Ben Langhinrichs

February, 2008
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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.

Fri 22 Feb 2008, 01:49 PM
For many years, I have made sure to use the same Notes client version as most of my customers, and just switch to other client versions for various tests and support issues, etc.  This always makes it difficult to know when exactly to switch.  To make this a bit easier, I usually use something different on my laptop than on my main development machine.  So, currently, I am using Notes 6.5.3 for most regular e-mail work and checking forums and that sort of daily task.  I have Notes 7.0.2 on my laptop for the same sort of purpose.  Obviously, both machines have multiple other versions as well, but those are the ones I use for regular tasks.

The problem is I have Notes 8.0.1 envy.  I can't possibly argue that the majority, or even a significant minority, of my users are on 8.0.1, although a significant minority are at least somehow using 8.0.0.  But I don't want to wait.  I want widgets.  I want Symphony.  I want LiveText.  I want them now.

What is a responsible developer to do?  I guess I could switch on my laptop, but I don't use it quite often enough.  I think when I come back from Germany, I'll switch my main desktop, and the heck with my customers.  If they aren't all scrambling to get 8.0.1 by now, I don't know what's wrong with them anyway.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 21 Feb 2008, 09:41 AM
A few people have asked for a more complete explanation for the "magic step", as one person described it, in my recent video Henry's Dojo SpeedGeeking to CoexEdit in 40 minutes.  For those who don't want to watch the whole seven and a half minutes, here is the 25 second snippet with no audio which just shows the magic provisioning: Show snippet

But what exactly is happening?  All you see is a blank form with the name "CoexEdit AutoUpdate" being saved and magically forms, views, image resources, etc. populate the database.  It happens almost instantly, which is why it was described as the "magic step".  Contrary to another person's belief, I didn't simply edit the video either.  What you are seeing is a new feature in CoexEdit 2.0.  If you designate a database as the auto update db in the NOTES.INI on your server, in a line such as this from my server:


then CoexEdit watches for a form being saved with the name "CoexEdit AutoUpdate"  (or a different name I'll show you in a moment).  It doesn't matter that there is anything in the form, just that it is saved.  This save kicks in the auto-provisioning step.  Every design element in the designated auto update database is checked.  If it has a comment, and if the comment starts with the string "CoexEdit AutoUpdate", that design element is a candidate for copying over.  See an example below:

But first, the target database (where the form was added) is checked to see if the design element already exists.  If it does, it is left alone, so it is safe to do this different times and only new design elements will be copied in.  In this way, all the image resources, views, forms, subforms, pages, style sheets, file resources, etc. which might be needed by CoexEdit are added to the target database.  If your company has some additional elements you would like to go into every CoexEdit-enabled database, just add it to the auto update database with the comment starting with "CoexEdit AutoUpdate", and those elements will be provisioned as well.

What is more, if you later want to update some such elements, simply name the form "CoexEdit AutoUpdate Replace" instead.  Any new design elements will be copied in as before, but in a new twist, any existing design element will be overwritten, but only if the comment in the target database still has the comment string "CoexEdit AutoUpdate".  This way, if you modifiy the doclink selection view, for example, or customzie some element, you can just remove the comment and it will be preserved.

But what about the standard template system?  There is nothing in the provisioning which prevents your adding the elements with a designation that they should inherit (individually) from a specific template.  Then, in that template you remove the comments, and after the first design refresh, all of the design elements will inherit from the template as some companies might well want, but the difficult job of knowing which elements to copy in has already been done for you.

So, as a magician never should, I've revealed the secret of the magic trick.  Still, it looks slick even if you know how it works.  Watch the video again.  What do you think?

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 20 Feb 2008, 03:20 PM
This worked so well before, I decided to do it again.  This message is addressed to those customers, and to those who make and sell applications and solutions, who will be attending Das EntwicklerCamp 2008 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany in February.  (If you are not attending, and you live or work anywhere near Gelsenkirchen, I suggest you seriously consider this excellent conference.  It promises to provide a lot of value for the cost.)

Dear Customers, Notes/Domino Product Vendors, ISVs and Application Designers,

I am not comfortable spamming people with e-mail messages about our products, but I wanted to invite those who come here of their own accord to consider ways in which our products could enhance your solutions.  To paraphrase BASF's famous marketing slogan:

We don't make many of the Notes/Domino applications you buy.
  We make many of the Notes/Domino applications you buy better.

That's right, it isn't just developers adding cool whiz bang dynamic tables who buy our products.  It is also customers and vendors like you, including those in over ten countries around the world, who design, build, enhance, resell and support:
  • content management systems which utilize our ability to generate high quality HTML/XHTML;
  • solutions for the legal industry which require our rich text comparison and red-lining;
  • knowledge management engines which use our products for data mining;
  • CRM applications with approvals which use our ability to make doclinks accessible to non-Notes mail users;
  • e-learning courses that need to be converted from Notes based databases to HTML based tutorials on demand;
  • mail merge subsystems for all sorts of applications that use our ability to create and send HTML and MIME e-mails;
  • migration tools to help customers moving away from Notes/Domino;
  • other migration tools to help customers moving into Notes/Domino and away from other e-mail systems; and
  • applications of every type and description who just want to be better than the competition.

Some of you may recognize yourselves in these bullet points, because some of you already take advantage of our products.  If you don't, maybe your competition does.  If they don't, maybe you could gain an edge over them.

If you want to find out how you might be able to take advantage of our products to make your solutions, applications and systems better, and if you just happen to be going to Das EntwicklerCamp 2008, why not set up a meeting and have us show you how we can help you gain that edge?  I am available part of the week after the conference, and have some availability during the conference to meet.  Besides our versatile Midas Rich Text family of products, we could talk about using our CoexLinks product for Blackberry support or for mixed IBM/Microsoft application support, or we could discuss our Notes/web coexistence plug-in, CoexEdit?

If you would like to set up a meeting, give me a call or drop me a line.  No hard sell, as we just don't do that, and the "meetings" can be anything from high level strategic discussions to quick and dirty hands on demonstrations, depending on what you need.  I know there isn't a lot of time available, but I think this just may be time worth spending.  It is entirely up to you.


      Ben Langhinrichs
      Genii Software
      +1 216-991-5220

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 20 Feb 2008, 01:48 PM
EntewicklerCamp 2008

For the first time, we have released a sessions database like those we have released at Lotusphere for the past eight years, but for a different conference.  This time, we have an agenda database available for EntwicklerCamp 2008, an excellent developer oriented conference in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.  The sessions database design is pretty similar to that used for Lotusphere, although a lot of it is in German.  You can replicate more current versions, and ask questions just as in the Lotusphere version.  So, download the EntwicklerCamp 2008 Sessions database and give it a try.

I will be giving a couple of sessions at EntwicklerCamp myself.  The entries for the two are shown below, and if you click on them, you can even get to the web version.  (For you English speakers, "Referenten" is "Speakers", "Saal Maritim" is the room in the hotel, "Dienstag" is Tuesday and "Mittwoch" is Wednesday.)  Oh, and I'm glad to say I'll be able to use the gold 8.0.1 for this conference.

Session 1 abstract

Session 2 abstract

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 19 Feb 2008, 11:34 AM
Last week, Stephan Wissel sent me a note asking whether there was a CoexEdit integration with Dojo.  A reasonable question, but the embarassing truth is that I've never really even looked at the Dojo editor besides a quick run through the demos on-line a while back.  I didn't even have Dojo installed.  Since I had lots of other things going on, I didn't get to this right away, but on Friday I did a quick search for "Dojo and Notes" and came up with Henry Newberry's SpeedGeeking sample database.  Unfortunately, I had the flu, so I didn't get around to looking at that closely until yesterday, when I downloaded the sample, looked at the Using this Database document and found this comment:

Snippet mentioning CoexEdit

Well, as much as I appreciate Henry's plug, it is even more embarassing that I have never actually worked with the editor, so I decided to take this as a sign that I should.  Since I had no prior experience with this editor, I just dove into Henry's fairly simple design (this was built for SpeedGeeking, after all), and with a bit of trial and error, I got a working version using CoexEdit in about 40 minutes, including time to download and set up Dojo.

Since I figured it would be boring as sin to watch 40 minutes of fiddling, I started over with a clean download using my new found knowledge and created this video, which is only lightly edited to remove a few boring bits where I forgot the syntax for @Abstract, for example.  This uses CoexEdit 2.0, with its cool new auto update feature, which does help.  The demo is about 7 1/2 minutes long, and should give you a real idea of what it takes to integrate CoexEdit, even if you are using some funky web editor which we have not worked with before.

Run the demo

Update:  Here is the database I modified from Henry's excellent sample.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 14 Feb 2008, 09:51 AM
Sometimes my kids use my computer, and I am always a bit wary.  Besides the possibility of their downloading a virus along with a game or something of that nature (and they have been told fairly clearly what they may and may not download), there is the question of what sites they may be accessing, what images they may be seeing.  After all, while the content probably won't harm them (I am a liberal, and we don't worry about such stuff, right?), you have to watch out for things that could become an obsession.  And so it happens.  My 17 year old was on my computer this morning, and this is the image he had up.  Where have I gone wrong?

Microsoft bashing comic

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.