Ben Langhinrichs

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E-mail address - Ben Langhinrichs






March, 2006
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Genii Weblog


Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 7 Mar 2006, 10:47 PM
Earlier today, I blogged about focusing on not changing things .  I thought I'd give an example.  I swiped copied Alan Lepofsky's cool new signature block that he likes to use on posts in the Notes forums, and I put it through the test.  By the way, Alan's Lotus Notes Tips and Tricks Blog is an excellent source of tips and tricks of his own.  I highly recommend it!

I have a test database called To MIME and Back Again, so I put his signature block in a sample document there and then ran it through the conversion to MIME (using Notes 6.5.3) and then the conversion to rich text (you can see by the subject).  I then tried taking the same signature block and, in a separate test database, created a form with the Store contents as HTML and MIME checked for the body field, then simply saved, closed the document and re-opened.  This effectively does the same conversion to MIME and back as I did, except without the Midas engine to assist.  Here are the results:

Original signature block as it appears in Notes:

Original signature block

Signature block after being converted to MIME and Back Again with Midas:

Signature block after conversion by Midas

The results are not perfect (yet).  The table borders, font size and text alignment are all correct, but there should be a space after the end of the hotspot and before the word Blog.  More work to be done.  But let's compare with the standard Notes conversion and rendering.

Signature block after being converted to MIME and Back Again with Notes engine:

Signature block after conversion by Notes
Actually, I had to cheat and shrink the size of my window to make this look even this good, as the RT to MIME to RT conversion lost the fixed widths along with messing up the borders and the font size, so this extends to the full width of the available document, which is too wide for this blog.  Not quite as cool now, I'm afraid.

But I am not done playing with Alan's table.  Later, or maybe tomorrow, I'll show how you this renders on the web, and how to make it render better... without using Midas or any other third party products.

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.

Tue 7 Mar 2006, 06:28 PM
It struck me today that I spent a number of years in my professional life trying to make a difference.  Not so much a difference as in saving the world, but a difference as in writing code that would stand out, that would change, that would look appealing, or at the very least would allow others to make things stand out, change, and look appealing.  Even my first "break out" product, the Midas Rich Text LSX, was originally conceived as a way to change rich text in wild and wonderful ways.  I hope I can safely say that it has done that.

But evolving tactics has left me with a funny set of goals recently, somehow consistent with my own aging (OK, I'm only 43, but I'm certainly not 25 anymore).  Now, the lion's share of my effort is in making things not change.  Whether through products, including Midas, or through help I give people, I find a lot of what I talk about is how to make rich text still look the same in HTML, or functionality to still work the same on the Web as it did in Notes, or to make MIME look and work the same both coming and going, or to make doclinks keep working the same way they did before after getting sent to a different mail system.  I guess it is part and parcel of the coexistence kick I am on lately, but it seems ironic when I can cheer because a particularly gnarly bit of rich text can be converted to MIME and converted back and still look the same.  It just shouldn't be so darn pleasing to have something look just the way it did before.

And not only is it my passion and day to day job, other people are willing to pay for it as well.  Go figure!

Copyright 2006 Genii Software Ltd.