Ben Langhinrichs

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1999-2007 (and counting)

Tue 1 May 2007, 05:47 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
In March of 1999, IBM released the brand new Lotus Notes R5.  It included many features, but the one I want to mention is "nested table" support.  For the first time, tables could be put inside other tables, down to a depth of 10 nestings.  In addition, R5 included the first, albeit relatively limited, NotesRichText classes.  But there was no support for nested tables.  

But what got me thinking about this?  It so happens that Andre Guirard posted an article in his blog today entitled Form design: rich text field in a table cell, in which he says fairly early on:
So, just in case, here's the official line on putting a rich text field in a table cell: don't.
He has various reasons, but one of them is:
It also limits your ability to program tables in the rich text, because when you save a document that contains a table inside a rich text field that's inside a table, it gets treated as a nested table. The NotesRichText... classes don't deal with nested tables, so they can't even see this one. If the code that operates on the document is in a view agent or server agent, you wouldn't think that would matter, since these methods of accessing documents don't care about the form design. But it does matter in this case, because when you edit and save the document manually, the table is flagged as "nested" in the rich text data.
So, here it is 2007, eight years after the addition of nested tables in Lotus Notes/Domino, and there is no sign of support for nested table in the NotesRichText classes in ND7, and no sign it will be added in Notes 8.x releases, which won't even be released until later this year.

Doesn't it seem like eight years and counting is long enough?  Doesn't it seem like too long?  Shouldn't IBM be adding this functionality rather than suggesting workarounds to avoid the problem?  Andre mentions DXL, but that is pretty lame support for an eight year old feature.

Meanwhile, over here at Genii Software, we spent months in 1999 working on support for the many rich text features in R5, and in September 1999, released Midas 2.0, with an announcement the day before it was released...
At long last, Version 2.0 of the Midas Rich Text LSX will be released.  Version 2.0 offers full support for Notes R5, with R5 specific features such as dynamic tabbed tables, support for nested tables and new R5 properties, as well as importing of native GIF and JPEG images.  In addition, support has been added for manipulation of fields on forms and subforms, thus allowing dynamic forms stored in documents or forms design utilizing the power of the Midas Rich Text LSX.

Version 2.0 will have support for Notes/Domino releases R4.5x, R4.6x and R5.x.  A new sample will be available showing design form manipulation, and old samples will be updated to show such things as sorting nested tables.
Notice that not only did we support nested tables within six months of the R5 release, we even supported sorting those tables.

Of course, if this were the only feature like this... but what about layers, added in October 2002 in Notes/Domino 6, but still no rich text support after five years (not even via DXL) in Notes 8, but supported by Midas within three months in Version 3.00.

Copyright 2007 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

584.1. Tom
(05/02/2007 11:36 AM)


used your stuff, loved it. When will ibm throw in the towell and buy you out?

584.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/02/2007 11:38 AM)

Don't hold your breath. (And thanks!)

584.3. Nathan T. Freeman
(05/02/2007 12:02 PM)

"Don't hold your breath. (And thanks!)"

One wonders whether that's a function of them inquiring, or your asking price. ;-)

584.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(05/02/2007 12:06 PM)

One has to ask what the price is before one can object to the asking price.

584.5. Richard Collette
(05/03/2007 11:54 AM)

I have always thought that the buy out idea would be the way to go. The risk is low and the reward high.

And why isn't the UI dynamic and why do we not have backend printing. All basics Lotus continues to ignore for YEARS. How about the fact that a client crash bug (uidoc.refresh from action button in embedded view) can exist through three major version releases (6,7,8)

I still see IBM as really lacking focus on the basics.

I do think that the GENI API could use some refinement, or at least another higher level layer that lets us think in terms of real world objects rather than "Chunks" and such, but at least it works.