How to access Domino data from WebSphere application server

With many Domino professionals having to deal more and more with the Java-based WebSphere platform in their IT environments, they need to know how to access Domino data from WebSphere Application Server. Fortunately, there are lots of choices for accomplishing this.

One way is through the WebSphere Portal and portlets. This involves either turning various Domino functions into portlets or using IBM's packaged Domino portlets. Two other methods are Domino Java Server Pages (JSP) tag libraries and the Domino XML Language (DXL). As we noted in last month's column, DXL, a Domino-extended version of XML, enables developers to generate XML from Domino elements such as forms, views and documents for use in a Web application. Domino JSP tag libraries allow Domino professionals to create JSPs without needing much knowledge of Java.

But there are still other methods for bringing Domino functions and data to the fore. This article will list five additional ways of accessing Domino 6 data or functions from WebSphere Application Server 5. For more details on these methods, read the IBM redbook Patterns: Custom Designs for Domino and WebSphere Integration.

Domino Objects for Java: Local Access -- Domino Objects for Java is a high-level method of interfacing that is best-suited for small and mid-scale systems. Local Domino Objects for Java can be used when a component of a WebSphere application needs to access Domino data on a local server. A copy of the Notes client must be installed on the same system that is used by Domino Objects for Java. Either the database being accessed must be located on the same node as the requesting system or port 1352 (the standard Notes port) must be open between the node and the Domino database server.

Domino Objects for Java: Remote Access -- The remote access Domino Objects uses Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) for requests to and from the Domino server, and the Internet Inter-Orb Protocol (IIOP) as the transport protocol. Remote access Domino Objects for Java is best-suited for situations that require maximum flexibility in network topology and in using Java components to programmatically access Domino databases.

Domino Collaboration Objects (DCOs) -- For developers who want to access some Domino system capabilities without having to be fluent in back-end Domino Java classes, the DCOs offer an alternative that provides specific functionality in the form of Java beans. With DCOs, you can access functions such as user login, sending an e-mail or creating a calendar entry. However, only those functions that are published as DCO Java beans can be used. Functions not available have to be added using the full Domino object model.

Web services -- By wrapping a Domino function in Web services, and hosting it in WebSphere Application Server, it can be made available to a range of other applications. The Patterns redbook gives, as an example, a Web service that provides user information contained in the Domino directory, or a Web service that aggregates data from a Domino database and an ERP application. The benefits of using Web services are that they're widely known, based on open standards, and can interoperate with other Web services provided from other platforms. However, implementing Web services can be complex, requiring the use of several standards such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) and the Web Services Description Language (WSDL).

Lotus Domino Driver for JDBC (LDDJ) -- If all you need to do is access data in a Domino database, you can use JDBC and the Lotus Domino Driver for JDBC. Although this approach requires no experience with the Domino Object Model, the LDDJ is not a full implementation of JDBC and does not support all SQL statements. Furthermore, it can only be used on the Windows platform, and it requires Notes or Domino on the same system executing the JDBC calls.

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Sue Hildreth is a contributing writer and editor based in Waltham, Mass. You can reach her at SueHildreth@comcast.net.

This was first published in May 2005

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