Showing posts for tag "forms-n-views"

Forms 'n' Views

Sep 10, 2012, 7:33 PM

One of my (many) for-fun projects lately has been a design-element editor named "Forms 'n' Views". Though it's not really release-quality, it's been coming together enough to toss it up on GitHub and make a post about it. Basically, it's meant to serve a couple purposes:

  • Help mitigate the "Windows problem" - when all you want to do is make a quick change to a legacy design element (say, a stylesheet), but doing so would mean firing up a Windows VM, launching Designer, and opening the DB. For quick edits, the amount of time that takes wildly eclipses (heh) the time spent actually coding.
  • Experiment with a data-focused way to edit forms and views. The legacy editors are geared towards a Notes client target, dedicating most of their space to aspects that have no meaning when the design element is intended just for backing an XPage.
  • Eventually, provide a way to grant "sudo"-style access to other users to modify certain design elements without granting full designer/manager access, setting up WebDAV, or exposing a poor web designer to Designer.
  • Let me experiment with a different setup for an XPages app - Forms 'n' Views consists of a Dojo BorderContainer- and TabContainer-based UI on a single XPage, which loads up tabs containing custom controls on the fly. None of it is unexplored territory, but it's good to write different kinds of apps sometimes.
  • Let me try out some more backing-class architectures. Each editor is backed by a DOM representation of the exported DXL, which is manipulated through wrapper classes and then re-imported back directly. Things like getting lists of columns are done via XPath queries without storing the data redundantly.

In its current incarnation, it's taken on the pale complexion of Dojo's "claro" theme - I've been going back and forth between that and the Notes-like "soria" theme:

Forms 'n' Views

It should do for now, but I'll likely fiddle with it more to make it look better.

In any event, this has been a fun project so far, and hopefully it'll shape up into a useful tool.

I Started Another Side Project

Aug 9, 2012, 9:26 AM

While working on the view indexer thing (which seems to be taking the form of "yet another SQL exporter for Domino", but with some advantages), I started thinking about how I often want a nice, quick way to edit some views, forms, or stylesheets without having to launch Windows and Designer. The Mac client is there for views, but the experience still leaves something to be desired. In addition, I do very little lately that's intended to be seen directly in the Notes client - most views are set up as data structures to be used in XPages, yet the default editor dedicates about half of its real estate to actions and a completely unreliable visual preview area and only lets you work with one column's settings at a time (other than position and width). Same goes for forms - many of them lately are just the equivalent of schemas, with the client appearance being almost irrelevant.

So, to scratch my itch, I've started making myself another XPages app:

Forms 'n' Views

This has the side benefit of giving me an opportunity to make a UI entirely composed of Dojo layout widgets - I've used them frequently, but not exclusively in a site. The dynamic tabbed panel stuff is pretty cool.

I'm trying to be careful about how the editing happens. Rather than building an object structure from the DXL and then writing out a new DXL document to import - risking deleting any additional attributes that I don't care about - each design element wrapper class works directly on a DOM version of the DXL document, so that anything that it doesn't touch remains when it's imported again. That should allow me to edit existing forms without worrying about destroying the layout - any new fields can just get tacked on to the end, or maybe in a generic table structure, while the rest of the layout remains the same.

I don't know how crazy I want to get with it (I could, for example, make it so that you can allow non-Designers access to modify specific design elements per-DB), but it's a fun little project nonetheless.