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Showing posts from 2007

Happy Holidays

December GRANITE Lotus User Group

On a lighter note, the December 2007 GRANITE Lotus User Group meeting was a success. We had about 30 people in our meeting. IBM covered the Lotus Notes Traveler with Mobile Connect, Lotus Symphony and the Symphony Toolkit plus what coming in Lotus Notes 8.01. I also presented how you can create composite application for the classic Lotus Notes client (Lotus Notes 8 Basic, 7, 6.5, 6, and 5) which I will outline in detail on my blog in the coming week. I would like to thank all our presenters and sponsors. With special thanks to IBM for letting us host the meetings that their beautiful downtown facility here in Chicago. We had a very successful year with over 17 presentation from members, vendors, and IBM. Sadly, this was my last year for organizing the meeting as Vice President. I have been elected as President of GRANITE and hand off the duties of Vice President to Ben Ordonez of Gamma Partners.

Interface from Hell

Regardless of technology if an interface is poorly designed, the usability of the technology is compromised. I do not care if it was built using Commodore Basic, Web 1.0, or Web 2.0, if it is poorly designed people are not going to use it or will get extremely frustrated. Case in point. I use online banking from by bank for the past year and have tolerated their stupid interface because of its convenience. However, this week's problems really broke the camel's back. I discovered with horror that my online monthly payment for a key payment was not sent. So I had to immediately call the company to issue a payment and apologize for not getting the payment to them on time. After fixing that problem, I started investigating why this payment did not go through. The account was active and set to monthly payments as I had set. Everything seem to be fine. There was plenty of funds in the checking account. It said click here to learn why the payment was not made. So I did and th

GRANITE Lotus User Group Presentation

If you can make it, please come and join us at the December 2007 GRANITE Lotus Notes User Group next Monday, December 10. This is our special holiday meeting. We are fortunate enough to have IBM give a presentation on the up and coming IBM Lotus Symphony, IBM Lotus Traveler, IBM Lotus Notes 8.01, and IBM Mobile Connect. For more information go to GRANITE . Also, I will be presenting and demonstrating some of the different techniques you can use to create composite applications on older Notes clients to improve the end-user experience. I will demonstrate it on the Notes 8 basic and 7/6.5/6. I was hoping to do it even on the Notes 5 client but I cannot find my CDs. After the presentation next week, I will post the techniques here on my blog.

Embedded Web Page

I finally had time to play with Nathan Freeman's embedded frameset technique that he posted on his blog awhile back. He has on his web site his Sesame Street demo that he created. It is a really cool idea that he came up with. So I thought I could expand on this technique and demonstrate how you could use this technique to embed a web page within a Lotus Notes document. I thought a good demo would be embedding Google Map onto a Lotus Notes document. This would be great to have in something like a contact management system. Rather than having it pop up in a new Lotus Notes window, you could have the Google Map appear inside the document. Using the technique that Alan Lepofsky mentioned on his blog, google mapping technique , you can combine the two techniques to create an embed Google Map. Since Google Map does not look too good in a small embedded window, I created it as a pop up window within the document using layers. I have included the code for this in the sample database

Transformers Musical Score

Now that the new Transformers movie has come out on DVD for a few weeks, my son has watched the movie at least a couple of dozen times. The movie is not bad. But after watching it with him, I got hook on the musical score. It is great mix of fast pace scores and haunting music. The first Transformers soundtrack was bad that came out just after the movie was released. It was just a brunch of songs most of which were not even in the movie. The new soundtrack that came out last month is fantastic. The composer is Steve Jablonsky who done as number of movie most of which I have never seen.

We Are Back

It has been a few years since our training company, ReCor Corporation, has exhibited at Lotusphere. There was not much demand for Lotus Notes training for the past few years since the Notes interface didn't really change much. But we are back for Lotusphere 2008. With the new Notes 8 interface, it was logical for us to exhibit our new Domino-based Notes training solutions. We will be exhibiting our LearningDocs for Lotus Notes 8 and Domino Web Access 8 training courses. We made major additions to the products. We improved our Java-based Enrave tools to simulate the Notes 8 environment. We will be at booth 533 either under our ReCor or Taishan Works company name. Either way stop by our booth. We will also be demonstrating our SOA-based Integrated Business Framework technology. Since we were turned down for Lotusphere, we will be presenting our SOA methodologies in the GRANITE Lotus User Group in 2008 instead. Having a booth at Lotusphere has its advantages but also has its

Turn down again: Lotusphere Abstract

Hi Everyone, It has been a long time since I blog. I have been too busy working on a number of customer projects. Sadly, I have learned over the weekend that we have been turned down again on our Lotusphere abstract submission, "SOA, Not Just for the Web." I thought it was been a great session given the direction that Notes and Domino is moving towards. Just like the Chicago Cubs, there is always next year.

Finally Vacation

With our IBF Portal finally completed, I can finally spend some time away from all the technology and enjoy one of the things that I like to do, hiking. This year instead of going to places like Zion National Park and Grand Canyon, our family went to a place close by that I found out about last year, Pictured Rock National Lakeshore in Michigan, Upper Peninsula. This place has great hiking trails. Weather was pretty good with the exception of Thursday morning which was cloudy, rainy, and extremely wind. I was expecting 80 degree weather but with the wind and rain it was more like 50s. I had to quickly go buy some heavier clothes. I only had shorts and t-shirts. We stayed at Munising which is right next to Pictured Rock. It is a nice small town. The motel we stayed at was Sunset Motel by the Bay. It is a small family run motel that look like nothing but it was clean and very nice. I have been to many fancy and expensive hotels during my many hotels stays. This beat most of t

The Ugly Duckling

It has been a long time since I blogged. It has been a very busy late spring and summer. We are finally completing our IBF Portal module that handles all interactive between a user and the Integrated Business Framework components on the Domino server. For years now Notes has been the "Ugly Duckling" of the IT world and both pro and con Notes users have complained about it. The new Notes 8 interface will bring a great new look and feel that has been lacking for years in the Notes interface. However, the standard version of Notes 8 also has a much heavier hardware requirement especially with Vista. For companies that have older hardware or will not be able to have the necessary hardware soon, they can upgrade to Notes 8 basic but it still has the same interface that everyone complains about. In the last beta, IBM has done a great job in improving the loading speed of the client but not as fast as the Notes basic client. But the Basic client has an advantage, speed. Sin

Vertical Preview Pane

One of the new capabilities that has been featured in Notes 8 mail is the ability to have a vertical preview pane of your message. This feature emulates what has been found in Outlook for many years. As I was developing an interface for our contact management system, I discovered that this capability has been in Notes all along at least Notes 7 and most likely in Notes 6 and Notes 6.5. There are two critical factors to get this to work. First, you need to create a frameset that has two frames that has been split vertically. In the first frame, set the frame to the view that you would like to display. Next, name the second frame to a given name that you would like. For example, "NotesPreview". Second, in the property box set of the first frame set "Default Target Links in Frame" to the name of the second frame. As a result, when you click on a document in the view, a preview of the will be previewed in the second frame, vertically.

Lotusphere Comes to You - Toronto

After flying to Buffalo on my favorite airline, Southwest Airlines and driving a couple of hours I am here at Lotusphere Comes to You - Toronto. Last night my brother-in-law took me to an all you can eat sushi restaurant and of course like most things in Toronto it is run by a Chinese family. Unlike other all you can eat sushi restaurants, this restaurant was very good. It was not a buffet. You choose from a menu and they make it when you need it and the price was great compared to Chicago. The place is called Yang's Sushi Restaurant in Markham, ON. So if you are in the area and like sushi you will like it.

Notes and SMB

On Ed Brill's blog link for the past few days that has been a long discussion about Notes and the small business market and whether IBM is addressing this market effectively with the new product offerings that are in the pipeline this summer. The blog has progressed into the discussion about the Notes Basic client which has been a point of long discussion for me in many blogs. If you have seen the Notes 8 Basic beta client, you will find that it is pretty much the Notes 7 client with some improvements. I do not see signficant investment in improving the Notes 8 Basic client in the future. Whether it exist in the future I do not know. I truely understand the direction that IBM is moving forward for Notes 8. It may not address the needs of some small businesses (under 500), but it is a direction that best fits the medium and large businesses that makes up a major of IBM's clients. As a business partner who focuses primarily on the true small business market, I understand th

Why use Notes, Security

Web-based applications provide great convenience in allowing you to use any computer with a Web browser to access an application. However, it comes at a price. Again it has been announced that there are more security holes in browsers running Javascript, Javascript hole . With everyone building Web applications using AJAX, this announcement may have a impact on the security of AJAX applications. The Notes client may not be as convenient as the Web browser, but I will take security over convenience. In the world of the Web and Web applications, Notes and Domino still provides a better and much more secured solution for companies.

Securing Views

As within any Notes applications, a good Notes programmer tries to minimize the number of views in a database. Regardless of the database there will be views and some are hidden. However, hidden view are really not hidden and an experience Notes user can use the Goto Shift Control and all the hidden views can be listed and accessed which is really no security at all. We wanted to prevent users or any other unwanted individuals to open the document or even right click on the document to open the document properties box and look at the content of the field. We decided to research want we could do to prevent unwanted individuals to access the information. We tried hiding the columns, but you could still right click and get the document properties box. If you place continue=false in the queryopendocument in the view that would prevent users from double clicking to open the document but users could still right click and get the document properties. However, if you place continue=false

Initial Review of Notes 8 Beta 2

I spent the past few days playing with the Notes 8 beta 2 both the Standard version (eclipse) and the Basic version (w32 C++). My review here is based only on the UI and not the other features that are available in the new version of Notes 8. In addition, this is the my first review. My review was done on a Thinkpad T41 with 1Gbytes of memory with Windows XP SP1. The Domino server that I used to make this review is an Domino 6.53 server. Notes 8 Standard client: As I understand it, the standard version is an Eclipse wrapper around the Notes Basic client. If I am wrong, please correct me. Even with the much larger footprint, the standard version perform pretty well on a machine that is not dual-core. The interface looks very good, though there are a number of quirks that I assume will be fixed in the final release. I did discovered and reported a number of bugs, but that is normal since this is a beta. I was disappointed to discover that there is no storage of the productivity

Lotus Notes 8 Beta

I finally was able to download Notes and Domino 8. You definitely need to have a download manager. I tried a number of times, but the servers were so busy. Now I have to build a Windows 2003 server for it.

Industrial Design and Notes UI Design

I am writing this for the second time. Just as I was about to finish editing this, Windows XP crashed on me and I lost everything!!! After pounding on the bed for a few times, I am rewriting this again but clicking on the save button about every minute. Yesterday, my son turned 18. It seems like it was only yesterday that I graduated from college and now my son is attending college this fall. Oh do I feel old. He got accepted to three of the top industrial design schools and my wife and I have spent the past few months visiting and evaluating with him the different schools. Finally, last week he made a decision on which school he is attending this fall. The field of industrial design combines art, visual form, understanding of the manufacturing process, user interaction, and human psychology to create a product. His skills of drawing and painting combined with his good skills in math and science with give him a good chance to success in this very tough field. As I worked with my son on

Lotusphere Comes to You - Chicago

Lotusphere Comes To You - Chicago was very well attended. I believed that there was over 200 attendees at this show. However, traffic at the Partner Showcase was very limited. I wish that there was a sign telling the attendees where the Partner Showcase was that would have helped. I am glad to see all the interest in Lotus Notes. I hope this translates to increase awareness in the non-Notes community that Notes is not only alive but is growing. A direct advertisement of Lotus Notes on network TV would squash any Microsoft BS about Notes being dead. I was glad to see that there was more interest in the SMB market from IBM. Let's hope this translates to more support in the whitespace area.

Nomad Rocks

Finally I have been able to catch a breath. I have been very busy for the past few weeks trying to get ready for the Lotusphere Comes To You. New versions our IBF products are being rolled out and will be demoed at the show. Taishan Works is exhibiting here in Chicago plus also at Toronto. So if you are attending any of these two LCTY stop by. We had a very good GRANITE user group meeting a couple of weeks ago. I would like to thank Teamstudio for sponsoring our meeting. We also like to thank Ron Shoults for demonstrating how to install Nomad. I finally took the time to install Nomad for myself since we do a lot of development and need to check if the products works on both Notes 6.5 and Notes 7. This is very handy for moving back and forward between versions. There does not seem to be much differences between versions, but I must tell you when it comes to UI development there are a number of things that will catch you by surprise. At a later time, I will provide a list of the

Thanks Nathan

It was very nice of Nathan Freeman to post our window launching in a view technique that we developed. He did a nice job in enhancing our technique and using it as part of a help system. Thanks Nathan.

-25 Wind Chill, 4" of Snow and Flat Tire

Yesterday was an ordeal. After leave the office and getting to my van, I notice that my tire was flat. Changing a tire in the dark with a wind chill of -25 F and with 4" of snow and ice is frustrating. The jack kept slipping because of all the ice and twisted out of shaped. It was so cold that the jack kit was frozen and I had to turn on the heat in the car to thaw it out. A 15 minutes job became 1.5 hours. Thankfully, my wife was off work and I was able to change the tire. Nothing like Chicago weather. Now more bad new, need new tires. Can not figure out what I ran over.

Launching a Window from a View

Nathan T. Freeman and Chris Blatnick was planning on presenting an UI technique that we developed for our Integrated Business Framework products at their presentation at Lotusphere 2007 but unfortunately there was not enough time. Nathan and Chris did a great job in demonstrating the importance of UI design. So I am posting it here. Below is a description of how it works and a sample database that demos it. Link It has been tested in Notes 6, 6.5, and Notes 7. Credit to this technique should be given to Robert Burton from our development team. Though Lotus Notes had the tab window concept way before Firefox and Microsoft IE, we dislike how it works because you can open window after window and pretty soon you might have a dozen windows open. If you open a document in a view same thing happens. The user can start losing track of their task. Instead, we wanted the user to focus on the task in hand. You could have launched it in a different frame, but screen real estate is limited especi

Cold and getting colder

It has been a week since I came back from Lotusphere and I already miss it. It is getting colder and colder here in Chicago. It is going to be down to -10F tonight with a wind chill of -30F. It happens ever year when I get back from Lotusphere, the temperature drops.


I finally decided to create my own blog. This site is dedicated to Lotus Notes and Domino, the development of Notes UI, Domino Web development, the use of Lotus Notes and Domino for small businesses, the marketing of Lotus Notes and Domino to small businesses, and whatever I would like to talk about.