The July 2007 Blog
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Yahoo Weather Info via RSS (Sunday, Jul 29)
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Moving right along...

Here's a nice, easy way to grab a weather forecast via URL. Yahoo makes 5-day forecast information available via RSS, so you can subscribe to a weather feed for your zip code. For example, using my zip code of 30269, my Yahoo weather feed is:

This provides a simple RSS feed, which displays nicely in Firefox like this:

PTC Weather Feed

That should be easy to parse (using an XML parser, or XPath, or whatever) to provide custom weather displays for your users on-demand -- and it may be more convenient than a web service call to NOAA. Not sure if it works for non-USA location codes.

If you need some examples of grabbing the contents of a URL with a Notes database, see my URL Fetcher database and the sample agents therein. It's unsupported code, of course...

Do I "Support" My Code? (Wednesday, Jul 25)
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So, last week while I was on vacation with my family, some person left a message on the OpenNTF discussion forum for the Stubby project asking about how to write an agent. Anxious for an answer, this person posted another similar message less than 24 hours later. Both of these questions would have been answered by looking at the sample agents in the Stubby database -- in fact, I explicitly mention that there's a LotusScript sample agent in paragraph 3 of the Help document in the database.

Today, the person (not sure whether it's a male or female, because apparently their first name is "sr") left another message in the discussion forum with the simple subject "Project no longer supported". I waited all day to respond, partially because I didn't want to sound too angry. Here's an excerpt from my response:

In a large part, NO, this project is not supported. It is free, open source code that I wrote to share with other people. If someone asks a question that I think I know the answer to, and I have time to answer it, I may leave an answer. If someone finds a bug or wants extra functionality, I may make changes if I feel like it.

But please do not fool yourself into thinking that this is a truly "supported" database in any way. It is a gift, for you and everyone else to use if you want. However, you have to put some effort into it too. You have to read the documentation. You have to look at the code -- hey, it's open source!

I spent weeks, probably MONTHS, writing, testing, and debugging this code, writing help documentation, writing sample agents, and writing HUGE amounts of comments in the sample agents. Please look at it. Any "support" you get beyond that is another gift.

That's pretty much how I feel about all the free code I put on OpenNTF, this website, or anywhere else. I apologize if anyone thought differently. It's not that I don't care, just that I have priorities. And very limited time.

Potter (Saturday, Jul 21)
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Harry Potter Amazon box

Can't blog... reading Potter...

Refreshing Domino Pages (Tuesday, Jul 17)
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Posted here so I can remember it. This LDD forum post suggests a way to refresh a Domino web page without losing the current field values:

window._doClick('$Refresh', this, null);

Haven't tried it yet, but I will. That could be handy for hide-whens and whatnot.

Harry Potter Sock Puppets (Monday, Jul 16)
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My first embedded YouTube video. It's Harry Potter sock puppets. Yay!

As silly as it is, I find myself singing this little diddy at the strangest times...

Applets, Servlets, and Washlets (Friday, Jul 13)
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So we've got applets, and servlets, and portlets... and probably a few other *lets I'm forgetting. But I was very happy to discover "washlets":

washlets - clean is happy

Forget this Notes and Java stuff, that's the kind of development I need to get into. Actually, I saw that as a sidebar ad on Wired a few weeks ago, and I meant to blog it then but I ended up sitting on it for a while.

Ha! "Sitting on it". Oh boy, I kill me...

The Washlet website rocks, too. Oh, that reminds me: remember the Lotus smart toilet seats? Ah, good times...

Formatting Code On A Web Page (Tuesday, Jul 3)
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If/when I format LotusScript code to put on a web page, I normally use my LS-to-HTML database to do the markup for me (in fact, I usually use the online copy on Joe Litton's site).

Michel Van Der Meiren recently demonstrated a nice way to do it dynamically, using JavaScript syntax highlighting. Cool technique, and he's got Formula Language support too.

I also saw an interesting way to display code a while back on the My Life With IT blog, where there was code on the page that looked like this:

Code with line numbers

It doesn't look like that when I looked at the page just now, so something probably changed about the site design. In any case, the line numbering bit seemed to come from the "Freshy" Wordpress theme, which has this in the CSS:

code {
   font: 1em 'Courier New', Courier, Fixed, monospace;
   font-size : 100%;
   color: #000;
   background : #fff url(images/preback.jpg) no-repeat left top;
   overflow : auto;
   border : 1px solid #99cc66; /*highlight color */
   padding : 0px 20px 0 30px;
   margin:1em 0 1em 0;

The CSS uses this graphic for the background of any text in a <code> block:

code background graphic

And since the CSS has a fixed line height that matches the line height in the background graphic, it all lines up (pun intended).

I'm sure there will be at least one person who now has the urge to leave a comment saying, "I've been using that technique since 1983...". But whatever. I saw it, liked it, and wanted to share.