Monday, December 8, 2014

The similarities are amazing.

I got laid off not too long ago (not bad, 4 times in almost 40 years and twice I asked to be laid off) and I started to use Salesforce to track my job search. It is a sales process after all. Then I started looking under the hood and found that Salesforce is not just a CRM.  You can build many different kinds of applications with Salesforce, just like Domino. You can use a drag and drop interface to create simple forms and views, build relationships between different document types, do field validations, and even use simple formulas to perform calculations. And there is a more powerful scripting language to add some automation or workflow. Sound familiar?

But wait, there's more. This easy to use interface means the person that knows some Excel formula's is now a 'developer'. And these newborn developers don't know what a development environment is, much less source code control, so changes are made in production with the resulting occasional loss of productivity while corrections are made.  It is so easy to create new applications that it is hard to keep track of what is being used. And have you ever seen an out of control security model where admins don't make changes for fear of breaking someone's access?

But the similarities between Salesforce and Domino do digress. Many of you are looking forward to going to Connect shortly, There you are expecting maybe 10,000 attendees, and hoping more than half are not IBMers. Well, Salesforce just had their big trade show called Dreamforce, and there were 140,000 attendees.

Another difference is if you go to your favorite job search site and look for Domino developer positions and then search for Salesforce developer positions, let me know what you find.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Source code control is like turn signals

Everyone has access to the tools, but most people use them wrong! A brief example - when people are on the on ramp and need to 'merge', they put on their turn signal. They aren't changing lanes, so what's the point?  And that is probably the last time they use their signals, including when they exit the highway. This is the most critical time to use them, to indicate to drivers behind you that you are likely to slow down in the travel lane to reach the exit ramp speed.

Anyway, source code control is misused just as frequently. We all have seen the application with design elements named 'Copy of...' or worse 'Another Copy of...'  We also have seen design elements with a date after them. This is NOT source code control. Go to you primary business application and click on the Create menu item. What do you see? Artifacts that some developer forgot to click the do not show in create menu box. How about the Actions menu item? How many actions show up that you wouldn't want a user to try? How about View, then Go To...? All of those 'extra' views get indexed, taking up resources - both CPU and disk space. Multiply that by the number of replica copies and you get the idea.

Now, knowing that I was a Technical Director at Teamstudio, you might think I would be advocating for a source code control system like Teamstudio CIAO, but you'd be wrong. That is an excellent tool but it is misused as much as turn signals! One of the things CIAO provides is design element locking. These days, that is less of an issue because of the decline in the number of teams of developers. And how does this get misused? Check out a design element and never check it in! You get no history of the changes you make along the way, so no real benefits.

Maybe you prefer an open source product like Git. That's great too, but you have to configure it and use it.

All I'm suggesting is something as simple as making a design only copy of the database before you start making changes. Now you can just make your enhancements because you now have snapshot of the design elements before you started making changes! Even better, this can be reduced to a single button that also stores the copy in a database, getting it out of the file system in the process.

If you want to know more, contact me. My email these days is at

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Introductory special offer

After 22 years of Domino development, I find myself once again working for myself.  And do you know what that means?  No corporate overhead, no middlemen taking a cut for my work.  Which means I can offer lower rates than ever.  In fact, to introduce you to what I can do, for the month of March, I am offering my services for half my normal rate.

Why should you use me?  How do you know me?  Maybe you attended one of my sessions at a user group meeting, including MWLUG last year.  Maybe you were in one of my training sessions or demos during my time as a Technical Director at Teamstudio.  Maybe you have read my blog before - such as the time I hit the What's Hot corner on PlanetLotus.  Or maybe you attended one of my webinars, including the one I did with Rocky Oliver.

So if you have some enhancements or maybe bug fixes that you have been delaying because of rates, this is the time to act.  I have done work for clients in many states, and can VPN to any network.  I even had one client send me an encrypted laptop to access their network.  If you prefer to have someone on-site, I am available for travel, but that costs extra.

If you want to discuss your situation further, contact me by email - at