Ben Langhinrichs

March, 2009
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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 27 Mar 2009, 03:59 PM
I am shifting the Genii Software home page and such over to The Turtle Partnership's servers, but there may be a few loose ends.  For instance, I just noticed that when you go to http://www.GeniiSoft.com, you get to The Turtle Partnership website instead.  Direct links, such as http://www.GeniISoft.com/showcase.nsf/GeniiBlog, should work as usual.  All will be fixed up soon, I assure you.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 27 Mar 2009, 03:34 PM
Read my previous post announcing the new LSX Toolkit (not really called that exactly anymore) for general information, but I hope to post a series of short posts on specific features.

One of the more pressing reasons why I have wanted a new LSX Toolkit is the ability to easily access classes, methods and properties which were not available as of R5.  I'll go into the how and why of accessing and extending Notes classes in another post, but I wanted to show a quick list of the classes now available.  Since the question has already come up, this does not include the UI classes.  You can only access and extend backend classes.  But there are quite a few of those.  From the ReadMe.txt included with the toolkit, here is the list of previously extendable classes, followed by the newly extendable classes.

The following is the previous list of back-end objects (LSXBE) that were available for use:
NotesDatabase
NotesView
NotesDocument
NotesItem
NotesRichTextItem
NotesNewsletter
NotesDateTime
NotesAgent
NotesDbDirectory
NotesDocumentCollection
NotesLog
NotesACL
NotesACLEntry
NotesViewColumn
NotesEmbeddedObject
NotesRegistration
NotesTimer
NotesName
NotesForm
NotesInternational
NotesDateRange
NotesRichTextStyle
NotesViewEntry
NotesViewEntryCollection
NotesRichTextParagraphStyle
NotesRichTextTab
NotesReplication
NotesViewNavigator
NotesOutlineEntry
NotesOutline

New with this toolkit these objects are available:
NotesMIMEEntity
NotesRichTextTable
NotesRichTextNavigator
NotesRichTextRange
NotesNoteCollection
NotesDXLExporter
NotesDXLImporter
NotesXSLTransformer
NotesSAXParser
NotesSAXAttributeList
NotesSAXException
NotesDOMParser
NotesDOMNamedNodeMap
NotesDOMNodeList
NotesDOMNode
NotesXMLProcessor
NotesDOMDocumentNode
NotesDOMElementNode
NotesDOMAttributeNode
NotesDOMTextNode
NotesDOMCdataSectionNode
NotesDOMEntityReferenceNode
NotesDOMEntityNode
NotesDOMProcessingInstructionNode
NotesDOMCommentNode
NotesDOMXMLDeclNode
NotesDOMDocumentTypeNode
NotesMIMEHeader
NotesStream
NotesAdministrationProcess
NotesRichTextDoclink
NotesColorObject
NotesRichTextSection
NotesReplicationEntry
NotesXMLReformatter
NotesDOMDocumentFragmentNode
NotesDOMNotationNode
NotesDOMCharacterDataNode
NotesPropertyBroker
NotesProperty
NotesDirectory
NotesDirectoryNavigator

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Fri 27 Mar 2009, 07:50 AM
After eight years, numerous questions at the "Meet the Developers" sessions, and Bob Balaban rejoining IBM, then leaving again, the long awaited update to the LSX Toolkit (renamed through IBM legal mumbo jumbo to the IBM LotusScript eXtension Toolkit).  Scott Morris of IBM, who has been diligently working through the various issues, enhancements and bugs, sent a copy to a few of the more vociferous squeaky wheels, but he assured me it will be posted publicly sometime between today and next Tuesday, depending on how long it takes the IBM website people to get it up there (or, as some snarky people would say, properly hide it so that it will be difficult to find).

I haven't had time to properly test out the new "Toolkit formerly known as the LSX Toolkit", but a few quick items jump out.  The Java Adapter has been removed (a lightly used feature of a not-ever-so-popular toolkit, it just didn't warrant the effort to make it work properly, I guess).  All the myriad new classes added to the Notes base classes since R5 have been added so they can be used.  Windows 64 and 32 bit versions are supported, but OS/2 is no more, nor is Solaris Intel version.  There appear to have been updates and clean ups and a general attempt to make the darn thing ready for 2009 and Notes 8/8.5.

I'm excited.  How about you?  (Of course, now Bob has to find a new question for the Meet the Developers session.  Any suggestions?)

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Tue 24 Mar 2009, 09:47 AM
I got a laugh out of this...

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

Fri 20 Mar 2009, 02:53 PM
Being a moderately successful ISV has its rewards, but it also has a few downsides.  One is the need to answer frequent questions from ISV wanna-be consultants about how they can sell products (and sit around and rake in the cash, or so the assumption goes).  While I am happy to talk with people about the pros and cons of product development, if the developer is already busily working on his or her creation, I try to lead with the most important question:
"Is there a market for your product?"

This question often leaves people speechless.  It shouldn't.  Don't spend two years writing a product before asking the question.  Is there a market for your product?

Even when the developer says that there is a market, I try to follow up with probing, inconvenient, even obnoxious, questions to make sure that this is really the question he or she is answering.  It is a different question than 
"Is there an audience for your product?"
even though many people confuse the two.  There is a huge audience for Youtube videos, but if Youtube were to charge a mere 50 cents per video, you would watch the huge audience vanish overnight.  There is no market for random videos, no matter how clever the hamster.

So, how is a developer to decide whether there is a market or an audience?  It is mostly the difference between need and desire.  Your family needs food each week, so you go to the grocery store and spend your hard earned money on food.  Your family may desire a swimming pool, but the decision is a whole different process, dependent on having "spare money" rather than "ready money".

Still, many developers think that they know the difference between need and desire, and that the tool/utility/gizmo they are developing meets a true need.  Often when this happens, they "know" because they personally "need" this tool/utility/gizmo.  My rule of thumb on this is simple, be very careful evaluating need vs. desire if you are part of the perceived market.  If you don't think it is difficult for someone to distinguish between their own needs and desires, talk to a teenager on prom night.

But let's assume that you, the developer, ARE part of the perceived market.  Try this little test.  Imagine the most awesome electronic gadget or system (e.g., iPhone, Sonos, camera, whatever) that you drool over, but DON'T OWN.  How much does it cost?  Whatever your tool/utility/gizmo is, it is competing with that awesome electronic gadget or system.  Whatever your tool/utility/gizmo costs must be substantially less than the awesome electronic gadget or system, or the user (YOU, in this case) will simply buy that awesome electronic gadget or system instead, or neither if the money isn't readily available.  Now, honestly ask yourself.  If you found out today that somebody else had already developed the tool/utility/gizmo you are working on, and it cost the same amount as the awesome electronic gadget or system, which would you buy?

Suddenly, the tool/utility/gizmo you are developing has a ceiling price, and it may be much lower than you expected.  You may have been thinking hundreds or thousands, and it may be the price is really under $200.  How many people would have to buy it before you could live on that?  How much support would there be for each user?  How much sales effort would there be for each user?

Perhaps most importantly, did somebody else already create the tool/utility/gizmo?  You may think not, but how do you know?  Perhaps they just discovered already that the sales effort for each user, in this case YOU, was too much.  You don't know because they didn't spend the large sums and long time it takes to penetrate the potential market with awareness.

Not to be discouraging or anything, but "Is there a market for your product?"  and is it a market that can make you any substantial return.  Think before you write, as it may save you a lot of hard work and money (which you are welcome to come spend on my products, of course).

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 19 Mar 2009, 04:23 PM
Gayle brought up the topic of "six-word-memoirs", as popularized in the book  Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure (by Larry Smith, Rachel Fershleiser)  and asked what folks in the Lotus community might use as a six word memoir.  Click on the link above to see what she chose for herself.  As for me, I am torn between two options.  The first is stolen from a disreputable source, but still describes my life quite well, I think:
And now for something completely different...
but in the interest of orginality, I guess I'll go with my other choice:
Life's too short to write memoirs.
How about you?  What would your life look like in six words?

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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