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IBM Lotus Redbooks

Sign the petition to keep the Redbooks center at Lotus open. I value the Redbooks very much and think they are crucial to Lotus' success in the years to come.

SWT for Cocoa

More at eclipse.org/swt

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Amazed I tell you!

At a customer site today they were opening new Lenovo T60 laptops and what's included in the pack? An order form for Lotus SmartSuite Millenium Edition and Lotus Notes. And not just Lotus Notes but Lotus Notes R5!!

It's amazing value - you both get the Lotus Notes R5 CD *AND* the Users Guide. On CD!! :-)

We were all laughing out loud... I hope someone at IBM will get this rectified and get a coupon for Notes 8 in there in stead.

Apache Directory Studio

I'm currently on a Lotus Connections project and needed a LDAP browser to test authentication and searching. Previously I have been using a Java LDAP browser with a UI that really was lacking. Today I discovered Apache Directory Studio which is built on the Eclipse platform. The application is free and a really good LDAP browser. It also contains a LDIF editor.

The application is a full fletched LDAP browser and is made up of a couple of Eclipse features. You can download the application as a standalone RCP (rich client platform) application, as features for your existing Eclipse IDE but should actually just as well be able to use the LDAP browser directly from Notes 8 Standard. The LDAP browser ships with a perspective so it should be doable.

If it ran inside of Notes 8 it would be a killer admin. tool and easily distributable inside your organization.

I tried to install the perspective in Notes 8 but it isn't possible since the features depend on the org.eclipse.search feature which isn't shipped with Notes 8. org.eclipse.search is however supplied with the standard Eclipse 3.2.1 which is the same version as Expeditor 6.1.1 builds upon so it should be possible to download the Directory Studio source code and repackage the perspective to do a perspective which is installable in Notes 8.

For now however I have to run the application in Eclipse or as standalone.

Is the lack of Java adoption *still* the Achilles' heel of IBM?

In March of 2006 I wrote a lengthy post (see below for links) on how I considered the lack of Java adoption by Notes/Domino developers the Achilles' heel of IBM. The post was picked up by Ed Brill and made quite a stir in the blogosphere.

Sitting here developing a Notes 8 plug-in in SWT (the Java widget toolkit of Eclipse/Expeditor/Notes 8) I got to thinking if the state of affairs has changed and if yes, how it has changed. As a strong Java proponent I'm afraid I don't like the answer... My perception is that the percentage of Notes/Domino developers having adopted Java hasn't changed since then. We're exactly in the same place we were in March of 2006.

Why haven't IBM done anything? Why wasn't Java everywhere at Lotusphere 2007? Will it be a major focus area at Lotusphere 2008?

Not to sound too sour and/or disappointed but I fear there is somewhat of a connection between none of the 4 sessions on Java development I submitted for Lotusphere 2008 was accepted and the state of affairs. It could of cause also be that the sessions just wasn't interesting enough.

Very few of the Lotusphere attendees will be looking for sessions on Java I'm afraid. A stark contrast to what the platform demands.

I understand that there is a learning curve to the language but we need to seriously address this lack of adoption. If we don't we, as business partners, will not be able to fulfill customer demand for development resources. The platform as a whole will be the one that suffers. Of cause Java is *the* standard enterprise language so there's an abundance of Java developers out there, but developers need a solid understanding of Notes/Domino as well as Java to be productive and bring value to customers.

My understanding of the current state of affairs is this:

  • Most of the Notes/Domino developers are older - very few straight out of school jump onboard. It's all about learning an old dog new tricks...
  • Very few get into Notes/Domino development unless they work for a company running Notes. Could it be that the platform still have a monolithic feel to it even though it is anything but?
  • Very few existing Notes/Domino developers have started adopting Java due to lack of pressure from IBM. Certainly the Java API and IDE not evolving haven't helped.
  • Many who have adopted Java in Notes/Domino use it as a procedural language as a LotusScript language substitute with threading or network connectivity. While this is a start there is a major leap in the level of abstraction needed for composite application development. If we had gotten started earlier we might be further ahead now.
  • Very few, if not none, of the guys and girls leaving school know that the Notes client of today is built on the same platform they have been using to learn the Java language (yes - that would be Eclipse).
  • Very few, if not none, of the guys and girls leaving school know that Lotus is all about the social and building software to support collaboration.

Please tell me I'm wrong!


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Component library

"Jo Grant from our ISV enablement team has produced a catalog with 22 reusable components."

While it's a great initiative the documentation is missing. I'm planning to look into the components and publish my findings on the blog as I make any discoveries.

Read more and find the download at the Composite Application Blog: Catalog with 22 reusable Components available

Domino error message of the day

"Error compacting <database path>: (Function cannot be performed while database is being compacted)"

Sametime widget - would you like to have it?

I was looking through idea jam the other day and saw an idea in the Sametime category and a comment to the idea from Carl Tyler. The idea was to provide an easier way to let users upload their own picture to the Sametime directory (see Make it easy to add Images of People). I thought that it wouldn't be too difficult so I started coding and I have the Sametime client part ready. I envision a menu item that launch the below dialog box which allows the user to select a picture from the hard drive, have it automatically resized, previewed and then uploaded to the server.

Using a servlet, I also plan to supply, on the Sametime server the picture is inserted into the Domino Directory or the database you use as source for your blackbox. A LDAP implementation should be easily possible as well. This would allow you to have users change their own picture and let you easily get nice business card data for your colleagues.

Before finishing the project I would like to hear if this was something you would consider using.

Discovering Notes 8: Vista compatible?

I have been running Notes 8 Standard under Windows Vista (with full Aero UI) for a little under a week now. Besides having to get used to the Vista UI and look'n'feel I'm having issues with one dialog that keeps popping up. I have inserted a screenshot of the dialog below. It seems like it occurs when running Java agents in Domino Designer or when doing meeting invites although it isn't consistent. Unfortunately it doesn't switch back to Aero on its own as it says...

Anyone experiencing this as well?

Right tool for the job

You might already have seen this but talk about using the right tool for the job!

Help Lotus make the Domino Designer Next help you want

Participate in the survey. Via notes.net.

Discovering Notes 8: How is your default browser configured?

It appears there are two ways of specifying the default browser (the one to use then clicking a link in an e-mail) in Notes 8. One is on the "Internet Browser" tab of the location document and the other is on the "Web Browser" preferences page (see File/Preferences). The actual browser used to open links is the one configured in the preference pages.

I found this strange so I digged around a little and I found the cause. The problem was that my personal name and address book wasn't upgraded to R8 design when my client was updated. This in turn meant that the location document form didn't show the help text describing this. After replacing my design I found the problem and could correct it. So when moving your users to Notes 8 be sure to upgrade the design of their personal address book.

Good thing it's Friday!

New DWA notes.ini setting in 7.0.3

"Added the Notes.ini variable "iNotes_WA_MaxTotalAttachmentsSizeKB" to limit the maximum total attachment size by the Active X file attachment utility. This ini applies to Domino Web Access clients. Use this setting to specify the total maximum size of attachments in KB when the Domino Web Access server Configuration Settings document field Domino Web Access ActiveX file attachment utility is enabled."


Broadband @ home

I just upgraded my home broadband connection to 10 megabits/second. Nice ha? :-)

Roaming in Notes 8 Standard

Just so you know. Learned today that roaming is planned to return to Notes 8 Standard in the feature release in 2nd half of 2008.

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At Dannotes?

I'm at Dannotes this Wednesday and Thursday so if you are too please come and say hello... :-)

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No Lotusphere session for me...

Unfortunately I got no speaking slot this year at Lotusphere. Although it was hard to read the e-mails on Saturday morning I feel a lot better after hearing about some of the other bright fellows who didn't get a slot either. Congrats to all those who did and see you all in Orlando.

P.S.: If any are getting cold feet I'll be more than happy to jump in... :-)

I'm so Notes Traveler ready...

Got my new cell phone yesterday... It's a Samsung i600 running Windows Mobile 6 so it's Notes Traveler ready when it ships with Notes/Domino 8.0.1 i 1Q2008. First impressions of the phone are very favorable and I think it's going to fit me just fine. A nice feature is that the package includes two batteries and an external charger to charge the second battery outside the phone. Whether that means that the phone consumes at LOT of battery power remains to be seen.

So far only one small thing. How do you find the MAC address of the built in Wifi? Well you simply dial *#1546792*# (or invoke \Windows\AdminSettings.exe) and find in under "Version". Strange but it works. Wifi from bed... :-)

Eclipse Version Qualifiers

When developing plug-ins and features in Eclipse you need to change the version number to force Notes 8 to redownload and install the feature/plug-in. To make this easier you can use version qualifiers - this will make your life much easier. For more info see Using Version Qualifiers. Thanks to Pierre Carlson from IBM.

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Sick of java.awt type ahead suggestions in Eclipse?

Then you need this little handy tip. There are many classes with identical or similar names in the java.awt and the SWT widget libraries. Having to distinguish between the package names in the type ahead dropdown is a pain and lead to wrongful imports so do yourself this favor:

  • Open Eclipse
  • Select Window/Preferences from the menu
  • Expand Java/Appearance/Type Filters from the menu on the left
  • Click the "Add package" button, enter "java.awt" (without the quotes) and click OK
  • OK your way out
This will make Eclipse remove any matching classes from the java.awt package from your type ahead list. Very nice...

And while you're there you might want to add lotus.domino.cso, lotus.domino.local and lotus.notes to the list as well as all Domino programming is done through the lotus.domino package.

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Normally I wouldn't post stuff like this on this blog but I'm so excited that I have to do just that. I have been a long time fan of the Dragonlance novels and now that an animated feature of the first novel is in the works I'm just plain excited. The first movie will be Dragons of Autumn Twilight and will be released directly to DVD. See here for more info on the movie.