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Make The Notes 8 Sidebar More Accessible To Notes developers 
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: Domino Designer
: Notes, 8, Sidebar
: Peter Presnell26654 15 Dec 2007
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Notes 8 has added a great new feature in the sidebar.  The sidebar is the ideal location for placing a number of Notes application components.  Examples include the QuickNotes feature in the bookmarks template for adding a memo, journal entry etc.  Others include phone call log entry, directory name lookups.  Ideally these sidebar components could be wired as part of composite applications.
 
My dilema is that I consider myself to be a Notes developer and NOT a Java developer.  My desire to master Java is about as high as migrating from NSFs to DB2... The sidebar appears to be presently implemented in such a way that you need to be (or become) a Java developer to implement new components.  Why is an important piece of the Notes UI locked out from Notes (non-Java) developers?
 
I would like to see the Java experts at IBM figure out a way of adding some generalized Notes components to the sidebar that a (non-Java)  Notes developer could easily configure. 
 
e.g.
1) Add embedded components (view, editor etc.)
2) Wire componets using the same process as other Composite Applications
 
I think you will see the sidebar being used by a LOT more people in a LOT more companies if its customization was not restricted to the few Notes developers out there who have Java skills.....   I would like to see Outlook or GMail do that!



1) Gavin Bollard1561 (15 Dec 2007)
I know this will be controversial, but I agree.

EVEN if it means providing a Notes/Style compiler where we can write in "Notes terms" things that get compiled to Java.

There has to be a way to make this more accessible without compromising it's openness and without forcing another language to be learnt.
2) Bruce Elgort8226 (16 Dec 2007)
Harkpabst, Slawek and Mika - why the demotes on this?
3) Dan Sickles1710 (16 Dec 2007)
From what I can tell, you'll be able to do this and most other Expeditor and Eclipse UI stuff in javascript in a future version. The javascript engine is the one from Workplace so it runs on the jvm (like Rhino) and already has the Notes back end API. With the UI API, you should be able to build sidebars, poups, wizard and and any other UI components. It also has access to all other java APIs so you'll have network IO from sockets to http and everything else.

I don't know if there are any plans for doing this in Lotusscript. It would almost be easier to port Lotusscript to java and get all that other stuff for free but I won't go there ;-)
4) Slawek Rogulski8874 (16 Dec 2007)
I find the justification of the idea objectionable.
By that token we should have access to all the Java and Javascript capabilities from LotusScript. Oh and don't forget @Formulas. Regrettably Notes is a fragmented environment, but then so are most applications except maybe the likes of SAP that are everything to everyone (I presume). So is this idea asking for the unification of all the languages available under Notes?
Eclipse is a Java environment and like it or not Notes is just a plug-in. It's a new world. So let's not be held back by legacy when we have new possibilities.
5) Harkpabst Meliantrop3248 (16 Dec 2007)
Bruce, I changed my mind and reverted to "no opinion". If a new feature is there because of the new environment, then we just might have to use the appropriate tooling. On the other hand, I wouldn't bother, if IBM found a way to implement this.

Slawek, I find your choice of words a little questionable. A comment "like it or not Notes is just a plug-in" is misleading, at least. Notes is the application that has to serve the user's needs. Eclipse is just the platform it runs on. If the platform is not capable of fulfilling the business needs, it has to be improved or changed.
6) Dan Sickles1710 (16 Dec 2007)
@4 - It is a new world..but that world does not require the java langauge to participate. It just requires that our language run on the jvm. I don't expect lotusscript or @f() to go there, but javascript is already there. It's been there for years with Rhino and the js engine in Workplace Designer and most Notes/Domino developer know it well enough.

Making Expeditor and Eclipse APIs available to more developers is good for the platform. It's even good for us java developers. We can move forward at a higher velocity and "drop down" to java as required. Most people will be happy to build UI components in javascript (or perhaps other jvm hosted scripting languages) and may never have to become proficient in java. Java just simply isn't *required* for many things that most developers need to do. For the lack of integrated, supported alternatives (on the Notes platform), we use it. IBM appears to be solving that problem.
7) Peter Presnell26654 (16 Dec 2007)
@4. I am not anti-Java. In many ways I suspect Java is probably a superior programming language to LotusScript. But in all my years as a Notes consultant I have not seen too many Notes developers who also program in Java. I know there are a few but the vast majority of the Notes development world tends to use LotusScript, @Language and JavaScript. The things that tend to get readily applied in the Notes world seem to be the things accessible to the most people. I would just like to see programmable access to the sidebar opened up to a larger proportion of the Notes development community.
8) Axel Janssen5023 (28 Mar 2008)
I think it may be implemented later. Remember we are not simply talking about Java, but more like Java for the Eclipse framework with all its classes, lifecycles, concepts and what not. And a lot of people worked really hard to build the Eclipse framework. It will cost IBM a lot of effort to build its own LotusScript on top. And its very probable that a lot of flexibility of the eclipse framework will be lost in the process.
Also: If I have problems while coding my eclipse plug-in, I can easily look into allready existing open Source solutions. I can google questions. Helping hands from newsgroups expertise is available.
LotusScript on the JVM as proposed by Dan is a completly new language. All existing LotusScript would need to be re-implemented. Maybe a Scripting Language to build Eclipse plug-ins might make sense. But do it in groovy or an even simpler domain specific language only for eclipse plug-in dev.

As far as I understand Eclipse development it won't be much code and if people have a working example at hand, they will be able to build their own stuff without becomming hardcore Enterprise Java Framework Programmer or some such.

Java isn't that hard. Currently I am kind of a trainer for a bunch of LotusScript programmers and a C/IBM Enterprise like Websphere MQ stuff guy. They make good progress.
Am going to demote based on the opportunity costs, I estimate high opportunity costs. Very high opportunity costs.










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