Ben Langhinrichs

December, 2003
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Sat 27 Dec 2003, 12:33 PM
My deepest sympathy to Bruce Elgort and payers for Dani, who is finally at peace.

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 22 Dec 2003, 11:54 PM
In our Notes community, there have been a number of discordant notes this week.  As Ed Brill pointed out, Turtle has posted a rant on the Gonzo Lotusphere site, Mike has posted a somewhat negative poll, and, on the Gold forums, Julian has posted a wish list which has generated a few downer responses.

So, given this, why was I so reminded of the Notes community when I had the pleasure of attending a concert at Severance Hall tonight with my wife and two sons?

It was a beautiful concert featuring the incredible Burning River Brass and the elegant refurbished pipe organ.  In the Christmas season there was another feature, a sing-a-long on a few seasonal favorites.

Now, those of you who know Severance Hall or have heard the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra on the radio will appreciate the beauty and acoustic resonance of the place.  Those, hopefully many fewer of you, who know me well, know that I am pretty close to tone deaf.  In a family of musicians, I can't carry a tune and my singing is a bit scary.  Nonetheless, as a PK (preacher's kid), I learned that you make up in volume what you lack in ability.

So, figuring that even aside from me, there must have been quite a few in that hall who lacked musical training, one might cringe to think of the possible results of this massive sing-a-long.  Yet those who, like me, grew up in a church, knew something different.  A thousand voices lifted in O Come All Ye Faithful make a wonderful sound, even if there are many individual discordant notes.  There is a reason, I am convinced, and it is more than the good singers drowning out the bad singers.  The reason is, people care.

So, in our Notes community, here have been those discordant notes, off-key perhaps from what Ed or Alan would want to hear just before Lotusphere, but the overall song is not harmed by those notes.  Not because they are invalid or unimportant, which they are not.  Not because the rest of us who feel more enthusiastic about the present and future of Notes outshout them, because we cannot.  No, because sometimes the sound of a song is not harmed by those singing a slightly different key, when the caring transcends the cadence.  Turtle and Mike and Julian and Morten and others care about Notes, or they wouldn't be chiming in.  What I learned in church long ago as a child and now try to remember in our lives today is that the biggest threat to the glory of a hymn is not those who sing off-key or whose voices crack, but those who are silent.

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Fri 19 Dec 2003, 12:08 PM
As I mentioned yesterday, the 2004 Lotus Awards (formerly Beacon Awards) finalists have been announced.  While I saw spamJam right away, I didn't notice that Instant Technologies had also won.  As you may know, Instant Technologies is where fellow  Domino blogger Carl Tyler works his magic.  As the Lotus site says about their product:
Instant Agent Framework (IAF) for IBM Lotus Instant Messaging from Instant Technologies allows companies to offer Lotus Instant Messaging users with self-service access to information stored in their corporate databases and directories. IAF lets developers rapidly create "bots" capable of accessing a wide range of data sources. Users can quickly get answers delivered to them through a variety of interfaces, including Lotus Notes, IBM Lotus Workplace, WebSphere Portal and mobile devices. IAF not only has helped companies improve employee satisfaction with IT, it reduces the burden on various departments continually deluged with information requests.


Congratulations to Instant Technologies, and Carl Tyler!

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 18 Dec 2003, 02:34 PM
The 2004 Lotus Awards (formerly Beacon Awards before IBM hijacked the name) finalists have been announced, and among them is spamJam, my personal favorite ant-spam software from Granite Software.  As the site says:
spamJam from Granite Software helps IBM Lotus Notes and IBM Lotus Domino users to block unwanted spam e-mail messages from cluttering their inboxes. Using spamJam, e-mail users can keep their inboxes clear of spam according to their preferences, creating their own blacklists and whitelists which allow important e-mails from customers, partners and other business associates to pass through the filter. Users can also double-check blocked e-mails to make sure that key messages have not been lost. spamJam is delivered in the native Lotus Notes or Lotus Domino interface and can be customized by users on the fly without requiring administrative intervention, sparing users hundreds of hours and saving organizations significant administrative overhead.


Congratulations to all the winners, and especially to our good friends at Granite Software!

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 18 Dec 2003, 12:29 PM
As so often happens to me, I was answering a question (on the ND6 Gold Forum) when my answer triggered a question for me.  If you look at my answer, you will see two action hotspots.  One uses formula language and has the formula:

@URLOpen("JavaScript:alert(\'Hi!  I am a JavaScript alert called through URLOpen\')")

while the other is a JavaScript action and has the script:

alert('Hi!  I am a JavaScript alert called directly')

I would have expected that the HTML generated would be approximately the same, but for the change in the message, but here is what Domino generates for the @URLOpen call:

<a href="JavaScript:alert('Hi!  I am a JavaScript alert called through URLOpen')"><u><font color="#008000">URLOpen action</font></u></a>

and here is what it generates for the JavaScript action:

<a onclick="alert('Hi!  I am a JavaScript alert called directly')
return false;" href=""><u><font color="#008000">JavaScript action</font></u></a>

The first uses the href to contain the JavaScript, while the second uses the onclick event and sets the href to "".  

Now, having seen the results, I understand somewhat why the two would be generated differently.  What I am less clear about are the implications.  Which is "better"?  Here are a few observations which make me unsure (all observations made from IE 5.5, because that is what I am using):
  • When I mouse over the @URLOpen action, the status bar at the bottom says "Shortcut to javascript:alert('Hi!  I am a JavaScript alert called through URLOpen')", but when I mouse over the JavaScript action, the status bar says "Shortcut to 55c38d716d632d9b8525689b005ba1c0", which is really useless because it is just the view unid.
  • When I right click on the action hotspot and choose Open in New Window, which people might well do with what appears to be a link, @URLOpen opens a window, puts the "javascript:alert('Hi!  I am a JavaScript alert called through URLOpen')" in the address bar, but then actually executes the action.  Not terribly useful, but better than nothing.  When I do the same with the JavaScript action, it puts the words "about:blank" in the address bar, and doesn't execute the action.
  • While it is a minor point, the JavaScript action takes 14 characters more, even accounting for the different message and all.


So, what I want to know is, which is better?  I would have assumed the JavaScript action was better, and it does have advantages for longer scripts where the JavaScript syntax checking and such are valuable, but the considerations above make me wonder.  Are there other advantages to one or the other that I have not considered?  Are there different implications on different browsers?  Should I stop worrying about this sort of picayune detail and get real work done?  Any thoughts?

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 17 Dec 2003, 11:06 PM
I have mentioned before that support can be a difficult, that bugs happen even with reasonable testing, and that it is admirable when companies or individual are honest about their strengths and weakness rather than worrying always about "spin", to use the political term.  Here is another example from that same website, Better Living Through Software.  In this post, Joshua Allen owns up to a defect in software for which is he is partially responsible (see DoS Flaw in SOAP).  He does this in a public way that has to be difficult, yet he does so in a grownup and dignified way that does not try to avoid blame, but rather tries to help the user both understand the problem and understand the risks involved.  Good show!

Copyright © 2003 Genii Software Ltd.