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More than a week in Review: Back to Domino

It’s been more than a week since the last Week in Review (a format I have shamelessly stole from 37Signals, Fly on the wall), here’s what we have been up to:

  • 3 days of Ruby on Rails Training, inhouse for a large corporate customer. It was a success in my book, and we had quite productive 3 days. I think I learnt as much as my participants, something I really enjoy about teaching. And what a wonderful sight, having the boss of a department sending his Java and Coldfusion programmers to a Ruby/Rails class, so that they won’t be stuck in their acquired mindset. Others take heed!
  • Notes/Domino is not dead yet, it just smells funny. Or so it seems. I have started a long term engagement with another large customer with a huge installed base of Domino servers. I’m doing admin support programming, something I really like doing. Tracking down complicated chains of “it’s not working” is a game I like, and there are a few of these problems that wait for me. Interesting to see, that there are production environments, with mission critical processes (regenerating the NAB with thousands of access groups every night), that -don’t- didn’t use version control.
  • Just finished installing the IBM Workplace Services Express today. This “not-enterprise, but small companies” style collaboration tool takes about 2 hours to install on a reasonably fast, 2 processor, 2 Gb RAM server, where it dropped around 5 Gigabyte of programs and data on the disk. Because it took almost 10 minutes to launch, eating up 1 GB of RAM in the process, I could only verify that it seemed to work, before I had to leave. Maybe there would be a market for a small collaboration application, built on an open source framework? One that does not kill the machine it runs on?
  • Talking about machines. I’m a proud owner of a MacBook Pro. My sister needed a “new” laptop, so I gave her my 15" PowerBook. She’s satisfied, I’m satisfied, win-win all around. The main reason I like the MacBook Pro (except for it’s sheer speed which is nice), is that it runs Windows (yeah - booh, hiss). It allows me to run Windows XP with Lotus Domino Designer and get rid of my aging Dell Inspiron. Windows screams on the MacBook and it’s a joy to work with it (as far as working with Windows can be a joy :-) ). A great machine, and it seems that I’m blessed with a non-whiny machine - it still gets hot though.
  • And that brings me full circle back to Domino. I handle two intranet applications running on Domino for another large customer. Both applications are due for content updates, and we usually slip in some functional changes at the same time. So I’m revisiting code I wrote a couple of years ago and constantly tidy it up, while building new functionality. One of the applications uses a lot of Javascript, and I plan on replacing a lot of code by using the Prototype JS framework. Another thing in the pipeline is to replace eWebEditPro with FCKedit.

Right now, the sheer amount of work is almost overwhelming me. There’s also some Ruby on Rails development that needs to be finished this month. Hopefully it will get a bit more quiet soon. The signs look bad though, it seems like the demand for our skills is rising…

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Jens-Christian Fischer

Maker. Musician