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Catching up -- Notes 8 and beyond, A trip to Microsoft, AJAX & Domino, Second Signal, Great People, fire trucks & paint ball guns, and hating how I work

By Andrew Pollack on 03/25/2007 at 10:44 AM EDT

I have a lot to talk about. So much to talk about that I decided to title this blog entry the way I've seen chapters in old books titled with a list of all the things that happen without enough to ruin the story. I'm not as good at it though, so stick with me.

First up, Notes 8 and Beyond. I've completely switched over from Notes 7.x to the beta of Notes 8 on both laptop and workstation. My mail template has been updated and I'm living the beta. I installed and tried the full version in the Eclipse framework and there are many things I like there, but a few not finished items frustrate me enough to launch straight from 'nlnotes.exe' and thus use the 'classic' client for now. From that perspective, the client is rock solid stable for me on both machines using multiple locations and connections, replication, designer, and admin. It's very nice to work in. There are a few gotchas for now that I've hit.

1. Setting up a new server -- there doesn't seem to be a remote server install tool to connect to a remote Domino server in listen mode. I had to launch a VM with Notes 7 installed to set up my newest linux box. It's a Domino 7 server.

2. The menu item "Database" with a hotkey of "D" is now "Application" with a hotkey of "T" -- I'm getting used to it. Application is a MUCH better name but it's been 15 years so it will take time.

3. In designer, when editing a web service it warns that the WSDL created and new features may not be right when running from a Domino 7 server and offers to warn you when you might be changing the resulting WSDL. It's a good warning, and so far I've avoided finding out what happens.

In all other regards, it's been fantastic.

This brings me to my week at Microsoft. Gary Devendorf invited me and others to a week learning about Microsoft's products from a Domino perspective. It was a great week, and I learned quite a few things. They can be summed up by two statements. First, Visual Studio continues to be a fantastic tool. I've said before working in VS.NET against Domino based data is an incredibly compelling way to build enterprise applications. The other key thing that I walked away with is that nothing has really changed. IBM continues to have a much better understanding of what an enterprise needs for IT stability, security, manageability, and scale while Microsoft continues to innovate at the desktop and have a much better understanding of the knowledge worker at his desk trying to get his job done. I'll write another blog entry just about how this shows in Office, Outlook and Sharepoint compared to Office, Notes, and QuickR. I won't bother to compare Domino Designer to Visual Studio. Maureen already knows what has to be done with the Notes "Number After Eight" (Notes NAE) version of Designer and I know she's hard at work with her team pushing as hard they can.

Second Signal continues to grow. We have two live departments now and more on the way, with the next generation website launching this week. The new interface for managing subscriptions and phones and such is all AJAX based and took a really long time to build while I learned those skills. I can't wait to show it off. Out of that work will come my first contribution to OpenNTF (Bruce doesn't even know it yet). I think most of you Domino Developers reading this blog will try my new tool by the end of this spring. I think it's that compelling and that simple.

Firetrucks & Paint Ball Guns do not go well together. Last week, I responded alone from Cumberland with our "Rehab Bus" -- and old school bus painted up and converted inside to hold an air bottle refill system and a place to warm up at a cold scene. I was taking the bus to the town of Gray where they had a working structure fire that was going to take a lot of time to finish off. En Route in the dark and in the rain I heard a loud CRACK sound but didn't know what it was. I was really hoping it wasn't a valve on one of the massive air bottles because the idea of one breaking loose and flying around the inside of that bus didn't appeal to me. Once on scene I noticed after a while a starburst pattern on one of the side windows, which I found to be paint rather than broken glass. Fortunately, no damage was done and after a few pictures and talk with the local police I cleaned it up. Why would someone do this?

Last on my list -- I hate how I work. I mean the tools. They're not integrated enough for me. I'm not sure how I'm going to fix that.

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