Lotus Domino: Application Integration - A Programmer View
There are two approaches for application integration:
? Programmer's approach - for applications integration it is necessary to create some program codes;
? Integrator's approach - in this case special software products are to be used and the integration process set up by those software settings.
The following tools may be used for the first approach:
? ODBC. In Lotus Domino codes may be used:
o Three @-functions (@DbColumn, @DbLookUp and), which work with registrated ODBC-drivers . @DbColumn returns the whole column from external table, @DbLookUp process search by the key, and @DbCommand runs a command of ODBC-driver or external table (for ex, UDATE or DELETE);
o Three inside LotusScript Data Objects (LS:DO), which support connection process, running of SQL-request and provide operations with received result table. This tool is more flexible than usage of described above @-functions (specifically, transactions mechanism, errors handling, etc);
o Free NotesSQL ® ODBC-driver allows calling Lotus Domino databases by SQL. This method is available only for simple Lotus Domino databases, as them are not relation databases and SQL is not good to work with (problems with multiple fields values and different fields set in documents);
? JDBC. For direct using of JDBC mechanism, free IBM JDBC-driver may be downloaded, which allows calling Lotus Domino databases from Java-applications. This approach is better then use NotesSQL ® ODBC-driver, but can not be use with complex databases. JDBC technology also using in some integration mechanisms, but JDBC itself is hidden from the programmer(as example, using build in JSP Custom Tag Libraries);
? OLE. Using of this technology is in the Microsoft platforms frame. If this limitation is acceptable for a task, then using of this technology allows data exchanging from LotusScript to OLE-applications. Specifically it is possible to export data from Lotus Domino to MS Excel or MS Word. This technology often is using to create reports for Lotus Domino data. In Lotus Domino exists Notes/FX mechanism, which implicitly uses OLE- technologies. This mechanism allows to process automatic data exchange between fields of Lotus Domino forms and information stated on OLE-server. Lately Notes/FX are used in really applications very seldom;
? XML. Using of this technology in Lotus Domino R 6 allows processing of Lotus Domino objects' stream transformation (documents, design elements, ACL, etc.) into XML and back, apply in a stream XSLT to XML, put filters on translated/received information, as well as review XML by build in LotusScript-classes, processed DOM and SAX parsing;
? HTML. If an HTTP task is started on Domino server, then from external applications is available sending/receiving data by of the same name protocol;
? CORBA. This technology used in Lotus Domino more in Java content. Applets, servlets, Domino JSP Custom Tag Libraries, using this technology may exchange data with Lotus Domino;
Apart in integration solutions line are DECS (Domino Enterprise Connection Services), DCR (Data Connection Resources) and LEI (IBM Lotus Enterprise Integrator for Domino) technologies. These technologies except of coding request administration settings to be tuned and may be refer as to first (programmer) as to second (integrator) approaches to integrate applications.
DECS technology allows direct connection with DB2, Oracle, MS SQL Server, Sybase sources, and external sources by ODBC and OLE technologies.
DECS technology requests of the same name task on the Domino server, as well as some settings in « DECS Administrator» database. Two types of documents can be created in this database:
? Connection, which provides the possibility connecting with an external system. Without details, let say that this document provides the path to external source and login and password for this connection;
? Activity, provides correspondence between Lotus Domino fields and information from external source. The correspondence is assigned by special Lotus Domino form and fields. This document can support up to four case types (form open in Lotus Domino, data changing, deleting or new record creation in Lotus Domino). After Activity document is activated the same processes in external source will be started if the tracking cases happen in Lotus Domino. For example, imputing and saving the new data in Lotus Domino (in case if them are tracking), analog data arrive in external source.
DECS mechanism works correctly in case if external source data are worked with only by Lotus Domino. Otherwise, if the data arrived in external source omitting Lotus Domino they do not automatically transferred to Lotus Domino.
DCR technology appeared in Lotus Domino R 6, is an interface extension for DECS technology and work only with corresponding task on Domino DCR server. Without details, the new design element by name DCR may be considered as analog of Connection document from « DECS Administrator» database. By the way, analogies of Activity documents are determinated directly in Lotus Domino forms.
LEI technology may be considered as developing of DECS. Using of LEI allows to developers much more possibilities for data processing with build in Lotus Connector Classes for LEI.
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P. Gottmann is a technical writer in Ronix Systems (www.ronix-systems.com">http://www.ronix-systems.com) the European branch of Alba Spectrum Technologies ( www.albaspectrum.com">http://www.albaspectrum.com ), IBM and Microsoft Business Solutions Partner serving clients in Berlin, Hamburg, Paris, Vienna, Roma, Munich, Madrid, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Phoenix, London, Sidney, Sao Paulo.