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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

You know how you can use Tools / DXL Utilities / Transform in Designer, and run a DXL description of all (or some) design elements through an XSL transformer to produce an HTML report about the design elements? You didn't know that? Well you can. The problem is that there are only a couple of stylesheets supplied with the product, none of which provide a comprehensive description of the design. There's one to list out all the LotusScript code, for instance. That's useful, but fairly limited.

If someone would write a stylesheet to translate the whole of DXL into something along the lines of the Design Synopsis, only more complete and better formatted, and share it with all of us, I would see to it that they get a nice umbrella or something, besides the fame and fortune that would naturally accrue. I'm sure I would be able to get a group together to put up a bust of the person at Lotusphere.

Andre Guirard | 9 April 2008 05:35:00 AM ET | Home, Plymouth, MN, USA | Comments (12)


1) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Bill Buchan | 4/9/2008 7:24:57 AM

Well, till DXL is round-trippable (that is, you can export a design element, tweak one thing and push it back in without breaking everything else), DXL adoption will remain a niche.

Shame, as DXL Export/Import started in nd5, and was incorporated in the product in nd6.

And you - as in Iris - are in a position to influence this. Us Business partners, customers, developers have been asking for this for years...


---* Bill

2) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
fixing the rich text one is possible | 4/9/2008 8:31:38 AM

check in the partner forum for some suggestions on fixing the existing synopsis, it was recently discussed there. You don't need to put in a new paragraph for every line.

If you want a stylesheet written to reformat DXL like that I would suggest making it a community effort. Put up a rough outline on a wiki (a real one that people can edit) and let us at it.

3) Bill does have a point I’m afraid
Sean Cull | 4/9/2008 8:54:45 AM

I personally have lost over a weeks worth of work over DXL bugs were views were corrupted in a subtle irreparable way - I would like to do more with it but my experience is that a number of people with in depth experience of it have given up or scaled back.

As an example the Noteshound product has been extensively re-written to get away fom DXL

On the other hand it has allowe dus to do some great things with images in views

{ Link }

but it does make me nervous


4) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Esther Strom | 4/9/2008 3:56:00 PM

Is that function available in all versions? I'm on 7.0.3, and the only option under DXL Tools is Exporter.

5) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Rob Goudvis | 4/9/2008 11:45:09 PM

I agree with Bill: round-trip does not work at all.

I have exported the inotes60 template (used for DWA 6) and tried to import it without any modifications. The import did not only show many, many warnings, but it also had errors, which caused the import to break.

I cannot believe that anybody would trust the DXL-utilities at all.

I gave up working with DXL and changed my focus to the C API (which really means invoking functions from the nnotes.dll). Apart from problems with the definition of the parameters, I call the functions from Lotusscript and the documentation is based on C-interface, it goes smoothly.

I am surprised to see that Notes Designer 8.5, using Eclipse, is based on DXL. Maybe they only use the export side and do not import DXL into an application (= new term for database). Or have they laid hand on the long waiting improved version of the DXL utilities? In that case: give it to us today.

6) It has been promised to be fixed in 8.5
Stephan H. Wissel | 4/10/2008 12:12:22 PM

You will see roundtrip save DXL in 8.5 (while I work for IBM: this is not an official statement!).

And a synopsis is one way. I think the XSLT approach is kewl. I would suggest Andre gets started (he started it ;-)) by writing one stylesheet that imports one stylesheet per design element. This way different reporting needs can be fulfilled by swapping things in and out.

:-) stw

7) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Erik Brooks | 4/10/2008 11:39:55 PM

I've been using DXL hardcore since the R5 toolkit.

We have - literally - tens of thousands of different forms that were created from imported DXL generated by WebQuerySave agents. They're big, monstrous, crazy-complex forms, some with thousands of fields.

Overall, DXL rocks, but it can be rough. Round-tripping obviously doesn't work that well and if you assemble it by hand (we do) you will find stuff that flat out doesn't work. But as long as you do lots of incremental testing (e.g. our DXL generation code was tested very slowly and meticulously) it's great.

8) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
harkpabst meliantrop | 4/11/2008 2:24:27 AM

Esther, that's because you've been a naughty girl and have changed your default browser (in your location document) to something different than Internet Explorer (which IBM does not like, naturally).

Took me some months until I had finally found out, while those menu entries seemed to appear and disappear for no reason ...

9) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Jane | 4/27/2008 11:06:53 PM

I took a stab at this Andre, you can find links and examples for two stylesheets at { Link }

10) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Charles Robinson | 4/30/2008 4:11:10 PM

There is something in the OpenNTF Codebin: { Link }

I haven't tried it so I'm not sure if it meets your needs.

11) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Cesar Mugnatto | 9/23/2008 12:41:55 PM

I have posted a fairly comprehensive XSLT stylesheet in OpenNTF, specifically here:

{ Link }

12) Please write XSL for Design Synopsis
Andre Guirard | 9/24/2008 3:43:52 PM

Cesar, thanks. I don't have time just at the moment to look at it (and I'll have to think about whether I'm prepared to award a _second_ umbrella, besides Jane's).

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