YouTube Channel feed for XPages

I posted an entry about the new Videos page on my site and I was chatting to Joyce Davis (from LTIEC Blog) about an idea I had.  What do you think about a new XPage custom control that basically does the same thing as the PHP I described in the last post?

The idea is you would just provide that same parameters as the PHP line to have a list of videos show from the channel.  You could even provide options like vertical or horizontal alignment of the videos.  This could then be contributed to OpenNTF in the end.

Thoughts?

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Extending the Lotus Notes Search bar

With the recently released Multiple Database Search plug-in you will see an example of how to implement the “com.ibm.rcp.search.engines.searchEngines” extension point.  This extension puts a new search entry in the search toolbar dropdown:

You can look at the plugin.xml in the project to see the extension definition.  Let’s walk through how this extension is configured:

//The first extension declares the engine 
<extension point="com.ibm.rcp.search.engines.searchEngines">
 <searchEngine
     data="1073873011"                                // Initialization data given to the class, we dont use this really
     engine="org.openntf.mailsearch.SearchEngine"     // The class name for our engine
     global="true"                                    // We want our engine to always be available
     hasResults="true"                                // We will use the regular search UI page
     icon="icon/dbicon1.gif"                          // Our icon in the drop down menu
     id="org.openntf.mailsearch.SearchEngine"         // the id of our engine
     label="Multiple DB Search"                       // The label for our engine (shows in the drop down)
     type="other"/>                                   // We are not a regular type so just put other
</extension>
//The next extension actually adds the engine to the UI, it is pretty self explanatory
<extension point="com.ibm.rcp.search.ui.searchBarSets">
  <searchBarSet
     id="org.openntf.mailsearch.SearchEngine"
     label="Multiple DB Search"
     visible="true">
     <searchBarItem
        engineID="org.openntf.mailsearch.SearchEngine"
        id="org.openntf.mailsearch.SearchEngine.item" />
  </searchBarSet>
</extension>

The engine parameter is really the key parameter as it points the search framework to our class that does the heavy lifting.  The class is what is responsible for actually executing the search across the selected databases.  Following this sample you can now create a search to essentially anything that Java code has access to.

Our search engine uses multiple threads to search across the databases.  Since the back-end Java API’s can be accessed from multiple threads this makes it a pretty big advantage performance wise.  If your databases are also full text indexed, you will see some pretty impressive performance with this technique.  I will save the threading discussion for another post…

Tracking downloads – Part 2

After a few days with the new download tracking plug-in installed on my blog I am already seeing its value – somewhat.  The release of the Multiple Database Search plug-in for Lotus Notes on OpenNTF shows 35 people have downloaded the source and install site.  The download manager WP-DownloadManager, shows 56 downloads of the widget that installs the plugin.

The problem is the log shows eight of those downloads (of the widget) to be either duplicates or multiple downloads from the same IP address.  This means the net difference is 13.  So even though the numbers are close this does show some people have more interest in just using it versus scanning the source code.

Must have social plugin for Lotus Notes

At this point, there are many plug-ins available for Lotus Notes.  Since the Lotus Notes 8.0 release the Notes client has been pushed into the world of Eclipse plug-ins and re-usable Java code.

Today I am going to introduce, for those who may not know it already, what I consider one of the coolest social plug-in for the Notes client – it is WildFire by ISW.  The plug-in is great from many perspectives but the key things I like best are these:

  1. The preference screen!  Well done ISW!  You made it dead simple for me to “connect” to the different social networks out there.
  2. The UI.  Having all of my “feeds” coming to one place in the side bar is very nice

So you have a chance to check it out then do it!

New OpenNTF Project – Multiple Database Search

Myself and Igor have just uploaded a new OpenNTF project – Multiple Database Search!

The new plug-in can be installed using the Widget below – so yes, this is a Widget that installs Eclipse plug-ins!  What we did was extend the current search user interface (the toolbar to be exact) so it looks completely integrated with the Lotus Notes client.  The tool will search specific fields or do a full text search across all of the databases and consolidate the results into a single result set.

You can install the plug-in using the widget below into your My Widgets panel in the Lotus Notes client.  If you want to learn how to enable My Widgets in your Lotus Notes client you can view a video here.

Drag image to your My Widgets panel

As with all Open Source tools and code any and all input is welcome!

Tracking download counts

Today I installed a new plug-in to track downloads from my site.  I realized that while OpenNTF tracks downloads it does not really account for the user base as many users are not really interested in the code but more the function and end up just installing the widget from my site.  So the problem is I can not track how many people have installed the widget!  I scoured the WordPress site (actually it was a single search) and found what appears to be the most popular download counting plug-in – WP-DownloadCounter.  I actually enabled it earlier today and I am surprised I am already getting hits!  Here is a picture of the new widget for the WordPress dashboard:

I like how it makes the download URL’s easy to read.  For instance, the URL to download the Attachment Viewer is very easy to read:

http://blog.balfes.net/?download=Attachment%20Viewer%20Widget

One viewer to rule them all!

I have gotten tons of feedback on this site, in email, and from colleagues for how to support Office (both ODF and MS Office) attachment viewing with the OpenNTF Attachment Viewer project.  I put together a small demo of an interesting technique for supporting different kinds of viewers.  The idea is to make it preference based or hopefully, in the end, through some kind of automated way in code.  The first stab is of course a preference.  Check out the preference screen:

Suggested preference screen

I currently have two converters, with one more possibly on the way (Symphony or OpenOffice using UNO API’s).  The two current ones are very different indeed.  For the first one,  I am using some code borrowed from the Quickr team that converts basically anything to HTML.  It uses the KeyView technology that has been in the Notes client for a long time.  The second viewer, (the Microsoft Converter), is one that I coded while playing around with C# and the MS Office Interop API’s.  The biggest difference, outside of the output, is the one written in C# relies on Microsoft Office to be installed and that the Interop API’s also be installed – which I believe are by default, still have to verify that.  So if you have M$ Licenses then the C# converter might be for you.  If not, the KeyView one does in fact ship with Notes – ie. FREE!

In the video you can see I just put the output HTML from the local server into an iFrame to keep the full fidelity of the converters output.  I am actually still working through a few selection issues but for the most part it works pretty well.  The KeyView converter does not convert the files as nicely as the other viewer but it does a good enough job for preview.

Continue reading

New Mail Rule Utilities Widget is available

I had gotten this request several times over the past couple of weeks so I figured I would just create a widget to install the latest Mail Utilities.  I also posted the link to the OpenNTF project for convenience.

You can drag and drop this extension.xml into your My Widgets panel in Lotus Notes 8.5.1 and above.  For a quick video on how to enable My Widgets in your Notes client you can watch the video I created for the Attachment Viewer.

New Attachment Viewer posted!

You can NOW (thanks Kevin) download the Attachment Viewer I mentioned yesterday.  Not a lot in this release but it will help with performance in the Notes client when the viewer is minimized in the side-bar.  You can also install the viewer from the extensions.xml from yesterdays post.

Version: 1.0.0.201010051341
– Fixed viewer to not process selection if view part is minimized
– Added a “pin” icon to the UI to pin an attachment

The power of a community

Last week I posted an entry about Eclipse selection and when a view part should or should not process the selection.  I showed a pattern to use the IPartListener2 model as described in my post.  James Fry (no link provided) showed what now believe to be a much cleaner way to do this.  The reason its cleaner is because you are not on the part listener list and called every time and its a one liner!  No overhead of a boolean and your code to evaluate in the listener callback is now gone.  Much nicer!

Here was the code I ended up using:

if (viewer.getSite().getPage().isPartVisible(viewer) == false)
     return;

You should see this in the next release of the Attachment Viewer on OpenNTF.

Thanks James for being a reader and more importantly adding value to my blog!

One thing you may want to consider is when your view is re-opened or maximized you might want to restore the last selection so having a listener may be your only option in the end.