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Best Practice Makes Perfect

A collaboration with Domino developers about how to do it and how to get it right in Domino

Have you seen the message "Agent must be run from a view window" in the Notes client, when the focus is actually in a view? This is a symptom of a selection tracking problem that's been around for a while. I think it ties in to other things, like wrong toolbars being displayed, documents opening in the debugger window instead of the client window....

If you've seen this or similar problems and think it's important enough that we should fix it, would you please communicate with me privately to help us get more reproducible cases? Or, especially, if you've already reported some similar sort of problem that maybe I'm not finding in the SPR database because I don't know what weird symptoms to look for. Issues pertaining to focus are very difficult to debug, so the more scenarios we can get, the better. It will also help us assign a priority to the issue, if we can get a better idea how prevalent it is in the field. If it's occurring mainly or only in the non-production builds we use internally most of the time, then it's not as big a deal.

I think often, there are issues that appear to be intermittent (or maybe just are hard to reproduce) that we don't hear about because they don't stop anyone from getting things done. But if they have an effect on perceived reliability, we'd like to know. Anyone who sees something in the Notes client that looks "flaky," I urge you to let me know, even if you can't reproduce it reliably.

The SPR (one of them anyway) is AGUD7JDQSK.

Andre Guirard | 27 April 2010 02:28:20 PM ET | Home, Plymouth, MN, USA | Comments (20)


 Comments

1) IdeaJam
Tommy Valand | 4/27/2010 5:18:53 PM

You could post it on IdeaJam, and have IBM follow IdeaJam.. ;)

The reason Lotus/IBM don't hear about a lot of bugs is that the bug reporting tools for Domino products are *insert very offensive word*.

It was probably a lot easier buying a book from a webshop in the mid 1990s, than it is to report a bug using the current tools available.

2) Will-do
Erik Brooks | 4/27/2010 9:56:50 PM

Thanks for posting this, Andre. There's some definite DDE flakiness I think I can repro. I think I can do it going back to R7 too which might help, depending on how much focus-related code got ported over.

3) Easy to recreate in R7
Kendall | 4/27/2010 10:34:30 PM

I'm e-mailing...well, what I hope is your e-mail address. :-)

4) Recurring theme
Erik Brooks | 4/28/2010 10:00:15 AM

In my experience focus problems can usually be seen by having the properties window always open. Just leave it open and start doing stuff, including alt-tabbing to another app outside of Notes. I think you'll find that 99% of the focus problems occur when somehow the workspace gets focus when it shouldn't. Other times it's nothing.

5) Occurs almost weekly
Michael Mace | 4/30/2010 7:39:26 AM

Not only do i see the "agent in view" message but i Notes Client documents (from mail or other databases) will open in Designer window (when i have both clients open). Reproduce-able ? Not at the moment; but i will try to remember to capture the scenario the next time it occurs.

6) Problem with action labels
Jens Winkelmann | 4/30/2010 12:38:45 PM

The start side of my application is a form with an embedded view.

The view has actions and the action labels are computed from a profile document.

Sometimes not often the action labels are empty.

I wondering why.

Then I put @DBTitle in a action label formula.

So I find out that the action label sometimes run in the context of another database.

For example I find the title of my mail application in the action label and not the current application as I expected.

This happens only in Notes >= 8.

I have this problem only with action labels. My testing show that action hide formulas or action image formulas do not have this problem.

7) focus lost since last update?
Walter Mobach | 4/30/2010 4:10:06 PM

Using 8.5.1. is less pleasant since the focus does not return to the open window after closing a window. It occurs after the last upgrade. Actions, delete buttons do not display/work like they used to and this very inconveniant.

8) Oh yeah, definitely
Erik Brooks | 5/4/2010 2:51:50 PM

@5 - I've definitely seen that in R7. There's nothing like a mail database opening in your designer frameset!

9) YES!!
Scott Petricig | 5/4/2010 4:51:58 PM

Yes, focus issues happen to me ALL THE TIME. I get Toolbars missing, incorrect menu items showing up, stuff opening in the Admin client instead of the Notes client, Document Properties boxes not working properly, and the clients magically switching between themselves after I try to open something. :) They aren't Designer or development related issues, but seem to be "focus" issues nonetheless. I'm not sure how I would capture these issues but I'll see if I can reproduce any..

10) Run on Selected
Cheryl | 7/21/2010 4:19:18 PM

Yes, this just started for me on agents I've been using from a view window/ Action menu selection for years. Make it stop!

11) Run on Selected
Cheryl | 7/21/2010 4:34:00 PM

Okay, here's how i fixed it. Changed the Target to None, saved and closed. Re-opened, changed the Target back to All Selected Documents (the original setting!), re-saved. Boy, now it works. Wonder why?

12) @Cheryl...
Andre Guirard | 7/21/2010 6:20:15 PM

What you did, didn't solve the problem. The problem is a focus issue, so whether it occurs depends on the order of operations of your getting to the view, and possibly in some cases on timing, and whether you have the properties dialog open, etc. It's less likely if you have only the Notes client open. So anyway, what really solved the problem was your closing and reopening the database, or switching client tabs, or something along those lines.

13) chicago medical billing
chicago medical billing | 8/27/2010 2:44:11 PM

Thanks for posting this, Andre. There's some definite DDE flakiness I think I can repro. I think I can do it going back to R7 too which might help, depending on how much focus-related code got ported over.

{ Link }

14) Listbox focus problem in 8.5
Steve Sherwood | 12/2/2010 8:26:12 PM

A Notes 8.5 user clicks from the listbox field in a Notes form into another Windows application (Word, Excel, Notepad, etc; the symptom is the same for all of them). On clicking back into the listbox field the mouse cannot be used to click elsewhere in the listbox field. The Up & Down arrow and Pg Up & Pg Dn keys work, but not the mouse. The user has to click in another field in the form (or into another open Notes window and back again) before the listbox is navigable with the mouse again.

15) Listbox focus problem in 8.5 [2]
Steve Sherwood | 12/2/2010 8:32:43 PM

Sorry, should have said in the previous post that this does not happen for Notes 6.5 users of the same application.

16) Focus Issue
Evelyn | 2/6/2011 7:11:38 PM

I've just had possibly related issue while replacing the design of several databases. ( right click on database, Application, Replace Design, select Template, repeat )

While replacing the 3nd database design ( 2 more in progress in the background), the focus(selection) switched (without any visual indication) to the first database on the first tab of the workspace ( the mail file of the client in this case ), and replaced the design of that instead.

After repairing that issue, I continued, MUCH more carefully, visually checking the properties dialog of each database as I selected it, and shortly afterwards, noticed that the properties dialog was again displaying the properties for the mail file, instead of the database that I had just clicked on. It even displayed the icon of database that I had clicked on in the "selected" position, while showing the properties of the mail file on the actual dialog.

8.5.2

17) 8.5.2FP2 - Focus in Mail / ToDos / Journal
Mark Taylor | 4/6/2011 6:28:14 PM

I continue to see issues with Mail, toDo and Journal - issues where the wrong mail document gets deleted, issues where you can't scroll (page up/down) thru a categorized view, etc.

Opening a PMR is tedious at best, and quite often, after months of collecting data, end up having to give up and close the PMR because you can't get past level 1.

Unfortunately, if enough people don't report issues, the issues have no weight and never get fixed. What's more frustrating is that you can't convince the support guy that there is an issue, it's never been reported (even when they can duplicate it) and again, it never gets fixed.

Ok, sorry I'm ranting. How can we get the focus issues in mail, todo and journal fixed? How can i help?

18) Stull happened right now
Annette | 12/14/2012 6:58:06 AM

V 8.5.2, copied from an Agent wchich runs fine??? Still investigating...and found that!

19) Greg Aziz
Greg Aziz | 10/25/2014 8:47:56 AM

Unfortunately, if enough people don't report issues, the issues have no weight and never get fixed. What's more frustrating is that you can't convince the support guy that there is an issue, it's never been reported (even when they can duplicate it) and again, it never gets fixed.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gregaziz/15344057910/in/set-72157648334400550

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