Many enhancements have been made to Notes and Domino for application developers, but the first that developers will encounter will be the new Domino Designer 8.5 client. This new client is based on the Eclipse editor framework. Thought of by many as only a Java Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Eclipse is actually much more than that. The Eclipse organization maintains the open-source framework and a large library of packages and plug-ins that are used to extend Eclipse beyond just a Java IDE. Some of these extensions give Eclipse the ability to morph into an IDE for different programming languages such as C/C++, PHP, and now LotusScript. Designer’s newfound flexibility will allow for greater enhancements to an application developer’s day-to-day workflow as well as provide new functionality such as the ability to create compelling Web 2.0 applications in Domino using XPages.
Even if you do not plan to leverage these extensible features, the fact that Designer is now part of Eclipse brings with it significant changes. No doubt the most striking of these changes is the new user interface.
When you first open Domino Designer 8.5 you will be presented with a multi-paned window. Each of these panes, or Eclipse views, provides varying and distinct information about the database or design element that you are currently viewing.
By default, Domino Designer displays several views:
4. Properties, Events, and Problems
5. Controls and Data
This collection of views and editors is known as the Domino Designer perspective. In Eclipse, perspectives are collections of views and editors that are appropriate for a given task. If you wanted to quickly switch over to develop some non-Domino specific Java code you could switch to the Java perspective at which point you would be presented with an appropriate combination of views and editors for the task.
Note: If you develop in other languages besides LotusScript, the Eclipse IDE can provide a profound shift in how you work if you choose to utilize it as your main development environment. That said, it is beyond the scope of this wiki to delve into the array of possibilities that Eclipse provides to you. For the remainder of this section we will only be concentrating on the Domino Designer perspective. For more information on Eclipse you are encouraged to visit http://www.eclipse.org.
Though perspectives have a default layout, you can drag-and-drop the views as you see fit or close them altogether. If you close a view and later realize that you need it back you will find it under the Window -> Show Eclipse Views menu option. Once you have altered the perspective to your liking you can save the perspective by choosing Window -> Save Perspective As menu option. To get back to the default Domino Designer perspective you can click the Window -> Reset Perspective menu.
This is the view which will display your databases and allow you to browse the design elements similar to the Design pane in the older Designer clients. Though it works very similarly to the old Design pane, the Applications view does have some nice new abilities.
When viewing a design category, for example Forms or Agents, you will no longer be presented with a truncated list of elements with up and down arrows forcing you to scroll through to view them all. Now, when expanding Forms, or any other category, the entire list of that category’s elements will be displayed. It is important to note that to view all of a category’s design elements in the Editor view or to view a specific element in the Editor view, for example a specific view or agent, you must now double-click for this to happen. Single-clicking will only select the category or element.
Another useful feature of the Applications view is Working Sets. Working Sets are analogous to bookmarks from previous versions of the Designer client, but Working Sets are more useful.
You can setup your Working Sets anyway you see fit. For example, you may create Working Sets for each project or for each customer that you work with. Once you have created your Working Sets and assigned databases to them, you can select which Working Sets are visible and this is where the power of Working Sets is apparent over the Bookmarks scheme. With Working Sets you can select one or more Working Sets to be visible at the same time thus allowing you great flexibility in which databases are made available to you at any one time in the Applications view. Selecting no Working Sets displays all of your databases.
In previous versions of the Designer client if you were to display the properties of an element these properties would appear in the properties dialogue box. This properties dialogue has now been replaced by the Properties view.
If we were displaying a database’s forms in the editor, the form’s properties will be displayed when the form is selected. This is where you can access information such as the created date, last modified date, a list of fields in the form, design inheritance, prohibit design refresh and replace to modify, and the document IDs.
Events and Problems
The Events view is used for the creation of components, pages, and controls. Events are categorized to make accessing them easier.
The Problems view is where to go to find error and warning information.
Controls and Data Views
The Controls view displays your user-interface controls and custom controls used for designing the layout of XPages. The controls are categorized by Core Controls (button, list box, checkbox, and so on) and Container Controls (panel, table, views, and so on). There is also an Other control which will give you access to controls such as AJAX Typeahead, Event Handler, and other such controls.
The Data view is also XPage related allowing you to view data sources that are associated with the current XPage.