Skip to content

The Barbican

A barbican (from Old French: barbacane) is a fortified outpost or gateway, such as an outer defense of a city or castle, or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defensive purposes.

The Barbican in Domino REST API decides what a given user can read from or write to a document. The following constraints apply:

  • Documents can only be read when they have a Form item that is configured in keepconfig to allow access.
  • Only the fields that are configured can be created, read, or updated.
  • Exception: If NO fields are configured in keepconfig, no fields on the form can be accessed. As a best practice, define fields to constitute the schema for the document at this mode. A warning is logged to the console, if fields are not set. On write access, this ensures unexpected fields are not submitted.
  • An item in a document can be accessed only if there is a matching field on the form or a field configured in keepconfig.

Field Access in Barbican

The Barbican functions as the schema definition for the Domino REST API.

Reading documents

Reading documents in Barbican

Updating documents

Updating documents in Barbican

Creating documents

Creating documents in Barbican

Form Modes

Form Modes are used to manage access to documents. Domino REST API only allows access to documents that have a Form item. The content of the Form item determines the form definition used to decide access.

When a form is not configured, documents with that form item are not accessible via Domino REST API. A form configuration has one or more Form Modes to determine access.

Form configuration with modes

Each mode, specified in JSON as a series of flags and formulas, that determine access. Currently we make use of the @Formula language, but we might extend the options in future.

Using a configuration, rather than code in an individual application shifts preserving integrity to the Domino server, an important step to roll out Single Page WebApps or mobile apps without the need for extended application server infrastructure

Form configuration with modes

Item Sample Value Explanation
modeName default The first mode always is called default. It is used when creating new documents with that form
computeWithForm false Should form formulas be executed when loading / saving a document. Mainly used for existing form logic
strictInput true data types specified in the form must match submitted data types (no check on load)
allowAnyField false Bypass field list (formulas still apply - WIP)
onLoad Formula to execute before a Note gets converted to JSON
onSave @SetField(\"Status\";\"Submitted\") formula that gets executed after JSON has been converted to a Note, before save runs
readAccessFields [ "Approver", "Subject", "Requestor", "DueDate", "Status", "Body" ] Array of field names that are readable if present in the document
readAccessFormula @IsMember(\"[RaiseRequest]\"; @UserNamesList) Formula to determine if this read mode is available for the current document and user
writeAccessFields [ "Approver", "Subject", "Requestor", "DueDate", "Status", "Body" ] Array of field names that can be updated Note: they are case sensitive, JSON wants it like that
writeAccessFormula Status=="" Formula to determine if this write mode is available for the current document and user
deleteAccessFormula @False Formula to determine if the current document could be deleted by the user with delete access
validationRules Array of formula/message pairs Validation on a database level

Validation Rules

Validation rule allow to ensure business rules to be enforce regardless of client (other application, web app, mobile app, curl). Domino REST API used the @Formula language for them

Field Example Purpose
formula @IsMember(status;\"Submitted\":\"Approved\":\"Rejected\") @Formula with a true/false result
DueDate < @Today
message Status must be either 'Submitted','Approved' or 'Rejected' Static message to be returned
You can't backdate requests


Let's take a simple example of the approval workflow, where the requestor submits an expense report for approval to understand this better.

The requestor has read and write access to the subject, body, and amount fields of the expense report. The requestor fills in the details and the request then goes to the approver. The approver has different access rights to the different fields of the same form. The approver only has read access to the subject, body, and amount fields but read and write access for updating the approval status. Now, add an auditor in the same scenario. The auditor has only read access to subject, body, amount, and approval status field. The auditor, however, has read and write access to fill in the audit status, which is non-editable for either the requestor or the approver.

This assigning of access to documents to different users, based on their roles, can easily be done using Form Modes. Managing the Form Modes can be done via the Project Domino REST API Admin GUI.

Further readings

Check the pages about the Admin UI and go through the Tutorials.