Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

By Date: November 2007

Link to me: Notes Document Links as URL, Notes Link and Attachments

In the beginning the world was easy. You wanted to notify a user, just use @MailSend with [IncludeDocLink] and your email notification was done. It was obvious if your application was on a Notes client, your messaging application would be Notes as well.
Today the picture looks different. You might access your email through a portlet on the intranet or through a POP3 client. But you still want to be able to open that link in the Notes client right? I'm not aiming at web enablement here. What are your options:
  • In a Notes client you can use NotesRichText.AppendDocLink
  • You could send a link with notes:// ...
  • You can create an attachment as NDL file: To see what you need in there you copy a document link and paste it into Notepad. You will get this result:

    Wissel's Address Book - My Contacts
    <REPLICA 4825713F:00352EEC>
    <VIEW OF85255E01:001356A8-ON852554C2:00753106>
    <NOTE OFE3DB4DB9:F46B6DAE-ON482572F9:00366DC6>
    <REM>Wissel's Address Book</REM>

    Looks utterly familiar. Inside the NOTE the document uniqueID is embedded similar to the value in the property box. The stuff around the NotesDocument.UniversalID is static, so we can construct that. The view is the uniqueID of the design document. Luckily you can replace that with the name or alias of that view
Since all 3 cases are needed over and over again I added a little utility class to my script tools.

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Posted by on 26 November 2007 | Comments (5) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday

Give One Get One.

I firmly believe that education is key to progress: Understanding yourself, understanding each other and understanding the world around you. The more you can replace superstition with knowledge, blind attempts with skills or xenophobia with appreciation the more you can reduce suffering on this planet. You know the saying: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life".
Being a geek I was intrigued when Prof Negroponte announced his One Laptop Per Child project. Appealing to geeks on the planet the project opened for a short period of time the possibility to own one of these machines. This opportunity is entitled Give One Get One. At USD 399.- plus shipping you will get one laptop and one laptop will be given to a child in a developing nation.
The only catch: you need a US shipping address. But working for IBM that wasn't a real problem. So I ordered one today. The drawback: I have to wait until I'm in the US next time. Until then others can play with the box.

Posted by on 26 November 2007 | Comments (2) | categories: Technology

TOT Hotspot @ Chiang Mai International Airport --- or --- How not to run a hotspot

We had a terrific holiday in Chiang Mai (more on that in a later post when the pictures are sorted out) and we are on our way back. To kill time at airports I like to catch up on email and my news reader, in short: I want WIFI. Luckily there seemed to be some. TOT Telecom provides a pay-for internet access. While by now I would expect WIFI as a free airport service this seemed to be better than nothing. A quick check showed, that there were no contact information except a Thai phone hotline (and no FAQ, Online form, contact email). I happily started the procurement process (for a ridiculous THB 200/hour). From there everything went downhill. Being cautious I use Firefox with the NoScript Plugin. So whenever the in order process a new base domain would be used that depends on JavaScript it wouldn't work. I started off:
  • http://portals.tothotspot:8080/home?CPURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.slashdot.org%2F
  • http://www.tothotspot.th.com/ordernow.php
    http://www.tothotspot.th.com/service3.php?BaTcHiD=1709 : Here the next button did require JavaScript. They just verified that you enter a username and a email (nicely disguised as password field
    http://www.tothotspot.th.com/service4.php : Here the hand-off to the ePayment provider happens
  • https://www.krungsrimobile.com/merchant/payment.php?SomeMoreStuff : Without JavaScript active a nasty error message puts an end to the purchase: You are not authorized or Data encryption error !!! (Step1.2) .. Please contact your merchant's webmaster to investigate this error.
  • https://www.krungsriepay.com/webapp/PaymentManager/CardBaseValidation. When enabling the page the year for the credit card (a dropdown field) wasn't populated. I had to allow https://seal.verisign.com/.
Finally the return page showed up with a double JavaScript error and no username/password information. Eventually the process worked and the information is in my email which of course I only can access with an online connection.
So to recap: I had to trust 6 different hosts for their JavaScript to finally fail to gain WIFI access. Well I guess they don't make much money on their hotspots that way. At least investigating this killed the waiting time.

Posted by on 23 November 2007 | Comments (5) | categories: Buying Broadband

I need a Dojo expert for 6 weeks in Singapore

For a project in Singapore we need a Dojo expert to design a webUI with high interactivity. We have the J2EE and Domino backend guys are in place. The project is interesting and will last about 6 weeks. Any takers?

Posted by on 15 November 2007 | Comments (2) | categories: Software

Playing with Notes Client form layout

In a recent training session a participant asked why Notes forms are so ugly. Naturally I pointed him to Chris. Nevertheless he got me thinking. How many steps does it take to make a Notes form looking nice. Let us start with a very typical basic form:

Default ugly form

The first thing will be the background for toolbar and form. I borrow some style from Lotus Connections: adding background images leads here:

Next step is to take care of the radio buttons, mandatory fields and the borders.

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Posted by on 14 November 2007 | Comments (7) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday

Do you need help for your Notes8 composite applications?

This is an IBM announcement our marketing manager asked me (very nicely) to publish here.

The recent release of the IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8 platform gives developers more integration and business solution options than ever before. To celebrate this extensibility we would like to offer our Business Partners free access to Lotus development specialists who will assist you in creating Notes and Domino 8 business solutions.

Your existing solutions will continue to run in Lotus Notes and Domino 8 without modification -- all new integration options supplement existing application development capabilities. Our Lotus development specialists will work with you to explore possible integration scenarios and guide you through the details of this new set of integration options including:

The Composite Application Framework
The Lotus Notes 8 platform allows developers to build reusable, loosely coupled components which can be assembled into composite applications. These reusable components can be created from NSF, Eclipse or IBM Lotus Expeditor technology. Our specialists can evaluate your requirements and propose strategies for developing reusable components or improving integration with a composite application.

The Sidebar and Toolbar
The Lotus Notes 8 sidebar and toolbar are in the end user's sight at all times so they provide an excellent opportunity to display a ubiquitous view of your application or service. Our specialists can show you how to integrate components of your solution into the sidebar and toolbar most effectively. Work you've done developing for Lotus Sametime Connect will pay dividends here as well -- most plug-ins developed for IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 are compatible with Lotus Notes 8.

Web Services
Lotus Notes and Domino 8 provide comprehensive support for web services producers and consumers on the Notes client and Domino server. Our specialists show you how to incorporate your web services in Notes and Domino applications to capitalise on existing IT investments and realise a service-oriented architecture.

Lotus Domino and DB2 Integration
Lotus Domino 8 provides a fresh opportunity for Business Partners with relational database experience and solutions. With Lotus Domino and DB2 integration developers can expose NSF data for relational use and list DBMS data in views and embedded views. Our specialists can discuss the possibilities afforded by this integration such as report generation and integration with other relational data stores.

To learn more about all that Lotus Notes and Domino 8 has to offer, please have a look at " Building on the evolution of people-centric applications" or " Creating business flexibility with IBM Lotus application development software" on the Lotus Notes and Domino developer site. For more information on composite applications see the composite applications page on developerWorks, or the composite applications blog.

If you'd like to find out more about how we can help you take advantage of Lotus Notes and Domino 8 please email us at ndiscool@us.ibm.com. We'll coordinate a follow-on call to review your needs and get you started right away.

At Lotusphere 2008 we will be looking to highlight Business Partner solutions that exploit the new integration possibilities in Lotus Notes and Domino 8 - including a new award category for these solutions. We encourage you to take advantage of this offer while it's available in preparation for Lotusphere.

Thank You,

Tim Shortley
Program Director, Worldwide ISV Technical Enablement, IBM Lotus Software

Posted by on 12 November 2007 | Comments (4) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday

Can someone explain where Exchange is better than Domino?

I don't get it.
There is a lot of discussion about what is better Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino. Looking at Exchange (of course with my "working for IBM" bias <g>) I can see a lot of flaws:
  • Lack of platform choice
  • Fragile single Jet database for all users of a server
  • Dependency on external directory
  • Flaws in build-in spam fighting (go ask Chris about it)
  • Complicated admin interface
  • Lack of backward compatibility and upgrade nightmares
  • Limited scalability
  • Bandwidth hog
  • No load balancing in clustering
... and so on.

Soooo what are the real advantages of Microsoft Exchange? Important: I'm not talking about Microsoft Outlook! The comparison between Microsoft Outlook and the eMail part of the Notes client is not an admissible argument for this question. Other people do the comparison there. I'm strictly looking at the server side.
From my experience Microsoft Exchange is rather accepted as collateral damage when an organization is adopting Microsoft Outlook, so that's not the explanation I'm looking for either.

Posted by on 11 November 2007 | Comments (6) | categories: IBM Notes Lotus Notes

Tech University Jakarta - Project Worst Practices

On Nov 06 2007 I'm speaking @ Tech University in Jakarta. My topic is "Project Worst Practices". This is not a competition to Bill's famous topic but a stab against lousy project management. My collection of despicable practices and beliefs is summarized in a Mindmap:
Project worst practices
Click on the image for the full size graphic.

Posted by on 05 November 2007 | Comments (1) | categories: Software