Disable automatic On Disk Project syncing

I use source control on every single Domino database that I work on. Often because I want a database under formal change control so that I can relate individual change requests to the changes made in the source code. But also mainly to cover my backside. When I make a mistake (and it is when, not if), having my database under source control allows me to recover things quickly.

If you’re new to source control in Domino Designer, I have made a video available which walks you through my workflow.

But that’s not the point of this post. I have found that when there are 20 or 30 databases each under source control that I spend a lot of my day with Designer hung and displaying this dialog box:


After a cry for help on Twitter, Julian suggested I try turning off automatic sync. I should have known there was a setting for it, but it never occurred to me to look. There are hundreds of configuration settings in Designer preferences, and to be honest I try not to touch them as in my experience they tend to break things more than make them better, but in this case, if you go to Preferences -> Domino Designer -> Source Control and make sure that the “Enable automatic import/export…” options are unchecked then you should find Designer is more usable.


Of course you then have to remember to right click on your database and choose Team Development -> Sync with on disk project to manually force a sync, but that is a habit I can get used to.

Call for Abstracts for ICON UK

Warren announced that ICONUK, the new name for UKLUG, is happening again this year, in Brighton in September. Hopefully you’ve registered already, but have you thought about presenting?

You’ll often hear big conference speakers mention that their first taste of speaking was at a User Group like ICON, indeed it was mine five years ago when I presented with Bruce Elgort and Sean Burgess. A truly terrifying experience, but so worthwhile.

This year, as ever, we have three tracks of sessions; Infrastructure, Management and Development. But what are we looking for? Well the high level response is that we want interesting sessions about anything to do with IBM technologies (Notes, Domino, Connections, Sametime, Websphere, Tivoli etc). Your session will need to last for just under and hour (55 minutes or so) and it can be aimed at any level of audience. The key thing is to write a clear and concise abstract.

The nice thing about User Groups vs IBM Connect is that we have somewhat more leeway in what we can run sessions on. So if your session is tangential to IBM technologies but still relevant then it’s worth putting it in. If you have a “real world” session which uses technologies which maybe IBM wouldn’t want to highlight on the Connect stage, then maybe the User Group format will suit you better. The key thing is to write the abstract (and title) to attract people to your session. Remember, when you’re speaking there will be at least two other sessions going on, you have to sell yourself.

In the new ICON site, once you’re logged in, you can go to the sessions page and submit a new session:

Session Page.png

Myself and Steve McDonagh are running the Dev track this year, and I just thought it would be useful to run through the process of how we choose the sessions.

Firstly I move all of the session titles and abstracts into a spreadsheet and remove any names from the list to try and avoid falling into the trap of automatically selecting “the old dependables”. Just to give an idea, last year we had three times as many abstracts as we had sessions, so this next bit of the process is very hard. We go through the abstracts and we rate each one so that there is a league table. 

Next we add in the speaker names. We try our best to get as many speakers in as possible, so if someone has played a blinder and submitted multiple abstracts which we like, we’ll either pick the best one and remove the others, or contact them to see if maybe they could speak with someone else, ideally someone new to the speaking circuit.

After much arguing and horse trading with the other tracks (sometimes we can stretch the definition of Infrastructure or Dev or Management!) we end up with a list and we’ll send out the notification emails.

And that’s where the real fun starts for you!

So please do have a think about whether you want to try out presenting in a smaller, less terrifying setting than Florida. The Call For Abstracts closes on Sunday 30th June and we’ll aim to let people know as soon after that as possible.

Coding the new UKLUG (ICONUK) site

The old UKLUG site had served us well for several years, but with a new name for UKLUG it was a good opportunity to re-write the conference management application from scratch. To be honest I was more than a little embarrassed about the old site as well, design is not my strong point to say the least. So now that there are things like Twitter Bootstrap out there, I can offload that work onto people who are actually good at it.

ICONUK Home Page

So what have we created? Well it’s an end to end management system for the whole conference. We’ve got user registration, session submission, approval and scheduling, sponsor management, CRM for the home page and FAQs, built in evaluation system and a few other administration goodies behind the scenes. On the admin side we can use either the web client or the Notes client depending on our preference.

In other words it’s a fairly bog standard application created with XPages!

We’re not ones to hold onto this sort of thing, so if you want to make use of the code (or even log or fix a bug and help me out) then head on over to the Github page for the site.

If you’re new to Github then I have also made a video available which walks you through the workflow which I use for my source control when working with XPages.

So have a dig around the site at http://iconuk.org and hopefully we’ll see you in Brighton later in the year.

Google Now

I’ve heard many mentions of Google Now over the last few weeks, not sure why, it’s been around for a while now, but anyway I was curious to find out more.


First problem is “what is Google Now?”. Well it’s not really an application, more of a feature of the Google app in Android (I’m not an iOS user at the moment).

The larger issue happens if you’re a Google Apps For Business as I am, then it’s surprisingly difficult to enable at all. The whole process is documented nicely here:

1) Launch your Google Apps control panel by going to http://google.com/a/<your custom domain>.
2) Click Organization & Users.
3) Click Services.
4) Scroll all the way down until you reach Google+.
5) Click on the Configure premium features link.
6) In the left pane select Mobile.
7) Scroll all the way down to Android settings.
8) Check the boxes for Enable Google Now and the optional Enable Lock Screen Widgets.
9) Do not forget to hit Save.

Now you can enable Google Now inside the search application on your phone or tablet. Out of the box it displays little, but very quickly you start to see ‘cards’ which are gathered from various sources; your GMail, calendar, and search history. So because I am travelling to St Louis this weekend I can already see a card which is tracking my first flight…

2013-04-29 16.45.17.png

Initial impressions are rather good. Because I use Google services a lot it should be able to see everything I need. But if you’re not as heavily invested in Google as me then your milage may vary.

Dojo lesson learned in upgrading from 8.5.3 to 9.0

It’s becoming increasingly the case that you can’t assume that what once worked in a previous version of XPages will continue to work in future versions. Today I have come across a case in point.

In my life at Elguji, we do a lot of hosting IdeaJam sites. To make this an easier process to manage we created a provisioning application called Jampot. It allows us to create and manage instances of IdeaJam from a central location very quickly. 


One of the features it offers is a bulk registration of users tool which runs inside a Dojo dialog box. For various reasons the contents of the dialog box are in an iFrame. In 8.5.3 this all worked very smoothly, I used the technique which Jeremy Hodge wrote about ages ago. What I found when I was re-testing on my 9.0 dev server is that when the dialog box appeared I couldn’t get the focus of the cursor to stay in a field. I could click the field (you could see it highlighting for a fraction of a second) but it would immediately blur. There was no code that I could see causing it, no CSS, nothing.

Step in StackOverflow, as ever. There’s a new switch in Dojo 1.8 which allows you to control the autofocus of fields when a dialog opens. In this case of having an iFrame inside the dialog I want to disable the autofocus for the dialog. So I can simply change my HTML in the XPage to be something like:


The point here is not my specific issue (though hopefully this will save someone the couple of hours buggering about I had to fix the problem), but that if you’re upgrading from 8.5.3 to 9.0 or, indeed, from any version to any version you can not assume that your code will continue to work.

Do you have a testing / re-testing plan in place?

Pebble smart watch first thoughts

Months and months ago (May 2012 to be precise) I signed up for my second Kickstarter project called “Pebble” which as most of the world knows by now was aiming to create a smart watch which integrates with your phone for alerts and apps. First thing to say is that I really enjoyed the process of watching the watch be developed and certainly wasn’t one of those people moaning about how long the thing took to create. It went viral so delays, even large ones were to be expected.

That being said when the package arrived yesterday it did feel more like a gift than something I had paid for because the gap between the two events was over eight months.

The Pebble package which awaited me

The Pebble package which awaited me

So the unboxing. A really nice package with very little in it, the watch, the charging cable and a message to visit a web site. At the moment I’m running an Android phone so I went to the Google Play store and downloaded the app and tried to set up the syncing. I assume I did things in slightly the wrong order as there was a fairly unintuitive process which required me to go into the main settings for the phone then drill down into Accessibility and enable the Pebble option under Services. This is where a little user manual might have been useful but it really only took 30 seconds to work out.

The thing which took slightly longer to resolve was that as soon as I turned on the Accessibility options for Pebble my phone speaking everything I did even though the Talkback was disabled. Apparently this is a bug with Samsung phones and there is a workaround here which solved the issue for me.

So at this point I have a watch which can tell the time and will send me notifications whenever I receive an SMS, email or phone call. The vibrate functions really well, it’s impossible to miss it and even now I am finding that I am digging my phone out of my pocket less often and I can even imagine that in meetings being able to glance at the watch to see what the incoming item is will be far less intrusive and rude than checking my phone or tablet.

When I posted a photo of it on my wrist, Carl Tyler commented that it looked like I had a Palm Pilot strapped to my wrist. Well I contend that I have very delicate wrists and that really it looks a lot larger in photos than it looks or feels like in real life. We’ll pause at this point for you to write your own joke. 

And of course there has to be a but doesn’t there. At the moment beyond the alerts and telling the time that is it. There is the promise of third party applications but we haven’t seen them as yet. 

As things stand from my point of view it’s a good watch but I am hopeful that it will become much more over time. For the moment however it is an expensive toy. 

Most of our gadgets are that anyway so I’m happy. 

Is that a palm pilot on my wrist?

Is that a palm pilot on my wrist?

A return to Android

I do a lot of mobile Web development so I try and keep on top of the two major device streams, Apple’s iOS and Google Android. I over the years I have alternated between the two with my day to day devices and at the moment I’m firmly in the Android camp with, Galaxy S3 as my phone and Nexus 7 as my tablet. It’s been a while since I properly used Android and it’s really come on as a platform. So I though I’d go through some of my key apps.

For Twitter I use Falcon Pro. In reality this is the worst bit of Android, in the Apple world there is Tweetbot and I’ve yet to find anything as good on Android but Falcon Pro comes closest.

The Facebook app is very good, as is the native Squarespace app which I’m writing the post on.

For RSS reading (I know, who uses RSS any more but it suits me for keeping up with the news) Press is really very good.

The other apps that I use regularly are…
– BBC iPlayer
– Netflix
– Evernote
– Dropbox
– Teamstudio Unplugged
– Amazon Kindle
– Podkicker (for podcasts)
– Co pilot GPS
– Google Play Music

The thing which is most interesting now is that it’s possible to switch backwards and forwards between the two platforms without any issue. The majority of applications have either a direct or very close equivalent so it becomes a matter of personal taste over functionality.

I’m sure I’ll switch again in time but for the moment I’m quite happy with my two Android devices.

The home page of my Nexus 7

The home page of my Nexus 7

What’s new in Domino 9.0 for XPages Developers?

It’s just a week before the XPages community heads en masse towards Florida and IBM Connect. So I thought I would publish a quick ten minute overview of what’s new in Notes and Domino for those of us who work with XPages. It’s by no means a complete list, but my highlights.

If you’re interested in the other XPages videos that I publish then visit XPages101.net and you can use the coupon code “ls13” or “connect13” for a 33% discount off a new account!

Lotusphere Speaking and Sponsoring Schedule

It’s getting to that point in the year where the (formerly) Lotus masses head to Florida for a week of great learning, networking and maybe a little fun.

It does seem that every year gets busier, and this year is no exception. So below are the things that I’ll definitely be doing so far…

XPages Blast – BP208 (with Tim Clark)

Monday 11:00-12:00 Dolphin S. Hemisphere IV-V
Tuesday 08:15-09:15 Swan SW 5-6

This session will take you on a roller-coaster ride through the “best of the best” ideas and time- saving techniques for creating world-class XPages applications. Thirty all new top tips in just sixty minutes is going to be fast-paced and packed with loads of information you will refer to time and time again! Everything from introductory tips to getting started with XPages, all the way through to complex tips – such as making use of Java. And back this year is the support app showing all of the tips and tricks. Please fasten your seat belts and keep your hands in the car at all times!

Deploying and Managing IBM Lotus Domino XPages Applications – BP201 (with Warren Elsmore)

Wednesday 15:00-16:00 Swan SW 9-10

If you’re a developer wanting to release your IBM Lotus Domino XPages application and you need to think about the “real world” of servers and admins…or if you’re an admin and you have developers chasing you to get their shiny new XPages applications released — then this session is for you. We’ll take you through the things to think about from both sides of the fence. We’ll share tips and tricks, issues which trip you up, and the best practices for releasing your applications.


Thursday 10:00-11:00 Swan Ballrooms

All of the BP speakers will be up on stage to answer your questions. Most of us at that point will be trying to hide and avoid speaking 🙂

UKNight (Sponsored Event)

Monday 20:00-22:00 Shulas Bar

The format is simple. The nation best known for running bars (ie, us, the British), take over Shulas bar for one evening. The bar tab is covered but entry is by INVITATION ONLY so look out for myself or one of the other LDC-ers (in the form of Mark Myers, Ben Poole or Julian Woodward) for a ticket.

Oh and don’t forget to practice your British accents, as there are bouncers on the door and they won’t let you in unless you sound genuine!

Great Geek Challenge (Sponsored Event)

Tuesday 20:00-22:00 Dolphin Ice Cream Bar

The Nerd Girls organise a geeky quiz event every year, and we’re sponsoring so we’ll definitely be there. Last year the questions were properly hard, and they’re promising to make them even tougher this year.

As ever the LDC will also be bringing along some great giveaways, this year we’re doing something a little different, but you’ll just have to wait until we get there to see what we (well Mark) brought over. Do make sure to stop us and say hi anyway.