Ben Langhinrichs

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Sometimes my programming blinders are on

Sat 16 Oct 2004, 10:17 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
There is a company in Sweden with a product which uses our Midas Rich Text LSX to do red-line comparisons of some rich text fields, along with other rich text manipulation.  They have a number of customers and have not had any problems for a while, so I was somewhat surprised to get a trouble report from them.  They were (actually still are) having trouble with a newer customer who is using Notes 6, while their other customers have been on R5.  I fixed some of their issues fairly quickly, but there is one part that I have been beating my head against.  I have tried various interim versions, and they have been exceedingly patient, but it has all been to no avail.  There seems to be no problem in the code.  The comparisons happen and the document is saved properly, but the fixes don't "stick".
So, this weekend, I have been stepping back and trying to re-think the situation, and I think I have it.  The problem is not due to Midas itself exactly, from what I can tell, but a difference in how the sequence of events on forms and subforms happens in Notes 6 versus R5.  The exact details don't matter here, although I still have to get it working for them, and hopefully in a way that will work for both Notes 6 and R5.
What bothers me is how my programming blinders hindered me.  For those not familiar with the idea of blinders, they are used on horses to focus them on the path ahead and keep them from the distractions around them.  This is great if you know the path ahead, but sometimes those same blinders can keep you from seeing the other paths available.  In this case, my snap judgement that this had to be a problem inside my LSX kept me from the rather obvious path that the real difference was whether the customer was using R5 or ND6.  While that could still point to the LSX, as the rich text structures have changed some, it could also easily point to a difference in how the two releases execute.
So, I hope that the lesson I have learned is that focus isn't always a good thing.  Sometimes you need to unfocus.  The corollary to the oft mentioned idea that when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail is that when you have a bent nail, everything points to a hammer being the cause.

Copyright 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

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