Bob Balaban's Blog


    Bob Balaban


    Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Bob Balaban  April 2 2007 08:23:04 AM
    Although I'm writing this on April 1, rest assured that I am not kidding.

    A couple of weeks ago I guest-blogged on the popular site belonging to my good friend and colleague, Rocky Oliver.

    In the post I described the new job I have taken on within the Notes/Domino development organization (Programming Services Architect), and described my (self-imposed) overall mission as follows:

    I want to make Notes and Domino a kick-ass appdev platform again

    It was really gratifying to see the enthusiasm this statement provoked in the blogosphere and among our valued Business Partners and ISVs.

    I said on Rocky's site that my job is to identify and address important areas of improvement in the programmability space for both Notes (client) and Domino (server). I said then that I would NOT enumerate those areas ("Issues", whatever) right away.

    Which brings me to this post, here. Several of my IBM colleagues recommended that I start a blog. I didn't want to at first, it felt like too much typing, might cut into my sleep time. Eventually I realized (I tend to follow Rocky's advice  when he forces me to pay attention to the obvious) that having a blog would actually help me do my new job more effectively.

    So, my mission for this blog is to gather input from the AppDev Community out there on where the big points of pain are with our platform. I also plan to test-drive some ideas on what we (IBM) might (or might not) do in some of these areas, and get your reactions. This is an open forum, so I won't be revealing anything confidential here, and I don't want you, dear readers, to go posting anything confidential here either. If you have something confidential to say to me, send me email (bob UNDERSCORE balaban AT us DOT ibm DOT com).

    I will need LOTS of help. I need a cabal (but that has negative connotations), a sect (very negative connotations), a faction, a fan base with whom to brainstorm, work out solutions and help prioritize. I need YOU!

    I plan a series of "What if...?" postings about Notes and Domino technology, centered of course on programmability. These will probably be mingled with postings on more general questions, ideas and RFHs (Requests for Help).

    Welcome Programmability Faction! (Maybe I'll use: "Greetings, Geeks!")

    Let the discussion begin!

    1Jerry Glover  04/02/2007 6:48:22 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    As a developer, this could soon be my favorite blog!

    2Chris Blatnick  04/02/2007 7:30:16 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Awesome, Bob! I'm really looking forward to this!!!



    3William Beh  04/02/2007 8:34:13 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Looking forward to see some "kick-ass appdev" posting :)

    4Mick  04/02/2007 11:33:40 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)


    Looking forward to reading more.

    Having just stepped back into the Lotus Notes realm with a new job, I am keen to see what the 'Power of Notes' will deliver in the future...

    5Paul T. Calhoun  04/03/2007 12:03:29 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Cool !!! I'm sure we will be able to keep you in blog material for a while. !!!

    6Graham Tucker  04/03/2007 2:34:32 AM  Untitled

    Nice to see a blog devoted to development.

    Thanks for doing this.

    7Michael Gollmick  04/03/2007 2:43:06 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Seen. Read. Bookmarked. I WILL come back and try to give my best in supporting the discussion.

    8Thomas Bahn  04/03/2007 2:44:39 AM  New kid on the blog

    I'm happy to read you in the blogosphere (after some guest entries on Rocky's blog).

    And I'm convinced, that you can and will do the very best for the Notes/Domino platform (again :-)


    9Vitor Pereira  04/03/2007 3:48:27 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Great news! Welcome to the blogsphere.

    10Thomas Guenter  04/03/2007 3:58:38 AM  Some help....

    Hi Bob,

    some help - may be. I asked myself some month ago, how I would organize my application infrastructure, if I have a company. My anwer to myself was: I would choose two plattforms for my application. One for those business processes well known and the other for those business processes that should or could not be standardized. Call them the processes that my company make it to my company.

    For the first processes I then will use a standard ERP system. Need not to be SAP ;-). For the other I will, no I must use Lotus Notes/Domino. Some simple workflows or some special (intelligent?) workflows.

    Never the less, Domino is THE plattform for applications needed to do my business. Please help to make it a even better plattform.

    THX. Tom

    11Villi Helgason  04/03/2007 4:51:10 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    As a developer, I would like to:

    1. Write my code in Eclipse (Java, JavaScript, LotusScript)

    2. Create my forms and views in Eclipse

    12Ed Maloney  04/03/2007 5:33:06 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob - you have arrived late, but hopefully still in time. Take a look at two products as you begin your work on improving Domino;

    1) Sharepoint (Quickplace/Quickr are better, still the market has spoken).

    2) ColdFusion - RAD in the Notes client does not translate to rapid web development. Take a look at the CF tags - reporting, charting, images, SQL... on and on. I can only dream of a similar set of tags for Domino. Perhaps some of the PHP/Zend expertise at IBM could be put to work here.

    13Wild Bill  04/03/2007 6:05:51 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Nice one! Good to see you blogging - at last!

    ---* Bill

    14Richard Sampson  04/03/2007 6:17:08 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Excellent, look forwards to seeing what is to come!

    You've instantly made it onto the front page of my "favoured bookmarks" browser homepage.

    15Ricardo Lucio  04/03/2007 6:33:31 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Very nice Bob to see you blogging!

    I'm looking forward to read/contribute about "kick-ass devapp " ideas.

    16Ben Poole  04/03/2007 7:18:33 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)


    17Suzanne Minassian  04/03/2007 7:57:32 AM  Great to hear!

    Glad to see you are blogging! And congrats again on your new job :)

    18Glen  04/03/2007 8:07:34 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob - I'll help where I can and read often.

    So to start off with a request (grin) any chance you could make this block fit better on 1024x768 screens (ideally it would be great if it didn't horizontal scroll at 800px).

    19Lucas Williamson  04/03/2007 8:14:23 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Looking forward to seeing the ideas that surface in this blog......

    My two bits worth for the highest priority item.....please, please, please create a Java/COM calendaring API for Notes.

    i.e. CreateCalendarEntry(date, invitees, type, blah), RescheduleCalendarEntry(newtime, blah),

    Calendar is an impossible and bizarre black box to work with at the moment. We shouldn't have to write convoluted scripts full of magic numbers and bizarrely named fields to create a calendar entry. The lack of a simple API has far reaching ramifications for integration with third party systems and mobility solutions (i.e. it is next to impossible to integrate successfully with Notes calendar). I'm sick of hearing from vendors that they can integrate with Exchange calendar but not Notes.

    20Ian Connor  04/03/2007 8:24:46 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Well done and thanks for the energy!

    21Volker Weber  04/03/2007 8:26:09 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Glen, Bob is not a designer. But he could ask the blog developer to fix this. And maybe use a nice Wordpress template.

    22Mook  04/03/2007 8:50:53 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    *sigh* a place to talk about notes

    Not having worked with Notes 8 can't say for sure for the new features due in the next version

    But more important would be to trawl through the forums and online communities and look at the things that have infuriated developers (some are problems that have gone through 2 or 3 major version changes and are still there) find those and make sure they are fixed and developers everywhere will have a shrine next to the Mr PotatoHeads and Dexters just for you, especially late at night when the coffee machine has run out of the good stuff :)

    23Richard Moy  04/03/2007 9:01:25 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)


    I look forward in providing my input in improving Notes and Domino. As an ISV, the Notes and Domino platform provides a great platform for delivering business solution. I would like to see IBM letting the developer control more of the UI interface not just on the Standard version but also on the Basic version of Notes. The Notes client needs to be modularized so that developers can pick and choose what they need to provide to their users. I have a long list of improvements that I would like to see but the screen is not big enough so I will hold off. Congratulations on your new venture.

    24Markus Koestner  04/03/2007 9:37:12 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob,

    I´m a very, very frustrated Notes and JAVA developer. If you know Notes development and JAVA development you probably know what I mean. The limitations I have to deal with in Notes (now for some 4 years I think) are really killing me. I´m already your fan and I´m really looking forward to support you with input and feedback.

    So let´s get started!

    25Martijn Mulder  04/03/2007 9:47:38 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob,

    Congratulations on your new blog. As a fan of your old one I will be following it closely eventhough I am a bit less onthe developments side and a bit more on the infrastructure side now.

    Good luck!


    26Mike  04/03/2007 9:50:56 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)


    This blog could be a god-send. I found Mary-Beth's blog very useful/readable - this could be just as good

    You forgot the word "cult" when referring to the group required. Sometimes I feel like a member of a cult when trying to convince people that Notes is not just some e-mail system from the mid 1990s and that boy, have things moved on for the better and keep moving

    Looking forward to reading your posts and the 1000s of comments they will inspire!!


    27Derek Reynolds  04/03/2007 10:15:30 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Where do I start…

    1) A real IDE. Designer is dated. It’s as good as VB3 circa 1992. Intelisense/Type Ahead support for User Defined Classes and User Defined Types, If end block identification, context menu Goto definition which takes you to the definition for the method/property/function, Addition of other datatypes,

    2) Client side web debugging [LotusScript/Java/JavaScript] (Microsoft has been doing this since 2002).

    3) Formula debugger.. This was an unsupported hidden feature in previous versions. Why not revisit this necessity.

    4) XAML support. A requirement for first class application development. If IBM wishes to participate in this arena they need to support it.

    5) A better web application development platform integrated into the IDE. Design elements should work exactly as they would in the client as they do on the web. Yes you can manually add AJAX support yourself and custom JavaScript driven web Calendars but this should be native to the tool. In contrast when you drop a calendar control onto an ASP.NET page Microsoft handles the HTML calendar display for you having a feature-rich DHTML based calander control . You drop a DataGrid onto a page it auto paginates using AJAX. The developer did not have to add this. It is native to the element.

    6) Smart Client support. Again, the future of application development ({ Link })

    7) How about a language integrated query set that can set and transform operations? Microsoft’s betting on this in their next release of Visual Studio. { Link })

    This is all I can think of right now. When I think of more, I’ll followup with another post or two.

    28Ben Abler  04/03/2007 10:51:45 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Welcome Bob! If you really want to make notes a great app dev development platform, look no further than what Microsoft has done with Visual Studio 2005. It is without a question in my mind the best development environment anywhere.

    29Brian Miller  04/03/2007 10:57:02 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    I am SO there! Please allow me to help in any way that I can. I'm glad that the blog is open for business.

    - Brian

    30Scott Good  04/03/2007 12:15:14 PM  Congratulations and, hey, get to work!

    Hey Bob,

    I'm excited about the possibilities you bring to this effort. You know what great app development is all about and you have the depth to actually be able to do something about it, too. Wonderful!

    As for early wishes, I second pretty much everything Derek said above. Also add to the list support for things like the various flavors of Prompts, Picklists, and the like. OH YEAH, and a NAB picker. Steal ours if you like, but it's rather unexcusable that Domino doesn't have one exposed to developers.

    The biggest initial hassle with building Domino web applications out of existing Notes applications is that user interaction is easy, like breathing, in the Notes client but hard, like breathing through a Dry Cleaning bag, from the browser. We need to change that.

    Let me know if I can help your efforts in anyway.


    31Daragh  04/03/2007 12:43:09 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Welcome Bob !!

    To add my $0.02 to the other very valid suggestions above, my most desired feature is the removal of the 32k limit in formula language and in plain text fields.

    I can understand that limit on a Commodore 64, but let's get our 21st century on here !!

    Have fun,


    32Andrew Magerman  04/03/2007 12:50:27 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob,

    This is really exciting! I imagine every Notes developer is heaving a big sigh of contentment at your words. I agree with everybody but I would agree most with Mook, it seems to me you will get the most kick-ass for your bucks by spending some time fixing the things which are almost working, but not quite. If you want a list, I would be happy to send one.



    33Sean Harris  04/03/2007 1:16:37 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Kewl . . . lets start kicking @ss ;^ )

    34Ken Barker  04/03/2007 2:06:24 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob,

    I had actually given up on Notes/Domino as a development platform (after much soul searching)for my next project, because I had beaten my head against the wall with soo many potential clients who had simply no way to conceptualize using notes/domino as a base for any solution or product in the past. If I was paid $5 for every time I heard the phrase "isn't that an Email system" or "I thought outlook is better than notes"...I would have already retired in comfort.

    So, looking at your challenge - I have adopted one of my own. I will being using ND8 as the platform for my next product...and I'll be watching this blog to see if this was a wise choice or not. Hopefully the tools and capabilities that pop up here - along with some marketing support for the platform from IBM will prove this out.



    35Mike Amberg  04/03/2007 3:08:40 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Congratulations ... or ... ???

    Judging from the number of comments you will have large audience to satisfy.

    My first request is to be able to be able to link a RTF field to the Notes Client forms Print Header and Footer. As far as I am aware from working in Lotus 6.55 this is still not available.

    Best wishes and lots of success ...

    36JP  04/03/2007 3:28:56 PM  Bring Back Garnet!

    Or something like it.

    I think if you created a set of JSF widgets for Domino and an embedded (or separate) Tomcat server you would be able to develop drag and drop apps in less time than anything existing.

    Widgets could be items such as a full-featured Notes View, a time/calendar control, rich-text editor, etc. which would have their connectivity managed in the background. I.e. drop a 'NotesView' component on a page, it prompts you for the database and view name, done. Standard controls such as expand/collapse are then enabled or disabled as desired. Actions may be added, with 'Selected Documents' as the default collection to act upon.

    37Brian Green  04/03/2007 3:30:23 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @19 - Well said Lucas. If Lotus Notes is an enterprise PIM application, give us an API.

    38Alan Lepofsky  04/03/2007 4:04:37 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @6, while I don't want to steal Bob's thunder, there are other blogs by IBMers about app dev (and many by Partners)that you may also want to read.

    { Link }

    { Link }

    { Link }

    I also have some other resources you might benefit from listed here:

    { Link }

    39jonvon  04/03/2007 4:30:58 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    just real quick without reading the rest of the comments, one thing that would be of immediate benefit would be to somehow unleash the code in the jsp libs so that rank and file developers could easily exploit the power there for view display on the web. maybe somehow put that logic right into lotusscript, or give us some java api calls (even without LS at first..). seems like low hanging fruit.

    basically what we need is more power and flexibility for the web, and we need an eye leaning heavily toward ajax techniques and SOA - we need to be able to wrap domino data / programmability easily with web services calls.

    just my two cents. :-)

    40Daniel Schiavone  04/03/2007 5:49:30 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    I said it LotusSphere, "the move to Eclipse mainstreams a Notes/Domino developer's skill set". For me this is the most significant win for version 8. Now when I talk to my open source colleagues we're talking the same language. While my .Net buddy's are looking more proprietary every day.

    41Bob Balaban  04/03/2007 7:39:06 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Greetings Geeks! - well, the response is pretty overwhelming. Thanks for the great welcome, and for all the great suggestions!

    I cannot reply in detail to every comment, but please be assured that I am reading (and thinking about) everything here.

    Just a few specific replies:

    @12 -- I have been trained on SharePoint by the master (garydev), and I know about ColdFusion (I did some consulting for Allaire and then Macromedia, back in the day). But thanks for the reminder, I had not considered it in this context.

    @19 - Lucas, we hear you! Thanks also for the detailed email. C&S programmability is near the top of my "hit list"

    @22 - "Mr. PotatoHead"?? What about the shrine to Dilbert and Etch-a-Sketch?? :-)

    @23 - Richard, UI customization is a BIG new feature of Notes 8. I hope you're looking at the public beta and experimenting with Eclipse/Expeditor/Hannover plug-ins!

    @24 - Markus, I AM a Notes and Java developer, and believe me, I have expereienced frustrations in this area for a LOT more than 4 years!! I really do hope to be able to address many of these in coming releases. Furnish me some details, please! (email is ok if you don't want to post here), and stay tuned for upcoming specific discussion topics in this blog.

    @25 - Hi Martijn! Good to "hear" from you again!

    @27 - Thanks for the suggestions (and the links!), Derek. Stay tuned for more focused discussion of some of these topics right here

    @28 - Ok, I understand that Microsoft does a good job with dev tools, I've been using them daily since MS C v.3 in 1985 (and boy, did it suck!). I do, however, have a philosophical and business problem with charting our (IBM's) dev course by copying Microsoft. One of my issues with that is, we don't generally win that game. Every time we've tried it, Microsoft has come out ahead. My personal opinion is that we (IBM) should NOT play the "copy" game, but that we should CHANGE the game to one we can win, and then go all out to win it. So, when I say "kick-ass", guess whose ass I want to kick? :-)

    (As always, opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent any official position of my employer....)

    @30 - Hey Scott. "breathing through a dry-cleaning bag", LOVE IT! Yes, you can help! You can (try to) educate me about all those UI issues I've been ignoring for many years...!

    @31 - Maybe in the 64-bit version...? Ok, that was a JOKE! I hear and understand...

    @32 - Yes! Send me your list!

    @34 - Good on yer, Ken! (as they say Down Under). I hope it works out for you with your new project, let me hear about the stuff that does (and does not...) work please.

    @35 - Mike, thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not sure I completely understand what you mean by "link". Do you mean that you want rich text in headers and footers? Or, something else?

    @36 - JP, "Garnet" is (luckily!) no longer a dirty word at IBM. There were MANY things about Garnet that I liked. However, it is now 6 years later, and I don't think I would do Garnet now exactly as it was then, given the choice. However, we have not forgotten about Garnet!

    @39 - Hey Jonvon, I'm a little puzzled by your suggestion. The JSP tags are essentially wrappers around the Java apis (both local and remote flavors). So, when you say "give us some java api calls...", we've already got that. Having said that, be confident that AJAX, web services and Web apps in general are VERY much on my radar. Stay tuned...

    @40 - I agree, it's time for us to pay a little more attention to "mainstream" skill sets. Can't be more specific than that right now, sorry!

    42emma  04/03/2007 8:02:53 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @12 - Scarepoint is a marketing problem. As you said, Quickr is better - so it's a case of getting the IBM marketing dudes to sell that to the CIO, rather than making Quickr look more like crap.

    I agree with you on ColdFusion though. It's quick, it's easy, it works. And for someone with as little brainpower as me, it was remarkably easy to learn.

    One thing that gives me hope for Lotus' future is the interaction between IBM and open source groups. More of this will only bring good things to IBM's commercial software.

    43Pankaj Sharma  04/03/2007 10:25:02 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Welcome and best of luck, for helping us.

    44Andrew Price  04/04/2007 12:02:51 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hey Bob! Welcome back and congrats. I'm sure our dev team will love talking to you about your mission. :)

    45Axel Janssen  04/04/2007 1:54:31 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    - More support for maintainance programmers.

    For example: if some field formula is broken because the programmer where a bit lenient about type checking or some such, there should be some detailed error message indicating the field and the subform.

    - A strongly typed switch on Notes Forms

    - Overloading for methods in LotusScript.

    - An xml binding framework like JAXB in Java.

    - Support for document literal Webservices

    Best Luck


    46Matthijs  04/04/2007 7:09:42 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)


    Question, could you enable a full feed instead of a summary feed, makes it much easier to keep up in my rss reader.


    47Patrix  04/04/2007 7:51:04 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    My 2c

    * An Eclipse IDE! Just get it done! :-)

    * An updated HTTP task. W3C compliant and higly configurable in terms of what HTML it generates. This will make the Codestore people happy ({ Link })

    * As for languages I think we are spoiled in Notes with three core languages to choose from and Javascript on top of that. There could be better Java performance and debugger support. DXL is great and should be develped further.

    Good luck Bob!

    48Baiju  04/04/2007 8:32:15 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Welcome Bob!!

    My 3 wishes

    1) Add parameters in the getAllDocumentsByKey and the FTSearch methods to sort the collection based on a list of fields

    2) A url command "SearchViewEntries" similar to ReadViewEntries which can bring a search result in XML/JSON format

    3) More accurate and control on the domain search. Its a pain to do multidatabase search in domino.



    49Peter Närlund  04/04/2007 8:37:22 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    What if domino objects didn't need recycling when disposed in the java language?

    As a consultant I meet people that are new to lotusscript and java in domino and most of them are afraid of implementing things in java but not in lotusscript.

    The reason - the server stops sometimes on executing java agents due to memory problems - but never if the agents are implemented using lotusscript.

    My conclusion is that they dont know about recycle or they don't recycle out of other reasons. (Like its not used in the help examples.)

    So my contribution today is - What if domino objects didn't need recycling when disposed in the java language?

    50Charles Robinson  04/04/2007 9:20:04 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @36 - Believe it or not, Lotus already has such a product: IBM Application Designer for Medium Business { Link } . I tried it out back in November 2006 and it looks like they've done a much better job with the more recent release.

    The downside, and to your plea to resurrect Garnet: you have to deploy it on Websphere. At Lotusphere I lamented this (and quite vociferously) to the product director for Lotus Component Designer. He explained that it was a conscious technical decision to NOT enhance the servlet container in Domino to host Lotus Component Designer projects. I voiced my dismay, he said it was duly noted and conceded I wasn't the only person annoyed by the design direction that was chosen.

    I could be very far off the mark, but it looks to me like LCD plugs the web development holes in Domino Designer, and if you could then turn around and deploy the LCD project on Domino you would have the best of both worlds.

    51Liz Novak  04/04/2007 10:08:28 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Congratulations, Bob! You are SO on my RSS feed reader!



    52David Burley  04/04/2007 11:09:36 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    The "Godfather" has a blog!

    Without the "Two-Headed Beast" I would never have made sense of Domino Java. THANKS!

    Eclipse rules as an IDE - Help us make better use of its power. Little things, like a Notes.jar plugin/install that included the javadoc would be a start.

    Improve the integration with Websphere or do a more direct job of educating us to its potential. I'd love to have a direct link to my iSeries data from Domino agents via that sweet WS connection pool.

    Looking forward to a daily stop by here.


    53Mike VandeVelde  04/04/2007 1:27:22 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob! Great mission, I wish you success!

    One simple thing would get my shrine to you started:


    With show multiple values as separate entries, a way to know which value was selected would allow some really whiz bang UI stuff. My big idea was to edit a set of multi-value fields on a document with a view of those fields embedded on the document - the doc editing itself through a view of itself - I can get it to look just right, but I just can't get it to function at all :-( In view edit made it even more interesting, but again stuck on functionality!

    If that sounds interesting and/or doable, I could email you more details.

    Oh yeah, and while you're at it, all the web stuff mentioned above ;-)

    Best of luck!

    54Bob Balaban  04/04/2007 10:04:02 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Greetings, Geeks!

    @45 - Hey Axel! I think we do support doc/literal on our web services. Open the properties box on a WS, i'm pretty sure it's one of the choices in the drop-down

    @46 - Yes! SteveC sent me a link to an article on how to configure what he calls "full-glory feeds". { Link }

    I think I did it right, let me know if it's not working

    @48 - Thanks for the suggestions. Interesting idea about sorting an ft-result set based on specified fields. Unfortunately, I don't think our search engine supports that option.

    @49 - Re: recycle, stay tuned! I agree, recycle is a pain

    @52 - You want justice? :-)

    Re: Javadoc, request noted (and I agree, it would be a good thing)!

    Re: agent/WAS integration -- I'm pretty sure Domino agents will never run in a WAS container. But of course you could invoke a WAS servlet/JSP/web service/EJB from an agent to then access your iSeries data via pooled connections...

    Keep those comments coming!

    55Scott Skaife  04/05/2007 1:27:11 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    I would say that the biggest problem I face on a day to day basis is the inability to programatically add design elements to a form at design time in the notes client. It can be done on the browser, but it is way to kludgey.

    If you really want to spread the Notes/Domino magic, there is a way to get more applications written for Notes/Domino. Give us a redistributable. What I was thinking was that if we could identify the .NSFs that our application is using, and run a 'compiler' that would join our .NSF with a Domino server, and the Notes client, you would see a lot more software written for the Domino platform. The resulting files would need to be legally redistributable. They could be locked to the predefined .NSFs so that people would not look to use the redistributable files as a replacement for a full Domino installation. Have the included Notes client, only connect to the included Domino server. Heck, if IBM offered a version of Notes and Domino that could only talk to it's own IP address, and offered it for free, we would see a lot more adoption.

    This would allow us to sell a single product to customers that might have an anti-Notes bias. Of course any product that is distributed in a stand alone version would also be available as a networked version for running on Domino. This would allow customers to get their feet wet with applications before jumping into Domino with both feet. Right now, choosing Domino is top-down. Lets lower the barrier of entry so that we can work from the bottom up.

    56Scott Skaife  04/05/2007 1:28:19 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Sorry, that should have read:

    I would say that the biggest problem I face on a day to day basis is the inability to programatically add design elements to a form at RUN time in the notes client.

    57Fushion  04/05/2007 6:21:51 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Although it's nice to see that the client has a facelift (again), and that it finally contains JAVA, but as a developer I have to say that in nearly all my projects in the last 8 years my clients wanted web applications....

    That's why on my whishlist at the top (and with great distance I might say) is an Eclipse IDE.

    The reasons are many and are listed multiple times on this blog before.

    Just my 2 cts...

    58Jeff Gilfelt  04/05/2007 7:11:20 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob,

    * As many others have already requested, port Domino Designer to the Eclipse platform. Do it in the within the version 8 lifecycle ...and while we are on the subject of Eclipse, why does the Notes 8 client still have the old floating properties box? This element should be a dockable Eclipse view.

    * I'm not sure if this is already on the cards for version 8, but make the DB2 integration feature generally available and allow it to work with DB2-Express-C.

    * Scrap the existing Domino servlet container and Agent Manager's Java support. Take the WebSphere Application Server Community Edition code base and deliver it as an optional installable component of the Domino server. Ensure that configuration is easy and integrated with the rest of Domino, and bundle the Lotus Component Designer product with Domino Designer.

    * Actually market and promote Notes & Domino as an application development platform.

    @52 - Agreed, IBM should provide JavaDoc. Meanwhile, someone has developed a tool to extract it from the appropriate help NSFs - { Link }

    59Wayne Sobers  04/05/2007 8:53:14 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)


    The notes client needs to come up to par with MS offerings and the what can be done with the web browser.

    - Use newline as a field exit.

    - Better Mouse & keyboard control during data entry.

    - Access to function keys

    - Make better use of frames and layers.

    - Whatever widgets are used in the client/admin/designor should be available to developers

    - Better list box controls (where you can control column width)+ images on table tabs.

    - Numeric fields where data enters right to left and stay right justified.

    These are things that USERS are used to seeing in their spreadsheets, personal accounting and web browsing apps.

    I also hope that these get into the *basic* client.

    60Bob Balaban  04/05/2007 1:18:31 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @53 - News update - look for NotesUIView.CurrentViewEntry in 8.01 (that's not a promise, but I am told it's on the schedule)

    61Mike VandeVelde  04/05/2007 8:13:52 PM  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow. Man.

    So no Mr. Potato Head and Dexter? OK Dilbert and Etch-a-Sketch it is. A friend of mine had a mini Etch-a-Sketch on a key chain once, actually worked, I'll see if I can track that down. Is there anything else that would please thee?

    <kowtows out stage left>

    62Eric WIlson  04/06/2007 12:38:21 PM  So, do you want us to start telling you what we need now?

    I can certainly starting feeding you my favorite problems with the current environment.

    63Eric WIlson  04/06/2007 12:43:43 PM  Oh, wait! A bunch of replies just showed up!

    How strange! It didn't show me all these comments until after I commented! Hmmm.....

    I'll start with my favorite Notes/Domino problem: It's not relational.

    Yes, I know we can start using DB2 in the backend starting with version 8. But it's limited to the server. That's a serious problem. It means we can only use relation relational constructs when the user is conneted to a server. Actually, when the user is using a replica which is on a server.

    That means we have to build the functionality twice and we still ahve to jump through some really awful hoops to get around the lack of relationality on the client. So we still have to do all the ugly data duplication and run code to push that duplication around and on and on and on.

    That's my NUMBER 1 problem with Notes/Domino.

    64Eric WIlson  04/06/2007 12:50:31 PM  Here another one: Rich Text handling

    My biggest problem with Rich Text is that it can't be manipulated in real-time. You have to save it to disk (bad, bad, BAD!) then reopen the document (really bad!). This causes all sorts of problems, such as having to clean up documents which should never have been saved and having to track field values that would be changed by an undesireable save and, well, you get the picture.

    Why can't we have the ability to manipulate and display RT in real-time - no document saving? The client is already doing it all the time but not for our scripts!

    This is a fix which is loooooooooooooooooooooooooong overdue and which has been promised over and over without fruition.

    (And, while you're at it, see if you can get IBM to buy MIDAS and integrate it into Notes so we get a full solution to RT handling. :-) )

    65Bob Balaban  04/06/2007 5:21:34 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @62, @63, @64 - Glad to see you're overcoming your shyness, Eric!

    Yes, I want to hear about problems. However, please be aware that I am not equipped to process bug reports, there are existing mechanisms for that. Feature enhancement requests are always interesting, but really, at this point I am focusing on the "big" issues for post-8.0 programmability.

    Re: not-relational. Ok, you're right, NSF is not relational. It never has been, and (most likely) it never will be (beyond what we've already done with NSFDb2, which -- IMHO -- is a lot). If what you really need is a relational database, go get a relational database! (Db2 is a pretty darn good one). We have a LOT of mechanisms for moving data between NSF and RDBMS, and also for sharing on-the-fly, I'm sure you already know about these.

    Re: Rich text -- on the fly update of the UI from a back-end document of rich text has been, well, "lacking" since 4.0, I know it, you know it, we all know it. The save-flip-edit-mode workaround is just that, a workaround. This issue is on my list, but I can't promise anything at this point.

    Re: Midas -- Midas is a great product. I am not in charge of doing deals like what you suggest, but it seems to me that if it hasn't happened by now, it's not likely to happen soon. However, stay tuned to this blog, I'm planning on writing a couple of "what if..." postings that relate to how we deal with rich text, and how we might think about changing that.

    66Mike Amberg  04/06/2007 7:15:20 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Re @35

    What I was trying to ask for was an enhancement to the Lotus Notes - Forms - Print Header/Footer properties tab-section.

    The current Print Header/Footer allows us to add a page #, date, time, some text, or the form title.

    If it would be possible to link to an RTF field or better yet a subform where the Header Footer layout could be created ... i.e. Header where a Company Logo to appear on each page when printed. A footer that prints on each page showing a Company Address.

    This is important when trying to use Notes for creating hardcopy printouts of manuals or similar applications where the document exceeds a single page in length.

    Exampe: 3 page Quote, 5 page Policy, etc.

    I know there are 3rd party tools that provide this ability or if you are willing to export documents to MS Word or OOO Write you could get the desired result, but it should be part of the Notes application itself.

    I did see that there where reference in the forums to this request being made in the past as far back as version 5

    Hopefully the solution isn't that difficult.

    67Chris Parkhouse  04/07/2007 2:33:30 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Fantastic - I think your goal is wonderful and I'll post some of my recent experiences with building Web2.0 applications here and what limitations I have come up against

    68Johannes Madsen  04/08/2007 6:37:09 AM  New BLOG entry?

    Hi Bob. This task is huge. As you can see above, you have many suggestions for improvements.

    The present entry is too open. I think you need to post some entries concerning specific subjects. I have several suggestions for specific entries. Here is one:

    In some cases titles can be configured by a Notes formula, but in other cases it can't. This is a problem when developing products in Notes. The title of an Action Button, e.g., can be configured, but the title of a tab (on a tabbed table) can't.

    Why don't you post a new entry asking us to comment on examples of unconfigurable titles?

    69Bob Balaban  04/08/2007 7:46:53 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @66, @67, @68 - Thanks for the supportive comments! (And the same to everyone else as well!).

    Of course all suggestions are welcome, though my real focus is going to be (at least for a while, as we do the planning for the next major release after 8.0) on a handful of big issues, and much less on gaps and potholes in the current appdev environment.

    For those who want to focus on those kinds of problems, feel free to continue to post here. However, you might consider posting on Andre Guirard's blog ({ Link } ) as well.

    Stay tuned for the first in what I hope will be a series of "What if...." postings here. Maybe even today, if I can get it together!

    70Eric WIlson  04/08/2007 6:12:11 PM  The problem with DB2 is....

    @65 - This blog is definitely helping me push past my shyness!

    The problem with DB2 is that the only option is to run it on the server. So, we'll get relational functionality on the server but it doesn't travel AND we can't install it on the client.

    Scott Prager told me he could make it work on the client and had always intended on doing so but there were problems with tuning the installation so this got put off and has appears to have fallen off the list. As a matter if fact, the first time I saw Scott demo this was on a client.

    We don't need all the same functionality on the client, and I don't really care which DB is used, but the basic relational features, such as joins, are really, really, REALLY overdue and stop so much desired functionality of make it soooooo much harder to build.

    This job is only half done and I worry that it's been forgotten.

    71Steve  04/08/2007 9:21:13 PM  Wouldn’t it be great . . . .

    If everything worked the same way every time?

    72Erik Brooks  04/09/2007 11:49:28 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Bob, this is *GREAT* news. As I see it there are two main strategic app dev spots to focus on:

    (1) Stuff that you can't do with Notes dev AT ALL.

    - Example: There's no programmatic way to set certain design element properties, even by importing/exporting DXL. 100% DXL fidelity needs to be a huge long-term focus. Rich-text will probably take years to nail down, but there's no excuse for not being able to set or clear a properties checkbox in DXL.

    - Presenting a varying-length list using *anything* other than a view.

    - Consuming a web service is another example (but has been addressed somewhat).

    (2) Stuff that Notes can do but not RAD.

    - Example: Domino's web rendering. Check out the HTML generated for the following 3 text, number, and date/time fields:

    <input name="text" value="">

    <input name="number" value="">

    <input name="date" value="">

    Stop and look at that and then ask what programmer would say Notes is a great RAD platform in 2007.

    As it stands now, it's possible to submit a form with "Go Notes!" in the date field. And how does Domino handle that? It coughs up blood. You *could* consider using an Input Validation formula on each field, but that implementation is horrible. So we all "roll our own"...

    It wouldn't take much javascript to make a web number field mimic the Notes client and ONLY allow number input, and even use the locale preferences set on the field/server/user's profile. The same goes for the date/time field, which would also benefit greatly from a picker widget.

    These sort of things are the types of RAD that have people raving about Notes/Domino as a dev platform. The backend still has quite a bit going for it (security, replication, straightforward database, etc.) but the frontend (particularly on the web) needs some work.

    I bet that adding in formal support for some of the DWA/iNotes widgets would accelerate Lotus' internal DWA efforts as well.

    Many problems fall somewhere in-between. Take formulaic view column titles, for example those in a multilingual app. You CAN do them -- by creating a different view for each language you need. So your 500 MB database with 10 views becomes a 2.2 GB database with 50 views. Scalability problems, anyone?

    Sign me up as the first zealot, Bob. I'm on board for the ride.

    73Erik Brooks  04/09/2007 11:52:18 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Whoops - I just re-read my post and found a problem. Under #1, "Presenting a varying-length list using anything other than a view" should read:

    Presenting a varying-length list of EDITABLE field rows without making 25+ rows and using hide-whens.

    74Mike VandeVelde  04/09/2007 12:40:16 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @73 - That's exactly what my request above is about :-) Right now I'm stuck with a computed list on the form and Add, Edit, and Remove buttons. Maybe when NotesUIView.CurrentViewEntry comes out I'll write an article on cool ways to set it up...

    So here I go for a birdie:

    Why can't I programatically select the source database for Embedded views??

    Say in a frameset, I can set a frame to have a computed source, where I can compute the element type, the !SOURCE DATABASE!, and the name of the element. Exact same thing when selecting the target for an outline entry.

    Then if I try to do a similar thing with a view embedded on a form, it only mentions the source database in the creation dialog, and that uses a weird bookmarks related thingy, and after that the only options are for the views in the database you chose when you created it. If later you want some other database, delete the embedded view and create a new one and set up all your embedded view properties all over again.

    Where this really hurts is when you set up a form with a view from another database embedded on it. Then you refresh that design from your template into your production database... crap. To get around this you put the embedded view on a subform. Once you refresh it out, you prohibit it in the production database, and rebuild the embedded view pointing to the right database - in each and every production database. Hoping you never need to modify it for some reason.

    It's no problem when each production database hooks into a single central database, but when each production database is a set of interlinked databases this hassle really makes you look at if it's worth the effort to put the embedded view out there at all, when it should really be a no brainer sure I can do that for you kind of thing.

    The proper picker for the embedded view source is right there in Notes already for frames and outline entries, what chance of switching to that from the weird hybrid of a retarded creation picker with a lobotomized programmer pane editor? I tried to put that nicely ;-) If it was right there in the properties box for the embedded view, just like it is for frames and outline entries, I would be a twice blessed coder :-)

    75Barry Briggs  04/09/2007 8:07:30 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Congrats, Bob!!!

    76T. Sauer  04/10/2007 5:35:07 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hey Bob,

    I'm very pleased about the fact, that there's someone, who has the ambitions to make Notes/Domino development competitive again. I'll support you as good as possible to help you reaching your aim. So I'm looking forward to see more concrete threads to discuss in, like a GUI-thread, a methods-thread and so on.

    Get it on Bob!

    77Colin Macdonald  04/10/2007 7:30:01 PM  For Scott

    @55/56 Scott - Have a look at this

    { Link }

    It's a quick POC that I hacked together, so needs some work

    78Colin Macdonald  04/10/2007 7:56:41 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Bob, congratulations.

    All I can ask is that you KISS

    Most of us want to solve business problems, not roll our own validation etc, as Eric so rightly points out.

    The power of Notes was always that one man and a server could conquer the world, and then scale up as needed. The fugly web and "Needs WAS to Run" complication degrade that.

    79Bob Balaban  04/10/2007 8:29:19 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Greetings, Geeks!

    @72 - Thanks for the input, Erik. A couple of comments:

    General - Never say "never" when Rocky Oliver ({ Link } ) is in the room!!

    DXL - Heard and understood!

    Varying length lists - I know this isn't exactly the same, but Rocky came up with (and wrote about) a cool way to create varying-length tables with fields in the cells using DXL. Yes, it took a Rocky to figure it out, but pretty much anyone familiar with Notes appdev can copy the techniques.

    Consuming a web service - DONE in Notes/Domino 8 (Java OR LotusScript)

    Better data exchange and web rendering - Obviously a high priority to address post-Hannover. I'm not complaining, but I will point out: "If it were easy, EVERYONE would be doing it...."

    @74 - selecting database source for embedded view -- GREAT suggestion for Andre ({ Link })

    @78 - Yes, simple interfaces and a simple object model are highly desirable. However, one hopes to achieve that by hiding complexity, not by reducing or eliminating it. Simple interfaces -- hard, but can be done. Simple world, no can do...

    80Rob  04/11/2007 2:29:16 AM  What if...

    I've been an engineer for about 30 years. For the last ten I've earned most of my living developing web applications using Lotus Notes/Domino.

    I was hired by Motorola to develop a specific internal application that was already underway when I arrived and the other developer had picked Lotus Notes as the platform. Since it was clear the Notes app wouldn't be ready in time, I developed a temporary solution in Perl.

    Needless to say, my first impressions of Notes wasn't very favorable. But I was slowly won over. LotusScript gave us the ability to develop the complex work-flow we needed. Once Domino and Java were added to the mix I was convinced there was nothing I couldn't do on this platform and I still believe that, with some caveats.

    However, there are some things that have gone begging on the web support side for quite some time now. So in the spirit of "What if...",

    1. What if Notes/Domino came with a JavaScript client that worked just as good as the Notes Client?

    2. What if we could edit rich text in a web browser just as good as in a Notes Client? (Okay, I'd settle for almost as good.)

    3. What if the you could write all the input translation, input validation and all the other code and Domino generated the JavaScript to do the calculations in the browser as well as the Notes Client? (Perhaps an @formula interpreter in JavaScript.)

    4. What if all the code hiding in all the Notes Designer nooks an crannies on a design element translated into a single ASCII document that could be exported, edited in a text editor (or other IDE) and imported again. And it would be checked and approved by Designer like other languages?

    5. What if fields on sub-forms had name spaces so the same sub-form could be used like an object on a form? For example I could make an invoice address sub-form and include it on the invoice form three times as ship-to, bill-to and customer. Then, for example, I could access the first name as the ship-to.address.first_name, bill-to.address.first_name and customer.address.first_name

    Or I could include any number of instances of "address" in a form at run time. (Sub-forms come so close to being objects instead of just an editing shortcuts it hurts.)

    So this is a Notes love letter but it's not like the relationship can't be better. (Let's get counseling.)

    Peace, Love, Laughter,


    81Colin Macdonald  04/11/2007 7:38:12 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Bob - Hehe, I wasn't asking for a simple world, your reality vs theory meme is well understood.

    However, it is said that simplicity is the mark of genius.

    82Craig Wiseman  04/11/2007 8:57:40 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    I'm really glad you're able to focus on this!

    I guess the tiny response to his post has scared Bob away from blogging ....


    83Turtle  04/11/2007 3:40:42 PM  Stuff to think about

    Bob, I've nagged Maureen Leland about a Mac OS development/admin client for years... what's the word?


    84Thomas Schulte  04/12/2007 9:50:19 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    @53 Well you do not have to wait for IBM to do that. It can be done right now.

    It is not that easy and it requires some hacking. But it can be done.

    It requires an agent, some view vodoo magic and a little bit of script in the Queryrecalc and queryclose events for that form you want to embed the view into.

    An example for that is in the !!SYSTEM!! database over at openntf.

    85Bill E  04/12/2007 11:08:04 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)


    Along those lines, and with IBMs general good support for open source, and your stated goals of better ajax integration (JSON helping out as well)...

    1) Bundling or tacit support for established frameworks included - prototype, yui, jquery, etc.

    2) Updating of HTML to a more standard format so use of said frameworks is easier. For instance, you need to manually ad an "id" value when using Prototype. And it only works on editable fields, so computed for display fields don't ever generate the correct html even if you put in a value in the ID value.

    3) Better web support/customization of views in particular. There's been much effort done by the end user community, but we often the stumbling block comes with document counts, etc.

    4) Better _web_ support for textareas. Bundling of say, Dojo or TinyMCE is pretty easy to do, but imagine how much easier it would be as a rad tool if if you could simply click on "rich html web" and voila, you have your textarea fully done on the server.

    Keep up the great work. I still wear one of your looseleaf tshirts! =)

    86Mike VandeVelde  04/12/2007 1:09:05 PM  <sob>...


    { Link }

    "It's easier to make the case for obvious improvements that sell seats immediately (such as the improved PIM UI of version 8), than it is to argue for strategic changes such as, oh, letting you write a formula to select which database an embedded view comes from..."

    Oh well, gave it a shot anyway.

    @84 - I will be checking that out, thanks for the tip Thomas!

    So is there a clear line between the kind of stuff we should bother you about and the kind of stuff we should take over to Andre? How about this one:

    A proper custom class browser in Designer would be awesome, but before you dive into that how about making it so that when we make a change to a custom class we don't need to recompile everything that uses it? That's a real annoyance too. I'd rather see classes that we've put together with the current IDE work better, than be able to put them together more easily. But, that's just me.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

    87Ravi Har Singh Khalsa  04/12/2007 5:46:31 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi, Bob

    Alan Lepofsky pointed me to your blog today. Great move. Your questions and peoples' comments stimulate a lot of thoughts. I realize that you have to focus on short term improvements to fit into release cycles and keep your job, but I think that has to be balanced by a healthy dose of 'the vision thing'.

    For all of the clunkyness of early Notes, it did have a real sense of vision - it really defined collaboration when no one else was doing it. Notes has improved over the releases, but it feels like the vision has gone. It's painful seeing the hottest innovations in the Notes world being those technologies our kids have been using for years. Geeks like cool tools, but they get completely passionate around a vision - think early Apple, early Notes. Maybe IBM simply doesn't do vision well, but I really believe that there's so much creativity still in the Notes community that we can bring it back again.

    Notes has done a superb job of backwards compatibility, but that comes at a price. How many Notes 2 applications are still running out there? But many, many IT directors still think of Notes in terms of the Notes 2 applications they had to work with.

    I think the Composite Application model provides the opportunity to transcend old associations, but it has to be done boldly, creatively, and looking forwards not backwards. People are not writing applications anymore, they are producing integrating interfaces. Most of the 'stuff' is out there - what's missing are easy and cost effective ways to put them together into activity and role based interfaces.

    I have to agree with Eric that Notes MUST become relational. In working the last 3 years in the Business Intelligence world, the one thing I have heard over and over is that the main reason companies are leaving Notes is because its data store is nonstandard and difficult to access. I'm sure there are roles for the beloved NSF file, but Notes really has to be natively fluent in relational databases. Moving data back and forth between NSF and relational doesn't cut it. Storing a Notes document in a BLOB in DB2 doesn't cut it either. Ive worked with the NSFDB2 team for the last 2 years, and I mean them no disrespect, but Notes needs native relational access - to ALL major databases on ALL platforms.

    This is a tall order, but it is critical to Notes becoming a true integration platform for composite applications. Otherwise I am afraid it will just continue to muddle along as the 'cult of the NSF'. If Notes is open, the vision and technology leader, and universal, then we will have the opportunity to excite and engage the young people who bring the realy dynamism to this industry.

    Whew, this turned into a rant. Thanks for listening.

    Ravi Har

    88Craig Morton  04/12/2007 11:34:14 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob

    Great news.

    I've been contemplating a reply to your request for a few days and I'm pleased to see that most of the issues that I've battled with over the years have already been mentioned.

    1. A better IDE with type ahead support on Lotus Script Formula Java and Javascript. Why not incorporate eclipse completly into the designer or is this too close to a webshphere competitor.

    2. AJAX integration.

    3. It would be really nice to not embed a specific Java version into the server.

    4. Marketing Marketing Marketing. You need to sell the product to management. Management are the ones who make the decision about which product stays or goes with advice from the architect. Management are the ones who need to see defined plan for the future potential of the product. If it looks good they will buy it.

    Just a few thoughts but if you can achieve even 10% of the issues mentioned so far in this thread then it would be a great confidence booster to all who use the product.

    89Erik Brooks  04/13/2007 8:20:06 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Me again, Bob (told you I was a zealot!)

    I actually challenged myself to guess Rocky's DXL Righteous Hack (tm) when he posted that teaser graphic originally. I thought to myself "It has to be DXL. Did he create *design elements* on the fly? God I hope not." It turned out that he did, which is DEFINITELY a cool experiment, but the scalability just isn't there.

    If I have 50 users creating a couple of these "n-iterations of editable rows" a day, and each row is a subform, then I

    think I'm going to run out of design element NoteIDs in a hurry, even if I clean them up. And as soon as you say "Let's take it to the Web", performance is REALLY shot (all DXL importing is done on the server).

    Don't get me wrong - I love Rocky's stuff to death, and one beauty of Notes is that "There is always a way". It's just that "the way" may look like a barren, desolate, wolf-infested canyon pass.

    Getting back on the main discussion (as I anxiously await a forum here):

    I think the dev team can get some great ROI on some very simple web stuff initially. Besides the validation I mentioned, here's a few ideas:

    - Input Enabled Formula

    Works in Notes, but not on the web. This simply can't be that hard to get going, as every field knows how to render a "read mode" version of itself anyway.

    - Field checkbox: "Generate HTML for *this* field".

    Many times you need to expose some underlying field to the browser without rendering it to the user. As it stands now we can use the Form property "Generate HTML for all fields". That can be TOO revealing, though (showing security-compromising fields, etc.) and is also a bandwidth hog. So we're all using some Computed Text or a CFD field set as pass-thru HTML that does something like:

    <input name="myExposedField" type="hidden" value="my value">

    Here's an idea that's not strictly web but is big there:

    - @SetDocField(SERVER, DB, unid, fieldname, value)

    You can go crazy with @SetDocField in the current DB on the web, which is a good thing. But to set a field on a doc in *another* database requires a WQS agent. And if you have 100 such buttons, you've got a lot of (or a few, but more complex) WQS agents. And you've also got to manage the headache of NOT saving the calling doc if all you're really after is updating the other doc.

    It would be nice to have this in the Notes client as well.

    The AWESOME thing about Notes dev is that when you click on something in Designer, magic happens on the backend and you solve a business problem.

    But there's some glaring holes, particularly on the web. When I click to turn on a hide-when, it works on the web. But when I click to choose a field type, it's mostly irrelevant (see my text/number/date example @72). And when I click "Show Dialog Picker" I don't get any help at all.

    I propose that your mantra inside of IBM be "Make our clicks count!" And please start with the web. :-)

    - Mr. Zealot

    90Amy Miller  04/13/2007 5:03:37 PM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    When creating an embedded view, it would be WONDERFUL to be able to use formula language to select the database instead of just the drop-down selection. Currently, you have to have the database you want to use for an embedded view, bookmarked in the designer client so that the database will show up in the drop-down selection box.

    It would be great if it could be conditional so that when developing, we could say "If this is our development environment, use database A, if production environment, use database B for the embedded view."

    Thanks for considering.


    91Axel Janssen  04/14/2007 3:49:38 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob,

    Another one would be circular references in LotusScript. Isn't it possible that the compiler checks for those and solves it?

    Especially ones you got them now, there are aditional caching issues involved.

    thx Axel

    92Mook  04/17/2007 2:17:45 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    :) Sowwie in SA so no etch-a-Sketch, mesa do have a dilbert calender though

    Contents of the Shrine:

    Pinky and the Brain action figures


    Mr PotatoHead

    1 plastic soldier

    Snoopy\Woodstock\Charlie Brown

    Dr Doom

    hmmm seems most of my shrine takes a meglomaniacal twist towards World Domination except for the Peanuts, they just rock

    The Wishlist:

    Have only been working with Notes for less then 6 months so some may already be fixed and just don't know about them

    mesa use 6.5.2 So these might have been fixed or added by version 8


    * Access to the Properties of a Layer with LotusScript

    * onMouseOver in fact proper Mouse Events that Run on the Client in LotusScript or javascript (mesa want Web rollovers in the Client)

    * Full Object Orientation in Lotus Script, including Global variables, Overloading, the whole shebangabang :)

    * More Control over the display of Outlines and Action Bars. Menu Seperators that work in Horizontal and that can be sized

    * Ability to Create Custom Controls that can be added to forms :) Java based please

    * More Control over the display of existing Controls, ie: Radio Buttons

    * At the top of the list. Make notes rational please please please :)

    The Fix List

    * The undo in the Code window replacing deleted lines at the current Cursor Point

    * Sub Action Buttons that crash the entire system

    * Creating Categorized Columns programmatically and simply, as in CurrentColumn.isCategorized = True

    * Rich Text! Don't need to specify more then this, its current implementation is just a calamity from being forced to abstract the Field to saving the document before use as per Eric Wilson (64)

    * Setting Landscape printing from LotusScript or Formula (Currently use shell and fling keystrokes at it or have predefined templates in Office that are preset)

    * Designer's malicious attempts to resize my graphics when selected (if mesa have to click Reset one more time grrrrrrr)

    * The Horizontal Outline. Just the root Menu Items need to be Horizontal not the Sub Items o.@;

    * Folders! Fix every method that deals with folders from putInFolder to isEnabled

    * The Colour Models used in Notes. o.@? What colour model does Notes actually use? Even unprofiled Images sometimes have differing Colour from backround colours set in Notes

    * Forms and pages in Framesets and controls that move when in edit or read mode

    * Alignment of a Layout Region to the horizontal Centre of the page. Considering we cant use it with a table its kinda hard right now :)

    * Debugging of Actions in embedded views actually just fix everything about embedded single category views

    * A remove the selection box option when a graphic button/hotspot selected. That black outline on my nice clean interface has got to go

    * Controls in Layers that when hidden still punch out the underlying colour or images

    * help!!! Notes doesn't have any help and please don't call the error message that keeps popping up that the command cannot be executed a helpfile

    Sorry for unloading the notes vent

    but mesa feel better now :) like therapy only cheaper :D

    93Jason  04/25/2007 6:41:13 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Are you sure you want to maintain a blog? ;-) My friend, you've opened up the flood gates, and we are very happy to finally have you, but it may get overwhelming so hang on!

    I'm an old NSF person myself, but moved into .NET development a year and half ago after a brief stint in Java. Why the move? Did I lose my love for Notes? No way. I was laid off and couldn't find a job. I have all the confidence in the world that people like you can make Notes and related products into world class development tools. However, if the suits at IBM don't do something to stop the growing corporate perspective that Notes is legacy/antiquated software, the jobs will continue to erode and the readers of these blogs will be limited to IBM'rs and a few consulting shop leftovers.

    I miss Notes terribly, and would go back in a heart beat, especially with 8 coming around, but alas, there's nothing on the radar here but the occasional contract.

    94John Ravas  04/25/2007 11:54:16 AM  Why This Blog? (I got a new job)

    Hi Bob. First congratulations on your new position. I look forward to seeing some improvements to the Notes development environment. A couple of areas of pain that I have encountered lately are with private views and rich text fields.

    Specifically, it would be nice to be able to use LS to better manipulate RTF's and present those changes immediately thru the UI. There are many things that you can do with the back end classes, but you need to back out and go back into the document to see the changes.

    With private views - I have several large applications that store a great deal of data. I have been looking for some good techniques to allow users to display a subset of the information in the database - information that is important to them. I have been utilizing private on first use PV's and that helps. However, it would be nice to be able to allow the users to customize those private views (selection formulas) on the fly based on changing circumstances with their jobs. I have tried using single category embedded views on forms and while in theory they are good, there are many limitations as compared to standard views.

    There are other areas of pain. But overall it is a fun environment to work in. I look forward to seeing the progress.