Genii Weblog

The very first resource for a beginning Notes client developer?

Tue 11 Jan 2011, 08:56 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
This is a follow up to my question yesterday, which got some great answers that I look forward to passing on when I get asked the question myself.  I hope the links in the comments are as useful to others as they are to me. (By the way, don't miss David Leedy's cheat sheet post.)

But I was asked this follow up in an email, and I thought it worth posing.  What is the very first resource for a beginning Notes client developer?

Imagine somebody who knows a lot about some other technology  (not stated which) whose company is moving to Lotus Notes/Domino.  This person is tasked with developing Notes applications more than Domino applications.  Where does that person start to understand the basic architecture, the choices of development tools, etc.?  If that person asked you for the most intro level, what-is-it-and-how-do-I-start resource for Lotus Notes, the equivalent to the links posted for XPages, what might they be?  Assuming they are starting with Notes 8.5.2, should they really start with XPages for the client, or is that mostly useful for coexistence with the web? Any thoughts on that very first resource?

Not as sexy a question, but still important if we want people to actually migrate TO Lotus Notes and not just AWAY FROM Lotus Notes.

Copyright 2011 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

955.1. Patrick Kwinten
(01/11/2011 02:50 PM)

Just get a red book, dated 1997 will do.

955.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/11/2011 02:56 PM)

@Patrick - While I agree with the basic message, it seems unlikely to help as much as it once would have. If there is not something out there that at least shows the new DDE, we may need to write one.

955.3. John Rowland
(01/11/2011 03:47 PM)

Given the resources that MS has devoted to creating a "groundswell" dev community in the last 15 years, this question should be a very important one for IBM to have answers to. IBM should be leading the charge on this, not leaving it to the developer community. Hopefully, Ed Brill's involvement in the development platform aspect of Notes as of 2011 will bring some positive change.

955.4. Wayne
(01/11/2011 04:02 PM)

First off, get Rocky olivers Notes and Domino programming Bible.

Then I would send them to a couple of blogs.

Bill Buchan - effective use of lists, basic use of OO in lotusscript.

OpenNTF for samples in the code bin.

Chris Blatnick (interface matters) how to manipulate the client in ways you may not have thought of.

Nathan Freeman (Escape Velocity) advanced user interface stuff, really good code samples

Any blogs of guys who've gone to join "Group"(Peter Presnell, Chris Toohey,Tim Tripcony).

Thomas Bahn (assono) really good OO framework.

Julian Robichaux (nsftools)

+ a host of others too many to mention.

Patrick has some nice projects on OpenNTF also.

As for showing the new DDE, the basic tools for building *notes* apps hasn't changed since 6.5.

955.5. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/11/2011 06:55 PM)

I would be well pleased to get Ed Brill engaged on this topic. It is flat out scary to talk of starting people with a 1997 redbook or a the ND6 Programming Bible, which was published in April 2003. Even if these are great resources, and even if much of what they say is relevant, it is a terrible answer from the perspective of showing a new developer that they have joined a vibrant and growing product. Might as well mutter "Notes is dead!" and ask them to give you a call if they find a better job when they quit this one.

955.6. Howard
(01/11/2011 07:04 PM)

Ben,TLCC has a free course, Introduction to Domino Designer that is a great start (and did I mention FREE). Give it a try...

We also have a complete line of courses once they want to learn more.


955.7. Brett H
(01/11/2011 08:50 PM)

I would suggest reverse-engineering an existing good application. Even if it is one of the crappy templates that come standard. This will give them an existing code base and some constructs to pick apart and see how they work. Digging through something that already works and figuring out HOW it works is human nature.

Brett H

955.8. Tim Paque
(01/11/2011 11:19 PM)

Simple advise, have them start with just formula language, and the basic database structures.

If they know spreadsheets they can make basic functioning databases right out of the gate.