The XPages Knowledge Base is live, running and hungry for content ?
The OpenNTF team have been working effortlessly to get the final touches implemented in order to make way for an online platform that helps with the collaboration of knowledge on all things XPages. And now it’s time to let the world know it exists!
The great news is that since IBM Connect, we’ve invested a lot more time to improve the user experience and make the content layout more structured and easy to navigate. We also added a few more categories including “XPages on Bluemix“.
My quick motivational pitch
At OpenNTF there is a small slogan running around: “From Donation to Contribution“. 2016 is the year of significant and positive change within the XPages Ecosystem. One of the changes OpenNTF is hoping to see come to fruition, is the adoption of continuous contribution in any way of form, by the community, for the community.
We as a community are blessed to have so many contributors submit various projects, XSnippets, tutorials, blog posts, etc., but there are still many out there who could join in and accelerate the growth of OpenNTF and XPages as a whole. The XPages Knowledge Base forms a great addition and a means of contribution, one that does not necessary require a serious investment in time, yet whatever small contribution given will still add immense value. More on this later.
I ask everyone reading this article right now, to please continue reading beyond this point and be mindful of what’s being asked vs what’s being offered. There is opportunity here for everyone to accelerate knowledge and adoption of various XPages technologies, and together we can make this happen now.
Overview of the XPages Knowledge Base
The concept of a knowledge base for XPages began in November 2015, and was officially announced at IBM Connect 2016, along with Oliver’s post on OpenNTF’s blog. the idea is to consolidate all articles and blog posts that exist “on the line”, and structure the content in such a way so as to promote consistency and integrity of the content.
This in no way is meant to replace the blogging of XPages content. Not at all. Instead, the knowledge base will be “manually” fed from various blogs (with the approval of blog authors of course) and the content restructured and tweaked to conform to an “Article Template”.
If, however, one does not have a blog and would like to contribute, that’s fine as well. It’s as easy as creating a How-to article on the Knowledge Base, which is explained in more detail below.
Example Template Layout of a Knowledge Base Article
A typical article on the XPages Knowledge Base will be divided into the following sections:
- Author Reference – Here we reference the original Blog Post(s) and Author(s)
- Quick Summary – Eliminate reading the entire article if you just want the quick how-to
- Detailed Overview – Hopefully self explanatory
- Scenarios – Examples of real world scenarios related to the article
- Important Notes – Important things to note around the use of the what’s been posted in the article
- Step-by-step Guide – Hopefully self explanatory
- Related Articles – Other articles in the Knowledge Base that related to the current article
Blog Post vs Knowledge Base Article
Click here to view an article from my blog on how to use the XPages Extension Library’s Remote Services control. The post itself only has a few sentences and the rest is a video tutorial.
Click here to view the very same article, but re-structured and published to the XPages Knowledge Base. There is firstly more content when comparing the 2 articles. The “Quick Summary” section shows a skilled enough developer how to quickly make use of the feature, without having to navigate through the rest of the article. The video itself features in the “Step-by-step Guide” section of the article. This is an example of what we want to achieve with submitted articles to the Knowledge Base. A win win for everyone, wherever it makes sense.
Now, here’s the best part. The idea is for the XPages community to help make the content better, whether by making it more accurate, validating the content by commenting and giving approval or raising concern, adding to the content by giving more scenarios or how-tos, or merely liking the article to improve it’s relevance. The keyword is…contribute.
How to start contributing
All content in the Knowledge Base is open to the public (i.e. available to Anonymous users). However, in order to participate, you need an OpenNTF Account. Once your account is activated, you will be able to log into the Knowledge Base. This will give you the ability to like, comment, edit existing or create and submit new articles.
We will be posting more tutorials around how to perform various operations in the knowledge base in the near future, but for now, it’s quite simple: Select a Space (e.g. “XPages Extension Library” or “Performance and Best Practices”) and create a “How-to Article”.
I will be monitoring the Knowledge base and will be working with everyone to help get the content structured accordingly, so please don’t worry if you’re doing it right or wrong, we’ll make it right ?.
An alternative for now, is to join in on the OpenNTF “XPages Knowledge Base” Slack channel. If you are not yet part of the OpenNTF Slack channel, click here to be taken to the OpenNTF Home Page and click on the Slack widget on the top right of the page. This will allow you to register with OpenNTF on Slack.
Right now, there are only about 3 articles live on the Knowledge Base and many of the Categories still have a status of “Coming Soon”. This will improve almost immediately as we already have a number of contributors lined up.
There are currently articles in the XPages Extension Library and Performance and Best Practices Spaces.
IMPORTANT: If there are any questions, suggestions, or anything related to the knowledge base including sign up issues, etc., I strongly recommend joining OpenNTF on Slack and joining the “XPages Extension Library” channel. This will form the best base to collaborate and work together. Worst case scenario you can just comment on this blog post and I’ll assist you wherever possible.
Thank you for reading this article. I ask that you please share it on the social streams to get the word out.
See you on the other side ?