[thelist] Lotus Notes - Domino Designer

Diane Soini dianesoini at earthlink.net
Wed May 5 21:20:31 CDT 2004

I have to use domino designer in my job.  I have only a little 
experience as I'm new to using it.

The IBM web site has some forums that are pretty helpful. You should 
look for them.

You will absolutely not get standards compliance, or even meet some 
basic accessibility needs, no matter how hard you try, using domino. 
You have very little control over it. It's a thread that comes up on 
the forums.

To avoid the pitfalls and frustrations of the wysiwyg tool, you can 
create pages in domino that are either entirely passthrough HTML or 
that are just output as HTML. There is a difference between the two. 
For example, you can use "hide whens" on the passthrough html, but not 
on the output as html. Using either of these two, you can create your 
own good html (minus the doctype declaration unfortunately, so that's 
about as good as you'll get) and use <calculated text> as sort of the 
equivalent of something like <?=$myvar?> in other languages. You can 
calculate something like the date on output as html pages, but if you 
want to calculate database or form fields you should use passthrough 
html and include all the field widgets at the top of your page, with a 
"hide when" set to hide from web browsers.

The real problems occur when trying to use their "action" button bars. 
There's no way to change the output html for the buttons unless you use 
javascript to manipulate the DOM, and even then it's difficult. I wrote 
some javascript that I include in all my body tags to get rid of all 
domino font tags, table tag attributes etc so that my stylesheet will 
adequately override them. Nevertheless, it's not perfect and my level 
of control is limited. Also, if you set all your text to black, 10pt or 
12pt, (I can't recall which) default sans serif you won't get any font 
tags in your html. It helps, too, if you can learn the URL patterns for 
things like shared resource images or links to OpenDocument or Edit 
pages. Then you can just code that in by hand rather than try to let 
domino do it for you, which seems to promote domino causing extreme 
annoyances like multiple <br> tags for no apparent reason.

The other huge problem are the views. You can barely do anything about 
the view html. There is a fix I've been shown, but I found it really 
cumbersome to use, so I have not yet used it myself and gotten used to 
it. Basically, if you set a column header value to be 
[</tr></table><table></td><th>Heading goes here</th>] with the 
brackets, you can close the domino <table> tag that is output, and then 
insert your own html. You can do this in table cell values as well, 
although I'm not exactly sure how. Sorry I'm not more help on views. If 
I was reading this at work I could cut and paste some examples from 
other people's work.

Good luck with it. Domino can do a lot of the same things that other 
database applications can do, but it is also limited. It has nowhere 
near the power and flexibility of something like php and mysql or asp. 
But it is relatively easy to create an application with it. Try the 
tutorials that come with the install. They are super simplistic, but 
they do help you get acquainted.


On Wednesday, May 5, 2004, at 02:49 PM, thelist-request at lists.evolt.org 
> I finally got a new job and they are trying to develop a web site 
> using Lotus Notes Domino Designer.
> Do any of you know anything about this program?
> I've been searching for some tutorials or books, but I'm not coming up 
> with a lot of information.  Google pointed me to the IBM web site and 
> they have some tutorials, but the information seems geared to specific 
> bits and pieces of the program.
> Most of the books I've found are more for the Notes email portion of 
> the program.
> The outside consultant that they are working with seems to think it's 
> a very powerful program that can do the work of ASP/SQL or PHP/MySQL, 
> but I haven't found anything so far to convince me.
> I looked at the Domino Designer and tried loading a page, but it 
> converted all of my CSS into HTML font tags - ugh.
> I'd be grateful for any information any of you could provide.
Don't be afraid to try something new. An amateur built the ark. 
Professionals built the Titanic. -unknown

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