Archive for April, 2002
Surely you didn't expect me not to mention the Notes.net "re-design". What can I say apart from what have they actually done? Not much! The way they spoke about the Sandbox being unable to accept new submissions until its re-design was finished made me think there was something drastic afoot. I was even anticipating something special at one point. Turns out all they've done is add the IBM livery to each database. There is still an ugly reminder of how it used to look - the GIFs they left behind clash horribly with the new look. A step in the right direction though.
Hello, CodeStore here. Jake's too busy to blog today. He foolishly got his boss over-excited about the potential of SVG and is now beavering away on a similar scale project with yesterday timescales.
While he's not looking I thought I'd tell you about my plans to not be out-done by the whole Notes.net -> LDD conversion. I think it's about time I had a fresh look too. Don't you!? Why don't you all tell Jake what you'd like to see. Many thanks to all of you who already have - I know that Jake listens.
Notes.net (spit!) are making their change this weekend. I will wait and see what tricks they have up their sleeve before I get Jake to perform the face-lift...
This reporting/charting database is suddenly becoming truly potential. Stu Lancaster mailed me today with more input - a much more slick way of doing this being to use XML and SVG. Which is precisely what a colleagure of his did after reading this article. His boss must be a happy man ;o)
If you haven't got the plugin already you can get it from Adobe's SVG site. Notice that you can view the source. Wow. Expect to see me talk more about this soon...
A few more thanks:
To Alex Hernandez for reminding me about Robocode. Anything that makes learning Java fun can't be bad can it. I've not tried it yet but I really should. My problem being that I can easily go and write Agents/Servlets in Java that work but don't really know things like why I can't cast that Long to an int (bad example, sorry). What I mean to say is that I feel I need to understand the language from the ground up. Then I can feel sure that the code I wrote is not going to be laughed at by the professionals...
Also to Anthony Thomas who has added his own twists to the idea that Warren suggested on the 16th of this month. He also found another article on the subject and sent me a demo DB. This really could become something special. If only there were 25 hours in a day.
And to Wolfgang Flamme for all his mail this week about the hole he has found in the way we all develop our "secure" databases. There's a thread growing on NotesTips.com and an article soon to appear here. Right now I'm not sure what to make of it all. All I would say is PLEASE STOP TRYING TO HACK THIS SITE. There's nothing here that you can't already see. All you do is waste bandwidth, which costs ME money.
One of my major problems is that I don't suffer fools gladly. Little things tend to annoy me more than they should (on Mondays in particular). I try to keep these feelings hidden, although it's always nice to know I'm not the only one. Will he forgive me breaking his law of Sunday the 21st.
Looking at the nerdy plates people in America have on their cars I thought of some nerdy ones for British Domino developers. How about R5 CLP or R5 NSF? Hey, it's Friday. If anybody fancies a friday-challenge have a go at writing a regular expression to validate a British car registration (pre-2001).
Some messages of thanks:
To Jason Collier of the Domino SiteAtlas for pointing that I should practice what I preach and do something about this. Not that you can do any harm... I don't see what all the fuss is with the $DefaultNav "issue". If you design your apps properly it shouldn't be an issue.
To David Frahm for pointing me to Microsoft's SharePoint technology. Lotus beware,
they can support a huge 75 users ;-) Damn, there's another one.
I feel like an accessory to a crime now. You guys had to go and prove a point by creating Anonymous documents on IBM's site yesterday didn't you ~:o)
Is this really hacking though? I have no idea. There is an interesting article I found that might make it clearer. All I know is I don't really want to go and upset a company the size of IBM!
Today seems to be a case of Small-World Scenario.
Vedant Kulshreshtha works in the London office of Merrill Lynch where I used to work. He mailed my today about an amusing error on the IBM AlphaWorks site. Go to their front page and hit the search button at the top without entering any query. You get (as of writing this) an "Agent Done" message. Play with the parameters in the URL and have some fun. Vedant seems to think IBM are "expected to built[sic] websites that serve as a benchmark and are an inspiration". Wishful thinking Vedant.
Update: Apparently they haven't even taken the basic security measures. You can access the $DefaultNav element and get to the Search Scope view, from where you can create new "Scopes". Obviously I don't condone this kind of behaviour and I leave out the name of the person who tried this first as I've never been sure if this counts as hacking or not...
Also today I got a mail from Scott Freeman thanking me for the site as he's currently learning Domino. Apparently his boss thinks he is a genius. Nothing strange there. Turns out that we went to the same school though. Now that is strange - not that many geniuses (genii ? see what I mean?) leave that school.
In this month's Domino "Power" magazine Andrew Stuart issues a belated acknowledgement of source. In it he refers to my site as a weblog. This got me worried. It's not a weblog. It's a site that happens to have a weblog as its homepage. I hope you guys aren't forgetting that I also spend time writing articles. A new one was published yesterday. Are people still reading them? Feedback has been slow on my most recent efforts.
Is it me or does anybody else find SearchDomino.com extremely hard to use? For instance, where would you expect to find my site's listing among the Best Web Links section? HTML? XML? Nope - LotusScript! To make it worse they describe the site as "code snippets". Snippets!? They also say I cover WAP, COM and CORBA. Do I? Not to my knowledge. I mailed them a week ago and there has been no reply or change. To coin an Americanism - that site sucks.
Having a generic title like Codestore almost guarantees you won't be the only one out there. I found this software called codestore a while ago and was impressed by how simply useful it was. Another similar example was mailed to me today by my mate Matt Clarke. Dev Pad is a little more advanced though... both are freeware.
I've noticed a growing trend for people being interviewed recently. Now I get my turn at DominoZone. Makes me feel almost famous. You can read the interview here. Nothing special, just me being the usual me. That site has potential if Rune keeps it up. He seems able to get others involved in a creative way. Something I gave up on a long time ago. There's a nice article about Spam relays that would be hard to find elsewhere. Good luck Rune.
Mike mentioned OddPost recently on Notestips.com and I've been in awe ever since. That's one nice application. The kind that makes me want to view source. The thing with OddPost is that it's not as easy as a right-click or Ctrl-N. This (along with my earlier comments on right-clicking) reminded me of another useful cheat. You can type "view-source:" before the protocol of a URL in the address bar and this will launch it a in a text editor. Try it here: view-source:http://codestore.net
Happy birthday mum...
In the next few weeks I am going to make some changes to the way that the whole comments system works on the site. With content being the key to the site's success I need to make sure that all content makes the mark. In essence, this means no more questions that show very little thought process on the poster's behalf and an emphasis on posts that try to add true value.
Must learn to check my hunches before I go shooting my mouth off. Somehow I knew yesterday's idea was likely already a feature of Domino 6. Sure enough, Ruediger Seiffert (thanks to the others as well) has sent me this screenshot. Three years two late and probably two years before I get to make practical use of it but hey, at least it's there:
Although, as Ruediger points at, this by no means guarantees it will be in the gold release ;-)
Does this look like I've not tried Domino 6 yet? I have had a quick look, but didn't see that feature. Well, it's hard to see the beauty in something so ugly without getting to know it better.
What would really answer all my prayers is if this was possible even when content was "Notes". The trouble with "treat as HTML" is that you can't edit these documents. I want a form that I can edit and still have full control of the HTML. I don't want Iris trying to code for me. That's my job Iris, yours is to store my data for me.
They also claim that Domino 6 can render pages in XHTML. I will believe that when I see it.
Did you notice that the URLs I supplied yesterday for the RSS feeds weren't links? This was on purpose! The reason being that Domino can't render XML. By this I mean that, although the page called "rss-articles.xml" is enabled with "Treat contents as HTML" property and contains nothing but strict XML, Domino can only return the content-type "text/html" to the browser. What I really wish they would do is give us the ability to specify any content-type we like. Instead of a tick-box for "Treat content as HTML" I want a text-box where I enter whatever I need to. Iris! I've done half the job for you and re-jigged your Page Properties dialog box:
This is something I discussed in an interview I'm doing at the moment for DominoZone.net, where I'm asked what the one thing I wish they would put in Domino 6 was.
I've always moaned about the huge lack of any decent websites aimed soley at Domino developers. For a while I've even been confident enough to say that I led the market ;-) I may have spoken too soon - my competition is here now ;-(
Drum-role please. The newly-launched NotesTips.com is here...
The main man behind it is my new colleague and a very talented developer, Mike Golding. Expect to see some decent content in the near future. He has many of the same ideals as I do when it comes to what you should and shouldn't do. The fact that we communicate on a daily basis will hopefully mean that there is very little duplicate content or toe-treading.
Glad to say I've had a (rare) weekend off the booze and managed to get quite a bit done. Adam Holzband mailed me yesterday to suggest I look in to RSS as an alternative to using SpyOnIt.com, which I spoke about on Wednesday.
I am now an RSS addict and have added two feeds on codestore to supply XML-format lists of date ordered articles and comments. Users of software like Newz Crawler can now see what's going on here without the need to check. Not only here - you can check recent publications from the BBC, Wired, SlashDot, Cnet, Register & more. Brilliant!To create a feed in the RSS format you need XML similar to this example. This is fairly easy to do in Domino with a page and a view. So I did just that with the following pages:
Add these as new channels in News Crawler and you can keep a local list of documents and update it on a regular basis. The result will look something like the following.
[Editor]: Sorry, these resources were removed.
Thanks to Ron Yuen for pointing out that yesterday I was being clever for clever's sake. Here's another way to get round the no-right-click annoyance:
- Press right mouse button and hold it down
- When the alert appears press the escape key
- Let go of the mouse button to see menu appear
On the subject of flag-waving patriotism (see Wednesday's rant), can you guess who this 2 year old boy celebrating the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 is? Something tells me I won't look quite so cute for her Golden Jubilee ;-)
A few years ago I was given the task of spending a few weeks with a VB/Access developer and coaching him while he got to grips with Notes/Domino. It's never easy trying to justify some of Notes "finer" points but I must have made a good start as he now has his own Domino site and has been listed in Internet Magazine. They gave him 4/5 for design & 5/5 for content. Well done Gary.
Here's his page for my home team. Come on you Stags...
Update: I've just been to buy said copy of the magazine and found the following quote in their write-up on the site
Unsurprisingly for such a large and complex site , FanZone is database-driven. But rather than using a widely supported language such as PHP or ASP, Gary's used Lotus Domino. This is unusual for a site like this, since Domino is expensive, and so is the hosting to support it. Gary used a US-based host as it's cheaper than a UK-based one. Domino is used mainly for high-end corporate applications and is impractical for most amateur Web developers.
I agree with a couple of his points but most of it is simply the way people without much experience of Domino tend to see it. Why should hosting support for Domino be dearer than ASP or PHP? There is no reason a US based host would be cheaper than a UK one - it just happens to be that way. I agree with his last point though. I'd go as far as to say it's impractical for professional Web developers ;-) I've got the reviewer's email address if anybody wants to put him right...
While surfing the internet there are lots of different sites I like to keep an eye on for any changes and updates. Some of these sites change more often than others and is easy to forget all about those that change on a less regular basis. What would be useful is a system that would keep an eye out for you and let you know of any changes on some of these. Thanks to Brandon Zylstra I now know about SpyOnIt.com. This will monitor multiple site and mail/text/instant-message you when they change.
At risk of creating huge amounts of unwanted bandwidth usage to codestore, here's a few links to help you set up a monitor on this site.
Personally, I'd much rather you just drop in every now and then though. Makes for a lazy-surfer otherwise. A couple of my Spies have failed to tell me about some updates anyway, so be warned, you may well miss out...
On my walk to get some lunch I counted about six Union Jacks at half-mast. Nothing strange in that when the nation mourns.The reason I notice is that I hardly ever see any on other days. Surely you should lower a flag to half mast, not just dust if off and raise it for a few days before putting it away again. I don't know, it's like us Brits seem ashamed to be patriotic sometimes
BTW: Italians celebrated Pesce d'Aprile on Monday ;-)
We have confirmed reports of fools in Australia, Brazil ("Dia da Mentira" (Day of the Lie)), Holland, France ("Poisson d'Avril" (April Fish)), Norway and Sweden. The latter having developed a great way of paying for their newspapers using a coin-slot on the side of their PCs.
[Image removed by 3rd party]
Today's blog was going to be the announcement that I had had enough and was to close codestore. Then I realised I had no idea whether April Fools was a tradition anywhere other than Britain. Don't know how much truth is in this page. Does anybody outside the UK have a clue what I am going on about?
Update: I've learnt that the Americans and Canadians know what it's all about and that the Mexicans have something similar called "El Dia de los Inocentes" on December the 28th. Or is Victor trying to make me the Fool? Like Brandon (an American) who wrote to say that the he had no idea what I was talking about ;-)