Ben Langhinrichs

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March, 2018
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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.


Fri 23 Mar 2018, 04:25 PM
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Time: The very near future.
Place: Megacyclopilis Inc. offices
 
Voice (on an intercom): Tabitha!
 
Tabitha: Yes, sir? Could we not use the intercom, sir? It's 2018. Besides, you're only in the next office.
 
Voice (whining a bit): But I like the intercom.
 
Tabitha: Very well, sir. What can I do for you?
 
Voice: Our sales force needs to move with the times. I've ordered 5,000 iPad Pro tablets, I need you to put together a meeting, all our top people. We need to talk about how to get SlickSales over onto those iPads pronto pronto. No expense spared. No time to waste.
 
Tabitha: But sir, SlickSales is a Notes application, and we have Notes 10...
 
Voice: What! Is that a problem? I knew there'd be a problem. I don't care what it takes....
 
Tabitha: Excuse me, sir. I meant that because it is a Notes application, it will run on the iPad Pro as is.
 
Voice: What's that? You mean we don't need a big project or to spend a lot of money?
 
Tabitha: No, sir. It will run everywhere. It's a Notes app!
 
Voice: Well, then, we don't need a meeting, do we, Tabitha?
 
Tabitha: No, sir.
 
Voice (somewhat disgruntled): Harrumph. Well, Tabitha, can you... get me some coffee?
 
Tabitha: No, sir. That's not my job. And may I say, sir, it is inappropriate for you to ask.
 
Voice: Yes, I expect you're right. But if we don't have a project and we don't have a meeting, I guess I can get my own damn coffee.
 
Tabitha: Yes, sir.
 
Voice: Would you...?
 
Tabitha: Two sugars, no cream, sir.
 
Voice: What would I do without you, Tabitha?
 
Tabitha: I don't know, sir.
 
 

Copyright © 2018 Genii Software Ltd.

Thu 22 Mar 2018, 11:03 PM
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Ever since I heard about IBM showing Notes running on an iPad at IBM Think, I've been thinking about the pros and cons. There are cons, of course, such as my having to port the Midas LSX to iOS, which should be interesting, but which I will do. I've also heard a certain amount of grumbling that Notes apps on an iPad are going to be far less attractive than native apps, or that performance is likely to be slow.
 
But I think those worries miss the point. I am a fairly hardcore developer, and I still have little desire to write iOS native apps. I have even less desire to negotiate Apple's App Store. I don't own any Apple devices, so I don't even know what the App Store is called. But I've heard plenty of stories. The thing is, very few companies I deal with have developers on staff who are more hardcore than I am. There are some, but the vast majority are happenstance developers. This is particularly true of Notes developers.
 
But what if that is an advantage? Suddenly, Notes developers can write apps that run on the iOS devices (or at least the iPad) which people want to use. As far as I can tell, they don't have to learn any iOS specifics. They don't have to learn to navigate the mysterious Apps Store and Apple's capricious ways.
 
They just write a Notes app and replicate. Will it be fantastically pretty? Maybe not. Does any company I know care much at all whether their apps are fantastically pretty? Not a one. These are businesses. They want to get business done. On the client end, they aren't terribly concerned about performance unless it absolutely sucks. They aren't all that concerned about "how native" the app is, so long as it is visually consistent enough that users aren't confused. In other words, Notes apps are fine.
 
And they will work on the iPad without a day more training for their Notes developers. Think about that. 
 
In fact, I think that might be compelling enough to get companies to switch if they just get an idea of the relative ease of making simple applications with Notes. Yes, I mean switch to Notes. I can see some departments and some companies doing that, and I haven't glimpsed that vision in a decade.
 
Now I just have to get Midas running. I might even have to buy an Apple product for the first time.
 

Copyright © 2018 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 21 Mar 2018, 01:59 PM
I am excited that so many customers and partners are excited about Notes/Domino 10 and all that it can do. Even aside from the new features (which sound awesome), the excitement will get some reluctant companies spending on Notes/Domino again, and what infrastructure wouldn't be helped by an occasional revisit.
 
But my guess is that the solutions and features will not sufficiently address a nagging problem (which I most conveniently have a solution to). It may be that IBM/HCL will pour the resources in to properly convert Notes rich text to HTML/MIME, given that it is used at the very least in a) email, b) web rendering, c) REST services that deliver content, d) mobile apps, e) Traveler/Verse, f) etc.
 
Let's look at what AppsFidelity can do for example, what it has been able to do for many years while IBM has not been pouring resources in.
 
A table in the Notes client
 
Table in Notes client
 
 
 
Table rendered by the Domino 9.0.1 web server
 
Table rendered badly by Domino 9.0.1
 
 
 
Table rendered by the Domino 9.0.1 web server using AppsFidelity (no code changes or agents)
 
Table rendered well by AppsFidelity
 
See any difference? All this is done with an extension manager plugin which doesn't need to touch the design. It works with REST, with  web browser, with  XPages, with mobile apps. So, if IBM/HCL isn't going to pour the resources in to do this properly, you should know that you can fix it by getting a license to AppsFidelity. You can do it today, just as you could have done it a year ago or even ten years ago. Sure, it has improved since it was a Beacon Award runner up in 2006, but it has consistently been better than the Domino web engine. I'm betting it still will be in Domino 10.
 
Makes you wonder why IBM and HCL don't know about it.  
 
Try AppsFidelity yourself. Request an evaluation license today.
 

Copyright © 2018 Genii Software Ltd.

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Thu 15 Mar 2018, 10:40 AM
Yesterday, I showed how CoexLinks Fidelity handles symbolic fonts such as Wingdings and Symbol that are not properly displayed on the web. It was fun because it celebrated Pi Day, but I wanted to go back to a more common scenario you all may have seen, namely symbolic bullet items from Word . It only took me a few minutes to find this example from IBM's databases. This time I'll show how AppsFidelity differs from the standard web rendering. You'll notice more than the symbols, I suspect.
 
1) Original in Notes 9.0.1 rich text 
 
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2) Rendered by Notes 9.0.1 web engine
 
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3) Rendered by AppsFidelity 4.2
 
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4) Why not evaluate AppsFidelity for yourself?
 
If you would like to try AppsFidelity, just request an evaluation license, or contact us to set up an online demo and meeting.
 

Copyright © 2018 Genii Software Ltd.

Wed 14 Mar 2018, 06:05 PM
When it comes to rendering to HTML, standards matter, and the more you stray from them, the worse your problems will be.
 
But let me show you this by an actual example which came up today. Here is content from Microsoft Word (simplified for this demo) that was copied and pasted into an email from Notes. It looked fine in Word. It looked fine in Notes. It didn't look fine in Gmail. See if you can see the issue. Hint: the problem has nothing to do with GMail, and everything to do with rendering logic.
 
If you would like to try CoexLinks Fidelity out for yourself, just request an evaluation license, or visit the CoexLinks Demo page to test the fidelity for yourself.
 
1) Created in MS Word 2016
 
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2) Copied and pasted into a Notes email
 
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3) Email to GMail in with standard Notes routing
 
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4) Re-sent the same message through CoexLinks Fidelity (adjusting the subject to distinguish)
 
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5) The issue
There are several symbolic fonts which are used in Microsoft Word and other Microsoft products which are not standards-compliant. The most common are Symbol, Webdings, and Wingdings (all three sets). Mostly, these will render in Internet Explorer because... Microsoft. But they won't render in Firefox or on Linux or lots of other standards-based systems. Since they aren't rendered, the fallback is whatever font your system uses by default, and that has completely different letters and values.
 
6) The solution as handled by CoexLinks Fidelity (and all our other products, for that matter)
The solution is to map those characters to either the appropriate HTML entity such as π or to a Unicode character that is most similar. CoexLinks and Midas and AppsFidelity all have that on by default, though you can turn it off if you like. That's why email through CoexLinks Fidelity won't with you a Happy p Day, but instead a Happy π Day!
 
If you would like to try CoexLinks Fidelity out for yourself, just request an evaluation license, or visit the CoexLinks Demo page to test the fidelity for yourself. Or contact us to set up an online demo and meeting.

Copyright © 2018 Genii Software Ltd.

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