Thursday, January 31, 2008

No more coding PassThruHTML for RT-fields

Update, 04.02.08: It seems ReplaceItemValue on NotesRichtextItems is limited to dreadful 64k limit. Undocumented as far as I can tell.

When storing HTML in documents, I've always done the .RemoveItem .. CreateStyle .. PassThruHTML .. CreateItem... body.AppendStyle ..body.AppendText..

It can be simpler (WebQuerySave):
Dim session As New NotesSession
Dim doc As NotesDocument
Set doc = session.DocumentContext

Dim body As NotesRichTextItem
Set body = doc.GetFirstItem( "body" )
Call doc.ReplaceItemValue( "body", body.GetUnformattedText() )
Call doc.Save( False, False )

Where "body" is the name of you RichText-field.

The RichText-fields needs to be marked as PassThruHTML in the form. The easiest way to do this is to add a space before and after. Select space[RichText]space. Text -> Pass-Thru HTML.

This turned out to be a great day of discovery for me :D

Simple demo-db to test the difference between saving the document with above code on WQS/no WQS.

(Original post, Flush NotesRichTextItem on one line)

In the past, I haven't found another way to flush content in a RTI than to remove the existing, and create a new one.

I did a little testing today, and found out you can use ReplaceItemValue to flush the content:
Call [NotesDocument].ReplaceItemValue( "[RT-fieldname]", "")

If you want to replace the content, with something else from a String:
Call [NotesDocument].ReplaceItemValue( "[RT-fieldname]", newContentString)

Leaner code.. Yay!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Embed multiple standalone forms on a domino form using DHTML

By standalone I mean that when you submit a form, you don't submit all the others/the main form.

I decided to make this when I read a question in Jake's latest article, How to Embed a Login Form on All Lotus Domino Pages.

The question is not directly connected to this blogpost, but somewhat.

The question:
Hi Jake,

We are getting two HTML form tag in view source of page in browser, one form tag for main form and other which is login form.

My question is, How will I handle when we are submiiting the Login form ? Will it submit the main form as well ?

Could you please help me

Ajay B Mali

The demoapp loads another form using an iframe. Using DHTML I pick the form out of the iframe and inject it at the top or bottom of the form that is open. The reason for either top or bottom is that forms can't be nested (read Jake's excellent article for more info). If you want it in a specific position on the page, CSS may help you.

The reason for iframe and not XHR (Ajax), is that XHR returns text. With the iframe, I can more or less pick what I want out of the "iframed" document, the way I would on the "main" document.

>> The demoapp (Names-form)

Tested in Opera 9, IE7 (Vista) and Firefox 2

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Readers-/Authors field one liner

While doing som googling today I discovered that NotesDocument.ReplaceItemValue returns NotesItem. The reason I haven't discovered this before is probably because I've been lazy, and used the "dot" notation.

What I was googling for was actually advantages of using Get-/ReplaceItemValue versus the dot-notation. I've mostly used those two methods in loops, when the dot-notation would be horrid and evil to use (the copy-paste-then-edit-index-method). My quest recently is to create readable code, so I'll try using getters/replacers ( :| ) over dot-notation, and see how I feel about that.

To the point of this post.. I discovered the return value in a comment to Andre Guirard's blogpost/article, GetItemValue and ReplaceItemValue vs. "dot-notation".

Since Get-/ReplaceItemValue returns a NotesItem, you can write:doc.ReplaceItemValue( "read_access",_
"Arthur Dent/Earth" ).IsReaders = True

doc.ReplaceItemValue( "write_access",_
"Ford Prefect/Megadodo Publications" ).IsAuthors = True

I'm not totally confident with the readability of the above. A little more readable approach (?):Dim readAccessItem As NotesItem
Set readAccessItem = doc.ReplaceItemValue(_
"read_access","Arthur Dent/Earth" )
readAccessItem.IsReaders = True

Dim writeAccessItem As NotesItem
Set writeAccessItem = doc.ReplaceItemValue(_
"write_access", "Ford Prefect/Megadodo Publications" )
writeAccessItem.IsAuthors = True

Maybe none of the above is easy to read to people unfamiliar with ReplaceItemValue, but the Lotus Notes LotusScript API doesn't always make it easy to write readable code. I wish all chainable methods were as readable as this:Call session.currentDatabase.allDocuments.removeAll()

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Serving Gzipped content - Test for browser-support

In the newest version of the CMS I'm working on/maintaining, a couple of customers got strange errors. The culprit was that for some reason or other, their browser didn't accept gzipped content.

The workaround

acceptsGzip := ( @Contains( @GetHTTPHeader( "Accept-Encoding" ) ; "gzip" ) );

{<script src="/} + @WebDbName +
@If( acceptsGzip ; "/gz/mootools.js" ; "/lib/mootools.js" ) + {"></script>}

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A thing to be aware of when creating FT-index with LotusScript

The agent must run locally. This is achieved by [agent].RunOnServer.

This is probably public knowledge.

A thing I just discovered is that the database you're creating the index for has to contain at least one document. I stumbled onto this when working with an agent that creates a "history" database (empty on creation) from a template.

Another application copies documents into the history DB when changes are made. The history DB has a search interface, and therefore I create the the FT-index.

It's a simple workaround, create a dummy-document, create ft-index, delete dummy-document, but WHY should I have to do that?!?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Coping with caching of JS-libraries

Update, 17.01.08: If you want to play it safe, follow Vitors advice to me (in the comments), and use versioning on the file-names of the scriptlibs. My experiment was fun, but it's bad to put the "responsibility" of handling change in the codebase, on the customer.

At work today, a customer couldn't get the CMS I am responsible for to work properly. The reason being that I recently updated some markup and JS in the design-template for the CMS. The client had the old JS library cached in the browser. Due to the markup-change, a function in the old JS library failed, which resulted in a JS error, and things not working properly.

This got me thinking on how to avoid this in the future/let the user know what failed, and if a caching issue, how to force a refresh.

My so far best solution is to have two javascript-variables (strings). One in the markup (above all the external JS-libs), and one in an external JS-library. If the two doesn't match, inform the user.

The downside to this approach is if you have several non-static JS-libraries on one page. You can't know which one is going to be cached, so you have to add the check to all of them.

[Flash Animation. If not visible in your RSS-reader, open blogpost]

The accompanying demo application is a mess, but hopefully it's easy for you to play with. Tested in IE6/7, FF2 and Opera 9.

>> Simple demo application

Friday, January 11, 2008

Taking visual control of Domino generated views

This is somewhat related to my previous post, as that is what sprung this idea forward, adding a class-attribute per even row/colgroup-nodes per column, dynamically.

In the downloadable demo application, I've made a $$ViewTemplateDefault-form with a JS-function that does the above, onload.

Every even row has class="even". The generated colgroup is structured like this, a <colgroup> containing <col id="column[number]"/> nodes, where [number] corresponds to the column number it represents.

To get a fix on the Domino-generated table, I've added a span around an embedded view (to easier control count). id="domino_view", class="@ViewTitle[1]".

I don't know what more to say than take a look at the screenshots, and download the app, look at the code/css if you think it's something you can use.

Some screenshots

Categorized view, no CSS
Categorized view, styled

Flat view, no CSS
Flat view, styled

>> The demo application

Tested in IE 6/7, FF2 and Opera 9.

If you discover bugs/find something strange in the demo-app/etc, let me know. Preferably through comments.. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

CSS - Browser independent column styling

Styling on a column level can be a really powerful tool to create great looking tables. I'm no designer, so I can't show you how to create great looking columns, but I can show you the points of attack.

By using only "one point of attack" in the markup per column makes for leaner pages. By that, I mean that you could put a class on each td (first, second, etc) on every row, but that isn't really necessary, and with big tables, big html.

Internet Explorer supports a lot of styling opportunities with the colgroup element. With Firefox and Opera (not sure about Safari), you can only apply a handful of styles using this element, but on the other hand, they fully support CSS 2.1 which has some really powerful selectors.

Example of unstyled columns

Styling for < IE 7

I have three colgroups, one for each column. The first for column one, second for...
<colgroup id="name" />
<colgroup id="address" />
<colgroup id="guild" />

Using the CSS 1 id selector, #, it's quite easy to style columns in older IE browsers:
#name { font-weight: bold; width: 200px; background: #eee; }
#address { width: 150px; color: #888; }
#guild { font-style: italic; }

Example of styling using colgroup

Styling for modern browsers (FF, Opera, Safari)

To get a reference to specific columns, I use the :first-child selector, and the adjacent sibling selector.

First column in the table body (the table has id="css21"):
#css21 tbody td:first-child { font-weight: bold; width: 200px; background: #eee; }

Second column:
#css21 tbody td:first-child + td { width: 150px; color: #888; }

Third column:
#css21 tbody td:first-child + td + td { font-style: italic; }

For more columns, simply add + td per column.

Example of styling using CSS 2.1

The CSS combined

#name { font-weight: bold; width: 200px; background: #eee; }
#css21 tbody td:first-child { font-weight: bold; width: 200px; background: #eee; }

#address { width: 150px; color: #888; }
#css21 tbody td:first-child + td { width: 150px; color: #888; }

#guild { font-style: italic; }
#css21 tbody td:first-child + td + td { font-style: italic; }

Example using both colgroup and CSS 2.1 styling

The reason for the redundancy is that IE6 seem to ignore styles that uses the above CSS 2.1 selectors, instead of ignoring the selector.

This would be ignored by IE6:
#guild, #css21 tbody td:first-child + td + td { font-style: italic; }

To remove the redundancy from the rendering engine of the browser, you could exploit the star html bug in pre IE 7 browsers. Add * html before each colgroup-styling. Then the rendering engines of IE 6 and older browsers see those styles, whereas modern browsers only see the CSS 2.1 selector styles.

/* Only visible to pre IE 7 */
* html #guild { font-style: italic; }
/* For modern browsers */
#css21 tbody td:first-child + td + td { font-style: italic; }

Great CSS 2.1 information

456 Berea Street CSS Selectors Part 1
456 Berea Street CSS Selectors Part 2
456 Berea Street CSS Selectors Part 3

Comments, critique, etc. are as always appreciated!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007 - A(lmost a) year in review

The blog started off with a small post, January 17. 2007.

When I started the blog, I thought I'd mostly post about Web/Domino-stuff. As the year progressed, I believe I ended up with more Notes content than Web content.

My idea-well isn't as full as it was half a year ago, but hopefully I will be able to find/create something useful to share with you in 2008.

Instead of posting my favourite posts of the year, I'll leave you with the most visited content.

Top 5 visited content of 2007

  1. Rant about Notes 8, Lotus/IBM

  2. (mis?)Using $$ReturnGeneralError as a shortcut for search

  3. Simplifying Evaluate

  4. Ajax-like live-search in the client

  5. Cross client (Web/Notes) validation using JavaScript

On a more personal level, the highlight of 2007 was definitely my trip to South Korea.