A DDE tip or two from someone who has been using it for 8 months

February 10 2009

So based on a couple of conversations that I have had the past 48 hours, I wanted to pass along a few tips that I have. I started using DDE full time on both a client project and XPages development right around the XPages Training that took place for Design Partners in Cambridge in June 2008.

Tip 1: Work Locally

Unless you absolutely have too, work locally. Either in a database or a template. Working locally will drastically speed things up

Tip 2: Recompile your application if a version of Designer before 8.5 has done any touching of a design element

If you have to mix versions of Designer when working on a database, do a Recompile of database before using DDE. It will clean up and convert all the design elements to the 8.5 version and any glitches DDE might have with older version design elements will not hurt you

Tip 3: If you are doing fancy C API calls or multiple levels (like more than 5) of script library nesting with LotusScript, DDE might not behave nice. Fall back to 8.0.2 Designer if you need to - no shame in that at all.

Frankly, anyone working on applications that are not pure XPages should have the 8.0.2 All Client install running in a VM they can access quickly. There will be times you need to go back. Nothing wrong with that. Things that make me go back are applications where we have over 5 levels of nested script libraries. Calling lots of Windows API or C API seems to also cause issues.

Passing thoughts on DDE

I also wanted to make a comment on DDE. Yes, it is a 1.0 product. Some of the things in there drive me crazy. Just like my good friend John Roling I sometimes have to scream in frustration. My screams just do not happen in a public forum very often :-). That being said, if you have those moments, are you reporting it? Are you creating a PMR (either with support or the Business Partner forum)? If you can not create a PMR, have you gone into the Notes & Domino 8.5 forum and posted this? With screenshots and NSD files? Again, I am not apologizing here - vent all you want. But we can not improve DDE if we are not reporting the issues back. Maureen and her team need to hear about these issues, no matter how small.

DDE is very green in 8.5.0. It will get quite a few improvements in 8.5.1. Some of you will probably decide that 8.5.0 is not ready for prime time. Fair decision. But IBM had to get DDE out of the Design Partner and beta programs and out in the open. DDE needs to be used by a wide number of folks with a large number of Notes and Domino applications to improve into what we want it to be. Understand, there are people who are living and breathing in DDE every day, so it is definitely usable. But usable is always relative to the person and situation :-)