A guide to the Domino 6 upgrade

For the past fews months I have been using Domino 6 as my main Notes mail and designer client. Last week I upgraded my certification to Domino 6 status. With the experience I had I thought I was well prepared for the exam. I couldn't be further from the truth. Unless you actually look in to what is new in Domino 6 the chances are they will pass you by. This articles has three aims:

  1. Introduce the new features of Domino 6 Designer.
  2. Act as a guide to what you need to know to pass the upgrade exam.
  3. Provide my own feedback on what I think's hot and what's not.
So, here we go with my Rough Guide to Domino R6. In it I will outline most of the new features and try and pay particular attention to what I think you need to know, a) as a developer and b) as somebody about to take the test.

How I Upgraded My Certification:

Obviously, when I decided to upgrade there was no handy little article with an overview of what I needed to know. I had to go it alone. The first thing I did was to open the Designer Help File and find the "What's New?" section. In here you'll find every new feature of this release and, in effect, everything you need to know in order to take the exam. If you feel really confident you could simply read this section in detail and sit the exam. Personally I prefer to actually use the new features to feel more confident in knowing what each one is. So, I created an R6 database called "Messing About With R6". Then I read each section of the What's New and each time I came across something new to me I switched to this database in the Designer client and added one. The aim is to see what it does and how it does it. It's important to pay attention to what is needed in order to enable the feature and what properties are available for each.

One thing I would always recommend is using some of the self-test exams out there. Not only do they offer clues as to what will be tested upon they remind you how poorly worded and infuriating the questions can be sometimes. Better to prepared than to go in to the exam and become flustered. I used the exam from SelfTest Software and have to say I think it's unlikely I would have passed without it.

New Features:

Before I start and for those who've not yet seen the R6 Designer client, here's what a database and its parts looks like. Note the new additions and the re-arrangement of elements. Some of which now live in the Shared Resources and Shared Code sections. More on these later.


Anyway, in no particular order, here is a list of the new features I think you need to know about and the specifics of each.

The Formula Engine:

There's been a lot of changes here and all of them good. As I understand it the changes represent a whole new version of the @Formula language. Before we look at the new functions, here an overview of other significant changes:
  1. Assignment statements can be nested.
  2. Curly braces can be used as text delimiters.
  3. Lists can be subscripted.
  4. Temporary variables can be reassigned.
Examples of each:

REM "Example 1. Both of these are now legal operations";
city1Upper := @UpperCase(city1 := "London");
FIELD CityUpper := @UpperCase(FIELD City := "London" );

REM "Example 2. No need to escape in the following.";
city := {The city's name is "London"};

REM "Example 3 and 4. Note the use of [] operator on the list and that variable n is reassigned";
n := 1;
@While(n <=

@Prompt([[OK]; "Category " + @Text(n); Categories[n]);
n := n + 1

Note the second line of the first change example. You're likely to be tested on this. It will produce an error. It will result in a field called CityUpper with the value "LONDON" and the field City with the value "London".

As well as these changes to the way formulas work there's the addition of 48 new @Functions. Here are the ones I think most important for exam success:
  • @AttachmentModifiedTimes returns a list of dates on which the attached files were modified.
  • @BusinessDays returns the number of business days in one or more date ranges. Learn the parameters!
  • @CheckFormulaSyntax checks commented out formula code for errors.
  • @Count returns the number of elements in a list. Note: @Count returns a 1 for an empty lists instead of 0, which can prevent errors from being generated in complex formulas.
  • @DocLock locks, unlocks, or returns the locked status of the current document.
  • @DoWhile executes one or more statements iteratively while a condition remains true. Checks the condition after executing the statements.
  • @GetField returns the value of a specified field. @GetField, @ThisName, and @ThisValue provide a means to write portable code. Instead of specifying field names in formulas, use these @functions to write code that can be copied as is from one formula to another.
  • @GetFocusTable returns the row, column, and name of the table currently in focus.
  • @GetHTTPHeader returns the value of an HTTP request-header field.
  • @GetViewInfo returns a view attribute.
  • @IfError returns a null string ("") or the value of an alternative statement if a statement returns an error.
  • @IsNull tests for a null value.
  • @Sort sorts a list.
  • @StatusBar writes a message or messages to the status bar.
  • @ThisName returns the name of the current field.
  • @ThisValue returns the value of the current field.
  • @TimeMerge builds a time-date value from separate time, date, and time zone values.
  • @TimeZoneToText converts a canonical time zone value to a human-readable text string.
  • @ToNumber converts a value with a data type of text or number to a number value.
  • @URLDecode decodes a URL string into regular text.
  • @URLEncode encodes a string in a URL-safe format.
  • @UrlQueryString returns the current URL command and parameters, or the value of one of the parameters.
  • @WebDbName returns the database name in URL format. You no longer have to parse and replace substrings in @DbName.
  • @While executes one or more statements iteratively while a condition remains true. Checks the condition before executing the statements.
Note: There are also quite a few new @Commands. However they don't seem to be tested on as much as the new @Functions do. They all duplicate the functionality of existing @commands, except they execute as soon as they are encountered in a formula; the @commands they duplicate execute only after any @functions present in the formula have been executed.

Changes to the programmer's pane

Two things to note. First that you can print code from the programmer's pane. Note that this includes everything but imported Java files. Second that there is now an [AutoComplete feature that helps you complete names and arguments of functions. Note that this does not include Java.

Note that there is now the ability to recompile all LotusScript code contained in a database. Learn how!

Changes to Print features

This is something that seemed to appear in the exam quite a bit! Things to note: Users need to change their User Preferences to be able to print as a background task. You can print Framesets "as is" if you select this in the Print dialog box. Learn all the options available in the new Print dialog!

Changes to Views

One crowd-pleaser they've added is the ability to add your own custom twistie to expandable rows. Note: You might want to learn how to create one. They are image-wells that are 2 images across and should be no more than 6 pixels high and 12 pixels wide.

A real biggy in the exam is the new feature that lets you set the colour of a row using @Formula (client only). Learn how to do this and also learn how it's implemented in the new Mail Template. In the template, in the Mail Preferences setting you can add users who you want mail from to appear in different colours. This applies to the All Document view and Inbox folder and any folders created using the Inbox as the template. Also learn how to do with with Profile Document so the user can change the colour.

You can now use your database's Image Resources as Column Icons. You can also display multiple icons in the column (up to 10) by specifying them as a list. e.g 12:123:9. Worth paying attention to!

Something else worth your attention is the new ability to hide columns based on a hide-when formula. Play with!

You can now add more than one view to a form! I got this to work on the web with two views but only when they were Java applets. As soon as I changed them to HTML Views only one would display. Oh well, seems to work okay in the client.

Domino 6 views have a new property - Include updates in transaction log. You toggle it on and off in the Advanced (twirly hat) tab of the View's property box.

New Design Elements:

Layers. You can add these to pages forms and subforms. Personally I would rather create my own using HTML but it's a nice feature and one that may be tested on. If it's tested it's more than likely going to be testing that you know you would use a layer to place an element wherever you liked on a page.

In Release 5 we have probably all got used to adding our CSS and JavaScript code in Pages and giving them names that end in .css and .js respectively. No need to now as we have the new element Style Sheets and we have Script Libraries that support JavaScript. it's worth playing with them both. See how to add a new Style Sheet and how to edit it and refresh it. Note also that they both live in Shared sections of the database. This means that you can use them in any other database by simply inserting a Resource from the Create menu. This is the bit I don't like. Add either resource to your form to see what I mean. All you get is a tiny icon wherever you placed. No name or nothing. Then preview the page in the browsers. Note that both types of elements are added in-line with the HTML rather than being added to the page's <head> section as they should be!

Another resource element that's been added is the File Resource and can include any file you like and can be shared across multiple databases. Most of us will know that you could do this in Release 5 by using Image Resources. Type *.* in the file name box and you see all files instead of simply images. You can then add files as you like. Lotus have finally caught up with our needs. Note that there's a new URL parameter to go with them - ?OpenFileResource.

Something that is almost certain to appear in the exam is the new Embedded Editor feature. Don't ask me why but it lets you add multiple forms to a form. The thing to know is that you can add multiple embedded views and link them to these Editors. Note that you need as many Editors as Views. Read more on these to be safe.

Data Connection Resources. Another new element you're almost bound to be tested on. Learn how to set them up and the significance of the property "Block key field updates". Also look in to creating the "Data Source Resource" on the remote server.

While on the subject of Design Elements, here are two other things you may need to know for the exam. First that you can change the Design Properties of more than one element by selecting them from the list and bringing up the property box, as below:


Notice something else in the above shot? There are two forms with padlocks next to them. This another new feature of Domino 6 - Design Locking. Once enabled in the database properties you can right-click an element and lock. Note that somebody with manager access can unlock an element.


New Field Types:

When you add a new field to a form and want to specify its type, you will notice there are three extra options for you to select.
  1. Rich Text Lite - Allows selection of what can be added to these fields. User sees a drop-down list with a button to help them choose. Play with!
  2. Color Field - Shows a colour picker and when selected it stores the chosen colour's hex value in the field (e.g: 0000FF00)
  3. Time Zone - Allows the user to select a Timezone from a list.
At least one of these new field types is likely to make an appearance somewhere in the exam.

Shared Resources:

One interesting addition to Domino 6 is the ability to share design elements between more than one database. Hence the Shared Code and Shared Resources sections. You can add the following items from another database: Images, JavaScript Libraries, Shared Fields, Subforms, Stylesheets and HTML files. As in the screengrab below where I am adding resources to a database from the Codestore Template:


A nice addition. Should be good for anybody working on an intranet where there are lots of databases that share one "look and feel" and many elements such as style-sheets and JavaScript libraries.

Drag and Drop:

Domino 6 introduces support for Drag and Dropping. You can do this to and from Notes and the OS and other applications. No need to play with it, just useful to keep it in mind.

HTML Features:

As of Domino 6, HTML is now supported in the Notes client. As you'd imagine this means that they improved the support for HTML in the Designer. Well, I'm not exactly sure what they've done or if I will ever use it but you definitely need to know about it for the exam. First, learn how to convert some text in a form to HTML (Edit Menu - Convert to HTML). Then play with the HTML Pane (View Menu - HTML Pane). So add some normal text to a form. Convert it to HTML. Place your cursor inside the text and enable the HTML Pane. What you get is a WYSIWIG HTML editor. Nice? Note that you can import HTML from an HTML file in to the form (and pages and subforms). You can't however drag and drop HTML files!

Note that to enable pass-thru HTML in the client you need to check the form property "Render pass through HTML in Notes"!

Document Locking:

As I mentioned earlier, you can lock Design Elements. Well, you can also enable Document Locking in Domino 6. You do this in the Database Properties. Learn how to enable this and how it works. Note that the database needs its Administration Server defined in the Advanced section of its ACL.

WebDAV and the Tools Menu:

A new addition to the Designer Client is the Tools menu which is apparently something to do with WebDAV. In theory you can add your own custom functions to it but the exam seems to center on the ability to add external applications like MS Paint and Macromedia Fireworks to the menu. Learn how and pay attention to the options on this menu. i.e. "Add Tool" and learn about Tool Context and the significance of the "Always" context.

Personally I can't see the point of this menu. If you're using the Designer Client you're using Windows. What does every install of Windows come with? A Start menu. Think I'll stick with that thanks.


Agents now have their own property box. On it is a Security tab, as below. Note the new properties as they seem to be tested on at least once.


Notice in the above shot that there is an option called "Allow remote debugging". It's worth looking in to this more as it may well be tested. It relies on a server task that you enable in the Server document. You then tick the box above and launch the Remote Debugger from the File - Tools menu. Give it a few minutes of your time.


Adding Actions to forms and views has changed in Domino 6. When you create either in Domino 6 it doesn't come with the default set of System Actions. You can add these yourself if need be using the Create - Action menu, as below.


Notice in this shot that there is also a menu item called "Action with Sub Action". This is the new way to create Actions that are grouped together and accessed via the same drop-down list of Actions. Take note!

The Extended ACL:

Read up on this one as it seems to feature at least once in the exam. It's an optional directory access-control feature available for a directory created from the PUBNAMES.NTF template as well as the Domino Directory or any Extended Directory Catalogs. It lets you fine tune access to forms and fields on a per user level.

Web Sites:

Something that cropped up more than once in my exam proper was the subject of Web Site documents and Web Site Rule documents. Learn the difference between each and how they differ in R6 to R5.

Other noteworthy changes:

There were a couple of subjects in the exams that weren't necessarily Designer based and more to do with the Client. The first is the change to the way attachments are handled in documents. The wording of the user options has changed, as below. Note the differences from R5.


I think the idea is that these options make more sense to the average users. Can't argue with that. We now have Open and Save instead of Launch and Detach respectively.

Staying with the Client, there were several questions aimed at testing knowledge of the bookmark.nsf Client startup page. There are now folders for History for Bookmarks and for any Startup items you might want. There is also an area on the right hand side of the welcome screen where you'll find Quick Notes. Here you can do things like create quick Memos and the like. Take note!


The exam is actually quite easy but it's always best to be prepared. Whether or not this article is good enough preparation is another matter. What it is is simply my jottings and observations from having just taken (and passed) the exam. There are different ways to prepare. You might want to make or go on your own course. Or maybe you want to simply follow the official exam guides from Lotus.

One thing is for sure. You really need to know what is new in Domino 6. You can cover this adequately by reading the help file and seeing for yourself. If you want to read more about the new features then I recommend you read the IBM Redbook - Domino Designer 6: A Developer's Handbook. This covers just about everything and in much better detail than I could ever hope to in this context. Give it a read even if you feel confident you can pass the exam. After all, passing the exam is one thing, making use of the great new features is another. Good luck to you all. Just remember, don't blame me if all you do is read this and then expect to pass ;o)

This article is by no means an exhaustive list of what's new in Domino 6. There's a whole load more new features. The things I've covered are simply those that I think you're most likely to be tested on in the upgrade exam. I leave you with a copy of the "mark" you are allowed to display once you've re-certified:


Other Resources:

Lotus Certification Homepage - All you need to know about the certs.
Self Test Software - Get yourself a test exam script.
Thomson Prometric - Get yourself booked in for the exam.


    • avatar
    • Joe
    • Wed 2 Jul 2003

    ..and one "improvement" to the formula language

    Just a small "improvement" - when adding formula from the list there is neither HELP button nor can you press F1 to get formula help. You have to open standard Designer help and search... But still a lot better than R5.

    1. Re: ..and one "improvement" to the formula language

      List ... schmist. Just type away madly and let the autocomplete work for you. Most of my early stuff was simply gussing at a function I'd like to see and hoping that by joining all of the words (in strict geek order) and putting an "@" in front of it, the words would turn blue. You know something? About 95% of the time they did. Now you get the syntax cues and so forth. Of course. Now that I know the syntax for just about everything they decide to give me help....

      Show the rest of this thread

  1. Thanks Jake!

    Jake this is great! I am in the process of upgrading my certs next week. This came just in time. Thank you!

  2. Great Job on this...

    Thanks for this post Jake!

  3. Domino 6 Upgrade Exam

    Hi Jake,

    I have been lucky enough (???) to be in a contract working with R6 for the past 3 months and have put off upgrading my PCLP to R6 - I even have the SelfTest Software for it..... this article of yours is really helpful and I look forward to getting round to it.... eventually...


      • avatar
      • Jake
      • Wed 2 Jul 2003

      Re: Domino 6 Upgrade Exam

      To be honest, the SelfTest software should be enough on its own. It depends what you want to upgrade though, your certification or more importantly your knowledge base.

      Glad to see you're still reading anyway Gillian. Hope you're well. Did you know Jim had emigrated to Oz?


    • avatar
    • Everett
    • Wed 2 Jul 2003

    Spell Check

    Jake, Great article. Thanks. It would be easier to read if you proof read and spell checked the article before publishing.

      • avatar
      • Jake
      • Wed 2 Jul 2003

      Re: Spell Check

      Everett, thanks for the feedback. Believe it or not I do proof read and spell check before I publish. I have a "reputation" riding on this site ;o)

      >>It would be easier

      It would also be easier for me if your message gave some hint as to what/how many/where errors were.

      Off to read it all again...


  4. Thanks Jake

  5. About WebDav

    «Personally I can't see the point of this menu. If you're using the Designer Client you're using Windows. What does every install of Windows come with? A Start menu. Think I'll stick with that thanks.»

    Well, thanks to Wine you can run the Lotus Notes client on linux (I haven't tried it, but I'll believe what they say :o) ): http://appdb.winehq.com/appview.php?appId=27 .

    More on Wine: "Wine is an Open Source implementation of the Windows API on top of X and Unix." - http://www.winehq.com/

    And last but not least: great article. Keep up your excelent work!

  6. Thanks Jake (Just in Time for me)

    Thanks Jake, it came just in time for me. I was planning to order certfx test software. Did you use CertFx? Though, I am a long time reader of codestore this is the first time I am posting a reply. Thanks for all the useful articles. Mahesh

      • avatar
      • Jake
      • Wed 2 Jul 2003

      Re: Thanks Jake (Just in Time for me)

      Hi Mahesh, welcome to codestore. Glad you like the site.

      I used the tests from SelfTest software (that a few readers were nice enough to mail to me ;o) but I am sure the CertFX tests are just as good and the questions much of a muchness. If you know what I mean....


  7. Nice Work!

    I wish I had this info back in March when I was preparing for my R6 Certification.

    • avatar
    • Chris Hudson
    • Thu 3 Jul 2003

    Great work ... and one errata

    Great work... and congrats on passing.

    Just one thing... the bitmap under Agents shows the database properties box, not the agent properties box.

      • avatar
      • Chris Hudson
      • Thu 3 Jul 2003

      Re: Great work ... and an erratum

      Whoops, no good picking out errors if I have a typo in my own message.

      That should be "an erratum"

      • avatar
      • Jake
      • Thu 3 Jul 2003

      Re: Great work ... and one errata

      Thanks Chris. You'd think I'd notice something as obvious as that wouldn't you.

      Many thanks, Jake

    1. Re: Great work ... and another erratum

      Under your 'Changes to Views' heading you state that twisties must be 'no more than 6 pixels high and 12 pixels wide' while it should read '12 pixels high and 6 pixels wide' - according to the help files. I'm off to write tomorrow...wish me well ;)

      Thanks for sharing, Boet! Much appreciated!

      Show the rest of this thread

    2. Re: Great work ... and another erratum?

      I'm not sure about this one - under 'Changes to Views' you write about '(setting) the colour of a row', shouldn't this be 'column' instead of 'row'? I'll have to make sure of this before tomorrow's exam! Mmmm...


  8. Did anybody recieve theire certificates?

    I passed my update exam back in November 2002 (yeah, great me ;-)), but still didn't recieve any kind of certificate. I remember that back in the days of R4 and R5 it sometimes took months until Lotus came up with them, but 7 (!) month should be plenty of time even for IBM. Feel like I should start to worry about. Did somebody just fool me into thinking I'd been taking a *real* exam? :P

      • avatar
      • Spud
      • Tue 8 Jul 2003

      Isn't this cheating ?

    1. First Certificate R6 - 610

      Hi, Jake

      I have worked with notes since r4 , but I´ve never take a certificate, and I would like to have some questions about the certification 610.

      Thank you for any help and sorry for my terrible english.


  9. Web Site Rule docs?

    Great article, Jake. One question... what are Web Site documents and Web Site Rule documents? I searched Help in Notes 6 and didn't find anything. I code for the Web (in Notes 6), and I'm not sure what exactly you're referring to there. Thanks.

      • avatar
      • Jake
      • Thu 3 Jul 2003

      Re: Web Site Rule docs?


      You'd have to look in teh help file for the Admin client.

      Web Site documents: http://www-12.lotus.com/ldd/doc/domino_notes/6.5m2/help65_admin.nsf/2e73cbb2141a cefa85256b8700688cea/18b050d21e40904485256d430049d252?OpenDocument

      Web Site Rule documents: http://www-12.lotus.com/ldd/doc/domino_notes/6.5m2/help65_admin.nsf/2e73cbb2141a cefa85256b8700688cea/bb2afab65675528685256d430049d2d7?OpenDocument

      Hope that helps jake

      Show the rest of this thread

  10. Shared Resources and valid HTML

    The tags for CSS and JavaScript are placed just fine (in the <head> element) - if you do it right ;-O.

    Go to the HTML Head Content or the JS Header on the form and right click in the Programmer's Pane. Insert your Shared Resource there. Its all good.

    Now if we could only do valid XHTML for editable forms!

  11. TEST

    Can you send me some questions of your exam? or in alternative can you send me some difficult or tips question of selftestsoftware test? tnx in advance

    i see some questions in internet but i think that it's to easy... probably in the real exam there are questions more difficult...

  12. tutorial on developersworks

    Hi, there is also a tutorial available on IBM developerWorks that might be handy:

    https://www6.software.ibm.com/reg/devworks/dw-ls-domapps-i?S_TACT=103AMW73&S_CMP =LSLPBB

    kind regards, Patrick Kwinten http://www.quintessens.com 'What a wonderfull world the web can be!'

  13. Thanks for a great article

    Thanks a lot Jake for this article - it really helped me focus on the "What's new" section and I passed my upgrade today.


      • avatar
      • Deb
      • Sat 3 Jan 2004

      Re: Thanks for a great article

      Hi Jake,

      Thanks a lot for the really useful article...it helped me look at the appropriate areas and I cleared the domino upgrade exam today.

      Thanks again :)

      regards, Deb

  14. A guide to the Domino 7 upgrade?

    A same guide for Domino 7 would be a nice add-on =)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Tue 27 Jun 2006

      Re: A guide to the Domino 7 upgrade?

      See here 'o) http://www.codestore.net/store.nsf/unid/BLOG-20050921/

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