The New Look and Stuff

Those of you who aren't new to the site will no doubt have noticed that the "look and feel" has changed a little. Hopefully not so much so that you can't still find you way round but still enough to offer improvement. Feedback so far has been good.

I mentioned in the "Happy Birthday" article not so long ago that I was thinking of a new look. Quite a few of you said "why bother if it looks OK as it is"? but I thought "hey, why not?". After all, a year is a long time in this business and times change. I chose to ignore my Dad's comments about the colour scheme. What does he know!? He still wears my clothes that I cleared out of my cupboard when the early nineties ended ;)

The main goal of the redesign was to make the site feel modern and a little fresher. Obviously it would have been daft of me not to take this chance to implement some of the useful things I've learnt over the past year or so to improve performance as well. Here are some of the other goals of the redesign:

  • Better optimise the screen "real-estate"
  • Make the options available more evident to what they are relevant to and keep them consistent
  • Increase performance - views have been made more lightweight and this method implemented
  • Reduce number of images used - now only 4 or 5 used
  • Maintain enough of the appearance of the old site so as not to confuse the regulars or lose identity

For those who can't remember what the old site looked like or never saw it here is a grab:



Clearing up a common belief:

One of the comments I regularly get from users, about the site, is that it looks very "non-Domino". What does this mean? Well, I know what it means, I just can't see why that statement should have any credit. What does look "Domino"? Notes.net?

My reply is usually along the lines that there is absolutely no reason why a site designed (well) in Domino can't look just as good as any site designed in any other product. The secret to this is not to rely on Domino to create your HTML for you. You need to do it yourself. That said, I realise the fact that Domino can turn a Notes table in to an HTML table "on the fly" is amazingly powerful. Notes developers can now design for the web without needing to know a whole lot of HTML. This, in my opinion, is the problem. In order to get serious about Domino development you need to get to know (D)HTML just as well as you know Notes. When this happens you can take control.

A future article may well be entitled "How to make your Domino site not look so Domino" but for the time being here's a few pointers:
  • Always use the view property "Treat as HTML".
  • Never ever use a View or Editor Applet.
  • Don't use Notes Tables to layout your data. Use Passthru HTML and create the tables yourself.
  • Use as much Passthru HTML as you can on your forms and place your fields in here as required

This is what the form you are looking at now looks like in design-mode:


Not at all pretty but at least you know what the end results will be.

Good luck. Trust me, it feels better to introduce yourself as an Internet Developer than a Notes/Domiono developer. At least then people will know what you are talking about. Here's another useful technique that should help you ...

"Internet Developer"


  1. New site looks good

    The new site looks good, though I liked the old site alot. The only suggestion I would offer is the Previous Set and next Set links at the bottom left when searching for something. If I click on javaScript, I see a number of articles. The Previous and Next never stood out very clearly. I don't have a recomendation as far as color, font or style that would help.

    Keep up the great work. I really get value out of your website.

  2. Faster download! :-)


    great work, specially since the site downloads faster for us users here in Brazil :) .

    Color looks good, I think the only suggestion I'd have is to not change the default colors of the scroll bars (specially the large one on the right of the page). Although it does look nice and I guess can be tempting to user the CSS feature for IE, I find it very distracting to have them in a different color. My eyes have learned to ignore them unless I need them, and now I find myself often distracted away from the content of the page to them.

    Perhaps from a usability standpoint, it could be better not to change default colors of scroll bars (as well as standard link colors), since users have learned to expect a standard look and feel to scroll bars.

    Other than that, excellent site and great work on the redesign!

    Best Regards,

    Daniel Silva Brasilia, DF - Brazil

  3. Codestore

    The Codestore new look is great and a very useful one, specially for developers like us.


  4. View Applets

    Hooray!! - Another member of the club!

    I always, always preach - DO NOT USE VIEW APPLETS!! - Domino is becoming more and more useful as a data/code repositry - Web stuff should be done as per standard web development techniques - none of this hybrid stuff that doesn't work! - As for XML - domino is such a cool container!


    1. Re: View Applets

      Having made the leap from Notes to Domino (as in web) development about four months ago, I can easily see why a lot of Domino sites look really bad.

      You can be lulled into a false sense of security that Domino elements translate to the web, they do, but they basically look crap.

      I learned this very quickly, even before I put a site on the web (and via help from Codestore and other sources) I've learned a lot, though I've not got to put all of into practice yet. The problem is some people choose to put their 'mistakes' on the web.

      The fact is you need to be a web developer to do it really well, not a Notes developer.

      Keep up the good work.

  5. Problem and Praise

    Not sure if this is related to my enforced 800x600 view of the world, but in the comments area the text is occasionally bleeding into the navigation area. The same happens in the articles when a wide graphic forces a wider cell/column than the percentages anticipate -- but at least I know what's going on there and can suffer my resolution envy in silence. Good look otherwise.

    I'm currently redesigning dozens of Notes apps for an HTML intranet, and I've noticed that there is enough of a functional difference between the two clients that simply turning on the magic HTML fountain makes no sense at all. If a view can be a categorized calendar, a Gantt chart or a scatter graph, and a page can have thirty-seven "embedded views", why settle for what Domino gives you for free? Preach on, Brother!

  6. Whow! Awesome Notes-based Website

    I never thought that a Notes-based website could look THAT cool! You really did a fine job with creating such a fantasitc website; I'm pretty at a loss for words. Ok, I'm rather new to Notes and Domino, but most of the websites I've seen that have benn built with Notes and the Domino Designer look typically "Notes"-like.

    I hope I'll someday will be able to do such a nice job, too; hell, all that css-stuff and including several topics on your homepage (main page) - just what I've been trying to do and did not succeed yet ;-).

    Keep it on - a very "bookmarkable" website!

    Greetings, Ronny Schmidt.

    1. Re: Notes-like Websites

      It is a great looking site, and so useful too.

      I just disagree that relying on Domino's HTML generator give you websites that look 'Notes-like'.

      .. it gives you websites that look bloody awful.

      Making websites that look as nice as a Notes client, that's something to be proud of doing.

  7. The trouble with pass-through html...

    You can certainly get a lot of mileage out of using pass through HTML instead of Domino-generated form elements (tables, etc). I do this a lot myself. But there is, of course, a price to be paid: it can make code maintenance a real nightmare.

    We have a number of applications that have a lot of pass-through HTML instead of Domino generated elements, and we find that periodically we have to add new features or change existing ones. The problem - sometimes your new feature breaks something else in the application. Then you need to open the form up in Notes to figure out what's going on... and you find yourself looking at a page full of gibberish. Or, you have multiple lines of HTML on your form, only one of which is supposed to be rendered at any given time, but your hide-whens have gotten screwed up. Which one of these almost identical sets of tags is the problem?

    Sure, these problems can be worked around, but it's tiresome. We ended up converting some forms or parts of forms back to Domino-generated tables, etc, because the aggravation factor just got too high.

    Lesson learned: use pass-through HTML when you need to to achieve a desired effect. But if the Domino generated element is good enough, use it!


    • avatar
    • Robina
    • Thu 13 Mar 2003

    Download IntelliVIEW V2 fully functional evaluatio

    Dear Notes Users,

    We're sorry to use this forum for this purpose but would like input from the Notes community on the new version of this product.

    We have launched a new version of IntelliVIEW for Notes and would like feedback from Notes users. We're offering a fully functional evaluation copy of the latest version of the product at this URL [link removed]

    LOTUS ADVISOR EXCELLENCE AWARD winner IntelliVIEW is an easy-to-use, interactive end user data mining, analytics and graphical reporting tool for Lotus Notes applications. [link removed]



    Note: California Department of Corporations deployed IntelliVIEW and achieved a 300% productivity improvement and savings of at least US$3,000 per month.

    [Ed: I've removed the email address and all links. This type of post is not welcome here]

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