The Loose Roadmap for XPages Jakarta EE Support

May 4, 2023, 10:29 AM

  1. Updating The XPages JEE Support Project To Jakarta EE 9, A Travelogue
  2. JSP and MVC Support in the XPages JEE Project
  3. Migrating a Large XPages App to Jakarta EE 9
  4. XPages Jakarta EE Support 2.2.0
  5. DQL, QueryResultsProcessor, and JNoSQL
  6. Implementing a Basic JNoSQL Driver for Domino
  7. Video Series On The XPages Jakarta EE Project
  8. JSF in the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  9. So Why Jakarta?
  10. XPages Jakarta EE 2.5.0 And The Looming Java-Version Wall
  11. Adding Concurrency to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  12. Adding Transactions to the XPages Jakarta EE Support Project
  13. XPages Jakarta EE 2.9.0 and Next Steps
  14. XPages JEE 2.11.0 and the Javadoc Provider
  15. The Loose Roadmap for XPages Jakarta EE Support
  16. XPages JEE 2.12.0: JNoSQL Views and PrimeFaces Support
  17. XPages JEE 2.13.0
  18. XPages JEE 2.14.0
  19. XPages JEE 2.15.0 and Plans for JEE 10 and 11

At Engage, HCL officially announced Java 17 in Domino 14 (I'm sure they announced other things too, but I have my priorities). This will allow me to do a lot in pretty much all of my projects, but it's particularly pertinent to XPages JEE.

Currently, the project targets generally Jakarta EE 9, which came out in late 2020 and was "just" a switch from javax.* to jakarta.*, with no official new features. However, Jakarta EE 10 came out a year ago - in addition to bringing a raft of new features, it also bumped the minimum Java version to Java 11, pushing it outside of Domino's realm. Accordingly, I've had to hold off on a lot of major- and minor-version bumps in the XPages JEE project as new releases started being compiled for Java 11. Once V14 is out, though, I'll be able to move to the current JEE platform... at least until JEE 11 comes out next year and requires Java 21, anyway.

So I've been working on how I'm going to approach this, and what I'm thinking is that I'll do it in two phases: first, a final 2.x release that provides Java 17/Domino 14 compatibility for existing components, and then a new 3.x breaking-changes release to bring in Jakarta EE 10 components.

The Final 2.x Release

I currently have this penciled in for the next release, 2.12.0, but that may change if I decide I want to get a real 2.12.0 release out before Domino 14 is at least in stable beta form. Let's call it "2.99.0" for now.

The idea here will be that I'll want to make sure all existing code in NSFs continues to work unchanged: upgrade your server to V14, install 2.99.0, and your apps keep working. In theory, this shouldn't be too complex. There's some shimming needed for Weld (the CDI implementation) to account for changes from Project Jigsaw in Java 9 and later, and there might be some stuff around AccessController, but in general I expect it'll just be some tweaks here and there. Time will tell, of course.

Once that's out, I plan to not look back (unless there's demand, I suppose). The switch to Java 17 is a huge deal, and I don't think it'll be worth spending much more time with Java 8 once it's no longer required. The 2.x branch is already, I feel, in a pretty good place, so I'll feel comfortable having a stable final version.

The Breaking 3.0 Release

Then, the plan will be to start down the path of 3.x with breaking changes - not everything, but some. For one, JEE 10 has a handful of backwards-incompatible changes. Those are mostly for legacy true-JEE code, though, and the main ones that XPages JEE code will likely want to be aware of will be the switch of XML namespaces to shorter representations. That will affect JSP and JSF code, but the old URIs (the ones) will continue to work, at least for a while.

Most of the breaking changes will probably happen internally. I've talked for a long while now about my desire to do some reorganization of the project. The big one is wrangling the proliferation of Eclipse Features and XPages Libraries. Anyone who has installed the project in Designer is well aware of just how many times you have to click "yes, I want to install the thing I'm installing", and that alone is enough to warrant a reorganization. Beyond that, though, I've had to take care to try to make it so that the individual components don't depend on each other unnecessarily. There's a certain amount of good discipline that provides, but it eventually wears a bit thin.

I'm not quite sure what form the consolidation will take, but it'll probably be something like three features: "core", "extended", and "MicroProfile". "Core" would probably roughly map to the actual Jakarta Core Profile, plus things that I find essentially obligatory like Bean Validation. "Extended" would be all the things like JSP and JSF, the "leaves" on the dependency tree: they depend on core features, but nothing depends on them. Then "MicroProfile" would be, well, MicroProfile features. The only thing still giving me pause is that there's not too much case for not installing all of these all the time anyway - if you don't want to use, say, JSF, you don't have to; additionally, it's not like Domino is a svelte cloud-native mini server meant to be deployed a thousand times in a cluster, so having the extra bundles sitting there isn't really onerous. We'll see. I hem and haw a lot on this, but eventually I'll have to make a decision.

Regardless of what form that takes, I expect that the changes to in-NSF code will be either minimal or none - for users of the project, it'll mostly be a matter of making sure to fully uninstall the old plugins before an upgrade and then tweaking Xsp Properties to select whatever the new form of the XPages Libraries ends up being.

Side Note: Jakarta NoSQL and Data

One interesting aspect of this move will be the path Jakarta NoSQL has been on. Though I've included it in the XPages JEE project for a little while now (and continue to heavily expand on it), it's always been technically a beta release. It's clearly proven itself stable even in its beta form, but it's going through a shift in the run-up to Jakarta EE 11. Specifically, the higher abstraction levels - the Repository interface and friends - are moving to a new project, Jakarta Data. The idea of that project will be that it will be able to sit on top of Jakarta NoSQL and other storage types, namely JPA.

It's going to be very neat, but it's created a bit of a pickle for me. Since it's targetting Jakarta EE 11, that means the release of it and NoSQL are going to require at least Java 21, and there's no word on when Domino will support that.

One option would be to stick with what I have now for the foreseeable future: a mildly-forked version of Jakarta NoSQL 1.0.0-b4. It's a workhorse and has been doing a good job, and it'd mean that app code wouldn't have to change. I'm not crazy about this for obvious reasons: I don't want to have one component stuck way behind while all the other parts get a nice jump forward, even if it works.

The other main option I'm considering is sliding forward to another beta release and landing there until Java 21 support shows up. The current development versions of the Data spec and JNoSQL with its implementation target Java 17, so I'll probably go with whatever the last beta is before the official switch to 21. Though it's tough to predict the future, that will probably end up being API-wise similar enough to the release forms of them that future jumps won't be difficult. We shall see, anyway.


Anyway, the timeline for this is a little vague, and will mostly depend on when the Domino 14 betas come out and whether they contain anything show-stopping. My hope is to be able to have something that passes all the test cases ASAP with betas and then to have it continue to be stable through to the actual release.

I'm looking forward to leaving Java 8 behind for good, though, that much is certain.

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