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Lotus Notes and Domino R6 Application Architecture for Exams 620, 621, and 622

Tim Bankes and David Hatter cover the Domino Designer development environment and the technologies supported by the Domino Designer. Specifically, the application architecture, Notes design elements, and how to utilize the design elements in developing for Notes clients are covered.
This chapter is from the book

Chapter 3: Application Architecture

Terms you'll need to understand:

  • Bookmarks

  • Embedded elements

  • Outline

  • Date picker

  • Group scheduling control

  • Editor

  • Folder pane

  • File upload control

  • Image resource

  • Style sheets

  • Data Connections

Techniques you'll need to master:

  • Creating, modifying, and troubleshooting for Notes clients

  • Understanding Domino Application Architecture

  • Executing requests from the Notes client

  • Using images in applications

  • Using tables to manage page layout

  • Using the Designer bookmarks to organize projects

  • Working with local applications

Understanding the Lotus Notes application architecture is fundamental to passing exam 610, Notes Domino 6 Application Development Foundation Skills. This understanding is also fundamental to application development in general! This chapter covers the Domino Designer development environment and the technologies supported by the Domino Designer. Specifically, the application architecture, Notes design elements, and how to utilize the design elements in developing for Notes clients are covered.

The most important element with any Domino application is Notes documents. Lotus Notes documents contain application data and design data. In addition, design elements are special Lotus Notes documents that are a part of the database design. However, when referring to Notes documents, people are typically referring to application data documents. Likewise, references in this chapter and the remainder of this book will typically be referring to application data documents unless otherwise noted.

Creating, Modifying, Troubleshooting for Notes Clients

When the Domino Designer client is opened, the welcome page is displayed. The default welcome page displays four options to display content in the Show Me field. The four options are

  • Quick links for common tasks (default)—These tasks include Create New Database, Open an Existing Database, Designer Help, and links to online developer resources such as the Lotus Developer Domain, Domino Enterprise Integration, Domino Global Workbench, and What's New in Domino Designer 6.

  • Domino Objects For LotusScript and OLE—A graphical layout of the Front-End and Back-End classes with links to respective help documents in the Lotus Domino Designer 6 Help database.

  • Domino Objects for DXL Support—A graphical layout of the DXL classes with links to respective help documents in the Lotus Domino Designer 6 Help database.

  • JavaScript Object Model—A graphical layout of the DXL classes with a link to help contained in the Lotus Domino Designer 6 Help database. This help document explains how the JavaScript object model is implemented in Domino and contains links to online JavaScript help.

Languages Used to Code within the Domino Designer IDE

The Domino Designer Integrated Development Environment (IDE) enables developers to use the following languages to code:

  • Notes Formula language

  • LotusScript

  • Java

  • Imported Java

  • JavaScript

The Domino Designer Client Interface

Table 3.1, Interface Functional Area, describes the functional areas contained within the Domino Designer client interface.


Although you will not be asked specifically to point out these areas for the exam, the areas of the Lotus Domino Designer interface are referenced within exam questions. And although the exam does not visually depict the development environment, you may be asked questions that refer to user interface areas (such as the Design pane), so understanding the terminology used by Lotus when referring to the development environment is important.

Table 3.1 Interface Functional Areas

User Interface Area


Menu bar

Context-sensitive menus of the Domino Designer commands.

Properties Box button

Opens the properties box for the active design element.

Preview buttons

Launch a Web browser or Notes client to preview the work.

Design pane

Contains the list of the design elements and resources for the database. The bookmark icon contains a list of the most recently opened databases.

Work pane

The WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") environment for creating and modifying forms, pages, views, and other design elements specific to an application or database. Lists all the specific design items in the current database for the selected design element. The Design action buttons, which are listed across the top of the Work pane, change depending on the current design element being modified. These buttons then perform actions respective to the currently displayed items in the Work pane.

Window tabs

Each item that you are currently working on has its window tab. When each tab is clicked, the window the tab represents is opened.

Design Action buttons

Used to trigger common tasks associated with the current design element being used.

Bookmark bar

Displays bookmarks, which are graphical links to help you quickly access and organize your databases.

Objects tab

Lists all the objects (specific parts of the design element such as forms, fields, or buttons when working within a form design element) and events (object-related actions to which you can attach scripts to perform activities in an application—when the event occurs, the script attached to the event executes) for the currently selected design element to which logic (code) can be added. When clicking on the various items, the script area changes to reflect the language type and logic that can be added for the current object. Logic is then added into the script area.

Info list

Scrollable window that displays the objects and coding reference information for the design element currently displayed in the work area.

Title bar

Displays the title of the current design element, object, or event.

Reference tab

Lists the fields and functions available for the currently selected object. Code can be pasted from the list to the script area or pop-up help. Reference tab is language sensitive and lists help available for the currently selected event. If a formula event is selected, the reference lists all the Database fields, @Functions, and @Commands available. When you select a JavaScript event the Document Object Model is listed. Likewise, when LotusScript is selected, the Reference tab displays the Domino classes. Code can be pasted from the list or Designer help can be opened.

Script area

Area where script (LotusScript or JavaScript), command language, and formula language are written for the current object selected. When you select a JavaScript event you are given the choice to code for the Web client or the Notes client. Certain events can be coded to both clients, and you can do this by choosing Common Javascript.

Errors box

Displays errors generated during the compile when working with LotusScript.

Figure 3.1 displays the Lotus Domino Designer and the various design elements contained within it.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 Domino Designer R6 interface.

Forms and Documents

Typically, users use Notes forms to create, open, and modify documents. (Documents can exist, however, without forms to display them.) The form is the physical template providing the structure and formatting of the document to be displayed to the user. For example, the form might contain the document layout, field layout, text, images, background color, and so forth. Regardless of whether the user is a Web client or Notes client, Domino uses the Access Control List (ACL) to determine whether the user has rights to create, read, modify, or delete documents.

Four types of data can be stored in documents:

  • Text

  • Numbers

  • Dates/times

  • Rich text (graphics, tables, sections, objects, and so forth)

Troubleshooting Database Access

If users are having problems accessing the Domino database(s), consider investigating the following potential causes of failure:

  • The target server is down, and no clustered servers are available to serve as failover servers. Consider setting up Advanced server options such as clustering and failover.

  • Users have insufficient access to perform the requested operation. Investigate the database Access Control List to ensure that users have been set up with sufficient database access.

  • The Database file is being used through the operating system, possibly by a third-party backup system, so that access is locked. Ensure that the database file is not currently being backed up, or that the previous backup has not failed and the backup process has locked the file from being used. Also ensure that the operating system user rights have not been modified to restrict access to the file or file directory.

  • The full-text index frequency is set to immediate, and the server is continually updating the database full-text index. Consider modifying the full-text index update to update less frequently.

  • Users are assigned to more than one access level. Table 3.2 refers to some common user access conflicts that occur when users are assigned to more than one access level and their respective resolutions.

Table 3.2 User Access Conflicts



The user is listed individually and as a member of a group.

The access granted to the explicitly listed username takes precedence over the access granted in the group, even if the group access is higher.

The user is included in two or more groups.

The user is granted access of the group with the highest access.

The user appears in the ACL as well as in specific design element access lists.

The specific design access refines the data-base access.

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