Genii Weblog

When the competition is free

Wed 25 Feb 2009, 08:32 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
I was interested to see Robert Ibsen Voith posted a free tool to do a couple of things that our Midas Rich Text LSX already does.  Robert has previously dabbled in competing with Midas for image manipulation, and I imagine he has had and will have some success as a cheaper, or in this case free, substitute.  It got me thinking about free competition, something I have dealt with before with the Exchange Connector competing with CoexLinks, for example.  It doesn't much bother me, and if this saves somebody a bit of cash in these stretched times, more power to them.

Before you run out and choose this over Midas, I would mention the following items to think about:

  • Midas has a bit more history and experience with these functions.  Fixing server hints was in Version 1.00 (released in July 1997), while fixing hide-when formulas was in Version 1.50 (released in March 2001).
  • Midas has been licensed to over one and a half million clients in 47 countrues, and has been tested and honed under fire by some of the largest, smallest and most demanding companies on the planet for over a decade.
  • Midas does not require reliance on the Notes C++ API, which has reported bugs and memory leaks when it comes to rich text handling.
  • Midas is available on multiple operating systems for versions R5 to ND8.5.
  • Midas does not require adjusting environment variables or installing any DLLs but its own.
  • Midas will handle doclinks that are in the rich text (such as those created by LotusScript) and not just ones in the $Links.  It will also handle the popup hint and other issues not addressed in the free tool.
  • These are but two of the well over 150 functions handled by Midas.
  • Robert doesn't have the irrepressible Mike Midas to illustrate the hide-when problem, as in Carrying Concealed (case file) back in 2004.
  • Midas does not have to include warnings such as "A word of warning; While the DLL has been reported to be stable, some problems may still exist, and thus you should always make a backup of your database in question before  attempting to use this DLL."

Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see others working with rich text.  Free is free, after all, and that is something many can afford right now..

Update: this may have come off as overly obnoxious.  I am glad that Robert and others are creating tools to help the community, and I know they are not really a threat, but my instinctive capitalistic nature makes me leap at the chance to promote my own product.  I apologize if I came off too harshly, or seemed to discourage tool development.  I am sure there are those for whom these tools will be perfect, and they probably are not in the market for Midas for a one off solution of this kind anyway.  So, full steam ahead on the tool development (although I can't promise I won't be slightly obnoxious in defense of "my turf")

Copyright 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

795.1. Robert Ibsen Voith
(02/25/2009 06:42 AM)

Don't mean to offend you in any means Ben! Midas is of course MUCH MORE robust and has a bunch of other features that my small and simple DLL doesn't have - of course. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Midas to anyone as soon as they need real RTF processing power - not at all! The reason for making VCFIXRTF.DLL available, is because people has asked for it, to fix those two small issues. Nothing more, nothing less.

795.2. Ben Langhinrichs
(02/25/2009 07:28 AM)

Oh, don't mind me. I updated the post, but I am just instictively touting my own solution. I am all in favor of the occasional fixlet, and didn't mean to discourage you. Keep up the good work!