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How I survive using Notes 8 sidebar plugins on my 4:3 display at home

Lets face it! The advent of Notes 8 and the sidebar really requires you to use a wide-screen display if you want to keep the sidebar expanded and have some screen real estate left for mail and business applications. This is a major head ache for me when I'm in my home office as my primary display is a 4:3 (i.e. traditional) display and my wide-screen laptop is the secondary display. I found a solution that works for me though.

The way I solve this is by detaching the sidebar plugins I use the most (TwitNotes and Sametime) and have them open in a new window (see the part menu for that option) and then collapsing the sidebar. Now I have the screen real-esate I need on the primary display and my main sidebar plugins visible all the time on the secondary display.

That works like a charm for me.

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Do you work across timezones?

Well if you do, do you then use the new feature of Notes 8.0.2 / Notes 8.5 to show an alternate timezone in your calendar? I do and I find it very nice that it's easier to see across the timezones.

To set it up open the preferences, navigate to "Calendar and To Do/Regional Settings" and specify the alternate timezone in the middle box (cleverly named Timezone). The change doesn't require a restart of the Notes client. Below is my setup.

Bob Balfe: Problems enabling the Application/Install menu in Notes 8.5 beta

A big part of installing plugins in the Notes 8.x / Expeditor client is getting the File/Application/Install menu item to show up for users. Bob Balfe has an interesting post on this very topic for the upcoming Notes 8.5 client.

Problems enabling the Application | Install menu in Notes 8.5 beta

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Doing Java in Notes? - make sure you know about JavaCompilerTarget

I blogged about the JavaCompilerTarget back in August last year when Notes 8 came out as you needed it to enable Java 5 in Domino Designer. Last week some nice new info on this notes.ini setting came my way in the Design Partner forum for Domino NEXT. If you're doing Java development in Notes you would want to read on.

And yes - I did check with IBM whether it was okay to blog it. Since this info is on its way out in technote (technote 1320401) it was fine that I blogged it.


In Notes/Domino 8.5, you can set the JavaCompilerTarget INI variable to any value from 1.1 through 1.6. Here is a draft of the documentation (Note: In the following text, we refer to JDK 1.6, which is also known as JDK 1.6.0 and JDK 6.0.)

By default, Notes/Domino 8.5 utilizes JDK 1.6 to compile and run agents, but it limits language features to maintain backwards compatibility through JDK 1.2, to allow agents to run on earlier Notes/Domino installations (and, more generally, with any JVM version earlier than the target flag), regardless of whether the new language features are actually used in the agent's code (e.g., setting JavaCompilerTarget=1.6 could introduce the possibility of having an agent recompiled and replicated to a V8.0 server, and then failing to run). Additionally, problems could arise editing and saving agents compiled in Notes/Domino installations that are not using the same INI setting.

Developers must override the default behavior if they wish to use features specific to different JDKs. The default behavior is equivalent to the setting JavaCompilerTarget=1.2

In Notes/Domino V8.5, the developer may specify any JavaCompilerTarget from 1.1 to 1.6. (In each case, the -source flag is the latest source that can be specified with a particular -target flag.)

The developer may also specify JavaCompilerTarget=CurrentJavaVersion which means the target flag will be synced to the version in future Notes/Domino releases (e.g., if some future Notes/Domino version were to include JDK 1.9, then "JavaCompilerTarget=CurrentJavaVersion" would create "-target 1.9").

JavaCompilerTarget Resulting compiler flags Agent would run on Notes/Domino versions
1.1-source 1.3
-target 1.1
V5.0 or later
1.2-source 1.3
-target 1.2
V6.0 or later
1.3-source 1.3
-target 1.3
V6.0 or later
1.4-source 1.4
-target 1.4
V7.0 or later
1.5-source 1.5
-target 1.5
V8.0 or later
1.6-source 1.6
-target 1.6
V8.5 or later
CurrentJavaVersion-source 1.6
-target 1.6
V8.5 or later

Remember that these settings may prevent compiled agents from running on some earlier Notes/Domino installations. Therefore, it is suggested that organizations use a consistent setting across machines.

Developers who will not be using language features specific to recent JDKs are encouraged to keep the default Notes/Domino behavior to maximize backward compatibility.

Blogging a retweet - too good to miss

"sscullion: Retweeting @MaryBethRaven: "Hold the ctrl+alt key while you open a Java view to get the non-java version." Nice Tip, thx!! 7:04a Asturias, Spain"

Of cause I tried this and it didn't work for me unless I reopened the database that is held Ctrl-Alt while opening my mail database from the workspace. Still very, very valuable.

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Remember that XPages is built in JSF

As you might know the new XPages design element of Notes/Domino 8.5 is based on a Sun Java technology called Java Server Faces or JSF for short. As such many techniques from JSF development can be reused in XPage development why it might be beneficial for you to follow some of the JSF litterature as well.

As always the newsletters from Sun is a good place to start and just recently there was two articles on composite UI components in JSF. You can find part 1 and part 2 on the web.

Update (4 Dec 2008): Corrected typo from "Java Server Pages" to "Java Server Faces".

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Sametime Web API disabled by default

Apparently the Sametime Web API is disabled by default (at least as of Notes 8.5 beta 2). This is important since Lotus Connections and other newer wen products from Lotus use the Sametime Web API in the Sametime Connect client / Sametime embedded in Notes for awareness. For more info see this post).

To enable the Sametime Web API do as follows:

  1. Close Notes
  2. Find your plugin_customization.ini File (in <Notes binary directory>/framework/rcp)
  3. Open the file in an editor and toggle the value of "com.ibm.collaboration.realtime.webapi/startWebContainer" from false to true (of the line is not there simply add it)
  4. Save, close and start Notes

LotusScript.doc - HTML interface progressing nicely

Please donate

Based on prior and recent recommendations I have set up a Paypal account to accept donations to finance the development of the free version of LotusScript.doc version 2. All donations will be very much appreciated and help me justify the time I put into this.

Just a quick update on the progress on LotusScript.doc v.2 which is progressing nicely. As you can see from the below screenshot work is well underway on the "default" HTML interface. The HTML files are rendered using Velocity templates. While making it easier for me to do the output it also makes it possible to create many other formats should need arise. Maybe even custom formats... :-)

Amazon web services - now with Windows

In the October newsletter from the Amazon Web Services (AWS) team they announce that you will soon be able to run Microsoft Windows on the EC2 service.

"Starting later this Fall, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) will offer you the ability to run Microsoft Windows Server or Microsoft SQL Server. Today, you can choose from a variety of Unix-based operating systems, and soon you will be able to configure your instances to run the Windows Server operating system. In addition, you will be able to use SQL Server as another option within Amazon EC2 for running relational databases."

How freakin' cool would it be to able to run Domino in a hosted mode on AWS?

You speak SPNEGO? If not get out your dictionary at once since lower TCO is in sight if you do...

So the new abbreviation you have to learn is SPNEGO. SPNEGO is a stadardized protocol for single-sign-on (SSO) between diverse systems. The purpose of the protocol is to provide SSO between the operating system and the services you use whether they be on the web or client applications. Basically it means that the credentials of your Windows logon is automatically used and you are logged transparently into any services that are SPNEGO aware (of cause there are provisions for mapping credentials between systems as well).

So what does this mean for you as a Lotus professional?

An easier life is what it will eventually mean. For now SPNEGO can be configured with Lotus Connections since it runs on Websphere Application Server. In fact there was an article on this just recently on developerWorks (SPNEGO TAI: Using single sign-on from Windows to WebSphere Application Server). In the near future you will start laughing as it will be the SSO protocol for Notes 8.5 and maybe even for the Domino HTTP server as well.

This will mean better ease-of-use for users and it will mean a dramatically lowered TCO for Lotus technology as all Lotus products will be able to use industry standard SSO technologies probably even without additional costly SSO software.

How do you like them apples? :-)