Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Post I never thought I would Write

Sad as it is, I must confess, I have sinned beyond all reason and may get banned from Paul and Bill's session at LS10, should they be lucky enough to get one again.

I have ventured into the occult, the mystical, the darkside, no, not Microsoft or even Websphere (more on this coming in the future), but application development.

While the demo I wrote performed well, my friends client was impressed he could do it all in 2 weeks. In fact I did it over about 6-7 hours! Sadly they want to see an experienced application from Canada first before my friends application. The upside is my friend may want me to create the full application anyway so he can sell it to other clients! Go figure...from a demo! Lotus Notes and Domino really is a RAD (Rapid Application Development) tool and program and if this doesn't prove it, not sure what does. Oh yeah, my friend's original guy couldn't finish it which is why I got asked, and he had 2 weeks to do it in VB!

But I did not post this to describe what happened although its a nice benefit, the truth is I have some complaints about my foray into the development land. I am sure my more experienced developers will tell me I am just a young grasshopper, but here it goes anyway. It's not that I have never coded, years ago I wrote many relational databases, point of sale, financial, sales, ID, so I am not without some intelligence in the area, or so I thought. Keep in mind I had about 24 hours to accomplish the task.

I did the coding in an 8.5 Eclipse designer client if you want to know.

First, why can I not search the designer help for practical things, like how to perform an average on a set of numbers in fields within a specific form, NOT a view which for some reason is the only answer one finds in the help file? I sent that part out to someone, and hopefully he has a solution for me, but I know its not his priority to help me and now I am not in a rush anymore. You can't plan for everything in a help file, but if there is an online source with some of the basics, let me know.

Second, Wanted to code it, put it up on Domino and use the browser for the demo(see my post below about runtime) however, when I did that, what do I see? Admins would guess the app, but in hideous format. Nope, sorry. Devs would say, a view, if I was lucky. And therein lies something which I have known, but hated, that one must code for client and browser, that just sucks. Easy way out? Not that I see, just grin and bear it. I knew it going in, just forgot how hard it could be at times.

Third, Xpages....right, not on my timetable. But if someone can point me to the LS09 session or some other tutorial online I can watch and learn from, that should be interesting.

Fourth, Linking between forms was rather odd in my eyes from a coding perspective, but for the sake of my demo and time I will just put this one down to lack of training.

Fifth, Why don't the %^&*ing fields line up properly like they do in Design mode! I put text in the left side, put a field right next to it, do this for 5 lines, same size words and spaces or so it appears, but NO one or two are just off kilter. My developer told me to use tables. I HATE tables, ok that is because of Microsoft Word about 10 years ago, but still, this is an obviously major issue when working on a form I would think. Any better way to resolve it or did I miss something in shotgun class?

Sixth, Append means to add on. Insert does too. Enough said. Needless to say the table transformation took the longest for me.

Seventh, Why can't I create a drop down that has multiple listings in multiple colors? Free T-shirt(the one I wore at Speedgeeking that says I love taking my Domino Server on vacation, Size L)for the first answer that works.

Eighth, Why can't I just select a form to use as my starting page? I had to create a navigator of all things. Couldn't you rename it portal page, starting page, anything?

Ninth, Pages can be a blank form? No. Forms can be blank pages, yes. But neither the 2 interact together the way I thought they would. DOH! I'll chalk this up to education too, but someone be nice enough to explain it to me?

Sorry this got so long! That's the ones I remember. But I did it! And I have nothing but even greater respect for developers for putting up with coding stuff. If it wasn't for Lotus Notes being so easy to develop in I would have been out a client.


  1. Now you can appreciate why the developers have been complaining. The engine works wonderfully well but the tool set is a mess.
    Hop over to to see what other hoops we have to jump through to get a decent looking UI.

  2. >Fifth, Why don't the %^&*ing
    >fields line up properly like
    >they do in Design mode! I put
    >text in the left side, put a
    >field right next to it, do this
    >for 5 lines, same size words and
    > spaces or so it appears, but NO
    >one or two are just off kilter.
    >My developer told me to use tables.

    Using spaces to position will never work. Never do it in a word processor, never do it in Domino Designer. Use tabs.
    1) Turn on the ruler.
    2) Enter the text lable, press tab, insert field. Don't worry about alignment yet.
    3) When done with the fields, click in the rule to set a tab and drag it so it is a few pixels after the longest label.
    All done!

    >Sixth, Append means to add on.
    >Insert does too. Enough said.
    >Needless to say the table
    >transformation took the longest
    >for me.

    Append add a row or column to the end of the table, Insert inserts one where your selection is. Easy.

    >Seventh, Why can't I create a drop
    >down that has multiple listings in
    >multiple colors?

    Because the control does not support it. You can't do that easily in VB either. Isn't that bad design anyway? ;-)
    But I agree, would be nice to be able to build a drop-down with images/graphics.

  3. Good looking Notes application is an art not a science. Even with the Notes 8.5 designer client, there are issues. I glad that you have come over to developer side.

  4. For XPages...
    'Third, Xpages....right, not on my timetable. But if someone can point me to the LS09 session or some other tutorial online I can watch and learn from, that should be interesting.'

  5. Paul, Thanks for the links!
    TexasSwede, tried tabs, didn't work either, Tables worked in this case.
    The problme with append and Insert is not knowing what they do, I know now, it was knowing while working with them that frustrated me.
    Anon, should I venture further will look at Chris site, it is a great site.
    Richard, thanks, I will shut up now and go back to admin miracles :-)