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Latest 7 Posts
A change of IDEs
Tue, Nov 11th 2014 371
How to write a blog post
Tue, Sep 23rd 2014 111
A new path
Sat, Sep 20th 2014 117
On Kate Bush
Sat, Aug 30th 2014 111
On blogs
Thu, Aug 28th 2014 104
Nation Apparently Believed in Science at Some Point
Tue, Jul 22nd 2014 242
CSC “mini” event
Mon, Jun 2nd 2014 75
Top 10
A change of IDEs
Tue, Nov 11th 2014 371
Nation Apparently Believed in Science at Some Point
Tue, Jul 22nd 2014 242
A new path
Sat, Sep 20th 2014 117
On Kate Bush
Sat, Aug 30th 2014 111
How to write a blog post
Tue, Sep 23rd 2014 111
The JVM in 9.0.1
Mon, Nov 18th 2013 105
On blogs
Thu, Aug 28th 2014 104
Tue, May 6th 2014 94
ThoughtWorks release their technology radar
Wed, Jan 29th 2014 93
Oh you’ve got to come to this...
Thu, Feb 20th 2014 90

Ben Poole
Blog Title Ben Poole
Blog Description Ben Poole: last 10 entries
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Landed Here Nov 23, 2007
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Recent Blog Posts

A change of IDEs
Tue, Nov 11th 2014 1:05p   Ben Poole
For more years than I care to remember, Eclipse has been my Java IDE of choice. I’ve been known to branch out to things like MyEclipse as required, but in recent years, just base Eclipse. As Indigo, Juno, Kepler and company came and went, tweaks were made, user interfaces polished: fair enough. But of late, Eclipse has become more and more sluggish, and downright Domino Designer-ish on occasion (which is clearly intolerable!) The last straw for me was when both Kepler and Luna decided to [read] Keywords: domino development eclipse java

How to write a blog post
Tue, Sep 23rd 2014 1:56p   Ben Poole
There’s a lot of writing out there which I really enjoy at the moment (reading more than ever nowadays). One site that I only started following relatively recently is Wil Wheaton’s. No idea what took me so long. I rather enjoyed this little snippet in his latest post: Stephen King says that writing is a form of time travel, and I’ll take that a step further: a bookstore or library is a portal to anywhere in the multiverse; it’s Sigil made real. Read more… [read] Keywords: wiki

A new path
Sat, Sep 20th 2014 10:31a   Ben Poole
My, it has been a busy few months (as you can tell from how dark this site has been). In addition to normal client assignments, we at LDC Towers have been beavering away with a new product, which we call LDC Via. You should definitely check it out. At this stage the app is in active development, and we’re looking to sign up willing beta testers. The tool can be run on premises or in the cloud—you can see a pared-down version of the cloud offering running as part of our demo app̵ [read] Keywords: domino application development interface

On Kate Bush
Sat, Aug 30th 2014 5:01a   Ben Poole
I do not have the body of work in my past that she has—but to see a mature woman create something so idiosyncratic, risk it all in the public view and then triumph on her own terms is a joy. Read more… Hear, hear. Off to see Kate Bush in less than two weeks, and cannot wait! [read] Keywords:

On blogs
Thu, Aug 28th 2014 2:41a   Ben Poole
My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here. Google Plus is still a thing? ;-) Read more… [read] Keywords: facebook google twitter

Nation Apparently Believed in Science at Some Point
Tue, Jul 22nd 2014 12:43a   Ben Poole
Historians studying archival photographs from four decades ago have come to the conclusion that the U.S. must have believed in science at some point. Read more… (beautiful typography too). [read] Keywords:


CSC “mini” event
Mon, Jun 2nd 2014 2:54p   Ben Poole
As you may have seen, we at LDC Towers, together with esteemed colleagues at The Turtle Partnership are looking to run a second Collaboration Stack Community event, this time a “mini” session, taking an evening slot on the 16th July. As before, there will be two tracks or themes to the event, and your participation is encouraged, nay mandatory! The details: CSCEvent Evening event this July. Do take a look at the post, and register if you are interested. As ever, it’s free! [read] Keywords: collaboration community

Tue, May 6th 2014 2:14p   Ben Poole
I am writing this post in Github’s new “hackable” programming editor, Atom. It’s pretty nifty, and I’ve been using it for a few weeks now. For general mark-up and the like it has supplanted the old main-stay, Coda 2, which has been having some issues for a little while now (frankly, it tries to be too many things). Whether I shall ditch Sublime Text as well (which Atom is very similar to, in terms of looks and core functionality), remains to be seen. Time will tell [read] Keywords:

Agile, agility?
Mon, Mar 24th 2014 12:34p   Ben Poole
One of the architects of the agile manifesto, Dave Turner, has written an eloquent piece on how the term “agile” has been horribly misappropriated: The word “agile” has been subverted to the point where it is effectively meaningless, and what passes for an agile community seems to be largely an arena for consultants and vendors to hawk services and products. Sadly, this mirrors my experience, and probably that of many other IT practitioners out there. The term has been [read] Keywords: collaboration community

Sun, Mar 23rd 2014 2:50p   Ben Poole
Well that was a fair few weeks of effort on all fronts. As some of you will know, we recently co-hosted the inaugural Collaborative Stack Community event and good fun it was too. The venue was fab (the Soho Hotel, picked out by good chum and colleague Abigail Roberts at Ravendesk), the attendees were in good voice, our speakers were great, and as ever Gab and Mike organised things wonderfully. Me? I just turned up and looked pretty. Many thanks to everyone who took part, and keep your eye on t [read] Keywords: community twitter

Your language is not dead
Tue, Feb 25th 2014 3:34a   Ben Poole
This: Meanwhile, I suspect 80% of programmers are still working on problems where their development velocity is a much bigger problem than how many hits their server can take before falling over. I dunno, maybe my view of the industry is skewed. I just don’t think there are really that many developers, statistically speaking, who can cite system capacity as their current problem #1. Or #2, or #3. Excellent exposition of those interminable “language blah is dead” memes that just w [read] Keywords: lotusscript development server

Oh you’ve got to come to this...
Thu, Feb 20th 2014 2:08p   Ben Poole
If you read the sites of my good friends and colleagues the Turtle Partnership, Matt White and the Wookiee (and why, pray, would you not?), you will be aware of a new, free event taking place in a month. On Friday, March 21st we are holding an informal techie(ish) get-together for those interested in collaborative technologies. This will take place in Soho, London, and will not be a sales-fest in any way—nor will it be vendor / platform-specific: come one, come all! CSC Event will most d [read] Keywords:

ThoughtWorks release their technology radar
Wed, Jan 29th 2014 1:43a   Ben Poole
The ThoughtWorks technology Radar is out, and it makes for interesting reading. Some of the “Adopt” languages and frameworks are new to me, and one in particular warrants further investigation: Dropwizard is an opinionated combination of several lightweight Java tools and frameworks, many of which would merit mention in their own right. The package embodies many of our favorite techniques, including an embedded HTTP server, support for RESTful endpoints, built-in operational metrics and hea [read] Keywords: java server

The Macintosh is 30
Tue, Jan 28th 2014 1:45a   Ben Poole
The Mac turned thirty this weekend, but you could be forgiven for missing that. Very little in the way of hoo-hah. Here are a couple of the more worthwhile links out there: Stephen Fry has turned in a wonderful piece of writing about the Macintosh, and his experience buying just the second one available in Europe, back in 1984: From the very first the Apple Macintosh team included archeologists, classicists, and, famously, Steve’s passion for the print art of fonts was built into the very fi [read] Keywords: apple development mac macintosh

Tue, Dec 31st 2013 4:47a   Ben Poole
Where does it go? Where does it go?? So, time to bid farewell to another year. And another year of blog neglect. Tsk. No promises from me. Lots to write about, not enough hours. I’m hoping for a little more time in 2014 as I ease back on the work a little, but who can say what will happen? I started 2013 with a lovely jaunt to Connect / Lotusphere, my first since 2010. That was tremendous fun, and I have posts about that on the site already. I can’t post about Lotusphere-that-was without [read] Keywords: domino lotusphere bug java

The JVM in 9.0.1
Mon, Nov 18th 2013 2:32a   Ben Poole
With the release of version 9.0.1, IBM have updated the Domino JVM to release 6 SR14. This is important, because SR14 brings some new security requirements with it. You can read the detail in the relevant technote, Security Bulletin: IBM Notes & Domino fixes for multiple vulnerabilities in IBM JRE. When I tried to run some code that uses FOP to render a PDF, I felt the impact of this change. Given that XML processing is a pretty common requirement in Domino Java agents the world over, you ma [read] Keywords: agent domino ibm notes java oracle properties security xml xslt

Singletons and Java
Mon, Nov 11th 2013 3:23a   Ben Poole
As a pattern, it’s probably fair to say that the singleton has fallen out of favour somewhat. It is no longer the thing in these days of dependency resolution or injection, and like anything that is easy to understand, it has been thoroughly abused over the years. However, I still think it has its place, and the only thing that’s stopped me using it in my code is (a) perceived disdain from other developers and, (b) the amount of boiler-plate guff required in a language like Java to implemen [read] Keywords: google java wiki

Thank you Bruce
Wed, Oct 2nd 2013 8:20a   Ben Poole
This will embarrass him mightily and / or swell his head to epic proportions. Either way, I’m doing it. As many will know, Bruce is finally taking his leave of all things OpenNTF, and it would be deeply remiss of us not to mark his parting. Should I tell a story? List his many accomplishments to date? Generally simper? No. I’m British. Instead, allow me to express how very fond I am of Bruce. He is many things: husband, father, businessman, advocate, developer(!), leader, employer, [read] Keywords: openntf

The music post redux
Fri, Sep 13th 2013 1:37p   Ben Poole
Back in February I wrote the music post and waxed lyrical about a few prog-oriented albums that had just been releases, marking the year as a true vintage in barely two months. Well, things just got better and better&hellip; When I wrote February’s post I was looking forward to Steven Wilson’s third solo effort, The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) which promptly came out and blew many of us away. A simply gorgeous recording, it is without doubt my album of the yea [read] Keywords:

Wed, Aug 28th 2013 2:13p   Ben Poole
&hellip;I was going to break blog silence again and post some ramble about the amazing group of people I count myself lucky to know—all in response to Warren’s announcement. But then, you know, this. [read] Keywords:

Mon, Aug 19th 2013 2:30p   Ben Poole
We interrupt this blog’s extended snooze to highlight a magical performance of a wonderful piece—“Badia” by Weather Report. Alas, cuts off a little prematurely, but it’s a great piece of footage nonetheless, from 1976: Like that? Watch the full gig here. An appropriate post, as Wayne Shorter turns 80 this weekend :-) [read] Keywords:

Back to black
Sat, Feb 23rd 2013 7:28a   Ben Poole
Mr. Mooney recently posted about his old Apple MacBook, which he received in recognition for all his hard work with ILUG in 2007. Seeing his post reminded me of the “mb4bp” initiative that Volker kicked off: In December 2006, through the wonderful kindness of the wider IBM Lotus community, I was able to buy my first professional grade (and new to boot) machine. This started something big. Within eight months of receiving that splendid little laptop I had formed my own company and resigned f [read] Keywords: ibm ilug lotus apple community laptop macbook

The music post
Tue, Feb 19th 2013 3:28p   Ben Poole
An astounding year for music so far, and we’re only in February! First up, I was delighted to find that a relatively new discovery of mine released a new album in January. These fellows hail from Manchester and are called Dutch Uncles. Prog-pop is the description they’re most tagged-with, and I suppose it suits. Think a joyful amalgam of 80s King Crimson, Talking Heads and Sparks. Some fantastic odd guitar figures, shimmering keys and a unique vocal style from leader Duncan Wallis. Excellent [read] Keywords:

IBM Connect 2013: the last post
Thu, Feb 14th 2013 3:56p   Ben Poole
And so to the last day of Connect, Thursday (this post is a bit of a ramble, I warn you now). I started off poorly by missing Mark and Julian’s show ’n’ tell, “Buried Treasure: Finding the Hidden Gold in IBM Notes Data”. Damn! Instead, a little work and then off to the various Q&A sessions, kicking off with Gurupalooza, hosted by the wonderful Susan Bulloch. This is always a fun session, and the “re-education bat” added a certain je ne sais quoi. Gurupalooza was followed by [read] Keywords: connections domino ibm inotes notes xpages apple blogger development enterprise java javascript mobile server twitter wiki

IBM Connect 2013: the third post
Tue, Feb 5th 2013 3:43p   Ben Poole
Tuesday was a superb day in Orlando, really enjoyed it. And I’ll tell you for why… (said in best Uncle Bryn voice): First up, a load of work, and chat in the rotunda. Always good! And then, just before lunch we had a gem of a session: Spark Ideas, put together by the Nerdgirls. It was just wonderful. I nearly ended up blubbing like a baby (thanks Graham :-)) and also laughed like a drain. Nothing technical, nothing about IBM. Just a group people I respect (more than ever) laying a little o [read] Keywords: domino ibm xpages apple application applications eclipse java server wiki

IBM Connect 2013: the second post
Mon, Feb 4th 2013 3:20p   Ben Poole
And so to Sunday. I suppose one would class this as the first “proper” day of IBM Connect as Jumpstart sessions get going, and there’s business development stuff going on. In the Woodward / Myers / Poole suite pit things were somewhat muted and slow to start. We all had things to do, so the day was spent gently faffing. Mark and I even got a decent brunch in (one of the few proper meals enjoyed during the week!) Predictably, the evening started early at the pool-side reception, and finishe [read] Keywords: ibm application development interface

IBM Connect 2013: the first post
Sun, Feb 3rd 2013 3:30p   Ben Poole
A taxi, a plane, a train, a walk, another train, and another walk. Left the Dolphin just after 5pm on Thursday, and walked through my front door in Blighty exactly fourteen hours later. And what a trip! As long-time readers will know (!) I don’t do the Lotusphere thing very often. I went courtesy of my old employer in 2006 and then thanks to team Elguji got to go again in 2010 as the indy coder I am now. Despite this paucity in my attendance record, Lotusphere always feels welcoming, it just [read] Keywords: ibm lotusphere google wiki

Quote of the day
Mon, Jan 7th 2013 4:30a   Ben Poole
Just catching up on Robert Fripp’s diaries. He was discussing the various interactions he’d had with people on-line over the years, and this line stood out: It is not possible to discuss the weather with a person whose head is placed where sunshine never falls, and yet who feels themselves to be a climate expert. Read more&hellip; [read] Keywords:

Headline of the year
Mon, Dec 31st 2012 7:57p   Ben Poole
&hellip; possibly. ‘Oompa Loompas’ sought by police over Norwich assault. Happy 2013 everybody. Sorry for the radio silence for so long. It has been one hell of a mad year! I hope to see many people during the course of the next. Sorry, this. Yes. [read] Keywords:

Wise words
Sun, Nov 25th 2012 1:47p   Ben Poole
Something I just read whilst catching up on Robert Fripp’s diary—a piece of advice to a struggling musician colleague, but I think there’s a little nugget in there for all of us: My advice: re-establish the morning sitting. Life without the morning sitting is like trying to walk without legs. This is the beginning, the foundation, of strengthening personal presence. If we are absent, then life is all stuff. Nothing real happens; so when things go wrong, it’s not possible [read] Keywords:

Nobody does it better…
Sat, Oct 20th 2012 4:50a   Ben Poole
Alan Partridge narrates the opening of The Spy Who Loved Me. Wonderful. [read] Keywords:

Quick XPage and rich text editor gotcha
Wed, Oct 17th 2012 3:04p   Ben Poole
A wee gotcha I encountered this week. Anyone who’s done Domino development is familiar with URLs that look like this: /0/83175A727DC5124200257A9A0025A7EE?EditDocument of course, these have changed somewhat in vanilla XPages apps, and look something like this: /page.xsp?action=openDocument&documentId=83175A727DC5124200257A9A0025A7EE As you are no doubt aware, you can still the use the “original” URL style if you’re XPageifying (technical term) an existing app. For example, [read] Keywords: domino ibm rich text xpages bug development server

How to win the love of a developer
Sat, Oct 13th 2012 3:51a   Ben Poole
Remember Joel’s Test, with its vital tips on how to make life better and more productive for the average developer (we are kingmakers after all)? Well, decent equipment, nice offices, ping pong tables and all that—these things pale into utter insignificance when it comes to one, relatively simple change, that organisations can make: Ensure that your test environments mirror those used in production. It really is that simple, and you will save countless hours of frustrated troubleshooting [read] Keywords: integration

Thought for the day
Fri, Oct 12th 2012 1:17p   Ben Poole
When someone likens a minor piece of IT journalism (and a positive piece at that) to child abuse or racism, then that someone loses a wee bit o’ credibility. Now, let’s get some perspective back and talk about something else shall we? [read] Keywords:

Bring my Apache back!
Wed, Oct 3rd 2012 3:33a   Ben Poole
Last night, whilst demo-ing some older sites I developed, I realised that something had changed on the ole’ Mac—I could no longer preview content in my ~/Sites directory using OS X’s in-built Apache 2 server. Furthermore, the web sharing preference… he gone! Never fear, Apache and OS X web sharing are still there: you just need to re-enable it all (gah!) So, here’s how to do it. First of all, fire up the trusty Terminal, and issue this command (replacing “” with your username): v [read] Keywords: mac server

Oh if you must: editing Lotusscript in Sublime Text 2
Mon, Sep 3rd 2012 7:20a   Ben Poole
A Domino tip! The easiest way to get going is to ensure you have VBScript syntax support installed in Sublime Text 2. Navigate to “Syntax” under the “View” menu and see what gets listed. If you don’t have the VBScript stuff, there are a few ways to update your package support, but I would just use Sublime Package Control to install it (a lovely add-in to the editor which lets you do all sorts of stuff). Once you’ve done that, do this (these instructions are for OS X, but shoul [read] Keywords: domino lotusscript linux mac

Neil Armstrong and aspirations
Mon, Aug 27th 2012 6:26a   Ben Poole
Now this excellent post is well worth a read (and it’s not just about the passing of Neil Armstrong). It’s also sad that as nations become more comfortable, our ability to collectively aspire becomes lessened. Kids are now growing up, not dreaming of ‘doing’ for the betterment of mankind, but to be celebrities and to accumulate ‘stuff’. Hat-tip to Susan Bulloch. [read] Keywords:

Sat, Aug 11th 2012 3:36p   Ben Poole
This is getting several plays a day at the moment&hellip; [read] Keywords:

Random code snippet: getting user’s documents / home directory
Wed, Aug 1st 2012 3:35p   Ben Poole
Occasionally I like to throw out random tips without any context or, indeed, much point beyond their inherent usefulness for anyone Googling or Binging. So, whatever, here is the latest: It is commonly-believed that grabbing the user.dir or user.home system properties in Java is good enough, when it comes to making use of a user’s documents folder. Well, they get you part of the way there (although they don’t necessarily mean what you think they mean), but if you want a more resilient bit o [read] Keywords: application interface java properties wiki

Sublime Text 2
Tue, Jul 3rd 2012 3:36a   Ben Poole
Sublime Text 2 went gold a couple of weeks ago, and I would urge you to give it a spin. For straight-ahead web development, Coda 2 is still my weapon of choice, but Sublime Text 2 is lovely for PHP, Ruby, the odd bit of Java when not using the Eclipse behemoth, etc. For the last twelve years the venerable TextPad has always been my stable editor in my Windows virtual machines, but guess what? Sublime Text 2 has supplanted it. A great tool, well worth the (small) price. And it does Linux too. ( [read] Keywords: development eclipse java linux

If you’re not following Text From Dog…
Sun, Jul 1st 2012 1:41p   Ben Poole
&hellip; you really need to be :-) Read more&hellip; [read] Keywords:

Talkin’ loud… redux
Sun, Jul 1st 2012 8:06a   Ben Poole
In my last post I fumed at some over-blown drivel spouted on a Microsoft-loving site re Windows 8, and we all deal frequently with vapid outpourings of utter snot from Apple fans to boot. But now, now we get a pile of ole’ tom-tit from the ’droid peeps—moreover, someone who should really know better. Oh the humanity! John Furrier, Apple’s $95 million Android Wet Blanket. Google is changing the game by simplifying the application experience within applications. My take a [read] Keywords: apple application applications google microsoft mobile

Talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing
Tue, Jun 19th 2012 5:21p   Ben Poole
This story, “Microsoft. Kicks. Ass.” has received a lot of link love since it came out yesterday. Lots of people waxing lyrical on twatter, and generally getting in a tizz about it. Why? It says nothing. Here’s a typical paragraph: The Torx screws on the back are proudly visible, proclaiming to anyone who wants: touch me, open me, change me, adapt me. The charcoal grey is an updated pre-Apple beige. The multiplicity of ports sing: connect with me, send data to me, accessoriz [read] Keywords: apple microsoft

Kicking the Eclipse habit
Thu, May 17th 2012 2:25p   Ben Poole
Eclipse is a wondrous piece of work, and extremely useful. I have cooked up many lines of code in that IDE over the years (I’ve deleted lots of lines in it too, which is as it should be), and will probably bust it out again and again in the future. But for now? For now I’ve parked it. Too many UI quirks getting in the way, too many dependent pieces of code ’n’ plug-ins, too much waiting for “tooling” to pull its trousers up. I like it simple: one or three bare-bones editors, and the [read] Keywords: cascading style sheets css development eclipse interface javascript

A decade!
Sun, May 13th 2012 1:14p   Ben Poole
Not that you’d know it given blogging levels for the past eight months or so, but today this site hits the merry old age of ten! Crikey, how time flies. When I started, there was one other Domino chap out there writing a regular Domino dev site (hello Jake), and that was about it. A flurry of Domino sites followed. Who could forget the original Blogsphere templates, Mike Golding’s NotesTips site, or the original long-lost blogging template, FreeDomBlog? Ah what larks. So anyway, here’s to [read] Keywords: domino blogging blogSphere

Significant releases
Mon, Apr 30th 2012 1:45p   Ben Poole
Two important releases today. First up, we have the latest instalment of the Wormworld saga from Daniel Lieske, hooray! Chapter 3 - A Monstrous Forest. Chapter 3 was a huge challenge for me as I wanted the first impression of the Wormworld to be a lasting one. This chapter is the longest chapter so far and it is full of elaborate full scale backgrounds. Including prelim, concept art and layout, I worked over 400 hours on Chapter 3. I think that it shows and I hope that everyone will enjoy the [read] Keywords: development java mac oracle

Oh my word it’s April!
Wed, Apr 4th 2012 3:00p   Ben Poole
This has to be the slowest blogging year I’ve had since I began this blog (almost a decade ago). The ironic thing is that ordinarily I would have more time than ever to keep the ole’ site up to date. Since I started contracting at a certain national broadcaster some six months ago, this has meant my working away from home during the week. A short (walking) commute coupled with no family or household chores in the evening surely mean oodles of time for blogging, hobby projects, and ge [read] Keywords: blogging java javascript

HTTP 701 meh
Sat, Jan 28th 2012 10:11a   Ben Poole
Hopefully you are a github regular and have already seen this README, but just in case not, be sure to check out John Barton’s RFC for some extra HTTP codes. My favourites are 701 and 748. [read] Keywords:

More on testable code
Wed, Jan 25th 2012 12:31p   Ben Poole
Following on from my previous post, I stumbled across a most excellent resource, Miško Hevery’s Guide: Writing Testable Code. This is detailed, helpful and above all eminently readable—well worth running off and keeping. Hevery’s document contains a number of tips designed to make code more testable, but really it goes wider than that. Hevery picks out four basic flaws, gives examples of each, how to detect them (“warning signs” if you will), and of course, how to [read] Keywords:

Making code test-able
Tue, Jan 17th 2012 12:37a   Ben Poole
There are two things a developer needs to make his or her output testable (and therefore more robust. Hopefully): The “How would I test for xyz” mind-set, and; A fast simple development environment That’s it, that’s all you need. The first comes with practise, and the second is pretty straightforward nowadays. Of late I have been writing a lot of PHP in Eclipse, Coda and the new kid on the block, Sublime Text 2 (check it out: very nice). All of these tools make it eas [read] Keywords: agent domino lotusphere development eclipse java

Resolutions for coders
Thu, Jan 5th 2012 11:51a   Ben Poole
Yesterday I posted about Code Year, an initiative to get people learning the gentle (chortle) art of programming. But what of the seasoned professional, the much-maligned code monkey, the long-suffering developer? Well, Matt Might has a splendid list of twelve resolutions for the rest of us: Matt Might, 12 Resolutions for Programmers. [read] Keywords:

Codeyear and site design
Wed, Jan 4th 2012 3:42p   Ben Poole
After checking out the Code Year site recently launched by Codecademy, I moved on to read an interesting post from that site’s designer, Sacha Greif: How I Designed CodeYear.com in 1 Hour. Definitely check this post out: Sacha deftly guides the reader through the over-arching thought processes behind an effective site re-design. There are some handy tips and links along the way for any budding designers, or coders like you and I who simply want to to create more pleasant web experiences. [read] Keywords:

Here’s to next year
Fri, Dec 30th 2011 9:46a   Ben Poole
Yes, it’s me ;-). Time to break the long silence with an end-of-year post! No exhaustive review (especially given the paucity of posts in the first place), just a simple summary: Music I loves my music I does, and 2011 was another corking year. Far from the madd(en)ing crowd, there’s always plenty of good stuff out there being made and re-discovered. The year started off with my continued rediscovery of Frank Zappa (one of my early music loves), and a special new liking for the 198 [read] Keywords: connections domino ibm xpages development java javascript mobile profile

Where’s Benny?
Wed, Nov 2nd 2011 4:58p   Ben Poole
Ooops. I haven’t updated this blog in precisely one calendar month. How bad is that? There’s stuff piling up to be written and posted, honest guv—it’s just a matter of finding enough hours in the day. Almost three weeks ago I started a new full-time contract, unusual for me in that it is based miles away from home in Manchester (MediaCityUK to be precise). I’m working as a mobile web developer, using technologies such as HTML, CSS3, Javascript, Linux and PHP (Zend [read] Keywords: javascript linux mobile

Sun, Oct 2nd 2011 2:21p   Ben Poole
Manic times! I should really lift the nose from the grindstone and fill you in. It’s interesting (I think). So, this is what’s been a-happening: Big-ish project customising IdeaJam for a major global financial customer. Gave me a chance to really dig in to Matt White’s code and find out that, you know, it’s good. Two projects for some smaller companies, dealing with greenfield IBM Connections / Domino integration for one, and modernising some exceptionally well-coded [read] Keywords: connections domino ibm lotusscript xpages application ideajam integration iphone javascript linkedin

“Do you recall using Notes?”
Sun, Sep 18th 2011 2:55a   Ben Poole
I worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for twelve years, and well remember the early years (in what was then Coopers & Lybrand) working on old Toshiba Satellites with Windows 3.1 and Lotus Notes 3.3. Heady days! Both Price Waterhouse and C&L really steered the product in some respects, so their merger in 1998 (shortly after we in Coopers had moved to Windows 95 and Notes 4.5.3) certainly made sense from a technological perspective if nothing else. This is an interesting piece from ReadWrite [read] Keywords: collaboration lotus notes enterprise facebook podcast

An album I cannot wait for
Fri, Sep 16th 2011 2:02p   Ben Poole
In ten days time an album comes out which I simply cannot wait for: Grace For Drowning by Steven Wilson. Long-suffering readers of this site will know that I am a massive Porcupine Tree fan, and will (probably) understand. An amazing producer, songwriter and performer, Wilson is bringing out his most ambitious work to date: a double album of material, apparently veering away from the “metal-esque” leanings of recent PT output towards a sound more reminiscent of the golden age of R [read] Keywords:

Time flies when you’re having fun
Tue, Sep 13th 2011 7:29a   Ben Poole
So what’s new round these here parts? Well, things have been up and down. I have been out of the mainstream full-time contracting world for almost ten months now, and can recommend it. Sort of. The loss of regular income is a nightmare, I grant you, but the opportunities to try new things, work on varied projects, and more importantly do so on your own terms does help make up for that, I promise :-) In recent months I’ve enjoyed working on very interesting projects courtesy of some [read] Keywords: ibm lotus lotusphere xpages application community development dojo javascript mobile network twitter

Netgear ReadyNAS & OS X: fixing printing
Mon, Sep 12th 2011 5:50a   Ben Poole
I’ve used my trusty Netgear ReadyNAS for several years now, it’s super. When OS X Lion came out, Apple twiddled with AFP in the network stack, which meant that using many NAS implementations (Netgear’s included) as Time Machine targets no longer worked. To their credit, Netgear had beta firmware releases out in no time, which addressed this issue. However, one side effect seemed to be that for those of us who also use the ReadyNAS as a print server (it’s a Linux box basi [read] Keywords: administration notes apple linux network server wiki

Friday posers…
Fri, Sep 9th 2011 9:50a   Ben Poole
Recent projects have meant lots and lots of Javascript. Other work has led to a need to really study the language, and look into more than the odd jQuery plugin and wot-not. This has been a rewarding experience: challenging received wisdom, ensuring that I know more about all those concepts that spend years just floating out there on the edge of one’s understanding. To that end, here are a few interesting tid-bits which I have found—typically whilst researching more involved stuff l [read] Keywords: javascript

Configuring multiple email addresses in iOS
Fri, Sep 2nd 2011 3:00p   Ben Poole
It’s (probably) a little-known secret that you can specify multiple “Sender” email addresses in the default OS X mail application. Once more than one address is specified in preferences, the “From” field in any mail composed becomes a drop-down from which you can choose the required address:This is pretty handy if, like me, you use multiple addresses. OK, so here’s how to set that up in Mail.app’s preferences: go to the “Account Information” tab in the “Accounts” pane, and [read] Keywords: application bug email google iphone

Sat, Aug 27th 2011 9:50a   Ben Poole
I’ve been using OS X since its inception, way back in 2001. And since I’ve been using OS X, I’ve also been using NetNewsWire, the wonderful news reader originally developed by Brent Simmons. There was a sea-change this summer though, oh yes! Tired of the latest version of NNW (and its beach-balling), I opted to switch.You see, I tried NNW on the iPhone (it was OK but didn’t really “stick” for me). I “upgraded” to the NNW 4 (the app store-friendly i [read] Keywords: google integration iphone mac twitter

HTML5 field types (in brief)
Thu, Aug 18th 2011 5:00a   Ben Poole
[ If you’ve been following some of my recent posts on off-line apps, Web SQL and all that, you will have seen that all my mark-up snippets were in HTML5. And no doubt you have seen a lot of the brou-ha-ha around HTML5 too, and probably know that introduces some more field types and attributes. Rather than go into a whole exposition of HTML5 (which others have already done brilliantly) I want to take a moment at some real-life applications of some of this HTML5 lark. I’ve already t [read] Keywords: applications email firefox javascript mobile sql

More local Web SQL
Thu, Jun 30th 2011 3:20p   Ben Poole
In my last post on this topic, we looked at how one might use Web SQL in a local web application, and I supplied some code which initialised a local database and pulled data from its lone table. All well and good, but what about the realities of using this data? Specifically, let us look at how one re-loads, edits and saves the data. “Eh?” I hear you ask. “Surely you just load up data in the normal way, and then, um, well put it somewhere&hellip;” (reader tails off q [read] Keywords: application applications css database javascript security server sql

Wormworld is coming sooner
Tue, Jun 28th 2011 2:53a   Ben Poole
Readers may recall that some months back I posted about Daniel Lieske and his on-line graphic novel, Wormworld. Well, now we have some great news from Daniel: I realised that I hadn’t worked my ass off over the last 18 months only to hand my rights over to someone else. But I’m deeply thankful for their approach because it made me crunch my numbers and it got me thinking about the financial potential of the Wormworld Saga project. And I realised that it could work&hellip; Danie [read] Keywords:

Off-line web apps: local Web SQL & Javascript
Wed, Jun 22nd 2011 3:46p   Ben Poole
So, you know how to take our site off-line: events are triggered, caches are swapped, and even though you still have that (apparent) server-based URL going on in your address bar, you are off-line! Yes! Stick your device in airplane mode and revel in how your website is still doing its thing. Clever. However, your world is incomplete. You have some pages going on, some links between them, stylesheets—maybe some whacked-out Javascript doing wondrous things—but something is still miss [read] Keywords: application database firefox google interface javascript mobile server sql wiki

The old “native vs. web” chestnut
Thu, Jun 16th 2011 3:30a   Ben Poole
What ho! Just over a week ago I picked up on this opinion piece from Hutch Carpenter, in which there is much discussion about mobile apps—specifically why enterprises should look at the mobile web route, rather than native applications. Carpenter makes a number of points supporting his case, and I can’t say I disagree. of course there are scenarios when a native app is the only way to go, but for a lot of this stuff, the web is spot-on—and of course, they’re hardly exclus [read] Keywords: apple applications development enterprise javascript mac microsoft mobile python

Offline web apps: the cache (serious this time)
Wed, Jun 15th 2011 10:43a   Ben Poole
OK, so that last post was a bit annoying. Let’s do it for real this time! Modern web browsers combined with HTML5 give us decent off-line capability, but usage isn’t too widespread at the moment it seems. Two things: (1) what do we mean by “off-line”? and (2) why go off-line at all? Whilst it is true that web browsers cache content, that’s always been about improving the connected experience, reducing the performance hit. Off-line websites however are designed wit [read] Keywords: agent atlantic application applications css development javascript microsoft mobile network server

Starting with offline web apps: the cache
Thu, Jun 9th 2011 3:03p   Ben Poole
When coding off-line web applications, you have to use a thing called a “cache manifest” (more on these later, I promise). Put simply, these are text files which dictate to the user agent which web pages, images and resources should go off-line and which should not. The browser will not detect changes you make to your pages, Javascript etc. unless the byte signature of the manifest has changed in some way. Typically one does this by adding and / or removing comment lines in the manif [read] Keywords: agent atlantic applications javascript

Old farts & some new content ideas?
Wed, May 18th 2011 11:15a   Ben Poole
In what is now an annual tradition, yet again I have missed this site’s birthday. I have had a web presence under the benpoole.com moniker for nine years as of last Friday. Crikey! That makes me some kind of old fogey in web terms doesn’t it? As mentioned in my previous post, it’s pretty busy at Poole towers at the moment. My current work is all wrapped up with HTML5 development, specifically for mobile devices. I am having way too much fun working with oodles of Javascript, o [read] Keywords: agent xpages applications development javascript mobile

A break in the silence…
Tue, May 3rd 2011 4:13a   Ben Poole
&hellip; to tell you that the LDC goodies page has been updated with our latest set of wallpaper designs for your desktop of choice. Thanks to the Wookiee, our in-house artist liaison, for sorting these out. As for the silence on this ’ere site, that will be on account of the sheer volume of work (interspersed with camping trips) going on at the moment. Normal service will resume I can assure you. [read] Keywords: desktop

Starting with Ruby - part 5
Thu, Apr 7th 2011 2:06p   Ben Poole
The last four posts have been pretty lengthy, in a bid to get us going along the Ruby way. Now it’s time for something far more brief (but fun!): Ruby Kōans: The koans walk you along the path to enlightenment in order to learn Ruby. The goal is to learn the Ruby language, syntax, structure, and some common functions and libraries. We also teach you culture. Testing is not just something we pay lip service to, but something we live. It is essential in your quest to learn and do great thin [read] Keywords: wiki

Starting with Ruby - part 4
Wed, Apr 6th 2011 7:59a   Ben Poole
Hurrying on from part 3, let’s wrap up the basics of a Ruby class and get to testing! You will recall that in defining the BlogPost class, we used a funky accessor generator, so let’s look at accessors in a little more detail. First, here’s how we define getters and setters the old-fashioned way: #A getter def title @title end #A setter def title= new_title #Note spacing, it's important @title = new_title end &hellip; all well and good, but we like shortcuts. Instead [read] Keywords: application database integration java network wiki

On Karl-Henry’s frustrations…
Thu, Mar 31st 2011 3:23a   Ben Poole
In a weird synchronicity, Karl-Henry Martinsson has just posted about some frustrations he’s been having with Domino Designer (I haven’t added the “Eclipse” bit to the end of “Domino Designer” because (a) I know Maureen doesn’t like it :-), and (b) because this issue affects Designer 7 too). So how does one get to this sad state of affairs? The dutiful developer performs a “compile all” in their database, and is shocked to see a whole load o [read] Keywords: domino lotusscript notes notes client script library application bleedyellow bleedyellow.com database eclipse

Starting with Ruby - part 3
Tue, Mar 29th 2011 3:40p   Ben Poole
Before we get into how Ruby works with classes, its type model and the philosophy of form and being (oh yes), let’s take a tiny gander at the syntactical basics: (1) how do you define a class in Ruby, and (2) how do you instantiate it? It won’t take long—this stuff is nice ’n’ easy, so feel free to follow in your text editor of choice (or even irb if you like. See my previous posts if you need to catch up. First, let’s define a simple class called BlogPost (a [read] Keywords: notes java wiki

I wrote this blog post in 47 seconds
Tue, Mar 29th 2011 3:05a   Ben Poole
All this talk of coding a functional web app in x minutes is an utter nonsense. I’m completely baffled by it. Come now, get a grip. Everyone knows that proper developers (and, more importantly, their managers) measure productivity in lines of code. [read] Keywords: xpages

Daniel Lieske & Wormworld
Thu, Mar 24th 2011 4:20a   Ben Poole
No matter what people say about him (much of it justified), the Wookiee has his plus points. One of them is how, a couple of years ago, he re-introduced me to the joys of graphic novels and comics. I still refuse to read them on the train, and I only possess a few, but they’re damned good ones! So anyway, what with being a web geek, a sucker for adventure tales, and revelling in beautiful design, I couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with the Wormworld Saga. I urge you to [read] Keywords:

Twitter comments
Wed, Mar 9th 2011 3:29a   Ben Poole
Thinking about following the crowd, and using twitter for published “comments” against a blog post or news article? I wouldn’t. It just looks really ploppy if your article is re-tweeted ad infinitum! [read] Keywords: twitter

The end of the IT department
Thu, Feb 24th 2011 6:41a   Ben Poole
David Heinemeier Hansson has written a provocative post on the 37signals blog about the end of the IT department, with somewhat predictable comments ensuing. I particularly enjoyed John Gruber’s pithy analysis of said thread: Certain of the comments on Hansson’s post remind me of this quote from Upton Sinclair: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. :-) Anyway, back to Heinemeier Hansson: At the same time, IT jo [read] Keywords: policies exchange exchange security server

Starting with Ruby - part 2
Tue, Feb 22nd 2011 11:39a   Ben Poole
So, here we are. By now you have Ruby up and running, and you’re itching to flex those coding muscles (no? OK, back to the beginning for you). We’re going to kick off with a few of the basics, using irb. In going through the inevitable Hello World example, you’ve seen how to just echo stuff to the console. But what about something, well, more? For those of you coming from a Java background, this “suck it and see” approach using the Ruby shell (irb) is rather pleasan [read] Keywords: java wiki

On re-designs & media queries
Thu, Feb 17th 2011 5:48a   Ben Poole
.comments {color: green} So what with rebuilding servers and things the other night, I figured what the hell, and instead of replicating my old website back up to the box, I slung my new design up instead. There were a few bits that needed sorting (server re-directs, some configuration, a few HTML tweaks), but overall the new design was 95% there, so perhaps this was the kick I needed to get it out. The re-design was originally done in HTML5, just to see if I could. Worked pretty nicely, but [read] Keywords: agent domino apple application cascading style sheets css development firefox iphone linking mobile server

Starting with Ruby
Wed, Feb 16th 2011 4:43a   Ben Poole
What is Ruby? How do I get started? What’s this “Ruby On Rails”? All good questions, which I shall answer in good time. Put simply, Ruby is a fully object-oriented, interpreted programming language. It was developed some fifteen years ago by Yukihiro Matsumoto, and the underlying philosophy was to develop something that was enjoyable to use, and that abided by the “principle of least astonishment” (POLA). Unlike say, Java, Ruby is dynamically typed (and famously mak [read] Keywords: application database development interface java linux mac mysql wiki ubuntu

Pardon our dust
Wed, Feb 16th 2011 3:17a   Ben Poole
An unscheduled maintenance window opened up last night (cough), and I took advantage of this to stick the new version of my site up. It’s barely tested, so if you encounter anything unusual, please bear with me! [read] Keywords:

Pardon our dust
Wed, Feb 16th 2011 2:50a   Ben Poole
An unscheduled maintenance window opened up last night (cough), and I took advantage of this to stick the new version of my site up. It’s barely tested, so if you encounter anything unusual, please bear with me! [read] Keywords:

DDE on Mac & Linux? Nope.
Tue, Feb 15th 2011 12:47p   Ben Poole
The whole Designer-on-Mac / Linux thing has cropped up again of late, and there’s been a flurry of activity around the associated IdeaJam posts too. Bill Malchisky’s post has a very eloquent take on it all. Some of us have been clamouring for Domino Designer back on the Mac since it was pulled in release five. The Mac OS landscape (and mindshare of course) has changed dramatically since the R5 days, and then IBM came along and added fuel to the fire by using Eclipse as the base for [read] Keywords: domino ibm lotusphere notes notes client R5 xpages development eclipse ideajam ideajam.net java linux mac server websphere ubuntu

Introducing Couchbase
Tue, Feb 8th 2011 2:11a   Ben Poole
Ooh now this is an interesting development: Damien Katz: CouchOne + Membase = Couchbase Together as Couchbase, we’ll have the fastest, most scalable (both scale up and scale down) NoSQL solution. We will become the standard storage for mobile devices, and the standard server technology for syncing them all together. Our unified solution will dramatically simplify your technology stack and maintenance for building fast responsive apps that scale to millions of users, and also scaling down to ph [read] Keywords: development mobile network server

Have you played yet?
Mon, Feb 7th 2011 9:54a   Ben Poole
Volker has a cool thread running in which you can take a guess at the various Lotus-y individuals, companies and doo-dads that litter the piece of pixel art we at the London Developer Co-op commissioned for Lotusphere this year. It’s good fun, go and take a peek! [read] Keywords: lotus lotusphere

No redeeming qualities, just bitter invective
Wed, Jan 26th 2011 1:37p   Ben Poole
Larry Bowden, Vice President of portals and web experience at IBM, has written an article entitled, How to make your website more enjoyable which is fascinating, for all the wrong reasons. I don’t know whether I should even link to it (Hah! Of course I do. Here it is). It seems extraordinary to me that IBM have a senior person in charge of the car-crash that comprises their website—especially when said individual then feels compelled to write an article asking readers whether they “delight [read] Keywords: ibm email mobile profile

James Governor on Lotus
Thu, Jan 20th 2011 1:52p   Ben Poole
Industry analyst James Governor has published an article in the run-up to Lotusphere, talking about the Lotus brand “re-building” its developer story. It’s a good piece and doesn’t re-hash the same tired themes from certain other quarters of the IT press: take a look, see what you think. James Governor, Lotus Gears Up To Embrace The Web, Rebuild its Developer Story, pwn Social Business. The developer’s lot, when it comes to Lotus, is something a lot of us take an [read] Keywords: collaboration domino ibm lotus lotusphere notes application development interface

Why ask the Product Managers?
Wed, Jan 19th 2011 1:28p   Ben Poole
Splendid discussion today, over at Peter Presenell’s site about the new “Ask the product managers” session at Lotusphere this year. I skimmed the post, and read the comments: lots of good points being made in there. One comment stands-out, from John Head: A customer with tens of thousands of seats will always be able to call up their Lotus contact and have more influence than someone posting an idea on the web. He is spot-on. And for me, therein lies the rub: this is why Note [read] Keywords: lotus lotusphere notes bleedyellow bleedyellow.com

Q4s for Lotus: a graph
Wed, Jan 19th 2011 4:18a   Ben Poole
Life on the underside of the Y axis is somewhat crappy eh. [read] Keywords: ibm lotus

Starting with such sad news
Tue, Jan 4th 2011 2:37p   Ben Poole
So, to all a happy new year. Here’s hoping it gets better&hellip; You know, I hate to start things on a downer, but first Pete Postlethwaite and now Mick Karn? (Not to mention Gerry Rafferty). This is a terrible start to the year: three extremely talented men, with a lot more to give us. R.I.P. each of you. [read] Keywords:

So, that was 2010
Fri, Dec 31st 2010 5:09a   Ben Poole
I always do some kind of “year in review” post at this site, which is interesting for me if no-one else. However, I have been disinclined to do so this year. I’m not entirely sure why, but suspect it has to do with a combination of factors: I’m lazy I’ve only written forty-six posts this year (not including this one): less than one a week! It’s been a bit of a strange year, with a lot of doom ’n’ gloom in the wider world However, during the cou [read] Keywords: domino notes macbook wiki

How to fix a lack of PDFs in iBooks
Wed, Dec 29th 2010 4:08p   Ben Poole
(A wee post for Mr. Google if no-one else). The Apple discussion forums are full of disgruntled iBooks users, lamenting the loss of PDFs they have sync’ed (or are trying to sync) to their iPhone or iPad, and I joined their serried ranks recently. I updated to the latest ’n’ greatest (version 1.2), and sure enough: no more PDFs. “What the flip?” thought I. Like many, I gather PDF-based texts as I pootle along the highways and by-ways of t’internet, and it’ [read] Keywords: apple application google iphone

Merry Christmas!
Fri, Dec 24th 2010 5:35p   Ben Poole
So, the veg. are done, the table is laid, the turkey a-ready: I can now sit down and wish my readers a very merry Christmas and happy holidays! You three make my day, and I run this site just for you guys. Here’s hoping for a splendiferous 2011 for us all (and let’s face it, it can’t be any worse than 2010, surely??!) [read] Keywords:

Delicious tip
Thu, Dec 16th 2010 6:50p   Ben Poole
In light of today’s leaked news re Yahoo! killing Delicious, amongst other services, you might find this wee command handy if you have a *NIX shell to hand: curl -o delicious.xml https://{your username}:{your password}@api.del.icio.us/v1/posts/all What is it with social bookmarking sites? First ma.gnolia died on me, and now this. Bah! [read] Keywords: password social bookmarking xml

XPages experiences: number 1
Wed, Dec 15th 2010 7:37a   Ben Poole
It has been my good fortune to finally do some XPages development “in anger” recently, and it pleased me. As a development environment, Domino Designer has certainly come on a chunk since the dark old days of version 7.x. It’s not all good news of course: there are a lot of bugs in there, DDE doesn’t always behave as one would expect, and some stuff simply isn’t implemented yet, but certainly IBM Lotus are going in the right direction. I tend to concur with the view [read] Keywords: agent domino ibm ldd lotus lotusscript notes rich text xpages application applications development eclipse interface java javascript server workspace xml

Dr. Donald Ferguson on complexity
Thu, Dec 9th 2010 9:22a   Ben Poole
Dr. Donald Ferguson, CTO at CA Technologies, is asked what his biggest technology mistake is: When I was at IBM, I started a product called Websphere&hellip; ’nuff said as far as I’m concerned, but the interview has more detail if you can stomach it In all seriousness, the article contains some good messages about the future of IT, and the main challenge it faces: complexity. Read more at BBC news: The mantra of CA Technologies’ Donald Ferguson: Simplify. [read] Keywords: ibm websphere

It’s A Small Lotus World
Thu, Dec 9th 2010 5:01a   Ben Poole
All of us at the London Developer Co-op are privileged to be part of a fund-raising effort conceived by Bruce Elgort, and the lovely Gayle in aid of the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) in the US. Please head on over to Bruce’s site to read the full story, and for details about the piece of “isometric pixel art” we commissioned as the prize in our charity draw! Here’s a sneak preview: As implied in the name, the drawing will take place at Lotusphere—spe [read] Keywords: lotus lotusphere wiki

Erm. Comments are fixed (blush)
Mon, Dec 6th 2010 5:50p   Ben Poole
I have been a-tinkering with this site, cleaning up code and design elements (some of which are over five years old!) in readiness for the new design going live here soon. Inevitably, in the process, I ballsed up my comments form. Dear oh dear. Anyway, should be fixed now. Sorry about that! [read] Keywords:

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