Hello From Bermuda

Hello from Bermuda. What a lovely place. As I expected the people here are really friendly and it's very relaxed. The weather is a nice level of hotness with a gentle, cooling breeze. Perfect.

It's strange being abroad and in a British dependency. There are the odd reminder of home, like the flag, driving on the left and the traffic lights being just like ours. Apart from that it's quite American. The TV is all from the US (occasionally there's a glimpse of the show you're watching between the never-ending adverts commercials) and even the international dialling code is the same as for America. The accent is that odd kind of British English with an American twang to it. Although most non-Bermudians here are British or Canadian (for tax reasons). It's really expensive though. Yesterday I bought some Golden Grahams for BDA$6 (same rate as $US). Today I bought a small Head & Shoulders for BDA$5. Both more than twice the price I'd expect to pay at home.

The Notes work I've been set doesn't seem that bad. Although I am already having a headache with Notes tables and general layout of elements on the page. Why won't they stay where I want them to? Damned ruler!

It's weird. It feels like I am back at the beginning of my career. I used a Layout region today for the first time in about 7 years. It reminded me of things I'd learnt that I would rather I'd forgotten. It's all been a good reminder of why I vowed to only ever work with the web. Next time I'm offered client work I will definitely turn it down. Unless it happens to be on the Maldives or something...


    • avatar
    • Brian Miller
    • Thu 20 Oct 2005 01:51 PM


    The feature was never well accepted, and Lotus has stopped giving much in the way of attention/support. They're a pain in a lot of other ways as well. (e.g. They never mix with tables or embedded elements.)

    Post up the kind of things you're doing, and I (along with your other frequent readers) can offer a better way.

  1. Brian beat me to it, but it bears repeating: Don't use layout regions!

    I think they were even officially deprecated after R5, even though they do still render/operate in Notes 7 (the exceptional backwards compatability continues!). You might find layers do what you want in the Notes client. Personally, most of my layout in the client is table-based Ibecause mostly data-oriented) which I can usually do what I want with by nesting.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Thu 20 Oct 2005 02:13 PM

    Does it make a difference if I'm only using them in subforms that are only called in @DialogBox?

  2. No. It doesn't matter. Avoid them like the plague. I can't remember if you are using Notes 6 or above, but if so you can use dialogs to fit to table instead, but even if not, don't go there.

  3. It has been said already but...




  4. I used to use Layout Regions but have dropped them recently because I find I can layout my @dialogboxen quite nicely using just tables.

    99% of my development work is for Notes so I really struggle with the web side of things - I share your pain in an "alternate universe" kind of way :)

  5. LOL! How does everyone REALLY feel about layout regions?

  6. Layout Regions sucks big time...but I have used them in dialogboxes I admit ...and I think it is "okay" to use them there.


    Jesper Kiaer


  7. There is one small caveat with using tables with DialogBox, and that's that you need to make sure that anything that lives above the table is hidden. If the content above the table grows (any large multivalue fields, f'rinstance), the table will be pushed down and eventually out of the dialogbox if all you're relying on is the fittotable aspect.

  8. Don't forget... you can drop a css resource file on the top of the Notes form and it will work (mostly) in the R6.5x client.

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 01:59 AM

    Poor layout regions!

    I have to admit, I still use them as dialog boxes

    May have to change my thought process based on the torrent of negativity!

    • avatar
    • Desigan
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 02:17 AM

    I think it is okay to use Layout Regions in @DialogBox .

    You may find issues in using a RT Field in a @DialogBox Window.

  9. Will your whole project be a series of dialog boxes? I used them with and without layout regions and it will work both ok in most situations. But I prefer the 'size to table' option.

    Another important tip which is really essential if you use subforms: {Link}

    We once had a form with many subforms and it was about 50 times faster with that silly one in every subform...

  10. Think of notes client dev as one of those new challanges ;-). IMHO It's possible to build some really functional, slick looking applications using the notes client interface. You can build them quicker than for a web browser and your not subject to the limitations of the web.

    BTW, Not used a layout region for years, use a subform and call it from a dialog box.

    In fact, think web, users hate pop-up boxes... this goes for notes client as well, so try and avoid them, also once you get nested dialog boxes (i.e. a dialog box that spawns another dialog box) they are a nightmare to de-bug.

    Anyhow it's raining in London so enjoy the sunshine

    • avatar
    • Andy
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 05:20 AM

    Actually, why not use Java, it is a little pain to begin with but once you have a framework built, it's easy to substitute your own dialog functions, along with colour and layout information....

    • avatar
    • Alan
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 05:47 AM


    Try this it seems to work.

    When using tables for layout, add an extra column, minimum width, hide lines. This will then prevent the table from corrupting when merging cells...

    • avatar
    • Ian M
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 06:02 AM


    At the French conference we needed to use a layout region for the Welcome Desk Notes Client operations. When an attendee arrived at the desk the receptionist waved the badge at the RFID reader to record the arrival. Because the field was in a layout region the CR/LF received from the reader was treated as a 'Submit' enabling the next stage of the processing. Had the field not been in alayout region the CR/LF would have had no effect and the receptionist would have needed to take a further action to proceed. This was also the case in previous years when we used magnetic stripe readers into a Notes client.

    Perhaps we need to 'weblify' the whole process.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 06:53 AM

    Ok, I get the point ;o)

    So, now, how do I get the fields in the Layout Region back out of it and turn them in to normal fields? Hmm, let me guess, I can't.

  11. Hehe, got it. But I think it's finally time to tell us, what version your project will be on (especially when it's not 6.x). Otherwise we'll continue to provide lots of useless tips.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 07:17 AM

    Version 6.5

    • avatar
    • Justin Carter
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 07:19 AM

    one tip - if you are sizing-to-table in a Dialog box avoid Notes-style text fields - the field will expand to fit the content but the table/dialog box won't


    I bet there are nice fruits that are less expensive than your genetically altered cereals ;-)

    DId you try to export the layout regions with DXL and then reimport them as tables?

  13. O.K., so finally here comes my incomplete favorites collection of Notes 6.5 (or so) client only (or: most useful in client) features (in no particular order).

    Multiple embedded views in one form. Combined with the fact, that view actions can be displayed (and even used ;-) ). Thin scrollbars look nice as well.

    Programmed tables. Yes, actually an R5 feature, but still great for hiding larger parts of a form and more sensible to use in the client than in the browser.

    The R6 table ruler. Finally, showing the effective width of each cell. No more calculating right - left margin.

    Form property "No initial focus". That damn focus mark could make some designs look really ugly.

    Field event "Input enabled". Working with OS style fields only but saving lots of hide-when-formulas as well. Talking about OS style fields: "Align baseline with paragraph", making them useable, finally. And don't miss on their new border style settings. Field hints are nice as well, although not working exactly as one might be used to from web apps.

    RichText fields in OS style. What? No that does not exist, obviously, but it's so easy to fake, placing the RTF inside a properly formated one-cell table, disabeling field delimiters. :-)

    Layers and using subforms in layers. Don't try it the other way around, though. And: Once you start using layers, you will most probably have to place all of your form's content in layers.

    Sections. Yepp, good old fashioned sections. I like the fact, that the twisty now takes the color of the border. And I start using them more and more again, instead of overdoing tabbed tables by nesting them 8 levels deep. Have a look at various RAD 6 editors and you'll find that sections are hip again.

    Use your own image resources for almost everything. Cool.

    Color columns in views. And: Evaluate actions for every document change. Not for every view, but finally we can have context-sensitive actions.

    All new @Formulas (except for @IfError and @Transform). The latter, because people are always tempted to use it where simple list operations would have worked (see official Lotus courseware), the former because it's obsoleted in R7 again. One of the finest being @UpdateFormulaContext.

    Labels for actions, JavaScript-Libraries, unshare shared fields, XML and especially DXL processing and lots of more stuff.

    • avatar
    • John
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 12:43 PM

    Hey, Jake, have a couple of dark and stormys, it'll help you forget about the accursed layout region. I was in Bermuda in June, loved it a lot. So much so I almost took a job offer! The prices there are scary, though. Gas was about $6 USD/gallon then, it must be wicked bad now...

    By, the way, I have found you should never have to use a merge/split cell. If you think about it, there is never a situation where another table within a table will not solve your problem.

    Works for me!

    • avatar
    • Rich
    • Fri 21 Oct 2005 01:19 PM

    Oh no. This is going to put you off the client forever.

    Getting fields off a layout region?

    You can't. (caveat - true for r4-5, not tested it on 6)

    Cut and pasting the field outside the LR creates a new layout region..you have to bite the bullet and create the fields outside the LR one by one. Delete the field on the LR, then create the new outside the LR. Then, take a perverse delight in highlighting the LR and pressing delete....

  14. John, actually the only oddities I came across with merged cells occured in conjunction with fixed size tables (or switching back and forth). Also I'm under the impression that it works a lot smoother in R6 then it did in R5. I don't even want to be reminded on tables in R4, arbitrarily mixing up all hide/whens).

  15. Jake - best thing I've found recently for tables in Notes:

    CTRL + ALT + Up/Down Arrow

    Use it to move a cell or selected cells (or row) around your table - v. v. handy for re-ordering rows. You will love me for this one..

    Say hi to Tom (if you're still in Bermuda) for me - he might remember me and Mrs Pat...

Your Comments


About This Page

Written by Jake Howlett on Thu 20 Oct 2005

Share This Page

# ( ) '


The most recent comments added:

Skip to the comments or add your own.

You can subscribe to an individual RSS feed of comments on this entry.

Let's Get Social

About This Website

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

Your host is Jake Howlett who runs his own web development company called Rockall Design and is always on the lookout for new and interesting work to do.

You can find me on Twitter and on Linked In.

Read more about this site »

More Content