged release for Android and iOS was an open framework for developers to freely design pretty much what they want, in reality we’ve found that most Notes developers appreciate a helping hand in getting started transitioning to XPages, and certainly to mobile UI techniques.
The Controls are drag and droppable Custom Controls that provide standard UI components or perform standard functionality expected on a mobile device. These range from standard Header or Footer bars to high performance Search Controls (the Project Documentation has the full list with instructions).
By dragging these controls onto a XPage or two, and completing a few Custom Properties, mobile development of existing applications can literally be demonstrated in hours, not days.
Although these controls are really a starting point for Unplugged development, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to use the standard XPages supported controls and HTML 5 techniques to create rich mobile apps on Unplugged (we certainly don’t want to give the impression that this is the complete design limitation for Unplugged applications).
The design of each control is open, so if you want to change anything (colors, fonts etc) the CSS files are included and can be edited if required. For experienced developers, these Controls may be handy when performing common tasks where you don’t have your own widget already rolled. In general, the Controls are independent and have low dependencies, so if you only need one or two and prefer to use your own components, feel free, there should be no conflict.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be releasing videos and blog entries to educate on how to use our new Controls and the benefits of each. Meanwhile, to see them at work, simply sync to our demo server. We applied the Controls to the Teamroom, Journal (Notebook) and Doc Lib Domino applications with test data. Either download Unplugged and tap ‘Yes’ to the option to ‘Sync with the demo server’ or reconfigure your current client to:
User: iOS User (or Android User for Android)
We’re monitoring the OpenNTF ‘Feature Request’ and ‘Issue Tracking’ section, so any feedback is greatly appreciated.
One last thing: A big shout out to both Matt White, who is the lead developer on this Project, and Mark Leusink, who contributed a version of his Debug Toolbar control from OpenNTF into a version compatible with Unplugged, which is also included in the Project (if you don’t know what this is, I’ll be blogging about this very soon). Not only are we extremely pleased with the end result, but working with these guys on this project was fun.
We’ll be at IBM Connect in a couple of weeks so if you have any burning questions come and find us [at the bar].