The release of Notes 8.5.1 brought with it a significant change to the Domino Designer client. For those admins out there (or anyone else, really) who do not have the benefit of an in-house development team to bounce questions off of, you may find yourself lost or at least somewhat confused the first time you open Designer 8.5.1. If you are totally unfamiliar with the Designer 8.5.1 client, you may want to start with the Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5 Deployment Guide’s App Dev UI section for a quick overview of the layout.
Because I am writing this with Domino administrators in mind, I am going to bypass all of the new features and instead focus on how to get you up and running by tackling the most common problems I have seen admins overcome with this new Designer client.
I see the Welcome page but now what
Read the entire Top 5 Things to Know About the New Domino Designer on the Welcome page. This is not voluntary! Read it now because it is useful.
Once that is done, you can get rid of the Welcome page. You won’t ever need it again (if you do you can get to it from Help -> Welcome). Uncheck the “Always show at startup” checkbox and then close the page by clicking the close X in the upper-right of the view.
What is with all of these subwindows
With the Welcome page closed now things are really starting to get confusing! You have all of these little window panes open that you, as an admin, simply do not need. Let’s get rid of some of these extraneous sub-windows, or in Eclipse-ese, “views” or “panels”. You don’t need Controls or Data or Outlines. Afterall, you aren’t writing XPages, you just want to quickly enable or disable an agent, right?
To close a view, simply press the X in the upper-right corner of the view or panel’s title bar (sometimes this can look like a tab).
Close the following views:
This should now look pretty similar to how the old Designer client looked. Let’s save this layout (perspective) so that the next time you open Designer you get only these views.
Click the menu Window -> Save Perspective As…. When the Save Perspective As dialogue appears the perspective name “Domino Designer” should already be populated. Simply press the OK button. Domino Designer will now open only these views from now on.
I hear what you are saying now. What if, just what if, I ever need those views again? Simple. Click the Window -> Show Eclipse Views menu item. From the sub-menu you can choose to open any of the default views that we closed earlier.
I click Views or Forms or Agents and nothing happens
With the layout setup in a way that is somewhat familiar to you, you now want to get down to work. But every time you click Forms or View or Agents or whatever nothing happens. Don’t freak out! Remember, this is a different client and therefore it’s behavior has changed. You now need to double-click for these areas to display in the Editor view.
How do I schedule an agent
Ah, yes, the good old properties dialog. May it rest in peace. All of it’s functionality has been moved to the Properties panel. To schedule an agent you must first open the agent. Once the agent is opened in the Editor view you will now find that the properties panel has all of the scheduling functionality as well as most of the other functionality you found in previous version’s dialog box.
A word on Prohibit Design Refresh or Replace to Modify
From time-to-time you may have to go into the Designer to check or uncheck the Prohibit Design Refresh or Replace to Modify on certain design elements. It is really no different in the new Designer client. You can still have a column in the editor view which shows the elements that have this property enabled and you still enable/disable it from properties (the properties panel now instead of the dialog). However, you will not find this information in the Property panel when the design element is opened. You must select, or single-click, the desired design element (or Shift+click or CTRL+click multiple design elements) from the Editor view. By doing this the Properties panel will display four tabs of information: Info, Fields, Design, and Document Ids. Select Design and you will then see the Prohibit Design Refresh or Replace to Modify property.
There are a few design elements that do not allow you to easily see at a glance the status of this property from a column in the Editor. These are the Database Script, About Document, Using Document, and Icon. In order to see if these elements have the property enable or disabled, you will have to select, or single-click, on the element in the Applications view at which point the Properties panel will be updated appropriately.
How do I temporarily get the Applications view out of the way
In prior versions of the Designer client you could easily slide the Database frame out of the way to make more room in the window for other things like the editor. This can still be done in the new Designer, you just have to approach it in a different manner.
Instead of resizing the frames like we did on the old Designer, we can now minimize or maximize them. If you look closely at each view you will see some familiar controls:
You could simply click the minimize control on the Applications view to get it out of the way, but I prefer to click the Editor view’s maximize control in order to enlarge to take up the entire available window space. When you are done click the restore control to size it back down to its original size.