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Introduction

Thanks to the IBM XPages for Bluemix runtime, Domino and XPages developers are able to create and publish their applications to the IBM Bluemix Cloud. This article provides quick facts about running XPages applications on the IBM Bluemix cloud. These facts are based on the latest releases of the IBM XPages runtime on Bluemix and XPages Extension Library as of 11th April 2016.

Quick Facts about running XPages on Bluemix

Positive

  • The XPages runtime on Bluemix was promoted from the experimental labs to the main catalog (Beta)
  • Thanks to the XPages Extension Library on OpenNTF:
    • Extensions have been created that enhance the IBM Domino Designer and provide tooling to easily build and deploy apps to Bluemix
    • The bluemixContext class as well as additional global standard objects allow you to better manage your XPages application. This means:
      • Granular control over your application at runtime
      • Manage your bound services
      • Build a single app that can run on Bluemix as well as on-premises
  • Deploy your own OSGI plugins as well as deploy existing plugins available via OpenNTF
  • Leverage existing services on Bluemix such as "auto scaling", "big data" and analytics", etc.
  • Integrate with 3rd party data stores on Bluemix such as DB2, Cloudant, etc.
  • Access Domino data hosted on-premises using NRPC connections
  • Authenticate users on Bluemix using an on-premises Domino address book via Directory Assistance
  • Use an existing server id that gets pushed to Bluemix via Domino Designer

Negative

  • The XPages NoSQL Database is still in experimental phase, forcing developers to keep data on-premises or use 3rd party data stores
  • The XPages Web Starter Boilerplate is still in experimental phase. This is due to the XPages NoSQL Database still being experimental
    • Not having a boilerplate potentially weakens the opportunity of outside/young developers adopting XPages
  • Because of the reliance of on-prem environments, the cost to adopt the Bluemix cloud is higher than running fully on-premises
  • The XPages runtime on Bluemix is still in beta, therefore no production deployments should be made to Bluemix
  • Many customers and software companies will not adopt XPages on Bluemix due to the reliance of the XPages Extension Library (i.e. ExtLib not supported by IBM)
  • Design must be separated from data (i.e. 2 NSFs) (Note: Separating design from data is a preferred practice in general, but one not adopted by most domino developers due to the architecture of a NSF design)
  • No Administrative access to the Domino server on Bluemix:
    • You can however view the program and data directory, but it's all read only
    • You can also access the Notes Log via the CF command line tool