Stepping up

Prompted by an extremely lengthy discussion over at, a few characters out there have decided that the time is right to start releasing some simple “starter” templates covering yer basic Notes & Domino applications. Declan has already spoken to me about getting some stuff out there, and now John Head has added his voice. I think this is a pretty nifty idea (sorry). The notion of extending a common look ’n’ feel to OpenNTF applications also has a certain appeal, but I’m not sure how far we’d get with that: I suspect everything would end up looking like the Notes 6 mail template.

Anyway, check the discussions out. If you’re someone who could use these sorts of basic templates—either as applications in their own right, or as nicely-architected “building blocks” for more complex designs—then speak up! Make yourself heard!


  1. Why a common UI? That's what I am trying to digest………..

    If only Notes made it easier to skin applications then we could talk but, to redo the UI's on a bunch of apps is in my opinion not necessary.Bruce Elgort#
  2. So these apps will look great in Notes 6/7 but what about when Hannover comes out? Don't you think you will then have to redo the UI to match Hannover? Somebody smack me if I am being silly here.Bruce Elgort#
  3. Whilst I like the idea of a common UI, I'm not sure that it will work. Some have suggested that the blue wash version of DominoBlog should be the way forward…well Ok, if you actually like that UI (I have mixed feelings about it myself).

    In think the common UI is one of the biggest issues - whos going to agree to do it to their beloved templates? I'd be more than happy to make a couple of contributions but I'm not so sure that I want to see the UI changed in any siginificant way…and neither do I have the time to do so (or at least what time I do have I'd prefer to devote to making the app as generically useful as possible).

    Then theres the question of where do we put them without negating the efforts at OpenNTF?

    All very interesting discussion though!Colin Williams#
  4. All good points. I don’t necessarily agree that re-skinning a load of OpenNTF apps is the right thing to do but enough people have mentiond it to warrant discussion.

    Maybe it’s not as prescriptive as that, Maybe we should just look at having a certain kind of layout to an app, some basic UI conventions—these don’t necessarily have to stretch to colours, fonts and so on.Ben Poole#
  5. @Bruce - the common UI is important from the point of view that if the apps look ugly, people won't use them. Also, if people decide to implement them within an organisation, they typically want a uniform look-n-feel.

    We've looked at off the shelf Notes templates in the past…and users have rejected them because they don't look the same as the rest of our "suite". Perception is a very important thing to some people (me included).

    As you can see, whilst I like the idea of a common UI, I also don't like the idea that mine needs to be the one that is changed! ;)

    its the classic "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and to a degree, IBM are partly to blame for this as their UIs for Notes templates in the past have bared little similarity to one another let alone been overly nice to look at. For that reason, developers have done all sorts of different things to achieve what they believe is a good UI. I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

    Rambing again - sorry! ;)Colin Williams#
  6. I still think this idea has merit but I really think it needs to be contained within OpenNTF somehow…or alternatively people could post their efforts from their blog/website but maybe OpenNTF create a catalog of them?

    One of the advantages of OpenNTF is that it can be used to collaborate on a particular project whereas say I made my "Contact Database" available for this effort, I might not want that degree of feedback otherwise it might raise some kind of expection that people can submit ideas etc. A standalone effort could be simply made available for download and that is it.Colin Williams#
  7. @6: that’s exactly what this latest initiative is all about: submit a very simple, stand-alone application. It should be usable out of the box, but it should also be something that a reasonable developer would want to expand-upon.

    However, what it won’t be is an OpenNTF project, and anyone submitting feature requests and bug reports against such a thing will be held up for pillory, and pelted with rotten fish.

    (I made that last bit of the sentence up).Ben Poole#
  8. I am sure you know that you can apply a CSS stylesheet to your Notes client applications. Its pretty limited but its good for color schemes. Why not just provide at set of skins.John Marshall#

Comments on this post are now closed.


I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.