Wednesday, 21 December 2011

agent.RunOnServer - cannot create automated object

The other day I had to make some changes to process an incoming html page containing client data from a paid service.
To limit the access to this service, it can only be called from the domino servers. And is currently done  through a scheduled agent.
But now some users also need to be able to call the service on demand. To keep the restriction of calling only from a domino server I created a lotusscript button that runs the process via an agent.RunOnServer call.
This agent is reusing the code from the scheduled agent and does a CreateObject of the MSXML service to handle the incoming html/xml.
It constantly failed with an error message "cannot create automated object" on the console.
After some searching and a tip by Dennis van Remortel I found a technote (21088529) through the LDD forum that explained this error and how to work around it. It notes it affects releases 5, 6 & 6.5, but appearantly it is still valid for 8.5.x as well!!

The workaround is to create another agent that is called from the client button with the RunOnServer method an to have this agent call the original agent with the Run method.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

XSnippets - do not reinvent the wheel

A gem for code sharing was launched about a month ago on OpenNTF, XSnippets. It contains small re-usable chunks of code related to Xpages.
The UI is very simple and userfriendly and finding that codefragment you need in your next project should not be a problem. The code snippets are even colour coded.

Hopefully all those great contributors of code to the Notes Domino community will gradually copy their pieces of code to this site. That would make XSnippets the place to look first and avoid reinventing the wheel.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Xpages Internationalisation

Working in Europe for a multinational, providing a multi-lingual website is not an option, it is a must. So the option for internationalisation in Xpages is very welcome.
The standard xpages localisation option (in the application properties) creates a properties file per specified language per custom control/xpage. Works great, but it does create a lot of maintenance work if things needs changing afterwards or when you add a language.
There is another option available which is not as automated like the xpages localization, but in the long run will probably turn out to be more flexible when doing maintenance or adding an extra language.
Here is how it works:

- For every language create a properties file, a flat text file with the extension .properties and make them available to the application through the "file resources". For ease of use name these files something like english.properties, dutch.properties, etc. In the properties files add name-value pairs separated by the equals sign (=) for labels, buttons etc. in your applocation that you want translated.
     login_text=Login
     logout_text=Logout
     menu_text=Menu
     ....

- In a custom control that loads on every page in the application, e.g. an initialisation custom control, in the resources properties add a resource bundle, name it something like "lang" and compute the location to the desired language properties file, e.g. using the browser language setting or for testing as simple as below..
     return "/dutch.properties";

- Next go through all the xpages and custom controls and change the fixed text of labels, buttons, etc. by a value from the properties file set in the resources.
     lang.login_text

- After setting all the necessary entries in the properties file for the default language, create the file resources (copy) for the other languages. To spot not translated labels in the application, you can prefix them with the target language.
     login_text=[EN]Login
     logout_text=[EN]Logout
     menu_text=[EN]Menu
     ....

This process is best done at the end of the development phase of a project and work with a default language until than.

Used sources:
xpages101.net

LND Application dvlp wiki

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Keep view position between (x)pages

By default xpages doesnot keep the position of the view (pageno.) when going to another page. So when you go back to the view page from another page, the view will display from the first entry (and page) again. Not very userfriendly if you had just left it from page 3.
You will have to make the view page remember its position by storing the number of the first row on the page in a scoped variable.
In the "beforeRenderResponse" event add the following code:

   var c = getComponent("viewPanel");
   if (c) {
       sessionScope.put("viewFirst"+view.getPageName()
, c.first);
   }
"viewPanel" is the id of your view control of course.
And in the view control's All properties - first - add the code:

   var vwFirst = sessionScope.get("viewFirst"+view.getPageName());
   if (vwFirst) return vwFirst;

This will also work when displaying data tables through a repeat control.

Used sources:
xpageswiki.com 

 

Monday, 19 September 2011

LotusSquash - 29 september 2011 postponed to 27 october

LotusSquash: playing squash with other Lotus geeks - a friendly training session open for players of all levels and Lotus geeks of all levels - a quarterly event organised around the country.
Non Lotus geeks are welcome too ;-)

It is also an alternative, nice and sporty way of networking and chatting about IBM Lotus stuff. Watch for updates via twitter #lotussquash.
Let us know if you want to join via twitter or post a comment here.

Next LotusSquash:
Date: thursday 29 september postponed to 27 oktober
Time: 19:00 hrs
Where: Squash & Cardiofit Centrum Zwolle
Address: Dobbe 69, 8032 JX Zwolle (NL)
Organised by: TooConnect Software Solutions

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Final version of DbLookupArray & DbColumnArray

Time to post the final version (I think) of the DbLookupArray and DbColumnArray functions, which I started blogging about a couple of months ago.
To date these functions only worked on the current database. So now I have added the option to also execute on another database on another server (beware that proper authorisation is in place).
The server will only be used when a database name is provided. In both cases, if omitted, the current server/database is used.
And the final added option is to be able to request the results back in a sorted order.

DbLookup
 /**  
  * Returns @DbLookup results as array and allows for cache  
  * @param server -name of the server the database is on (only used if dbname not empty, if omitted, the server of the current database is used)  
  * @param dbname -name of the database (if omitted the current database is used)  
  * @param cache -"cache" for using cache, empty or anything for nocache  
  * @param unique -"unique" for returning only unique values, empty or anything for all results  
  * @param sortit -"sort" for returning the values sorted alphabetically  
  * @param viewname -name of the view  
  * @param keyname -key value to use in lookup  
  * @param field -field name in the document or column number to retrieve  
  * @return array with requested results  
  */  
 function DbLookupArray(server, dbname, cache, unique, sortit, viewname, keyname, field) {  
      var cachekey = "dblookup_"+dbname+"_"+@ReplaceSubstring(viewname," ","_")+"_"+@ReplaceSubstring(keyname," ","_")+"-"+@ReplaceSubstring(field," ","_");  
      // if cache is specified, try to retrieve the cache from the sessionscope  
      if (cache.equalsIgnoreCase('cache')) {   
           var result = sessionScope.get(cachekey);  
      }  
      // if the result is empty, no cache was available or not requested,  
      //  do the dblookup, convert to array if not, cache it when requested  
      if (!result) {  
           // determine database to run against  
           var db = "";  
           if (!dbname.equals("")) { // if a database name is passed, build server, dbname array  
                if (server.equals("")){  
                     db = new Array(@DbName()[0],dbname); // no server specified, use server of current database  
                } else {  
                     db = new Array(server, dbname)  
                }   
           }  
           var result = @DbLookup(db, viewname, keyname, field);  
           if (result && unique.equalsIgnoreCase("unique")) result = @Unique(result);  
           if (result && typeof result == "string") result = new Array(result);  
           if (result && sortit.equalsIgnoreCase("sort")) result.sort();  
           if (result && cache.equalsIgnoreCase('cache')) sessionScope.put(cachekey,result);  
      }  
      return result;  
 }  
DbColumn
 /**  
  * Returns @DbColumn results as array and allows for cache  
  * @param server -name of the server the database is on (only used if dbname not empty, if omitted, the server of the current database is used)  
  * @param dbname -name of the database (if omitted the current database is used)  
  * @param cache -"cache" for using cache, empty or anything for nocache  
  * @param unique -"unique" for returning only unique values, empty or anything for all results  
  * @param sortit -"sort" for returning the values sorted alphabetically  
  * @param viewname -name of the view   
  * @param column -column number to retrieve  
  * @return array with requested results  
  */  
 function DbColumnArray(server, dbname, cache, unique, sortit, viewname, column) {  
      var cachekey = "dbcolumn_"+dbname+"_"+@ReplaceSubstring(viewname," ","_")+"_"+@ReplaceSubstring(column," ","_");  
      // if cache is specified, try to retrieve the cache from the sessionscope  
      if (cache.equalsIgnoreCase('cache')) {   
           var result = sessionScope.get(cachekey);  
      }  
      // if the result is empty, no cache was available or not requested,  
      //  do the dbcolumn, convert to array if not, cache it when requested  
      if (!result) {  
           // determine database to run against  
           var db = "";  
           if (!dbname.equals("")) { // if a database name is passed, build server, dbname array  
                if (server.equals("")){  
                     db = new Array(@DbName()[0],dbname); // no server specified, use server of current database  
                } else {  
                     db = new Array(server, dbname)  
                }   
           }  
           var result = @DbColumn(db, viewname, column);  
           if (result && unique.equalsIgnoreCase("unique")) result = @Unique(result);  
           if (result && typeof result == "string") result = new Array(result);  
           if (result && sortit.equalsIgnoreCase("sort")) result.sort();  
           if (result && cache.equalsIgnoreCase('cache')) sessionScope.put(cachekey,result);  
      }       
      return result;  
 }  

Used sources:
xpageswiki.com

Monday, 15 August 2011

Another "repeat control" encounter - multivalue fields

Beginning of this year I reported about some problems I encountered with repeat controls getting data from @DbLookup and @DbColumn. Specifically if the returned results were a single value. These are not returned as arrays.
The other week I encountered a similar thing while displaying a multivalue field through a repeat control. Here is the catch: although the field is declared multivalue on the Notes form, when accessing in Xpages a multivalue field containing a single value is not passed as an array. So you will have to catch it and convert to an array for use in a repeat control.

Also see:
Xpages and the failing repeat control
Getting unique results from xpages @dblookup and @dbcolumn

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Typo in code - dbcolumn !!

Had a sametime chat yesterday via BleedYellow started by Ed x Sanford with a question about a post from end of march on dblookup and dbcolumn in Xpages. The cache setting is not working on the dbcolumn code, why?
A glance at the code quickly learned that indeed the dbcolumn code would never cache.
The problem was in the second (actual) line of code. The "not" ! should not be there.
Thanks Ed for contacting me. The code snippets on the original blog entries have been changed accordingly.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Lotus Notes client SSO problem

After rebuilding my laptop end of last year for some reason the single signon, although installed, did not work as expected and every time I started Notes I had to key in my password. Not a big deal, but definitely annoying.
Searching the web for clues also did not bring any anwsers.
The other week the old laptop was replaced by a new one. Data was copied over from old to new machine, except for the notes.ini file which I deliberately left out hoping it would solve the problem. Well it did not!

At the same time I had for some reason clicked the option to use the workspace bookmark as homepage once too often and the client also started up with the home tab and a workspace tab. Again not a big deal, but annoying. And I could not figure out where that was configured.
After going through all the options in the preferences and all lines in the notes.ini and no luck, I also checked all the folders in the "open list" button (or open list "dock" sidebar). In the "more bookmarks - startup" folder I found the workspace was listed twice. Removing those would at least solve that problem!

And indeed next time starting the Notes client, the extra workspace tab was no longer there. But more important, for some reason the SSO started working again as well. Yeeh!!

I wonder if anyone else has encountered this nice little problem as well?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Getting unique results from Xpages DbLookup and DbColumn functions

After using the DbColumn and DbLookup code I posted a while back I found another thing that needed solving.
Frequently I want these functions to only return unique values. But placing @Unique around the function calls gives the empty result as before for a repeat control if the result of the function is a single value, a string in effect.
So I added a line of code and a parameter to the functions to be able to request unique values (see the code below).

DbLookup
The code has been moved and can be found here: http://notesnl.blogspot.com/2011/09/final-version-of-dblookuparray.html


DbColumn
The code has been moved and can be found here: http://notesnl.blogspot.com/2011/09/final-version-of-dblookuparray.html

Monday, 21 March 2011

Another Lotussquash coming up, 7 april - Apeldoorn



Last year in Q4 we picked up the Lotussquash initiative and agreed to have a Lotussquash event approximately every 3 months.
The next Lotussquash will be on the 7th of april in Apeldoorn (NL) and is organised by Clear IT Consulting.
More information can be found on their blog.
I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Improved caching for Xpages DbLookup and DbColumn

A while back I blogged about a failing repeat control in Xpages when passing it a single value returned from a @DbLookup or @DbColumn. In the comments to this entry it was already mentioned by some that it needs an array as input.
The other week I received a reply from IBM on my PMR (87011,211,788) stating exactly that, "The repeat control works as designed, it needs an array as input.".
From the earlier comments on that blogpost I had already started using the suggested solution from the xpages wiki by Julian Buss.
But like in the Notes client not every situation calls for cached results, so I amended this code to allow for cache or not. And instead of requestScope I used sessionScope as I want the cache to last until the session is ended (browser closed/session times out).
If you want to use it, put the code below in a server side JavaScript library and you are ready to use it.

DbLookup
The code has been moved and can be found here: http://notesnl.blogspot.com/2011/09/final-version-of-dblookuparray.html

DbColumn
The code has been moved and can be found here: http://notesnl.blogspot.com/2011/09/final-version-of-dblookuparray.html

Sunday, 13 February 2011

My thoughts on Lotusphere 2011 #ls11

My fourth Lotusphere
This Lotusphere is my fourth. I had the opportunity to go in 1996, 1998, 2008 and now in 2011. This time I was together with my collegue Dennis van Remortel.
The overall experience and excitement of watching great content in the sessions and sharing ideas and thoughts with peers and speakers was just super again and made up for the disappointing number of announcements from IBM this year.
I will definitely try to be back for the 2012 edition.

So finally, after a couple of days back home now, after visiting our collegues of InterfaceFLOR in the US, I think it is time to start writing down my thoughts.

Opening session
Many comments have already been made about this session which can be summarised as too much over rehearsed customer content and to little technical content and demoes. IBM clearly had very little to announce this year. The "next" releases were mentioned without a clear end date. Hopefully we will see some great announcements next year. I hope IBM realise they need to keep the pace to keep/regain the lead.
The guest speaker, Kevin Spacey, possibly made the best impression and touching on the core of the Lotus community, "send the elevator down" to help others learn/expand their skills and knowledge
Remarkable: Later it was announced that almost 1 in 5 attendees at the opening session had been using an iPad!!!

Students?
Yes students, in the opening session 500 students were welcomed to the Lotusphere Opening day (lets hope the OGS didnot turn them off) on invitation of Group Business Software and IBM to get a glimpse of the wonderfull world of yellow. Way to go, students are the link to the future.

IBM
Not sure if it was only me, but I noticed a lot of attendees from IBM this year (blue badges). Coincidence or was it to fill up unsold seats.

Cloud
This years breakout sessions and sundays jumpstart sessions had to make up for lack of news in the opening session. I chose for a mix of strategic and technical sessions. The technical sessions to see how things can be done and the strategic to see the capabilities of products like Sametime Unified Telephony and Connections and to start thinking about how my company could benefit from using these. Very nice to see the transfer of a single phone call being moved to the computer and to the mobile phone. And furthermore the integration of it all into the notes client as well IBM effort to move it all to the cloud with lotuslive, soon even existing Notes applications.
Highlights from the technical sessions:
- Xpages blast - 30 very usefull tips in 60 minutes. Outstanding.
- Symphony - the robust IBM, open source alternative, to MS office
- the increasing extension of the power of mobile devices
- xpages, xpages, xpages - build powerfull webapplications in lotus notes RAD style
- dojo - quickly enhance the user experience

Jeopardy
The closing session was awesome. IBM presented a brief demo of the sametime setup that was put in place to ensure a smooth safety organisation at the coming Superbowl match in Fort Worth. It showes the technology is ready to support mission critical communications. The next thing was the line up of the Watson computer to play a game of Jeopardy against some very skilled Lotusphere attendees. No mean feat to get a computer to understand the finesses of human language, interpret the meaning and coming up with the right solution. Later in february Watson will compete with the best Jeopardy players in the US to show its capabilities. Fingers crossed for Watson!

Energy
In the four times I have been so far, even though spread over several years, each time I found I come back with lots of energy that will last for months on end and at least until the next registration period for Lotusphere comes around. I got home with lots of ideas and things to explore from the technical session I watched.

Thank you
I would like to end this entry with a thank you to all the staff at IBM that work very hard at making this great event happen every year.
And of course thank you to all the people I met at this years Lotusphere.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Xpages - Combobox - set first choice to blank

In Xpages the combobox works different from what you are used to in the Notes form equivalent, the dialog list field.
In Notes if you get the choices using an @DbColumn or @DbLookup, assign no default value and the user does not consciously pick a value, no value is assigned to the field.
But when you do that with a combobox in Xpages, the first value in the list of choices will be assigned to the field.
Usually that is not what I want, I want the user to make a conscious choice. And assigning a default value of a space does not help if that value is not in the list of choices. So you will have to add a blank value as the first option in the list of choices.
I found 2 ways to solve this and it eliminates the need to set a default value.

1. The simplest way is to add a space as the first label-value pair and for the second add the rest of the choices using @DbColumn/@DbLookup.

2. Insert a blank value in the javascript code that retrieves the list of choices using @DbColumn/@DbLookup. This is probably the better method if you also want to include code to do some form of cache. See the code sample below.

 // get the cached result if used before 
var list = sessionScope.<cachename>;
// if no cached values found, create it
if (!list) {
// create an array with 1 blank entry as first entry
var arr = new Array(" ");
var res = @DbLookup("", "<a view>", "<a key>", 2);
// append the retrieved values to the array
var list = arr.concat(res);
sessionScope.<cachename> = list;
}
return list;

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Lotusphere 2011 agenda app for Android

For the Android adepts it is good to know that there is also a ls11 agenda app available. Search for "lotusphere" in the market and you will find the LS11 agenda app posted by Joseph Jaquinta based on the geniisoft version.
Dave Hay also mentions it on his blog.
As for the mix up of names. The app is written by Jo Grant (as Dave mentions), but appearantly posted in the market by Joseph Jaquinta.
It has a nice and simple layout and good options to filter and tag your favorite sessions.

thanx Jo !!

You will also find a LS11 app in the market from Sogeti, a game with a nice reward for the winner?!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Xpages and the failing Repeat control

I am converting an application to Xpages and use the repeat control to build several levels of dynamic menu structures.
They are based on simple @DbColumn and @DbLookup. But when the result array is only one entry the repeat control fails. The code below shows the failing repeat control (xp:link simplified to keep the code clean).
[Note: single results from @DbColumn or @DbLookup are returned as string and not an array.]
 <xp:repeat id="repeat1" rows="30" var="rowData" indexVar="rowIndex"> 
<xp:this.value><![CDATA[#{javascript:
@Unique(@DbLookup("", "xpSectionList", sessionScope.regionFilter, 2))
}]]></xp:this.value>
<li>
<xp:link escape="true" id="linkSubSection" title="#{javascript:rowData}">
<xp:this.text><![CDATA[#{javascript:rowData}]]></xp:this.text>
</xp:link>
</li>
</xp:repeat>
After some searching I found a solution in the LDD by Bob Cross, "Hint for Repeating a single value".
Repeat controls are great - but they MUST return an array, even if it is just one entry.

In my example, I used a repeat control to display entries from a dblookup. However, some of my lookups only returned one entry, so the result was a string, not an array. Since the result of my dblookup was a string, the repeat control would not display the one returned result.

The solution is to convert the result to a string first by using valueOf(). This returns a string delimited by commas. Then split the result by the commas to get an array. If split fails, then the result was an array to start with.

var tmpstr = result.valueOf();
try {
var newarr = tmpstr.split(",");
return(newarr)
}
catch(err){
return(tmpstr);
}
The proposed solution works fine and does solve the problem, but I consider it a workaround for a bug. The repeat control should also work when a single value is returned.
I have filed a service request (PMR) with IBM. Please do the same if you think this should be solved!
[Note: IBM have responded to the PMR: The repeat control works as designed and expects an array as input.]
The solution workaround is implemented in the code below.
 <xp:repeat id="repeat1" rows="30" var="rowData"  indexVar="rowIndex">
<xp:this.value><![CDATA[#{javascript:
var result = @Unique(@DbLookup("", "xpSectionList", sessionScope.regionFilter, 2));
var tmpstr = result.valueOf();
try {
var newarr = tmpstr.split(",");
return(newarr)
}
catch(err){
return(tmpstr);
}
}]]></xp:this.value>
<li>
<xp:link escape="true" id="linkSection" title="#{javascript:rowData}">
<xp:this.text><![CDATA[#{javascript:rowData}]]></xp:this.text>
</xp:link>
</li>
</xp:repeat>