Lotus: NSF based Update Sites

THEMES: Lotus\Notes/Domino 8 | Lotus\Composite Appl...
YEAR: 2007
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User: Anonymous

LABEL: Composite Application | Lotus Notes 8 | Lotus Notes API

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NSF based Update Sites

In the first public beta of Lotus Notes 8.0 there is another great feature called NSF based update sites. As you might know already Eclipse components are packaged as Eclipse features and plugins and put on Eclipse update sites which are accessed through HTTP. Lotus Notes and Lotus Expeditor pull down these features when they are required (this is called provisioning).

However not every Notes/Domino customer has actually HTTP enabled. This is why N/D 8.0 provides a new template, the updatesite.ntf. NSFs based on this template can contain Eclipse features and plugins. You can import certain features and you can import a complete existing Eclipse update site:

There are other advantages of NSF based update site compared with 'classic' update sites:
- You can assign access rights to the update site/database
- The NSF based update site can be easily distributed by using Domino replication
- Intelligent analysis and meta-data presentation of the entire update site in easy-to-read Notes documents, e.g. all plugins used by a feature are doc-linked, etc.
- Updatesite.ntf contains tools to globally and automatically modify embedded URLs inside jar’s

In order to use this feature in composite applications first create your own udpate site database and then import your Eclipse features. Then you can open the Composite Application Editor and point it against your NSF via 'Add Components - Add Components from Update Site'. Then enter the URL of your update site. At this point you have to enter an NRPC URL manually:

You need to use this syntax:
Domino server: http://updates.ibm.com/updatesite.nsf/site.xml
Domino server: nrpc://updates.ibm.com/__85257258006500E2/site.xml
Local replica: nrpc:///__85257258006500E2/site.xml

As you can see the update site database can be accessed either through HTTP if located on a Domino R7 or R8 server or through NRPC. You can use NRPC even for local update site databases. If your update site db is located on a server you need a Domino R8 server. Read the presentation from Thomas Gumz for more information.

This feature allows some very interesting and powerful use cases. For example you can now have one NSF that contains 1. NSF components, 2. Eclipse components and 3. the composite application definition (CA XML). All of this in one Notes database. In order to do this you can extend your update site database and add a composite application definition to it. Just go in Domino Designer and press 'New Comp App'. After this define to open this database as composite application. Finally you can go in the CAE and assign NSF components and Eclipse components to the app as usual. The only difference is that now the NSF and Eclipse components can actually come from the same database.

To take it even one step further you could even have an NSF that only opens an Eclipse component as this database's user interface. In this case the application would only have Elicpse and no NSF components.
Another use case is that you can use this feature to just put in one visible NSF component so that the app looks like a classic/standalone application when you open it. But additionally the application can provision Eclipse components to your client. This can be done by either using a hidden Eclipse component that might require other features or by extending the advanced properties of the NSF component by adding required features to it that are then automatically provisioned when the application is opened.

At this point the template updatesite.ntf is only part of the Domino 8.0 build and not part of Notes 8.0.