Thursday, February 05, 2009

Coexistence of Notes 7 and Notes 8 on the same system

Over the last couple of years I’ve posted some blog articles explaining how you can install several different releases of the Lotus Notes client on a single PC.

I know from web page hit tracking that these articles are opened many times per week, and from every continent. I can picture out there the wide range of Domino developers and administrators (at IBM customers and business partners, plus ISVs), all developing and demonstrating and supporting users across the spread of Lotus Notes releases, with the common aim of having several releases of Lotus Notes client and Domino Designer coexistent on a single system.

The last, most detailed post was in April 2008, see: Steps for installing multiple Lotus Notes Client releases on a single system in which I explained exactly how you might go about installing Notes 5, 6 and 7 releases (plus the benefits and shortcomings, which I won’t repeat here).

I’ve now removed Notes R4.6 and R5 and R6 from my system, and recently have been working with only R7.0.3 and 8.0 on my development system.

All along I’ve also been testing, in a Virtual PC environment, the beta versions of Notes 8.5 and as soon as R8.5 went gold I replaced R.0 so that I can now report (using exactly the same approach as laid out in the earlier posts).

I have verified that NotesTracker operates without any drama under Notes 8.5 (both the standard and the basic client).

I was just about to launch into using DDE (Eclipse-based Domino Designer 8.5) for doing work on the next release of NotesTracker (version 5.2).

But then I came across Tommy Varland’s two recent bug reports for DDE 8.5:

  1. My first bug found in N/D 8.5 … “When you're working with an application in the new Domino Designer, and open/close the application in the Client, the QueryClose event doesn't get fired. I had to close DD to get the event to fire. This probably isn't the most serious bug, but it is annoying when working with/testing QueryClose.”
  2. Serious bug in N/D 8.5 standard configuration - NotesUIWorkspace.CurrentDocument returns Nothing … “When debugging code that fetches the active NotesUIDocument from NotesUIWorkspace, NotesUIWorkspace.CurrentDocument randomly (?) returns Nothing.”

Well, it so happens that NotesTracker relies very extensively on events like QueryOpen, PostOpen and QueryClose. So for me the first of these DDE bugs would cause me constant, excruciating pain!

Therefore for the moment I’m going to keep on using the trusty old Domino Designer 7.0.3 until DDE 8.5 is fixed up, however long that takes. I wonder what sense of urgency the IBM team has about correcting these (and any similar) designer bugs. When can we expect fixes for them?

I’ll therefore only be using the new DDE 8.5 for research into Xpages and all the other interesting new development options in release 8.5.

UPDATE: I more recently found “QueryClose Annoyances” (which IBM's Andre Guirard posted back in early November 2008) giving some insights into the less-than-perfect implementation of QueryClose in Notes 8.x Standard clients (problem report SPR #AUDITS). It seems that the completely redesigned Eclipse-based front end and the C++ back end code are not yet dancing together in complete unison, but this is understandable in a radically changed code base -- even if not quite forgivable (they should have caught any severe basic errors like this before release).

By the way, I had been wondering about using the 8.5 designer and saving the NotesTracker databases and templates with .NS7 and .NT7 file extensions, respectively. Despite various attempts over the years, I’ve never found an official Lotus Software technical description of exactly how the .NSx and .NTx file extensions work.

Can anybody point me to any such technical description? Does is even still work? That is, suppose I create (under the 8.5 designer) an application with a file extension of .NS7 or .NS5 for argument’s sake. Will I be able to open such a database under a client at R7 level or R5 level, respectively? (Let’s assume, naturally, that I don’t use any LotusScript or Formula Language feature that is unavailable in R7 or R5, respectively.)

Putting it in generic terms, if you use Domino Designer at release level “n” how many back levels will this trick work for? “n –1” or “n – 2” or what? Is this formally and explicitly described anywhere?


  1. Curious. I keep seeing people saying "DDE" but DDE is Dynamic Data Exchange. Designer 8.5 is only eclipse as well so the E is kind of redundant.

  2. Clicked post too soon. Other then that great post! :) A guy sits near me has every version of notes/domino installed on the machine. Not sure if he has 8.x yet. Will ask.

  3. I only started using the DDE acronym after seeing it being used by others in the Notes/Domino blogosphere. Who am I to argue with prior usage, but actually I reckon some thong like "DD8" would be a more meaningful abbreviation. (Most in the community would realize that you are then referring to the Eclipse-based on that appeared with version 8.5 rather than the "classic" one that's in version 8.0 if you get my drift.)