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    Bob Balaban


    Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Bob Balaban  August 5 2007 01:44:25 PM
    Greetings, Geeks!

    It will likely come as no surprise to many of you that the software product development business sometimes exhibits certain peculiarities that one would not expect. This is especially (sometimes) true at big software companies, like IBM (not that I am criticizing my employer, running a very large corporation isn' all that easy...)

    A case in point:
    One of the things a Product Development organization in a company like IBM spends a lot of time doing is trying to figure out what our customers want -- what are their pain points with our product, and how can we offer more value. The problem comes when we sit around discussing and debating alternative ideas, and we (developers, architects, product managers, UI designers...) suddenly realize that we have no good information on how people actually USE this or that piece of the product. Too much of what we know about our customers is unreliable -- dated, anecdotal, or sometimes just assumed/made up. That's a bad thing, because if we build something (a new feature, whatever) based on unreliable or incorrect information about how people will use it, we risk building the wrong thing, or building it the wrong way, or maybe just looking silly.

    So, Glorious Geek Community, I have a question for you about how you use (or don't use) Notes templates (NTFs) in the context of Domino Web application development:

          Do you ever use any of our templates for Web apps "as is", out of the box, without modification? If so, what percentage of the time? Which template(s)?
          If you use our templates for Web apps, but modify them, can you characterize the kinds of modifications you make? And again, which template(s)?

    (Note that I am not asking about templates that you create yourself. I'm collecting feedback on whether any of our NTFs are any good at all for Web apps as-is).

    Please respond as specifically as possible.

    1Chris Linfoot  08/06/2007 5:14:57 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    We use Team Rooms as is quite often (web and Notes access) and very occasionally Document Libraries. Most of our Domino web stuff is however completely bespoke.

    2Christopher Semturs  08/06/2007 5:32:42 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Well, of course web-mail itself (DWA), and the webmail redirect template.

    Despite of this, we take advantage of the document libraries - even tough the web-access is treated more like "read-only" by our employees, as they prefer the notes-version much more of course.

    Despite of this, nothing.

    We do not apply any modifications. As for the document library, for instance, we went for completely self-developed solution vs. modifications.

    I'd love to see the DWA-features being generalized and available for all applications (or at least some more IBM-predelivered ones), but of course that's a huge huge task.

    3Jack Taylor  08/06/2007 5:36:31 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The company I work for also use Team Rooms (Both Notes & Web), but this is the only notes template we use. It is used out of the box, but only by the IT department. We are looking at using the blog template included with 7.02. As yet have not used it.

    4Michel Van der Meiren  08/06/2007 6:05:43 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The idea behind these templates is very good. Unfortunately, they haven't been updated since previous milennium, they contain errors and use very old and deprecated HTML technologies (applets, frames).

    Since they also contain lots of inline fonts and colours, they cannot be styled with CSS. In one of my blog posts, I described what I did to clean up such a template: { Link } It takes a few hours to do.

    5Michel Van der Meiren  08/06/2007 6:11:54 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Wrong link. Here's the good link: { Link }

    6Kerr  08/06/2007 6:59:34 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    As a developer of web apps I never start out with an IBM supplied template. I do have code that I keep in DBs for reuse, but that's more assembling from parts rather than start with a template and tweek for my use. That's not to say that if there were more up to date templates I wouldn't. For example, I'd look at re-purposing the blog template if I thought it was close enough to a particular requirement.

    7Matt White  08/06/2007 7:03:32 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The only template that I ever use these days is the blog, and even then not very often. As Michel (@4) said the standard templates are just too old and out of date to be useful.


    8Michael Schlömp  08/06/2007 7:35:41 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The only template we use in our company is the webmail template. We use other templates, but not for the web. But I know, if we would use a template for the web, we would modify it.

    9Nathan T. Freeman  08/06/2007 7:38:19 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Lots of people use the webadmin template, and the DDM template right out of the box. There's plenty of use of the 7.0.2 blog template.

    But you do realize that all the existing templates are under-presented, right? The only way you see them is to go to File - Database - New, point to a recent server, and select "Advanced Templates." And at that point, you see all the internal templates (License Tracking, Server.Load Monitors, R&R Reservations) mixed up with actual user templates (Discussion, Blog, Teamroom, Libraries.)

    You have to already be a Notes expert to figure out how you can even audition this stuff.

    Rather than worrying about the templates themselves, you should offer up deployment management tool for them.

    Something an administrator can configure to say "here's the list of templates available for end users to create spaces on my Domino server. Have them automatically go into structures like X, Y and Z, and follow these policies when created (creating user gets a local replica, additional replicas created on server A for clustering, automatically create a group for the ACL and email a notification to the members, etc)

    One of the few things I actually like about Quickr is the way it empowers users to audition the different kinds of places. 8.0 is a train smash in terms of its actually delivery, but the intent is there, and it's a model that the Domino server should have lead in long ago.

    So use policies to allow the publication of individual templates to be available to specific user sets, and allow administrators to permit instances of those templates under rulesets that empower those users.

    THEN it will be relevant whether your shipping templates are up to date. Right now, even if you had the best forum system in the world, it wouldn't matter because it would only have you utility for the 1% of Notes shops where people know how to find and set up new dbs from templates.

    By the way, building a policy model for template deployment would also help groups like OpenNTF, as they could put together templates that matched the deployment rules specified in that model, and maybe even have prefab policies for easy deployment.

    10Chris Blatnick  08/06/2007 7:48:56 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The idea of having out of the box templates is certainly a good one and is highly desirable to me as a business advocate. The faster and more efficiently I can deliver a solution to my users, the better. That said, I unfortunately can't make use of any of the standard templates today. As several other commenters noted, they are simply too old, especially as far as web technologies go. My biggest complaint (surprise, surprise) is that the UI and user experience of these templates on the web is pretty awful. In my opinion, they need to be completely rebuilt with a focus on the UI. An important aspect of this will be the "sexiness" factor. Of course they have to be usable, but to compete with Sharepoint and the like, we need to have these out of the box templates looking good as well.

    11Andy Burnett  08/06/2007 8:30:04 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The only out of the box templates we use are the Blog and Teamroom - although we have subsequently played with the teamroom template a bit.

    To be honest, the templates just aren't good enough. As previous contributors have written, they are just too old.

    12Bastian Wieczorek  08/06/2007 8:40:25 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    1.) web-mail itself (DWA)

    2.) the webmail redirect template

    3.) Team Rooms

    4.) Domino Web Configuration (domcfg.nsf)

    I only modifized the domcfg.nsf so that it has the same design like our company website.

    13Jim Knight  08/06/2007 8:40:27 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    One of my customers uses teamrooms right out of the box for the web. Other than that, none. I might recommend them more if not for the ones with the java applets. I find those to be less than desirable in most cases.

    14Charles Robinson  08/06/2007 8:55:08 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Just the DWA template.

    15Ben Poole  08/06/2007 9:01:44 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    +1 for the blog template. And we've got some document libraries deployed with very light modifications (logo graphics, different graphics for buttons). Other than that, all our Domino Web applications (and there are a lot) are bespoke.

    16Charlie Phillips  08/06/2007 9:12:06 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The only templates I've made use of were Domino.Doc at my last job and they had to be heavily modified to keep the customer happy. That same customer also used QuickPlace right out of the box. Everything else I build from scratch because the templates are just too generic and require more time to modify than they're worth.

    17Rob McDonagh  08/06/2007 10:03:32 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Webmail only. None of the others are worth deploying.

    We use TeamRooms, Discussions, and Doc Libraries regularly in the Notes client. But we won't allow web access to them because it is too painful, in experience, performance, and functionality.

    18Steve Castledine  08/06/2007 10:06:41 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Slightly unconnected to your post but echoing Nathan, creating applications using the templates the current way has to be changed in order to simplyfy.

    Big button "New Blog", "New Discussion Database" should be the order of the day not "File, Application, New - select database,file,template (of which the user does not know which to use).

    19Tim Tripcony  08/06/2007 10:42:32 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Nearly everything I'd have said has already been said, but I'd like to add one observation about applets. When they were first added for action bars and views, I initially liked the result for the wrong reason: they made the web interface "feel" more like the Notes client equivalent. 8 years later, it's become apparent that this isn't really what users want. Although there's some value in retaining an air of familiarity for users who have spent so much time using the client that an almost identical web interface will be a seamless transition, I'd rather see an interface that is intuitive regardless of a user's previous experiences.

    20Mikkel Heisterberg  08/06/2007 1:06:19 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Nope - the out-of-the-box design is just not good enough. Simple as that.

    21Kevin Pettitt  08/06/2007 1:44:31 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Among the dozen or so Notes shops that I've worked in over the last 10 years, I can only recall a few instances where either the webmail or DWA template were used pretty much as is. That's not to say other examples didn't exist in some cases in other parts of a given organization, or in years before I worked there, I just don't know. To the extent I've ever seen any of the user templates put to web use, it was only to serve as a starting point for custom development. And it's been several years since I've even seen that. Whatever else I can say about the reasoning for this has already been said.

    @9 - as for Nathan's notion of a deployment tool I think he is spot on. I agree that the whole process of creating new Notes database "instances" needs to be rethought. Recognition needs to be given to the fact that any (power)user-facing approach probably needs to be wizard-driven or otherwise make it easy for users to properly configure things like access control and full-text search, not to mention database location (server, directory).

    But given Notes' usefulness as a custom application development platform, the biggest hole in the roster of shipped templates has always been a generic "starter database" that wasn't built with a specific purpose. Whether you start with -blank- or from a Discussion template, the result is rarely pretty. It will surprise no one to learn that this problem is my primary motivation behind creating SuperNTF ( { Link } ).

    It is also worth noting that I envision building a "developer-focused" deployment tool wrapped around SuperNTF, such that discrete code "modules" (or the entire framework) could be pushed into any target database, whether new or existing. There are similar tools already (Teamstudio, NotesHound, a few on OpenNTF), and I'll probably draw on them for inspiration, but they don't come with any "content".

    It would be really nice if some of the effort going into redesigning the templates could go into producing these sorts of discrete code modules. For example, all of the design elements which relate to returning web errors (such as $$ReturnGeneralError). In the worst case, you could have a new menu choice: "File - Database - Insert Code Module" which would look for all *.nmf files (assuming that filetype extension is available). However you do it, you get the idea.

    22Thomas Hug  08/06/2007 3:05:03 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    As a web developer, who came into Notes Development by chance, I'm not using any of the templates, since they are, as some already stated, based on very old web technology. In the time of Notes 5 they may have been usable, but I have to admit that I'm thinking of switching back to technologies based on PHP and MYSQL, since it became the better environment for RAD. In my opinion, IBM has neglected developing the Domino web server into a modern web server that does not think to be clever and creates much HTML-Code that is not really wished. In the time of RNext IBM announced the support of JSP, but they removed that feature in order to push the awful WebSphere server.

    23Ed Maloney  08/06/2007 3:10:28 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    The standard templates (other than blog and DWA)when used on the web only reinforce the perception that Notes is an obsolete technology. This is a shame, because the out of the box functionality is very good. Scott Good and Henry Newbury did a workshop at Lotusphere on updating the discussion template for the web, but this fell short because it was an Internet Explorer only solution. Still, they did prove that it would not be a huge amount of work to update the standard template(s)to a contemporary web UI.

    24Turtle  08/06/2007 3:18:10 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    I almost never use any of the stock templates unmolested any more. The only exceptions are the directory and webmail. I long ago added a lot of stuff to domlog.ntf to make it more useful, changes which have since been added to the stock domlog.ntf but different.

    Some of my earliest production code at work was developed off the ancient discussion DB template, but we moved almost all of that activity to QuickPlace years ago and the few discussion DBs that remain are so modified they don't really resemble the original template at all and we set up new custom templates from the running NSFs.

    However, I keep thinking maybe I should go back and revisit the stock templates and see if there's code I could borrow to use elsewhere. As sources of solid code for other projects, they're pretty good, but I rarely implement production apps using only the templates. As a minimum, all the graphics would get changed and anything that uses Java applets for navigation gets ripped out because we have low-vision users whose screen adaptation software can't handle Java. That has been a longtime problem.

    25Wild Bill  08/06/2007 5:02:48 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Ditto with everyone else. DWA, webAdmin (sometimes). I sometimes come across a customer who's tried to use a teamroom and given up.

    Nifty fifty for the web using a common css schema ?

    Why doesnt Lotus use a design partner for this, in the same way that Rob's team at Snapps did that excellent job on the Quickr templates ? And we'd have more than a fighting chance that they'd be out before nd9 ?

    (This isnt a dig at the dev staff at westford, more a dig at the mountain of crap you'd have to climb internally to actually get to do this stuff)


    ---* Bill

    26Henning Heinz  08/06/2007 6:10:05 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    No, besides the artist formerly known as iNotes. I would use Web Admin from time to time but have disabled it on most servers because Domino does not have an integrated Brute Force password defense mechanism.

    27Erik Brooks  08/06/2007 8:44:15 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Mail. That's it.

    As others have said, all of the other web apps are horrible because either:

    (1) They are coded to match UI techniques from ages ago.

    (2) They have a horrible, "rigid spaghetti" structure because they are from a dev platform from ages ago.

    It's not too surprising to me what people are saying here - the main templates people use "out of the box" on the web are the ones that were designed exclusively for the web in the first place.

    Most excellent question, Bob. I've thought to myself for a long time "Do people *really* still use this stuff? How many man-hours is IBM wasting deving this?"

    28Patrick Kwinten  08/07/2007 2:36:16 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    we never use default templates:

    a-they our mostly outdated, so they miss a lot of Web 2.0 functionality

    b-the look and feel are not easily to be changed via a css file

    c-customers mostly have additional demands

    so updating the most common databases (discussion, document library) to a more web 2.0 level and separating the presentation from the functionality would be highly desired!

    29Michael Bourak  08/07/2007 2:45:01 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Beside DWA and Webadmin, no.

    30Theo Heselmans  08/07/2007 4:49:12 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    31Theo Heselmans  08/07/2007 4:50:37 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    DWA and Domino Blog. These are the most 'up-to-date' and useful. I use them without 'big' design changes.

    32Martijn de Jong  08/07/2007 6:20:36 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    We use the Blog, TeamRoom and Webadmin templates right out of the box, although with TeamRoom I hate the slow Java applets. Personally I use Journal template and I modified the Personal Address Book template to work on the web, as that one didn't work at all (hint hint... a shared address book template would be most appreciated and not only by me)

    33Bodek Frak  08/07/2007 10:20:04 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    We use DWA for Web users, TeamRoom & Doc Library mostly for Notes users. I agree with author of comment #4. IBM-Lotus needs to do a better job keeping these templates up to date, especially TeamRoom.

    34John Smart  08/07/2007 1:38:19 PM  template contest

    What if... given the lack of self-motivated movement in the community, there was a contest. People could submit templates to be included. Each voter is allowed 10(?) votes, and the fifty (or twenty, or maybe just 5) most voted applications were included by IBM on the installs? (install optional, maybe even turned off by default)

    Plenty of legal crap to consider... IBM would do well to make it's own open source license that allows OpenNTF authors to work with them, like an "Open Source for all except IBM gets special rights" license. I think it would be worth it, though. Templates serve two purposes: Usefulness and demonstration. You know you'd get high quality in both areas if you'd only ask.

    Maybe the sandbox could be totally revamped towards this effort, and the also-rans could be publicly listed and available, too. Each template's About document would have a link to this page and anyone who wants more would know where to look.

    35Bob Balaban  08/08/2007 6:48:06 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Greetings, Geeks!

    Thanks so much (once again) for all the great (and quick!) feedback.

    I didn't want to be more specific in my original question to avoid biasing the results of my

    little poll. So, as a follow-up, let me frame it a little more closely:

    I noticed that several people mentioned using (or wanting to use) the TeamRoom template on the Web,

    some mentioned Doc Library, but hardly anybody mentioned the Discussion template.

    I'm a little bit surprised by that, as there's some evidence that Discussion is the most widely used NTF for Notes.

    As a little bit more background (hypothetical, no promises, the lawyers make me say, blahblahblah) --

    if (or, if we're lucky, when) the Domino team were to create a brand new, shiny, beautiful, Web

    oriented template using all the great new technologies we hope to build into NMFR (next major feature

    release), and if we were to pick one of the existing templates to re-write, which one would you vote

    for (Mail is not a choice, we already have DWA)?

    The purpose of our doing this would be to a) provide something usefull and better than anything we currently have for the Web, and b) show off our new (as yet uncoded, but stay tuned) server technologies for Web appdev, and c) have it serve as a set of advanced examples

    on how to do great Web appdev on Domino.

    So, fellow Geeks, please vote! Stating your reasons would also be very helpful.


    36Bob Balaban  08/08/2007 7:20:19 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Greetings Geeks!

    Now that I've got my follow-up question out of the way (#35), here's my usual all-at-once set of replies and comments to your postings.

    @2 Chris, DWA is a whole separate application, and as such not within the scope of this discussion. Having said that, however, rest assured that I am working very closely with the DWA team to align their future development with the stuff we plan to do in the Web Server (and related bits of Domino). Stay tuned!

    @4 - These are all problems that we hope to address in NMFR. Thanks for the feedback. I understand that frames are now mostly deprecated, how do you feel about iframes?

    @9 - Ahh, Nathan! *Very* interesting topic, but not the one under discussion. I don't want to forget about this, though, I'm recording it for future discussion.

    @10 - I hear ya, thanks.

    @13 - Jim, would having a JavaScript option for action bars and so on solve your problem with the Java applets?

    @18 - Steve, interesting proposal. Is it your experience that "regular" users are the ones wanting to create NSF instances for the Web? The current model goes back to when everyone had "Designer" built right into the Notes client, but also kind of assumes that Admins would control NSF creation on the server (that is certainly true at IBM, and most other large organizations I've seen).

    @19 - Tim, I completely agree with you.

    @21 - Kevin, interesting notion. Reminds me of the old ITFactory approach, and also reminds me of the Expeditor provisioning model (and to some extent of the Eclipse update-site approach as well). This topic obviously deserves further exploration.

    @22 - Thomas, without re-hashing old (and painful) events, I'll just say that these are the sorts of things we are now trying to fix. That's why I'm asking these questions!

    @24 - So, Turtle, what's the recommended solution for low-visioni accessibility? That is clearly something we care about....

    @25 - Ah, Bill! As to "why don't IBM use a BP", I think that mostly comes down to money. But then, if I can build a business case for my management that shows a good ROI for such an investment, then you just never know... And WATCH IT on the cycle time digs, please. :0)>

    @34 - Interesting ideas, though frankly the thought of dealing with lawyers on this makes me tired.

    37Andrew Brew  08/08/2007 7:32:19 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    My vote is for Discussion database.

    As you say, Bob, it is surely the most widely used template, both out of the box and as a starting point (often inappropriately, but there you go.) for other things, particularly for novice developers.

    I don't use it much myself these days, but it remains one of the most generically useful templates ever. Since in encapsulates most of the commonly used functionality, it also serves as a source in which to mine useful code snippets, and would serve that function for web apps also. So... if we have to pick one, that's the one.


    38Kerr  08/09/2007 2:52:42 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    You might get some press mileage out of having a good wiki template to partner the blog template.

    39Bruce Perry  08/09/2007 12:51:25 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Discussion and Doc lib are very similar. Other than iNotes, these are the only default templates I use with any regularity. Though I mainly use these in the client, I have used them on the web a few times too.

    They can be used with no special training and require no configuration (apart perhaps from ACL changes).

    40Nathan T. Freeman  08/09/2007 1:31:04 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Bob, it is my most earnest belief that construction of better core templates such as Discussion, or Blogging, or Doc Library, is irrelevant to most shops without making their deployment more accessible.

    41Ed Maloney  08/09/2007 8:23:34 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    I would say that the Discussion.NTF would be most widely used, but that as a showcase Teamroom would be the better choice. Teamroom is so close to be being great on the Notes client in the current version. End users are always impressed, but quickly become irritated at the quirks and non-intuitive options. A little work and this could be a winner.

    42Pejman  08/10/2007 7:52:28 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    I would also say that the Discussion.ntf.

    (why not integrating the domBulletin which is on openNTF ?)

    43Bob Balaban  08/10/2007 7:39:01 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    @42 - OpenNTF has some GREAT stuff, no doubt about it (there NEVER was any doubt about that). The problem for IBM is, not every project from OpenNTF can meet some of the certification-of-originality requirements that IBM sets.

    It's kind of stupid, I admit, but IBM has to be VERY careful about using software it did not create or does not own, because some (evil) people are ALWAYS looking for an excuse to sue companies like IBM.

    Sad, but true. That's not a blanket statement about OpenNtf in ANY WAY! In fact it's kind of a general problem with open-source, multi-contributor projects (at least for companies like IBM it is) -- you (we, IBM) REALLY need to be able to PROVE (if necessary) where all of the code came from.

    There's nothing I (or anyone else, probably) can do about it, unfortunately.

    44Pankaj Sharma  08/11/2007 12:39:06 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    I would love to have it "out of the box".

    Modification is not that easy and most of the users tend to go with default.

    Would love to have more readymade themes for mail, discussion and team and blogging templates.

    45Nathan T. Freeman  08/11/2007 5:41:46 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    "In fact it's kind of a general problem with open-source, multi-contributor projects (at least for companies like IBM it is) -- you (we, IBM) REALLY need to be able to PROVE (if necessary) where all of the code came from."

    That's not insurmountable. I can come up with some strategies for that pretty readily, in fact.

    46Niall Durkan  08/13/2007 1:04:39 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    @42 - Great suggestion! I think there are a number of initiatives under way that could be leveraged and used as templates. Dombulletin is one of those. I've worked with it and its a solid template but still could use plenty of enhancements. The key to these templates is that they should be entirely web based. After the DB is created all administrative functions should be able to be performed using a browser. One of the drawbacks to the DomBulletin is that out of the box it still requires Notes client for performing admin functions.

    47Rob  08/14/2007 12:39:05 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    I'd like to have had a generic announcement-style web site template. The kind you'd use for a small business or organization to tell people about products and services. One without much interactivity. (Would have liked... now I have my own I use over and over.)


    About deployment: at Motorola we created a web-based application which create one database each time an employee registered on the web site. The database was named with their employee ID and created using our custom template. We had over 3000 databases in that system and it worked well.

    So if you have a list of approved templates you want to let people create, just build a deployment database to collect the basic creation/configuration data and tell the people about it.



    48Nick Radov  08/16/2007 12:35:21 PM  Allow presentation customization through CSS

    We use some of the standard templates internally, and I think a few of our customers may be doing so as well. The biggest problem that I have noticed is there is no reasonable way to customize the look and feel. To change the appearance of something you have to go in with Domino Designer and actually edit a form or view. Then those changes are lost next time IBM releases a new version.

    What we need is for all of the formatting to be controlled by a set of two external CSS files. There shouldn't be any style or presentation information in the design template itself. But every web page generated from those templates needs links to those two CSS files. The first CSS file would be supplied by IBM with the default look and feel. The second CSS file would initially be empty, but could be customized to override any of the styles defined in the first CSS file. It would not be overwritten by an upgrade. Obviously IBM would also have to document all of the HTML class and id attributes used in the standard templates so that customers would know which CSS styles they would have to modify to change particular areas of the web applications.

    49Jérôme Deniau  08/16/2007 5:22:01 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    I mainly use webadmin personnaly because it works fast +dwa (but not a template for me).

    Clients are using Teamroom, Doc Library but, they still complain about the outline and actions bar Java stuff which are really long to be loaded on some PCs. So we almost replace action bars and outlines with tools from our own....

    50John Head  08/17/2007 12:20:45 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Discussion database if you have to pick one ... and go with a dombulletin style that accepts the same theme that IBM Blog uses. A single skin that I can use across multiple applications is a big deal.

    I agree with Nathan that you need to change the model on how people use the templates, but not at the expense of not doing anything while you fix that model. We need a new template from IBM in the NMFR timeframe.

    51Ben Poole  08/17/2007 8:53:49 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    I'd for a discussion board too, that generally seems to be a popular choice & I see people use them as a simple doc repositories too.

    Of course, a wiki would be crucial also (joke!)

    52John Vaughan  08/17/2007 10:14:50 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Probably the one that is the most important for us is going to quickly be the Resource Reservations database. Right now people access it via Notes, but our intranet is finally going all web, and I know the browser client is going to get a lot more important. We do have doc libraries and teamrooms floating around too. Those are easier to customize though. Resource reservations are tied into adminp and the nab and seem more delicate, or at least a lot more work to customize because of all the extra moving parts that have to do with the overall infrastructure of the entire Notes environment. It would be great if IBM made it nice and pretty for the web so we don't have to. No one wants to use it on the web at it currently is.

    Btw while we are at it, I'd like to ask that all applets disappear from all web applications. With web 2.0 there just isn't any need for them, it seems to me. They slow things down considerably, they are almost always ugly, and we have problems with people having to have multiple jvm's which end up installing over each other for various corporate products/initiatives, some of which are IBM products like the Learning Management product and some of which are non-IBM mission critical apps. Users without admin access may not be able to install applets, so sometimes they never even work at all. I'd at least like to ask that if there is another way to engineer something, that the non-applet version always be chosen.

    *steps off soapbox* (sorry) :-)

    53John Vaughan  08/17/2007 10:23:40 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    btw as for discussion, we have been using modified discussion templates (heavily modified) for a long time. we've recently decided to move to a blog format, where main topics in discussions will be treated in a ui sense like blog posts, and comments below will be handled just like the comments in this thread, a flat view, without any of that hierarchical stuff us old notes geeks are used to in response threads.

    we are actually looking at discussion more as a feature, almost like a widget, which we'll add into something that will be a configurable business centric portal. discussion is better when there is a context, and our company has many contexts in which to frame discussions (many different business lines).

    54Bob Balaban  08/18/2007 2:53:56 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Greetings, Geeks! Some more replies/comments:

    @48 - I like it. CSS is something we are certainly planning to address in NMFR

    @52 - VERY interesting idea, hadn't thought of that before.

    Re: Applets, we are planning to replace the applets with other options (or, I should say, at least, give you the option to replace the applets....)

    Perhaps I'll make this the topic of a future "What if..." posting.

    @53 - I've thouht about that too, but my main objections to that idea are: you lose response-threading, and b) you lose unread marks, unless you make it a real Atom-type feed (but in that case, the reader basically maintains the unread status...)

    55Thomas Schulte  08/18/2007 1:24:38 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    DWA. Period.

    Not any of the other ones. And if we do then not without heavily modifying them.

    56Sebastien CHIRON  08/27/2007 12:21:10 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?


    We use DWA for external email access in addition with Blackberry , but we are very disapointed of the "NO EVOLUTION" of the DWA interface in version 8 instead of the "Fantastic" works done with the interface of the client 8 version !!! as long as the DWA 8 doesn'tlooks like the notes client 8 version , we won't upgrade our infrastructure : (

    57Kevin Pettitt  08/28/2007 10:49:00 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    @36 (by way of @21) - There is definitely similarity of purpose between ITFactory's circa 2000 architecture endeavors and SuperNTF. I was a big proponent of ITFactory at the time, and learned a lot from the experience. Most notably, I learned that if the architecture has a steep learning curve, it will not be widely adopted.

    The ITFactory architecture was an engineering marvel, no question about it. However it was simply not cost effective for most organizations to spend money on something that would then require a huge time investment on the part of developers to learn. This is a common problem with many other "Standard Notes Databse Frameworks", from home grown ones created by individual developers to open-source ones like OpenSlice or eCore or DAF (all listed on OpenNTF).

    My primary goal with SuperNTF is to make the architecture "simple" enough that it can quickly be put to use by even inexperienced developers, while also minimizing the risk that they will "break" something. The idea is that by keeping the learning curve as flat as possible we will achieve wider adoption, and in the process build what amounts to an "ecosystem" of SuperNTF-compatible modules created by others. We seem to be off to a good start.

    58Bob Balaban  08/28/2007 11:57:12 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    @56 - Stay tuned for DWA enhancements in 8.1

    @57 - Thanks for the extra info, Kevin. Care to post a link to more?

    59Keith Brooks  08/28/2007 11:59:53 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Mail, doc library(yeah it looks VERY old on thew web but is useful nonetheless), teamroom would be great to get updated!

    Mostly clients like corporate logos, colors embedded in everything so that is what I work with usually.

    It would be nice if you made it easier to add a logo/graphic to the mail stationery for non designers and set it as default too.

    60Kevin Pettitt  08/30/2007 12:07:17 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    @58 (by way of @57) - Here are links to the opensource Notes application frameworks I mentioned:

    SuperNTF: { Link }

    I can't type more links because the blog spam filter is disallowing it...

    61Kevin Pettitt  08/30/2007 12:07:45 PM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    continued from @60

    OpenSlice: { Link }

    Domino Application Framework (DAF): { Link }

    (e)notes core (had the name wrong): { Link }

    62Kevin Bull  09/07/2007 11:13:23 AM  Who uses any Notes templates as-is for HTTP access?

    Having been a Notes Developer since the R4 days I can honestly say there was a time, maybe a year, where I might use a template provided by Lotus. In the years since, I have consulted for large Fortune 100 companies and very small startup types, and almost without exception none of them have used anything more than the document library if they used anything at all. These days I can create an application template quicker and better than I could go through a Lotus supplied template and make the adjustments required to be acceptable for a client.

    Therefore to answer your question, never use or see being used anything other than in a few cases the document library.