Andrew Pollack's Blog

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XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?

By Andrew Pollack on 07/02/2008 at 02:51 PM EDT

There's a control missing from XPages in Beta 1. I honestly don't remember (if I was ever told) if its in the plan or not because I never thought to ask about it. I guess it never even occurred to me that it was missing until I tried building a version of this blogsite using XPages.

At present - speaking of Domino 8.5 Public Beta 1 - there is now way to drop a Rich Text control onto an XPage, bind it to a rich text field (e.g. BODY) on a document you've bound as a data source, and have it render the rich text as html on your page. If the Rich Text is stored as MIME, I think you can do this just fine. But most Rich Text isn't. Its stored in native notes CD records.

Sure, you could stick an IFRAME tag on there and load just the body in that way. You could call in agent code with an http request, pull the html, parse the "BODY" part out and then shove it onto the form. Both of those are bad alternatives.

For me to deploy, I'd have to convert thousands of documents from CDRECORD to MIME and store the rich text as mime.

This is what I need:

a) A rich text field control that will render the cdrecord data from the bound notesRichTextItem


b) A notesRichTextItem.renderToMIME() method that returns mime data which can then be displayed in a control.

What about you? How critical is this issue for your own use of XPages?

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By sean cull on 07/02/2008 at 05:02 PM EDT
I was listening to your podcast on the way to a customers where I then enthused
them with the idea of being able to work with Rich Text on the web and Notes
more easily - it would be a shame if this turns out not to be so easy

I had assumed that looking at the field in Notes it would be rich text and on
the web it would be a dojo type rich text editor - there are already dojo rich
text editors in some of the templates I think ??

Getting away from the current Rich Text shannigans ( without excellent third
party software ) between web and client is long overdue
re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By Bob Balaban on 07/02/2008 at 05:46 PM EDT
There actually IS a new JS rich text control in Domino 8.5. It was announced at
Lotusphere that you would be able to select it optionally in Designer.

Problem for this use case is that it only works (so far as I understand) with
the "regular" http server, which is a completely separate rendering engine from
XPages. HTTP knows how to convert CD records to HTML, XPages does not appear to
know how to do this.

The two worlds are complete separate, and this is one of the outcomes that
doesn't occur to most people until they find they need it.
re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By Bruce Elgort on 07/03/2008 at 12:09 AM EDT
@Sean - which podcast were you listening to? Are you referring to Episode 83
of the Taking Notes podcast with John Head and Rob McDonagh?
re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By sean cullk on 07/21/2008 at 05:43 PM EDT
re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By Peter Presnell on 07/02/2008 at 07:35 PM EDT
Yes this is a showstopper for me, but then there is already enough showstoppers
for 8.5 I doubt it is a release I will ever use...

Why would I migrate to a release that has design elements (X-Pages) support in
the Web client only?

When my company is only ever likely to upgrade to one release every 2-3 years
why would I push to upgrade to a version that does not have an improved
LotusScript editor and then have to wait another 2-3 years to finally get that?

No Rich Text on X-Pages seems like a huge whole. So to really get anything
major from a development perspective we are talking about applications that do
not have Notes client access AND do not need to access rich text fields. There
are probably a few companies out there but I would be surprised if 8.5 is ever
implemented in more than a handful of companies. (oops I forgot I can now set
the system date & time in LotusScript)
re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By John Head on 07/02/2008 at 08:23 PM EDT
No, it is not a showstopper .. we set the majority of our apps for the rich
text fields to be in mime for other software / purposes. Mime is the future.
Plus, you can run an agent to resave the rt field as mime.
Unless I'm mistaken, that requires a front end agentBy Andrew Pollack on 07/02/2008 at 08:49 PM EDT
something that opens and saves UIDocuments -- and even then it requires you
modify the rich text field on the design document to set it to save as mime.

That's well and good, but doesn't help with surfacing existing content without
changing existing designs and code.

This conversion should be called as a method on an object within the xpage
itself and optionally stored for future re-use.
-FAIL- It doesn't work well enough at allBy Andrew Pollack on 07/03/2008 at 11:24 AM EDT
For example, if you have rich text and you've highlighted some to designate as
"Pass Through HTML" when you get it converted to MIME it comes through as
escaped text. Users who view the content will see it as inline html as if in a
code example.
re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By Erik Brooks on 07/02/2008 at 11:14 PM EDT
Nope, not a showstopper, but definitely one of the "loose ends" that is
apparent from the rushing to catch-up that is 8.0 and 8.5.

IBM's doing a heck of a job trying to make up for all of the lost time spent
spinning their wheels with Workplace, and I think they're doing an admirable
job overall. Of course, 850 developers helps, but there's obviously a few
things that haven't been "folded in" properly from the scavenging of the
Workplace wreckage. This is one of them.

If it's something that can be converted via an agent, that's plenty fine for
re: XPages: Is this a show stopper for you?By Nathan T. Freeman on 07/03/2008 at 09:02 AM EDT
It's only a showstopper if you're using XPages to deliver content from existing
apps. We already knew refactoring was going to be a bear.

But brand new apps? Then I don't really care.

But the RichTextItem.RenderToMIME() is long-overdue. If it takes this issue to
finally get them to provide that functionality, so be it.

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