Ben Langhinrichs

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E-mail address - Ben Langhinrichs

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

Sat 24 Jan 2009, 01:07 PM
In a recent post, Bill Buchan, yes, Wild Bill himself, wrote:
In the coming year or so, we're all under HUGE pressure to cut costs, be better, row harder, etc.
And then a but further on:
And heres' one more think. Be more positive. Especially Administrators. Only shoot something down if you have a better suggestion. Its not a bad rule. And no-one wants to be the 'first asshole out the door', right ?
This got me thinking, especially in light of my not-so-nice posts regarding IBM's MIME rendering, but also in light of the recent Lotusphere talk about xpages.

Go back a year.  What was talked about this extensively at last year's Lotusphere?  That's right, composite applications.  Not so much this year, right?  There were still some sessions on composite applications, or that at least mentioned composite applications, but about half as many as last year, and there was hardly a mention in any major event.  Now, I think there is a difference between composite applications and xpages (namely, I think the latter has a far better chance of working and providing value), but I think the lesson to be learned may NOT be that now is the time to be nice, or even more positive.  Trust me, we can kumbaya all the way to the unemployment office, but I'd rather make sure of the next sixteen quarters of Lotus growth.  And that means taking Bill's latter advice:
Only shoot something down if you have a better suggestion.
Now that I can stand by.  I'm an ISV, so I won't just say "This MIME rendering sucks!"  Instead, I've done something about it and created iFidelity.  For those of you who can't or won't create the solution yourself, at least make some noise about it.  As an example, take a look at Tommy Valand's post Thoughts on XPages hijacking the id-attribute, in which he complains (rightfully, I think) about the decision to use the id-attribute for xpages, but also suggests some reasonable alternatives.  We need more of that... complaining about xpages and making sure it is as robust and sturdy and usable as possible.  That, and not mindless cheerleading, is what is going to spur more use of xpages and a better reputation for Lotus Domino development.

Copyright 2009 Genii Software Ltd.


Sat 24 Jan 2009, 09:13 AM
In Part 1, I showed how IBM's rendering of MIME messages could lead your customers to think you were still running Notes R5, and how our upcoming iFidelity (sign up for the beta) would allow you to send out more professional looking email, rendered as it is in Notes.  In Part 2, I showed how content rendered by Domino on the web was likely to make prospective customers think twice, or more, before buying Lotus Notes, and how CoexEdit could dramatically improve that default rendering.  In Part 3, I showed how rendering is made even worse when the rich text is edited on the web, and how CoexEdit can improve that process as well.

In this post, I am moving back to email, and specifically the issue of Signatures.

I have a confession to make.  I don't use a mail signature, so I was not really aware of the issues involved, but I sure heard an earful at Lotusphere.  I will probably make a longer post about email Signatures when I have a chance to fully research the topic, and it is even possible that I am missing something now, so please feel free to correct my impressions if you know something I don't.

I decided to make myself an HTML signature, as that should give me some real control over appearance.  (Unfortunately, I forgot we were dealing with Lotus Notes.  Whacks head with palm of hand.)  So, I created a nice little signature in HTML, using a single table with some nice borders and padding, then checked it in both Firefox and Internet Explorer to make sure it would look good.  Here it is, first as originally intended, then as inserted into a Notes 8.5 client, then finally as received by another Notes 8.5 client using the generally preferred Notes 8.5 client rendering.  Of course, complaining without proposing solutions is just annoying, so I suggest you try this with our iFidelity beta and see what a difference a professional signature can do for your image.

HTML signature in Internet Explorer as designed

HTML signature in Internet Explorer

HTML signature after inserting in Lotus Notes 8.5 using Other - Insert Signature

HTML signature in Lotus Notes 8.5

HTML signature as received in GMail after being rendered by Lotus Notes 8.5 client

HTML signature in Internet Explorer

HTML signature as received in another company's Notes 8.5 client after being rendered by Notes 8.5 client

HTML signature in Internet Explorer

Annotated comparison between original HTML signature and that received by other Notes 8.5 client

HTML signature in Internet Explorer

Copyright 2009 Genii Software Ltd.