A Flexible View Control for XPages Part 6 – Sorting

When I started building the Flexible View Control, one of the driving forces was to significantly reduce the amount of back-end Domino views that would collect in my applications. I was just as guilty as anyone of creating a new view with the same selection formula and columns as an existing view with the only difference being the column arrangement or how the new view was sorted/categorized.

Build a Client-Side Sorting Demo

If you’ve used DataTables then you know that by default DataTables makes sorting your data by any column very easy. As a result, The Flexible View Control, being a mashup of Domino XPages and DataTables, has advanced sorting capabilities baked in.

Create a new XPage

To demonstrate this, I start by making a copy of my viewBasic XPage and call it viewBasicSorting.

Since I want to re-use this new XPage for multiple demos, I’m making my viewKey dynamic by having it look for a querystring parameter to get its value:

Using a url parameter to populate the viewKey

This means anytime I load this XPage I need to supply the name of the desired View Definition in the url:


Create the View Definition

Now I create my new View Definition. Note that we are using an existing view and existing rest service to fetch the data.

View Definition with default sorting

In the screenshot above, there is no value in the Client Sort (1) field, meaning when the DataTable is built client-side it will display in the order the data was loaded from the rest service. If your back-end data is sorted by the 1st column, then that is how the data will display in the constructed DataTable.


By default the id column is sorted

Adding a client-side sort

But what if your users insist on another view that sorts by Price with the Price column being first? In Notes/Domino, you begrudgingly copy your view, move the Price column to the front and make sure it’s sorted. UGH!

This is where the “Flexible” part of the Flexible View Control comes in. All I have to do is create a new View Definition, point it to the same data, and simply drag the Price column to the top and designate that as the sort column in the Client Sort (1) field. In my case I want to sort it descending.

View Definition sorted by price
Important: The value entered in the Client Sort must match the itemName of the column you want to sort.

The results

Now, I can load my view viewBasicSorting XPage and simply change the viewdef url parameter to show a different “virtual view”, in this case By Price:


Same data from same view now sorted by price


Using one back-end view, and one XPage equipped with the Flexible View Control, we can display countless views to the front-end user by simply making a View Definition for each front-end view we need to display. Cool!

Advanced Sorting

When specifying the column to sort in a View Definition we use the Client Sort (1) field. But you may have noticed a field below that named Client Sort (2) and perhaps you wondered what purpose this serves.

DataTables has incredible advanced sorting capabilities, as the gif below illustrates.

Advanced DataTables sort capabilities

To get the multiple column sorting capability in the Flexible View Control, we use the Client Sort (2) field. To demonstrate I created a new View Definition that points to the same Domino view we’ve been using. This time, I make the Client Sort (1) by Year (descending) and add Price as a secondary sort, also descending.

When I look at the By Year view I can see that it has a primary sort (by year) and secondary sort (by price).

Sorting Server-side

My preference is to do all sorting client-side and have my back-end views act as fairly static tables of data that are indexed well and can respond quickly to requests. The View Definition does have a “Server Sort” field but it currently is not operable.

However, if you do need to sort server side before returning data view a rest service or xAgent you can certainly do so.

Important: to resort a back-end view server-side you must set the column sort setting to “both” for any column you want to be able to resort by.

To demonstrate sorting the price column I start by creating a new View Definition with pretty much all the defaults except I move the Price column to the first position (Note: the column you want to be the first sort does NOT have to be in the first position).

Next, I update the rest service that has been used repeatedly to look for the sortColumn and sortOrder query string parameters:

<xe:restService id="restService1" pathInfo="used-cars-phil-chevy-tahoe-basic"
			<xe:viewJsonService systemColumns="2"
				viewName="xspPhilPaChevTahoe" defaultColumns="true" count="1000">
				<xe:this.sortColumn><![CDATA[#{javascript:context.getUrlParameter("sortColumn")!="" ? context.getUrlParameter("sortColumn") : ""}]]></xe:this.sortColumn>
				<xe:this.sortOrder><![CDATA[#{javascript:context.getUrlParameter("sortOrder")!="" ? context.getUrlParameter("sortOrder") : ""}]]></xe:this.sortOrder>

Finally, the Flexible View Control has a queryString parameter that can be utilized to pass url parameters to the rest service being called to retrieve data.

context.getUrlParameter("viewdef") == "used-cars-sorting-server-byprice" ? "&sortColumn=PRICE&sortOrder=descending" : ""

The Results


Price column sorted server-side

While we get the desired result, notice that there is no indication in the column header that Price is the sorted column. Only by examining the data can you determine that.

A Flexible View Control for XPages Part 5 – Processing Selected Rows

The previous post in this series demonstrated how to add click events to a view created with the Flexible View Control utilizing the callbacks that are built into DataTables. But once a row (or rows) is selected, how do you actually DO something with the selection?

Getting a Handle On Selected Rows

There is a hidden field on the control that stores the @unid of the selected rows along with any other data the View Definition configured to return when selected (in JSON format). When the control is rendered, a class is applied to the field based on the “thisView” parameter given to the control.

Client-Side Data

In the demo we built in Part 4, we gave our thisView parameter the value “viewBasic”. This allows us to reference the selected row(s) client-side in jQuery with the syntax:


Using the demo from http://demos.xpage.me/demos/datatables-xpages-bootstrap.nsf/viewBasicCallbacks.xsp, when I select a row and examine the hidden field in dev tools I see:

Hidden field with selected row data stored as JSON

What if I select multiple rows?

What if I want to return data besides just the row’s document id? To do so, I update the View Definition to tell it to return the columns I want when I click a row:

In this example, I want to return the ID and VIN columns in addition to @unid.

Important Note: By default, the @unid value is returned when a row is clicked. The Return Value of the View Definition overrides this value. Therefore, if values are entered in this field on the View Definition, @unid needs to be included if that value needs to be accessed.

Server-Side Data

The Flexible View Control also makes it easy to pass the selected rows server-side. The aforementioned hidden field is bound to a viewScope mapped to the thisView value.

thisView composite data bound to a viewScope

To demonstrate, I’m adding a button to my example above that does a partial refresh on a panel and executes some server-side code to examine the selected rows:

Server-side action with no document selected
Server-side action with a document selected


The Flexible View Control for XPages makes it very easy to get a handle on the rows selected in a view and process that data both client-side and server-side

In the next post …

I’ll start to demonstrate the “flexible” part of the Flexible View Control by showing how a Domino view with over 2 million records can be mined to create different representations of data with the control through the power of the View Definitions.

A Flexible View Control for XPages Part 3 – Create a Basic View

See the demo live

You can see the demo created in this post here.  As more demos are added to demonstrate the many features of the Flexible View Control, they too will be available online.

In Parts 1 & 2 we learned about the Fexible View Control and created the configuration we needed to get started with our application.

The Data

Now, we are going to create a view from scratch utilizing a database of 2 million records comprised of used car data.

To get started I need to add the used car database to my configuration document so the View Definition XPage can read the views in this database.

As mentioned in a previous post, and as you can see above, I’m using Bootstrap (3.4) in my application for my UI framework.  I’ve already created a navigator custom control:

and an XPage template I’m going to use to create all of my demo pages:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xp:view xmlns:xp="http://www.ibm.com/xsp/core"
	xmlns:xc="http://www.ibm.com/xsp/custom" styleClass=""
		<xp:script src="/ssjsCCRestView.jss" clientSide="false"></xp:script>
	<div class="level0-flex-container">
		<div class="level0-flex-item">
		<xp:panel styleClass="actionBar" id="panelActionBar" style="">

<!-- Drag ccRestView here



We’re going to get started with the most basic implementation of the Flexible View Control. In my used car database, I have a view xspPhilPaChevTahoe which shows all of the Chevy Tahoes in Philadelphia, PA. Normally I wouldn’t create a single purpose view like this – it’s being done for demonstration purposes only. In a database of 2M records, this view contains 70 and I’m going to display it with the Flexible View Control.

The View Definition

First, I create a View Definition and point it to the xspPhilPaChevTahoe view in the used car database and select all of the columns.

The REST Service

Next, I create the Rest Service that will be used to fetch the data. We told the View Definition to find the REST service on the restServices XPage. This is where I add mine and give it a path-info that matches the key I used in my View Definition above.

After building the application I do a quick test to make sure I’m getting data from the Rest Service:

The XPage

To create my page where I want to put my view, I create a copy of the XPage template and call it viewBasic. I also add a link to the Open button in my navigator custom control that will open this new XPage.

The Flexible View Control

Now, I’m ready to add the control to my new XPage by dragging it from the custom control palette:

viewBasic XPage before custom control is added
viewBasic XPage after custom control is added (source view)
viewBasic XPage after custom control is added (design view)

After adding the custom control, take a look at the custom properties by clicking on the control and then clicking the Custom Properties on the Properties tab. There are a lot of properties (some of which have default values) which are integral to making this the “Flexible” View Control for XPages. Some of these properties get passed on to DataTables as the view is constructed.

ccRestView custom properties

Most importantly, there are three properties that must be set in order for the control to work properly.

thisViewUnique identifier for this view. This value is used in the internals of the custom control to get a handle on this instance of the view control.
viewKeyThis value refers to the View Definition that the control will use to get its configuration and location of rest data.
dataTableClassA CSS class name that gets applied to the DataTable and is used to refer to the table programmatically. This value should be unique.

On my viewBasic XPage I use the following values:

The Results

After saving and building I load my viewBasic XPage in the browser and verify I am getting the results I expect:

What we have now in our browser is a DataTable (v. 1.10.19) and all of the standard front end tools that come baked into that framework, such as filtering, sorting, etc.


The purpose of this post was to demonstrate how easy it is to quickly add a view to your application using the Flexible View Control for XPages:

  1. Create a View Definition.
  2. Create a REST Service (or reuse an existing service) that points to your Domino view.
  3. Add the custom control to your XPage and point it to your View Definition


In the next post, I’m going to take this simple example and start adding advanced functionality to create more functional views.