Wednesday 23 January 2008

Some thoughts about Domino/AJAX Apps

I have just completed a web only project at work where I as, an experiment used very little native Domino functionality on the forms and views and opted for an AJAX UI with Domino acting as the datastore. This is what I found.

1. BOOOO You sacrifice a lot of development speed using this method. Domino allows you to do a lot of "down and dirty" apps that look like poo but work out of the box.
a minimal Domino feature app takes around 300% longer to code and test than a Domino only program.

2. YIPEE You gain considerable control over the web UI that is absent in the standard notes form/page environment. No more farting about this $$viewtemplate or $$return or having to laboriously change each cell element in a table with the same CSS class names. HTML and JS is just HTML and JS again. You don't have to have your Domino hat partially on at all times...

3. YIPEE No more back and forth ops to the server when you want to have data aware context dialogs,radio or check boxes...

4. BOOOO Domino web agents are truly poo at file attachments there is no easy way to get a file uploaded without processing the entire form. This is really really really annoying. All it would need is for the Document.Context to have the ability to "see" the attachments passed to it. In the same way that PHP has the $FILES array when a form is processed. You would think that would be a given .. but no... ~sigh~

5. YIPEE You can do an application LOGON rather than a DOMINO session logon. Yes there are security drawbacks because as far as the server is concerned the user is Anonymous. But with a bit of creative programming you can create your own user/session system without the need for having a CAL for each possible user of your system.

Name Picker Project

Version 1.2.1 went live over Xmas
There are now 345 downloads, it is at #8 on the moving and grooving list and I still have a 5-star rating! It does give you a nice warm cosy feeling :) to know that someone values your ideas. Now if each of them had given me a £5 i would have enuff cash to buy a new motorcycle (well new to me!)

I am working on V1.3 at the minute and hope to have it uploaded in the next 2 weeks V1.3 will have much the same back end but will have a new shiney, skinable UI. or at least that is what I am hoping for.

An Idea for a Domical Network

Hmmm I have been mulling over an idea for a corporate social networking application that leverages the Domino Directory as an initial data driver. I know that IBM are pushing several products "Connections" and "QuickR" aimed at this very idea. However as with all things commercial there is a cost involved.

What about those companies you are not yet on Version 8 and for what ever reason aren't planning to go there any time soon? There has to be scope for a V6/V7 application that uses the fun things you can do with AJAX to build and manage knowledge networks within a Domino Environment?

I have actually written down some stuff to flesh out this idea. A working title for the moment is "yaken" This a good old Ulster-Scots expression meaning "do you know?" which is, for me a reasonably obscure pun. "Yaking" meaning to speak ... yada yada yada

I will try and follow this up in the next few weeks with some actually design for the UI and datastore .. more later

The Tao of Disaster Recovery

Hey ho!
It has been a long time since I added a blog entry but I find myself in a Disaster Recovery Centre near Heathrow Airport and I am waiting for half a T of data to restore to an iSeries machine .. so here are some thoughts.

I am missing Lotusphere (again) not that I have ever managed to go to Lotusphere but I live in hope that someday, somehow I will manage to go and have fun with several thousand Domino-geeks and Lotus-nerds

Following the uber-dominoistas blogs it would seem that they are having a great time .... :( s'not fair! (grumble grumble grumble) well there is always ILUG2008 to look forward to in June!

~Sigh~ DR testing is a necessary evil need to know that your DR plans work and you can, should the need arise, recover the business systems in as short a time as possible .. however the actual process can be rather boring lots of media, lots of whirring drives, many cups of coffee and voila you have 3 Mission Critical iSeries boxes and a Hub Domino Server up and if everything goes according to plan (which it did)...running. However every test uncovers some wrinkle or other that requires you to put on your "technical author" hat and adjust the documentation accordingly ... I suppose that is the nature of the beast

Better go and stick another tape in the drive ... More later

Disqus for Domi-No-Yes-Maybe