Thursday 16 January 2014

Some thoughts on Source Control Management for XPages development

In my career as a Domino developer I have been playing with various Source Control Managent solutions already. I used TeamStudio Ciao! for many many years and this tool proved to be a life saver in many occasions already. So I owe some drinks to the guys from TeamStudio... (don't tell them!!)

Since IBM started opening Domino Designer in Release 8.5.3 (was it 8.5.2 ???) towards the "standard" SCM systems (Git, SVN, Mercurial) I have been playing with these options a lot. There was quite some pain involved, I lost source code, my repositories lost the link to the NSF/ODP, etc... No pain, no gain! The good news for me: Today I have a working environment which fits my needs :-)
My first steps were with SVN, but I admit that I was not able to get this setup running properly. Additionally, I was not too happy about the centralized approach. That said I started using Mercurial. Finally I ended up using Git, first the implementation in Domino Designer and nowadays using SourceTree. This setup provides me with such a high flexibility with regards to my work-related projects as well with my pet-projects.

The last missing bit so far was a proper SCM system. I have been looking around for a while and playing with various systems. As I am a corporate developer, using a hosted environment was not an option at all. So I was looking for a solution to run my self-hosted SCM server for my code coming from both, work-related projects as well as pet-projects. Finally, I think my journey has ended successfully (or at least I have reached an intermediate stop). I have played with GitLabHQ for a a while now and it looks very promising to me. I got it up and running relatively painless on a local Ubuntu VM. If you are looking for a self-hosted SCM server, I can highly recommend looking into GitLab (it is very focussed on SCM though).
There is a lot of useful information available in- and outside the XPages community. In the upcoming weeks I will describe my environment and approaches and specifically GitLab a little more in detail and hopefully add some more useful bits. So stay tuned!

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Today I learned how to override session authentication using a web site rule

Did you know that you can override session based authentication based on URL patterns?‎ Yes? Lucky you, I didn`t. I honestly admit it: I am more a developer than an admin ;-). The feature dates back to R7.0.2 so I must have been missed something at that time...

In one of my projects domino provides a web service which can be consumed by a 3rd-party-system. All sites on that server (R8.5) are configured to use  session-based authentication. Since web services cannot authenticate via basic authentication (at least I did not get it working) I  was looking for a way to work around session based authentication. An additional web site involves a lot of effort and patience in this environment as there are quite a few people involved. 

Finally I got the right hint from the developer who consumes the web service. There is a web site rule for that! And I just did not know about it:-o

The setup is quite straight forward. Open an Internet Site document and click on Web Site - Create Rule and select "Override Session Authentication" as type of rule.
You can specify a URL pattern for which domino overrides session based authentication. On the one hand this provides a lot of flexibility‎. On the other hand, the pattern should be chosen with care. Wildcards (*) can be applied too.

So, this is it, my lesson learned today.