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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

Welcome! Pull up a chair. No, not that one, it's ready to collapse. I'm just going to rattle on a bit about my favorite technical subject -- developing Notes/Domino applications, and then I hope you will all chime in with your ideas. I'm here to share what I know, and also to learn from your experiences.

I used to do a lot of Domino development myself, before I joined IBM. Now, if I create a Notes application it's generally to test some feature or as a demonstration for an article I'm writing (see links on the right). But I remain very interested in Domino development and developer enablement, and view myself as an advocate for you, the developers. That's why I was excited to be assigned as Project Leader for the Domino Designer client. As Project Leader, my minions are supposed to salute and call me Sir, but they pretty much don't bother. I lead remotely, from my home in Minneapolis, so I can't tell if they're saluting anyway -- have to take their word for it.

I have theories about Domino development, and a goal. The goal is to achieve slack. The theories have to do with the best ways to develop applications so as to reach the goal.

The way I see it, you're most productive if you know the right way to do things the first time. Best practices aren't just a good idea -- they're time back in your life that you can spend with your family, your computer games, golf, writing a novel, or whatever you like to do, as opposed to spending your evenings trying to figure out why your application is so gosh-darned slow. They're so that you can let your customers (or end users, or whatever other shorter names you call them) adjust the operation of their own applications without having to bug you. If you do it well the first time, you won't have to do it again later. That lets you get more done in less time. And if you can manage to hide your increased productivity from your boss, so that you don't get more assignments to fill the time, then you can use that time in more personally meaningful ways. That's slack.

So what are these best practices? I have some ideas, some of them probably incorrect, so I'll just sort of write them down and you can comment. We'll see whether we can achieve consensus, but if not, I'm right -- not that fellow who wrote a comment contradicting me. Got it?

I just wanted to introduce the topic for now; I'll get into the meat of these ideas in later entries. But I don't want to write any entries without some value added, so here's a little tip: you've perhaps noticed than when you paste graphics into a Notes document -- such as screen shots into an email message -- they take up rather more disk space than seems strictly necessary. This situation can be improved with one teensy change: the following line in your notes.ini file will magically reduce the size of any new images you paste:


All right -- actually it's not magic. It converts the images to 256-colors and compresses them into GIF format, so it's not a good choice for some images. But for most images you paste, you won't notice much difference, and for those where the limited palette is a problem, you can still get full color fidelity by importing the image (or by turning it off temporarily -- managing your ini variables at runtime is a near-future topic).

If you use the administration process to push this setting out to your end users, then you should also see some reduction in mail file size over time, especially if you deal in mailed screenshots a good bit.

Andre Guirard | 28 February 2007 10:48:32 PM ET | Minneapolis, MN | Comments (6)

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