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(Another) Review of TeamStudio's new LotusScript class browser

By Andrew Pollack on 03/30/2005 at 08:53 AM EDT
Rather than a simple announcement, I've decided to give an early review of Team Studio's new object browser tool. It fills a big gap by providing a fairly good object browser to use with your LotusScript agents and classes. Its not perfect, but it is terribly useful and appears to be well crafted.

Installation is simple enough, just open the NSF they ship and follow the bouncing ball. Make sure to when you re-start your Notes client that you restart ALL of it. Don't leave your designer open as I did or you'll crash when you first try to use the tool. Once installed, when you restart your Notes client you get a sort of floating smarticon in the middle of your screen. Grab it and drop it on your tool bar. You'll need to do this in Designer as well.

Using the tool is simple enough. The smart icon is context aware, and will launch the script browser to point at whatever database is in your current context. The browser itself isn't context aware from that point, so as you change databases it doesn't update --however if you click the smart icon again the tool's context updates rather than launching another copy of the tool. You get used to doing that in about the first minute. Only one copy of the browser loads at a time, so if you launch it in the client then open Designer you don't see it until you click the smart icon, but then the dialog box moves over to your Designer environment and updates its context. Its pretty smooth. The dialog box itself is non-modal (so you can work on other things) and stays on top of your screen.

When launched, the tool scans the database for the places where LotusScript code can live then presents the bits of code in the sorts of trees you'd expect in a good IDE. Double click a class, function, or method and the tool will open the design element containing that bit and bring you right to it. This can be a huge help if you've got a custom class because you don't have to look for your methods. Because the dialog box of the tool is both non-modal and stays on top of your workspace, its easy to use as if it were part of the IDE itself.

So, what are the implications of the tool to me?

1. I'm already finding that I'm more likely to actually get around to taking advantage of master templates, code repositories, and even begin to finally arrange my own library more sensibly because I have a browser that can actually help me see the organization.

2. TeamStudio will be happy I'm sure to hear that I'm more likely to consider their other products. They've been around about as long as I have in the Notes world, and I've never bought into their toolsets before. This could be their way to get me looking more closely.

My more realistic wish list for this product:

1. I'd like to be able to re-size and even dock the dialog box. Ideally, it would be re-sizable, remember its last size, dock to the top of the screen, and "windowshade" up to a single line width so that it behaves like a pull down from the title bar.

2. I'd like to be able to right-click on a block of code -- a class, a function, or a script -- and copy it to the clipboard, then paste it to another place on the browser tree. That would make it more of an organizer than a browser.

3. I'd like to have more than one database open at a time -- even if the second was constant, like a master template.

My more outlandish wish list for this (or any other) product now that we've seen what is possible.....Give me the rest of the IDE. If you can read the script, can you write it? If so, could an Eclipse plug in (or Visual Studio if you must) be built?

Overall -- BRAVO to TeamStudio for filling a real need, and great choice making it available for free. I'll be taking a closer look at your other tools the next time I see you at a show.

There are  - loading -  comments....

new version Teamstudio Script BrowserBy Chad on 04/22/2005 at 02:35 PM EDT
Did you check out the new version yet? Some of your wish list has been
Thanks for the link, Chad.By Andrew Pollack on 04/22/2005 at 03:31 PM EDT

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