Ben Langhinrichs

September, 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.


Wed 30 Sep 2009, 10:44 AM
What can I say but...

Who me, I never get sick, I said
I'm in no danger, not I
I'll wash my hands until they're red,
and I'll get sick when pigs fly.

I should've known to knock on wood
I should've listened to you
'Cause now I'm sick, it's understood
Pigs may not fly, but swine flu.

Apologies for the terrible punning, but I really do have the flu.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

Sun 20 Sep 2009, 03:56 PM
Sometimes, it is hard to believe how much flexibility Lotus and IBM have built into Notes/Domino, and this demo seems to demonstrate the fact eloquently.  I'll hold off on the details until I can show the demo (probably tomorrow), but it is hard to work on this and believe it works myself.  I keep having to switch to the source and check to be sure it is really doing what I think.  Phew!

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Sat 19 Sep 2009, 11:11 AM
Today, according to the web, is talk like a pirate day, me hearties.  Talk like a pirate day.  Well, you know what to do, aarrrr!  Avast there, mateys!  Heave ho.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

Mon 14 Sep 2009, 11:22 AM
This is a follow-up to Genii in a bottle: Improving Notes from the inside, Part 1, in which I show CoexEdit improving the editing experience in ND8.0.1 without any design changes.  In this, I show off the redesigned, and very attractive, Discussion template which uses XPages and the Dojo editor in Notes/Domino 8.5.1 (beta 8).  The focus for this redesign was in the web client, and a Notes client version redesign is being discussed by various people.

To give IBM credit, a lot of work has gone into this process, including some small, but much needed, fixes to the rich text to MIME to rich text conversions.  Still, there is a fair amount of room for improvement, and this demo will show how CoexEdit will enhance the experience even further without any modification to the template or database.  This is a completely untouched database created to show off the new discussion, and we keep the design template set to the new discussion template.


Click on image below to see demo



Disclaimer: IBM Lotus Notes/Domino is prerelease code and there are no guarantees from IBM that the functionality presented or discussed will be in the final shipping product. 

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 10 Sep 2009, 10:29 AM
As I have hinted recently, I have been working on an exciting new feature that ties in with all the recent posts about the new Discussion template, XPages, the Dojo editor, 8.5.1 (beta), etc.  I refer to the feature as AutoRecognize, but it might be better described as Genii in a bottle.

Here's the idea.  Our CoexEdit product has been quite popular, but it still requires two steps which make a lot of developers and administrators hesitate.  The first step is the installation of a web editor, usually FCKeditor, on a server.  The second is the modification of the database to use CoexEdit, which is not difficult, but is a hurdle.  One option to help with this latter step was to make pre-modified templates, such as the Discussion template, but in talking with customers, it turned out that few people were using the Discussion template unaltered, partly because the web side was not very attractive, and partly because there were serious rendering issues with the web editor.

But as the Best Fit for OS editor evolved, and the Dojo editor was added, an opportunity arose.  What if we "auto-recognized" the Discussion template, and made it work better with no design changes and no separate web editor.  Better yet, what if we auto-recognized even variations of the Discussion template, so that when the template described by Peter Presnell in Preview: Discussion Template for 8.5.2 is released, we would work with that, or if the template described by Niklas Heidloff in Can a Composite Application look as good?  was released, we would work with that.  All without involving a developer.

The first proof of concept is ready, and I will probably release it to public beta soon.  For the first demo video, I decided to use the Notes 8.0.1 Discussion template, but this works in earlier versions, as well as in 8.5.0 and 8.5.1 (with some internal differences that are invisible to the user, so the same server could have three different templates and they would all work).  Of course, Discussion databases aren't the only ones to use the Best Fit or Dojo editors, and with the new XPages templates popping up, there will be more.

All it takes is two files and two lines.  The files are nCoexEd.dll (or OS equivalent on Linux or AIX) and coexedit.lic (the license).  The lines go in the NOTES.INI on the server, with no need to add any client component.  Here are the two lines from my server's NOTES.INI

extmgr_addins=CoexEd
CoexEditRecognizeDiscussion=1

What happens when this is used is somewhat magical.  Even existing discussion databases just get... better.  I created a very rough, completely unedited, demo of this before and after turning on the CoexEditRecognizeDiscussion (which you can turn on and off from the console).  It is seven and a half minutes long, but I think you'll find it interesting.  Just click on the image below to see the demo.

Click on image to see demo

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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Wed 9 Sep 2009, 08:28 AM
In the past couple of days, there has been some exciting talk about templates.  Yesterday, Peter Presnell wrote Preview: Discussion Template for 8.5.2 which shows some remarkable advances proposed for the IBM Discussion template to advance the already excellent advances on the web side in the XPages template for Domino 8.5.1.  Niklas Heidloff blogged about an intriguing alternative proposal using Composite Application technology in Can a Composite Application look as good?  Cool stuff.  Today, Steve Castledine posted about Customising the DominoBlog template, which mentions future themes but also makes it clear just how much can be done with the current IBM blog template.  Also very cool stuff.

But what is a common thread between these discussions?  What is talked about, and what isn't?  I think I may have a way to work with all three of these templates, and some others as well. No, it doesn't mean altering the templates, because I don't even want to begin to muck with the artistry of the people involved, but with any luck, the collaboration will make them all better.  More on this later today or tomorrow.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

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