Jakarta NoSQL Driver for the AppDev Pack, Part 1

Sep 9, 2022, 10:20 AM

Tags: java jnosql
  1. Jakarta NoSQL Driver for the AppDev Pack, Part 1
  2. Jakarta NoSQL Driver for the AppDev Pack, Part 2

Though the bulk of the work I've been doing for the XPages Jakarta EE project is to bring JEE technologies to Domino, the NoSQL driver has been designed to lead a double life: it works in an XPages context, but it's written to not have any XPages dependencies. One reason for this is that I want it to be usable if you use, for example, the Open Liberty runtime project to side-car apps on a Domino server but still use Notes.jar for data access.

Another reason for its organization, though, is that I intended for the driver to be portable across implementations. The driver itself is split into a main bundle and a ".lsxbe" implementation bundle. My original thought was to make that ready for a JNX or Domino JNA implementation, but it's pretty flexible.


And that brings me to the topic of this post: the AppDev Pack. I'd actually not used the AppDev Pack at all until I started in on this little project. While I like the idea, it at first only had a JS client, and then even with a Java client lacked some important capabilities I'd need for most of what I do. That's still the case, unfortunately, but my general annoyance with the problems of developing on top of a local Notes runtime tipped the scales to get me to investigate it.

In essence, the core part of the AppDevPack - the Proton addin - is kind of like a modern take on the CORBA driver for Notes.jar, in that it provides a remote way to make API calls on the server that are "low-level-ish" and ideally higher-performance than REST APIs. Since it's remote, it imposes no requirements on the environment of the app making the calls, and could in theory work with any language that has a gRPC library (though in practice HCL has only ever shipped JS and Java clients without providing the gRPC spec to generate others).

The API that Proton provides is heavily geared around batch operations, focusing on using DQL for querying. This suits my needs well, as Jakarta NoSQL essentially assumes you'll have something like DQL available to do arbitrary document queries. It's also geared around requesting specific items from documents to return, which further suits me well - for efficiency purposes, I wrote code into the LSXBE driver to only read desired items anyway, so that adapted naturally.

The Driver

So, over the long weekend here, I set out into writing a driver suitable for use in standalone JEE applications to access Domino via Proton. The goal here is to make it so that code written to target the LSXBE driver will work the same way with this Proton-based one, with the only differences being limitations in what Proton provides and a switch to providing a lotus.domino.Database context to providing a com.hcl.domino.db.model.Database one.

And, though the limitation list there is a bit lengthy, I accomplished the main part of my goal there. Since it shares a lot of code in common with the LSXBE driver, the implementation here is pretty small. The bulk of the code happens in ProtonDocumentCollectionManager, which is the implementation of all the raw JNoSQL primitives - insert, update, select, etc. - and then ProtonEntityConverter, which is the utility class that translates between Proton's concept of Document and JNoSQL's concept of DocumentEntity.

The Proton API is... very weird from a Java perspective. Some of it bears a little similarity to the NIO Files API if you squint, but otherwise it's just an odd duck. Fortunately, a consumer of this driver doesn't have to care about that beyond the initial connection to the server. The specifics of actually connecting to a server and opening a database are the same as with normal Proton use - you do that and then provide a CDI bean to hand off the Database object to the driver:

public class ContextDatabaseSupplier {
	// This type of supplier is required
	public DatabaseSupplier get() {
		// Here, the `Database` object is set in a `ServletRequestListener`, though it likely could be app-wide
		return () -> {
			HttpServletRequest request = CDI.current().select(HttpServletRequest.class).get();
			return (Database)request.getAttribute(DatabaseContextListener.ATTR_DB);
	// This supplier is optional - leaving it out or returning null will cause the driver to skip performing Act-As-User
	public AccessTokenSupplier getAccessToken() {
		return () -> {
			HttpServletRequest request = CDI.current().select(HttpServletRequest.class).get();
			return (String)request.getAttribute("oidc_access_token");

Next Steps

Now, admittedly, I'm not sure how much more time I'm going to put into this driver. Though there are a few enhancements that could be made - attachments and rich text, namely - I'm probably not going to use this myself in the near future. The immediate cases I have where I'd want to use this would end up involving things like views that aren't currently accessible over Proton, and so it's be really just speculative development. Still, I wanted to make this to kick the tires a bit and see what's possible, and it's got my gears turning.

There'll also be a bit more I want to go over in the next post. In the above code block, I mention Act-As-User tokens; the driver will use those when provided, and the driver itself doesn't care how you acquire them, but it's an interesting topic on its own. During my testing, I was able to get a Liberty-hosted app performing OIDC authentication for its own login and then using that token for access to Proton, and I think that that will deserve some expansion on its own.

In the mean time, if you're curious, the driver is available up on GitHub:


The artifact is published to OpenNTF's Maven repository, though you'll need to follow the instructions in the README there to add the non-redistributable Proton client library to your local Maven repo.

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