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Coming Soon: Spread - NotesData Export Engine for the Lotus Notes 8 Client

I don't typically hock my wares on the blog, but I thought that this would interest the readership.

I'm currently putting the finishing touches on my latest application - Spread, my NotesData Export Engine for the Lotus Notes 8 (and above) client. This is a consumer-focused product aimed at... well, I suppose anyone who has to take content from a NotesDatabase and work with it in Microsoft Excel.

Today, it's going into Microsoft Excel. Tomorrow -- meaning phase 2 -- I'm going to expand the export capabilities to not only CSV but also OpenOffice and Lotus Symphony.

Some of you may be curious as to what it does: simple really. An admin will define an Export Template. That Export Template will consume a NotesDocumentCollection - either via a defined Application Profile and NotesDocument Selection Formula or at runtime passed via the Lotus Notes client UI (UnproccessedDocuments, etc.). The engine takes each NotesDocument and evaluates it against a defined subset of values that will make up the Excel spreadsheet.

That was all geekspeak for You can either select some documents from a view or just tell it which report to run, and it'll just export the info into Excel! The goal is to make it simple for people to generate reports from any Lotus Notes application, and to do that...

This application will be a Lotus Notes Composite Application, wired as a widget. Once this widget is installed, the idea is that you can select a bunch of documents, right-click, and select Export... from the pop-up menu. A prompt later - mostly asking what it is that you want to export - and you're staring at your spreadsheet complete with NotesData from your application.

I'll babble more about this, as well as talk about the build once the product ships... but I thought that I would show you the Lotus Notes client UI for the application itself:

Spread - NotesData Export Engine for the Lotus Notes 
8 Client -- Click to enlarge!

I've tried to go with as much of a Web UI as I could in the Lotus Notes 8 client without impacting functional integrity -- the last thing this application needs is a flaky UI just because I want it to stand out.

The build is fairly basic - a single Frameset Design Element used as the Default Launch Object for the Lotus Notes Client (since you can't lauch a Form Design Element without relying on hacking), Embedded Views on the application Dashboard/Home page, and a simple-yet-functional interface into what I hope will be an easy to use yet extremely powerful Lotus Notes Client plug-in.

I'll be putting out the call for alpha testers soon, but anyone with export needs that can report bugs back to me please contact me.

This will be a product that I'll be selling -- still working out fair pricing and just what you get for said price, but talk of that will follow.

Also, I'll keep this as far from being a commercial and more focusing on -- when I do bring it up -- the development of the product, as I think that is the more interesting part of this whole exercise for my developer-minded readers.

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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