Thursday, 27 September 2007

Reply, but With or Without Attachments??

Mary Beth Raven has posted an interesting question over at her blog,

In Notes 8, (and previous versions) the default for "Reply" includes any attachment that might be in the message.
We are considering changing the default to "Reply without Attachment" for the Notes 8.0.1 maintenance release.

To me, previously Notes Admin, the answer is obvious, if users want to Reply with Attachment, they should have to work a little harder, we want to save disk space (Reply with Attachment is surely going to mean 3 copies, 1 from the original e-mail, 1 in the reply you send to Joe User and 1 stored in the copy of the reply you sent, after all how many users don't save their sent e-mail) and also reduce the bandwidth overhead.
However having experienced the backlash from users when we "tinkered" with the R6 template to make Send Without Attachment the default, it's something that at the end of the day comes down to communication with the users. They may be the bane of out life, but at the end of the day, if they are told what's happening they can't moan too much if they then forget and get something wrong. Personally this kind of option screams for a Preference setting in the Mail Template with an option for Admins to enforce via policy for one option or the other.
If they wanted to take this to another level, how about an option when you Save a copy of a Sent e-mail to save without attachments, whether it's a reply/forward or brand new e-mail. At the end of the day you have a copy of the file somewhere already, because you attached it to the e-mail or it's already in the e-mail you are replying/forwarding. Any thoughts on that as an option???

Monday, 24 September 2007

Admins, the bane of a Developers life!!

It comes to something when your Admins, won't download the new 8.0 server install so you can setup a server on a spare PC to try stuff you were shown last week. Bad form guys!!

Collaboration Uni - Recap

Well it's been a couple of days since I returned from Collab Uni and all I can say is that if you have the oppotunity to go next year then don't waste it. It's is 3 days of intensive theory sessions, informative sessions from the main players at IBM and a good chance to network and meet some of the main names in the blogging community.
The last morning of CU just proved to me I was in the right place, sat in the room with a variety of high profile names in the blogging community, from Bob Balaban, Mary Beth Raven, Rob Novak, Warren Elsemore and Wild Bill!! Anyway with Sessions from Bob and Mary, both with the standard, none of this is confirmed, so "We'll deny we ever said it" disclaimer, kind of leaves this section of the blog a little light, however the main message that seemed to come out of the IBM sessions was "IBM is listening", with oppotunities for feedback sessions like CU, meetings with Business Partners to review feature lists and the various blogs all waiting for you to comment, the oppotunities for us in the Lotus Community to feedback what is wrong and what is right about the product, should not be ignored. The other message is that Notes 8.0 is new, it's different and it's only the beginning, 8.0.1 is due out in January and the next Major Feature release is due our in the summer 2008, my money is on 8.5 as the version!!!
Well with all the talk about version numbers the nickname that seemed to have stuck through the conf was "Version After Eight", therefore when it came time for Rob to present Mary and Bob with small gifts for coming over, what else could they give them that a large box of After Eight mints each, nice one Rob!!!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Collaboration University Day 1 Recap

Well after a few concerns over my travel arrangements I managed to make it to CU on time. Just to upset a certain colleague, yes we did get a USB key this time!!!
Any way from the opening address by Rob Novak, through Mary Beth Raven's presentation which began with the theme from Sta Wars with The Rebel Alliance of IBM and Lotus battling against the Evil Redmond Empire with Notes 8 surely being the Alliance's equivalent of the Death Star, the overall message is that Notes is far from dead and surely is not far from being a market leader.
MBR also demonstrated the ways in which IBM are now opening themselves up to input from their user community via blogs, online feedback as well as more face to face interaction.
With the rest of the day following a path through
  • What's new in 8 with Troy
  • UI Consistency with Victor (Being taught English best practices by a Swede where else by CU!!)
  • Web Services with Bob
  • RSS Feeds with Troy (How come we only had 4 other people watching this one, surely the draw of Mr Novak is only so strong??)
Each presenter managing to keep the Brain weary masses interested.
Kevin Cavanaugh globe trotter extraordinaire, who presented Tuesday morning in New York and this afternoon in London, managed to fight through the jet lag to give the days closing presentation. The amount of information that he came out with that was new and exiting is more than I can cope with tonight, however expect more info here over the next few days and weeks.
For now can I just say Notes 8.0.1 Quickr 8.1, Lotus Symphony, Lotus Notes Traveller and more.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Rich Text fields and tables.

Oh boy are they a pain to do, but as I have just spent the best part of a day fighting them I will pass on some of the code that I have pulled together from various places on the web.

Firstly you obviously need a Richtext field and given I am assuming you all know how to set that up and grab it as a NotesItem, I'm not going to tell you how to do it.

Call bodyitem.AppendTable(dc.Count+1, 8,"",RULER_ONE_INCH, rtpsCols)
Append the table to the Richtext field, here I have a document collection and I'm making the table 1 row bigger than the collection so I can have a header. There are 8 Columns in the table, the "" is where you could add in a list of text if you are using a tabbed table. The Ruler_One_Inch denotes the left margin and the rtpsCols is the array defining the Style for each column.
Dim rtnav As NotesRichTextNavigator
Set rtnav = bodyitem.CreateNavigator
The RichTextNavigator allows you to move through the table, it's not as easy as saying put this value in the 4th row, 3rd column.
Call rtnav.FindFirstElement(RTELEM_TYPE_TABLECELL)
This sends the navigator to the first cell in the table.
Call bodyItem.AppendStyle(rtsTableHeader)
This sets the style for anything else added to the table, until you change it again.
Call bodyitem.AppendText(doc.Sortby(0))
Add some text to the table cell
Call rtnav.FindNextElement(RTELEM_TYPE_TABLECELL)
Goto the next table cell
Call bodyItem.AppendStyle(rtsTableRow)
Set the style to something else.

So there you go, the very basics on creating a table, stepping through it, adding text and changing styles.

However we have styles and that wonderfully titled rtpsCols still to go. So lets start with Styles, these are simply NotesRichTextStyles and in the code I am using the TableHeader and Row formats are as follows, and also fairly self explanatory.

Dim rtsTableHeader As NotesRichTextStyle
Set rtsTableHeader = sess.CreateRichTextStyle
rtsTableHeader.FontSize = 10
rtsTableHeader.Bold = True
Dim rtsTableRow As NotesRichTextStyle
Set rtsTableRow= sess.CreateRichTextStyle
rtsTableRow.FontSize = 7
rtsTableRow.Bold = False

I think it's always a good practice when you are building a table to have headers and potentially footers or row headings in a larger font to make them stand out, however you need to take into account screen resolutions and get the balance right between the amount of information on the screen and the readability of the font.
Finally rtpsCols, this is an array of NotesRichTextParagraphStyles, one for each column in your table, this example just uses the basics on the formatting available, Column Alignment and Column Width. Alignment is a numeric value 0 to 4, 0 being Left, 1 Right, 2 Full, 3 Center and 4 No Wrap. The Column Width is defined simply using the Left Margin and Right Margin values with the Left Margin set to 0 and the Right Margin set to the length you require.

Dim rtpsCols(8) As NotesRichTextParagraphStyle
Set rtpsCols(0) = sess.CreateRichTextParagraphStyle
This column in left aligned
rtpsCols(0).Alignment = 3
rtpsCols(0).Leftmargin = 0
rtpsCols(0).RightMargin = RULER_ONE_CENTIMETER * 0.75

Set rtpsCols(1) = sess.CreateRichTextParagraphStyle
This column is centre aligned
rtpsCols(1).Alignment =0
rtpsCols(1).Leftmargin = 0
rtpsCols(1).RightMargin = RULER_ONE_CENTIMETER * 5

Well that's it for my first attempt at RichTextTables, more soon if I uncover more gems.

Collaboration University 16 days and counting

Well it's only a couple of weeks to Collaboration University and it's certainly going to be a busy time until I get three days of brain stretching sessions from the great and the gods and of Domino World. The move into the center of London will certainly improve my travelling as I can "relax" on the train and tube, rather than the fight in a pool car last year.
Anyway between now and then I am attempting to put to bed the development on our Omnifind project and pass to the users for testing, fighting to get a revamp project near completion and also attempt to upgrade my PCLP to ver 7. Yes I know ver 8 is out, but I've been really lax this year what with one thing and another.
Anyone else out there who has used Omnifind or performed any development on it, do you have any recommendations for development tools to use, obviously Rational Application Developer is the best tool, however can anyone point me in the direction of anything in a lower price bracket???
Finally I am going to go and bug my Notes admins again as they have still continued to fail in the ability to download the new R8 client for me. Must do something about getting access to out Passport Advantage login!!!