Making Good

Woops. When I pressed the publish button on yesterday's blog I had a nagging feeling it might be a mistake.

To answer one of the questions asked of me; did I read any release notes from IBM? No, I didn't. Did I read any release notes for Notes 5 or 6? Not that I recall. Instead I did what I always do with new releases of software - download it and play with it. This is how I like to find out what's new. With 5.0 and 6.0 there was plenty to play with. With 7.0 there was nothing. That's where my bitterness was rooted. I felt let down.

As readers of this site know, it's all about web development with Domino. It is not about the Notes client, which I abhor. Through not reading any release notes I had foolishly kidded myself in to thinking there'd be something new for me, the web developer. After all, how hard is it to add a Preview in Firefox button? No, come on, seriously, how long would it take!?

Did I jump to conclusions yesterday? Should I have learnt the facts first? Probably. Not that I regret writing what I did. I can't help feeling that way. My only regret is that I appeared to be a misinformed childish tit. Not the image one likes to portray of ones self. Although, had I actually followed the IBM pre-release hyperbole I would still have felt massively disappointed.

It was meant as a bit of fun. As with most things controversial I write about Notes, half of you agree and the other half stop visiting. In written form it's always hard to get across what you actually think/mean/feel.

So, to those of you I upset or annoyed, I really am sorry. To make amends I'll try and do some good. I've added a page to the CodeStore Wiki, which I want you all to help me make more useful, called What's New In Domino 7 aimed squarely at the web developers among us. Feel free to edit away.


  1. You're a stunner!

    The wiki site of yours is fantastic!

    You've put a huge amount of work into it. I'm stoked (and envious!)


    • avatar
    • QS
    • Thu 22 Sep 2005 06:08 AM

    Read number 148 in the list. There you might have the Mozilla functionality you asked for.

    Haven't tried it in v7.0.


    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Thu 22 Sep 2005 06:19 AM

    Glad you like it Dietrich. It's just a template with a logo I added. Nothing to it really. I just hope people use it. So far nobody but me has edited any page. I think Wikis can be a little daunting to those new to them. No need to be afraid though. It's really simple to add/edit to it.

    QS. Thanks for the tip. However, I just tried adding the Other Preview button to my Preview toolbar. It won't work. I've tried everything (restart Notes, hide/show toolbar etc) and it just won't add the icon. Again I find myself cursing at my monitor. Again I find myself being down on Notes. Again I feel guilty. Why won't it just do what I want it to...

  2. Where would we be if Columbus had just read the documentation? What if Einstein would have bothered to read the release notes for physics?

    All pioneers are misunderstood.

    BTW: cool wiki

    • avatar
    • QS
    • Thu 22 Sep 2005 06:30 AM

    I just tried this in version 6.5 with the same result. BUT! If i use the toolbar Design/Preview in Web Browser/Other then it works...

  3. I'm stunned that the DB2 storage feature is not recommended for production (according to wiki page). When I first started hearing about 7 this was the one feature I was interested in seeing how it was implemented and if it would be useful. Now IBM is shipping a new version out and they don't recommend using the big, shiny, new relational database feature! Sadly, but not surprisingly, I'm filling a bit betrayed by Lotus with the focus of this release.



  4. The DB2 storage feature is not recommended for production? Odd, I thought that was like one of the main features of the new release, they seemed to mention it on every web update.


  5. Re: DB2, IBM didn't want to release it because it wasn't a widely used feature among beta testers. You can still get the DB2 going with ND7 but it's more or less still beta to work out the bugs.

    Re: ND7 Web Development - What about "Web Services" That's a new feature.

  6. Jason,

    You feel betrayed? Can't agree more. It seems that this is a ploy that Lotus/IBM has used a lot on the past. I remember with R5 how the web applications were going to look/feel/perform just like the Client using the applets. Boy did they suck. It seems they tell us about features which are going to be great but then it seems they are implemented with about 80% functionality. Here is a good example - Rich Text Fields. Pain in the butt for the web but there are solutions out there (HTMLArea and the like). Why hasn't Lotus/IBM put that in there for us? Sure would be nice.

    I agree with Jake that Microsoft seems to pay attention to the developers more. The past few years IBM/Lotus has pretty much blown us off - at least from the response/help we get. Just trying to find the software to download is a major undertaking.

    So why do I stay with Domino? It works well and allows us to develop quickly (as long as you don't hit one of those bugs). It is easy to maintain the server. It has features others don't have. The list goes on.

    In short, I have learned to not get so excited when the presentations show us all the cool things to expect. I have a wait and see attitude. I learned my lesson the hard way with R5 and am not going to repeat history.

    • avatar
    • Arka Nada
    • Thu 22 Sep 2005 08:10 AM


    Misinformed? Never.

    Childish? Eh?

    Yesterday's thread was quite unique. Where else can you find a wide range of information and opinion on ND7 from a knowledgeable audience.

    It may have started as a rant, but ended up as something useful.

    I think it's called serendipity.

    Keep up the good work!

    • avatar
    • Jordan
    • Thu 22 Sep 2005 08:10 AM


    I'm betting the reason DB2 isn't recommended for production is Lotus/IBM doesn't want to support the people who won't have a clue as to what they're doing with an SQL database. They may support you IF you work it out with your sales rep or other Lotus/IBM support person.


    Did you go off half-cocked? Maybe a little but I understand your pain. As stated, Microsoft has understood a major path to adoption lies through the development community. If business critical apps are developed or can be customized 'easily', then its easier (or at least less of an excuse not to) adopt a particular technology.

    One thing that continues to frustrate me, and it's a simple thing, is in the debugger, what's the first tab? Breakpoints. Who gives a (*#@&$(*#%^% about breakpoints when compared to knowing what going on in the application by looking at variables tab? Yes, it's silly to get upset about such a small thing but it's a pain in the ______.

    I know some people might consider me ungrateful or worse and I certainly don't mean to dis' the administrators - they're a critical part of this community. I'd like to see a totally separate user client, developer client and administration client. There is so much overlap in the client code base which I think prevents innovation.

    On the positive side, I know IBM is working closely with the Trilog Group and integrating their technology into Workplace Designer. These people, along with the rest of the Workplace team should produce some very exciting technology (I've used Trilog's products in the past and wow!).

    Something like Notes/Domino is such a complex product and the community is so diverse, it's difficult to please everyone and I applaud what Iris/Lotus/IBM has accomplished. Yet, the selfish developer side of me does feel left out at times.

  7. In my current location document I have setup Firefox as my custom default web browser there fore I can preview in Firefox and IE without a big hassle. This also worked for R6.

    Not elegant and it misses Opera or Mozilla (Full) but it works.

    I like yesterdays comment but I always considered the web part of Domino and Designer one that is not going to change anytime soon so I am not as disappointed as you probably were.

    And although IBM has indeed said that this is going to be a server oriented release I think that it is valid if someone does not agree with that approach. A new major release should offer something for everyone. R6 has been named the most successful release of Notes and Domino with the highest upgrade rate ever.

    But as a "conspiracy theorist" I have my own explanations about Notes and Domino 7.

  8. As for preview in Firefox: I do have set Firefox as the Notes default browser, but still no go. Maybe it's just me, but everytime I add the "Preview Other" button to the "Preview" toolbar and hit the save button, "Preview Other" disapears. Aaaaarghh!

    But then, once I heard that it does work for others, I switched my brain to Notes mode and found a solution: Create a new toolbar, add the same icons as found in Preview and finally add preview other. Works. At least in 6.5.3.

    Support for other browsers than Firefox? Can be had easily and conveniently by switching locations. ;-) Very much Notes style.

    • avatar
    • Axel
    • Thu 22 Sep 2005 10:43 AM


    here is clearly too much ranting and I have to level the playing field a bit.

    Why are 90% of all domino developers are using attributes like shiny when they talk about rdbms or webservices. Its really annoying.

    Stuff like that is not like 10 rules handled out by God to Moses on big mountain. And its also not 100% consulting blabla and "Notes style" - as you call it - will be "better" until next appearance of baby Jesus on our beautifull planet.

    Its just an aditional tool. And its job of application developers of the platform to check out if that new technology and its integration in the platform is

    a) usefull and b) in what context its usefull.

    I have heard that nsf on db2 is even slower than german reform process and that sounds dangerous. But I haven't checked for myself.

    Maybe for some context this db2 stuff might be usefull. And its our job to check that out.

    Have you ever tried to make EJB Entity beans work with acceptable performance with EJB2.0? Its hard and simply does not work for every usage pattern. So if you believed that nsf_on_db2 would be just no problem and better, you astound me a lot.


  9. My solution for previowing in a browser is to use the 'run local http stack' trick {Link} and just keep the variouse browseres running.

    I also keep a plain old HTML page of links to my current applications set as my home page in these browsers so when they launch, my personal navigator appears with a section for current work. Makes previewing a breeze and I find I like the home page better than bookmarks.

  10. @harkpabst - thanks so much for the hack of creating a new toolbar with all the preview buttons. I had tried following the note on Brill's blog and had the same results - the Other Preview button kept disappearing. Your solution works! Happy day :o)

  11. For what it's worth, I think in general we Domino developers are a spoiled bunch... we work in one of the most rapid development environments out there. I once had to break the news to a fairly skilled ColdFusion developer in our office that the application he'd just spent the last six weeks developing was going to be scrapped; the customer had found out that another of our coworkers had just written an equivalent Domino application for another customer in four days that had a few more bells and whistles, so they migrated to that instead. And this was about six years ago, when Domino Designer had just recently become Domino Designer. Remember the Design twisty in the Notes client? "Misty water-colored memories..."

    With everything that Domino does for us (yet, mysteriously, allows us to control minutia ourselves when we'd prefer not to settle for auto-generated headers, etc.), it's easy to take it for granted. Is Designer a perfect IDE? 'Course not. But can we add the "Preview Other" button to the Universal toolbar and position that next to the Preview toolbar, so that the button is only about 4 pixels further away from where it would have been if IBM had just added it to the Preview toolbar for us, in less time than it takes to grouse at IBM for not adding it for us without us having to lift a finger? Well, actually, yes we can.

    I guess I just think we need to be more constructive in general than we as a community have tended to be the last few years when it comes to IBM's product roadmap and the pace at which they add more layers of thought-removing GUI to their IDE's. Would a LotusScript class browser be a welcome sight? Of course it would. Does its absence make my life miserable? No, because Domino's element-level design inheritance allows me to maintain a multiple layer template hierarchy, meaning that I can deploy widespread changes in my sleep (literally, it runs at 1 AM), when an equivalent deployment for our VB folks would require spending the better part of a week recompiling executables, distributing installation packages, etc. This stark contrast is what we should be ensuring our bosses are vividly aware of, because every time we make a comment that we're not sure if Domino will be around much longer because of IBM's focus on Workplace (only to find out later that they have no intention of abandoning Domino any time soon), or Domino Designer's a lousy IDE because it still requires me to occasionally write code - with the right plugins, after all, Eclipse could just let me draw what I want and assume the rest for me - another IT manager hears or reads that comment and decides to scrap Domino in favor of some pitiful "equivalent".

    Anyway, sorry for the rant, Jake... time and time again you've made invaluable information available on this site. I just felt I should offer my two cents on this particular issue.

  12. Tim, glad to hear you like Domino as much as I do. And for sure, there's not only a difference in marketing between Microsoft and IBM, there's also a difference in typical public behaviour of professionals making a living from their products. You will hardly hear a Microsoft instructor or developer rant on their products, while many IBM pros (like us) do. Call it honesty, call it better MS products (if you're following MS blindly) or call it just spreading disreputable talk. It's up to you.

    But, as you insist on defending this anoying Preview Other button, I have to keep picking on that as well. We don't necessarily ask for IBM to add the button for us. It would be perfectly OK, if adding the button to the appropriate place ourselves would work. Since when did you know (and who told you?) that this damn button does work, just not in the place, where everybody would expect it to? I had tried it in 6.0 and - until today - was under the impression, that it was broken and IBM never managed to fix it. Well, in a way it IS broken.

    So, it's not just a matter of minutes to add the button to a toolbar of your choice. You first have to find out, that it works in this odd way. In my case it took 3 years, more than enough time to slap on IBM.

    If you're still not fed up with this topic, open your bookmark.nsf in Designer and examin the DesignerToolbar outline. You will notice, that for every (unsuccessfull) try to add the button to the Preview toolbar, there will be one corresponding entry. It just doesn't have an effect. Broken, isn't it?

  13. @Jordan: You're not too far off w/r/t DB2, but instead of speculating about it you could just read the real story over in Ed Brill's blog: {Link}

    And the answer is that to get support, you have to be a pre-existing DB2 customer, but anyone at all can get access to the DB2 feature and use it unsupported. It's effectively an extended beta for most customers, but a supported release for those who will need the least amount of hand-holding from IBM. Many years ago when I worked for a large minicomputer company, we called this sort of arrangement a "controlled release". It's admittedly disappointing that this is how IBM chose to do it, but I'd rather see them not overextend their support resources, and I'm glad that they didn't decide to hold up all of ND7 just because they found that not enough beta users exercised the DB2 feature.

  14. My final thoughts for these threads are here:



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Written by Jake Howlett on Thu 22 Sep 2005

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CodeStore is all about web development. Concentrating on Lotus Domino, ASP.NET, Flex, SharePoint and all things internet.

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