October 31, 2014
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Build Web groupware with QuickPlace

  • October 1, 1999
  • By Steve Gillmor
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New QuickPlace projects are a SNAP
Q uickPlace shows its greatest promise in leveraging the robust programmability of the underlying Domino architecture. The QuickPlace designers used Notes objects—fields, forms, templates, and databases—as building blocks for the QuickPlace architecture. QuickPlace objects map to their Domino counterparts: a Place equals a file directory, a room corresponds to a database, and a page can be looked at as a combination of a data note, a form, and one or more subforms.

QuickPlace ships with a single placetype, implemented as a Notes template containing HTML, JavaScript, controls, and page generation language. A new QuickPlace is created by copying two templates to generate a top-level room database (main.nsf) and a member directory (contacts.nsf). The Domino server has been enhanced with eight QuickPlace extensions; they allow design elements to be shared, link parent and child databases to establish room hierarchies, provide a command library to create, modify, and destroy QuickPlace objects, and perform graphics, decoration, publish and subscribe, authentication, and other services.

The QuickPlace Development Kit offers documentation and templates that allow Domino developers to understand the QuickPlace data structure as viewed with the Notes Designer client. For example, you can open the main.nsf database, double-click on an HTML page, and determine the basic settings of a page—its name, body information, whether it's published or in draft mode, whether it's hidden or not, and what scenes are used when editing or viewing the page.

Similarly, security fields store information about who can read or modify the page, and workflow settings, such as what stage the document has reached, and who's next in line to review it. Domino developers can then add their own logic to further customize the workflow, such as putting a page in a certain folder based on a particular field value. As demonstrated in the listing shown here, you can write a LotusScript agent that processes a text file to add new members to a QuickPlace.

The QDK also provides instructions on creating and registering external command listeners that intercept QuickPlace server commands and perform custom work before or after the command is executed. For example, every time a create user command is sent with a new user name and password, the data could also be passed to a function that registers that member in an LDAP directory. These DLLs must be written in C++ for the first release, but other support will follow in Version 2.

QuickPlace scenes do much of the heavy lifting. They walk users through designing pages, routing documents, and adding users. If you want to collect additional information about users as they're registered, the QDK provides the information needed to modify or insert additional scenes as needed. But don't divert too many resources to using the QDK to extend the QuickPlace model—Version 2 will expose similar technology through the UI to a browser, letting end users do some customization.

To create new QuickPlace users
To create new QuickPlace users...

Click here.

QuickPlace 2 will integrate some of the Sametime server features that make sense within the QuickPlace architecture, including chat and awareness. People will be able to click on a window to know who's in a QuickPlace, then initiate an online chat or conversation with them. Even without the upgrade, Lotus has posted numerous examples on the Sametime developer site that leverage the Sametime API, adding the full range of Sametime services to the browser container.

LotusScript, OLE automation, Java, JavaScript, and CORBA can already access Domino objects; in late fall, Lotus will ship a COM interface that provides an easy way to integrate Domino (and therefore QuickPlace) data into existing IIS apps. Also announced are XML-based connectors to move FrontPage and Dreamweaver pages into Domino databases, though bidirectional connectors won't ship until next year. Added together with QuickPlace enhancements, the combined tools offer a robust development environment for the next generation of collaboration products.







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