Programming Practices

Over time, most developers have adopted practices that help them to write better and more maintainable code. The following are some good rules to start with:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it readable.
  • Build it slowly and test . test , test !
  • Document your code. You never know who will have to maintain it later ”it just might be you!

Keeping It Simple

A very wise developer once advised that instead of consuming lots of time trying to write a slick, elegant program, it is better to write one that is simple and that works. Nobody who uses the application ever sees your slick code anyway! Keeping your formulas simple is one way to write code that works.

For example, if you use nested statements in your routine, it can quickly become a nightmare to debug as you add layer after layer of nesting. I am not suggesting that you avoid using nested statements, but it is a good idea to keep them to a minimum. I suggest this for three reasons. First, nested statements are hard to read, even with the ability to format the formula. Second, you cannot comment inside nested formula statements, so even if you format your code, you can't stick a REM statement inside a statement. Third, there is no debugger for the Formula language as we saw in Chapter 12. The deeper the nesting is, the more difficult it is to find bugs .

Keeping It Readable

Keeping your formulas readable is accomplished in two ways. First, use whitespace (blank lines and spaces between operators) and REM statements that describe what your code does. Second, assign statements to temporary variables . For example, consider the following formula:

REM "Get a list of companies from the Lookup view, LUCompanies" ; 
jcCompanyList := @DbColumn(""; ""; LUCompanies; 1) ;

REM "Set up the @Prompt() statement";
DEFAULT jcDefault := cCompanyName ;
jcPromptTitle := "Company Listing";
jcPromptText := "Use the drop-down list button to choose a Company or type in a new entry:
REM "Look up the Company Name";
jcCompany := @Prompt([OKCANCELLIST]; jcPromptTitle; jcPromptText; jcDefault;
REM "Store the choice in the cCompanyName field";
FIELD cCompanyName := jcCompany

The previous code has temporary variables, REM statements, and blank lines (whitespace) in the code. The following formula has none and is instead one extremely long complicated line:

FIELD cCompanyName := @Prompt([OKCANCELLIST]; "Company Listing"; "Use the drop-down list
button to choose a Company or type in a new entry:"; @If(@IsAvailable(cCompanyName);
cCompanyName; ""); @DbColumn(""; ""; (LUCompanies); 1))

If you compare this to the previous listing, you will quickly see how much easier it is to read the previous one.

Building It Slowly

In addition, testing debugging in this formula is difficult, at best. If you make a mistake, the formula simply won't work and there will be no indication of where it failed. This is particularly important for the Formula language because you cannot step through the code in a debug mode as you can with LotusScript and many other programming languages. The first version of the formula enables you to test at each step. You can first test the @DBColumn() lookup, and then test the @Prompt() , and then keep moving until you have tested all of it.

Documenting Your Code

You will also notice that the first version of the formula has several REM statements that tell you what the formula is doing at each step. Not only do these statements break up the code visually and make it more readable, but they also provide you and other developers with a guide to what the formula is supposed to accomplish. This can be very important at a later date when you need to modify the formula.

Part I. Introduction to Release 6

Whats New in Release 6?

The Release 6 Object Store

The Integrated Development Environment

Part II. Foundations of Application Design

Forms Design

Advanced Form Design

Designing Views

Using Shared Resources in Domino Applications

Using the Page Designer

Creating Outlines

Adding Framesets to Domino Applications

Automating Your Application with Agents

Part III. Programming Domino Applications

Using the Formula Language

Real-World Examples Using the Formula Language

Writing LotusScript for Domino Applications

Real-World LotusScript Examples

Writing JavaScript for Domino Applications

Real-World JavaScript Examples

Writing Java for Domino Applications

Real-World Java Examples

Enhancing Domino Applications for the Web

Part IV. Advanced Design Topics

Accessing Data with XML

Accessing Data with DECS and DCRs

Security and Domino Applications

Creating Workflow Applications

Analyzing Domino Applications

Part V. Appendices

Appendix A. HTML Reference

Appendix B. Domino URL Reference

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Lotus Notes and Domino 6 Development
Lotus Notes and Domino 6 Development (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0672325020
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 288
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