Though I don't have a use for it currently, I can't help but get kind of excited about the Domino Data Services in 8.5.3 and the Extension Library. If you're writing a normal Domino application - using either legacy elements or XPages - you probably won't have terribly much use for it.
However, the really cool aspect of it is that it significantly smooths the process of using Domino as a backing data store for another front end written in PHP, Ruby, or anything else. This has always been sort of possible - you could use the Java API or a combination of ?ReadViewEntries, ?CreateDocument, and ?SaveDocument URL commands to access Domino data without actually being in Domino, but it wasn't exactly a smooth process. With the Data Services, now Domino is very similar to, say, CouchDB, but with reader fields and impenetrable licensing terms for non-vendors.
One nice little side effect of the fact that it uses the HTTP stack is that DSAPI modules work. When I was testing around, I was able to get a list of available forums as Anonymous, resulting in only the two visible ones. When I included my user authentication filter cookie, it started showing me the rest of the forums that the user could access, exactly like you'd want. While you could presumably just pass the username and password in each request using normal HTTP authentication, it's pretty cool that any alternate methods like this work as well.
It's all pretty exciting, and I'm itching to find a use for it.