Ben Langhinrichs

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February, 2009
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.

Fri 20 Feb 2009, 11:19 AM
The speakers at this year's EntwicklerCamp (in Gelsenkirchen, Germany starting March 2) are very impressive.  Andrew Pollack, Rocky Oliver, Daniel Nashed, Maureen Leland, Steve Leland, Ulrich Krause, Rudi Knegt and on and on and on.

As I mentioned before, I will be doing two sessions.  I hope to see you there.  I might even be convinced to show you a quick iFidelity demo (but is that a threat or an offer?).

Ignoring the "No Trespassing!" Sign
In this session, we will explore some of the regions of development that are theoretically off-limits.  From @formulas to XPages, how to use design elements in ways they weren't intended to be used, how to build API applications that ignore their stated limits, and how to otherwise squeeze into questionable areas that may give you powers you didn't think you would have.

The Long-Ignored LSX Toolkit
After several long years, will IBM finally release a new version of the LSX Toolkit?  Whether or not they do, the tool remains a value and often ignored API option.  In the session, we will build a small LSX, talk about the various (new or old) features, and discuss what makes the LSX such a powerful and enduring tool that even years of neglect have not lessened its value.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.


Fri 20 Feb 2009, 09:05 AM
Based on a comment I made to Nathan previously, I added this idea:

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.


Fri 20 Feb 2009, 08:13 AM
Yesterday, I set out to render layout regions to the web, and I have to say, I am more confused than ever.  The big advantage layers seemed to have over layout regions was that they were supported on the web, so I assumed (I know, I should never do that, especially with IBM) that there was some major reason why layout regions were not supported on the web.  It took about three hours of work to add basic support for layout regions to iFidelity, and thus basic support for rendering layout regions to HTML.  Sure, there are minor issues to be resolved, but I am now more mystified than ever.  Why continue to support layout regions, but not provide a simple translation to allow them to work on the web?  There are reports that layout regions are slow, which may or may not be true, but the rendering to the web is very similar to that used for layers, and certainly wouldn't be slow there.  If layout regions are in the product and have continued to be supported for the past ten years, why would IBM not at some point enhance the web engine to support them.  That would allow customers to choose (and I have to say, I don't see such a ground swell of use for layers that they are the "only real choice").  There are some things that are far, far easier to do with layout regions than with layers, so why both refuse to truly deprecate layout regions and also refuse to support them in browser applications.  It just doesn't make any sense.

Having said that, does anybody have an old (or new) database that uses layout regions extensively so that I can test the rendering a bit more.  I am also tempted to write a ConvertLayoutToLayer method in Midas that would convert the layout region itself, as well as the layout fields to regular fields, and layout buttons to regular buttons, and so forth.  That would allow people to use the complex layout regions they have developed in the newer technology, but also to design layouts with the layout region UI and convert them rather than trying to start with the cumbersome layer technology.

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.


Fri 20 Feb 2009, 05:40 AM
It has been "commonly known" that layout regions are obsolete and essentially deprecated, and have been for many, many versions.  In a quick scan, the first mention I have seen of this "common knowledge" is back in July 1999, almost ten years ago, when Nathan Freeman wrote in this post:
It's unlikely that a Notes client will ever *stop* recognizing layout regions. However, they are pretty effectively deprecated at this point unless you're building modal dialog boxes.
I know that in various beta forums over the years, it has been widely debated whether or not to bother rendering them in DXL, for example, or otherwise waste any resources on them.  I found many more comments that they are obsolete or deprecated from widely respected members of our community (e.g., Stan RogersBill ErnestBruce Stapley, etc.), basically since R5 was released, and certainly since ND6 with layers included.

Given this, it is somewhat surprising to explore the Designer Help, which refers to layout regions more frequently than it refers to layers, for example, and which contains absolutely nothing discouraging people from using them, suggesting that they are obsolete, or comparing them in any way to layers, which one might think would be the obvious "upgrade".  It is made clear that they are not supported on the web, but they are recommended for various uses without comment or concern.  I have also noticed that IBM folks, such as Andre Guirard,  occasionally recommend them for one purpose or another without saying they are deprecated.

So, which is it?  Is "common knowledge" wrong, or is this "secret knowledge" kept that way to trap unsuspecting newcomers who start using this handy feature (much easier interface than layers, I might point out, although far less powerful in some ways)?  Why is that experienced developers can so confidently describe a feature for ten years as "deprecated", but not have IBM reflect that in any visible way?  If IBM doesn't want developers to keep adding layout regions, which you might guess from the non-existent layout region support in DxL, shouldn't they say something about it to warn developers?

Maybe we are just wrong.  Maybe they are not deprecated at all?

Copyright © 2009 Genii Software Ltd.