We have all heard many things about Composite Applications - a lot of theory, many small samples, etc. Now that Notes 8.0 is available you should start to see more and more uses for composite applications. The application I am going to walk you through today is a very basic dashboard concept for my Expeditor team. It is made to centrally bring in all of the important databases, Wiki's, and people to the same screen. It makes our lives easier because the application is essentially a bunch of links to many other 'places'.
To start, here is a screen shot of the application with some numbers that we will identify below.
- This is the normal composite application page navigator which resides in the left side bar – Yes! You can put stuff in a LEFT side bar also! This is just as flexible as the right one. The good thing about using the left side bar in your application is you can have views stay on the screen throughout all of the pages of your application.
- This is the Team view component. I literally created this in about 3 hours modifying the samples that ship with Sametime 7.5.1. The interesting thing about this component is the list is different for every application. Meaning, I used the CAI (Composite Application Infrastructure) API's to figure out what application I am in and store the entries for each application in separate files. By setting up a CAI listener I know when applications are opened and closed. The view is installed and can be enabled in any composite application by specifying the dashboard activity for the applications pages. CAI does all of the work of hiding/showing it. I also modified the view to support full drag and drop of ST People and Groups so populating it is a snap.
- These are the different core applications our project management team uses. We have our team room for the meeting documents, the problem report database – which is linked to a special view, and the requirements database for triage meetings.
Next, the database uses the Eclipse Update Site template as its base. This means, you can put your Eclipse features and plugins right into the database and have them provisioned from the same database file when the app is opened. This makes packaging the application with Eclipse features just like any other Notes database. When you deploy the composite application you simply send a link, the file, or deploy replicas.
Here is a screen shot of the Administration page where you can manipulate the Eclipse features that are in the application: