Frustration with Designer 8.5

I am an Application Developer in Lotus Notes and Domino. For the most part, I love what I do. I love developing applications for the Lotus Notes client. Seriously, I do. And I know better developers than me have bitched plenty about 8.5, so I do feel a bit like I am beating a long-dead horse.

However, I am ready to throw my computer out the window.

My day-to-day work is done in Domino Designer 8.0.2. I have a laptop and a test workstation with 8.5 installed so I can get used to the new Domino Designer, but I have greatly resisted working in 8.5. Why? you may ask. Or maybe you’ve worked in 8.5 and you already know why. Many tell me I have only to wait and 8.5.1 will answer my prayers. Call me a pessimist, but I have my doubts.

I haven’t even worked in 8.5 long enough to have serious concerns, but it is the little things in life, right? The devil is in the details and all that.

1) WHY does it take four and half years for help to open?

2) Let’s back up…WHY does it take four and a half years for Domino Designer to open? (I know what you’ll tell me, but I don’t care if it’s a legitimate reason, it’s still ANNOYING)

3) Now this one is nitpicky I admit, but still it’s the little things, right? When I search for something in Help, I have to hit the freaking GO button, I can’t just type a phrase and hit ENTER on my keyboard. Like I used to be able to do.

4) Focus issues. I will be editing something in Designer, like a field property and get an email and focus is lost.

5) More focus issues. I minimize Designer while I wait four hours for it to open and use another application, when it’s done it pops back up into focus. Why? Other apps don’t do this. If I minimized the app, I want it
minimized, until *I* open it back up.

I apologize for being a bit curmudgeon-y and yes there is (supposedly) all this great new functionality in there that should make it all worth while. Still venting a bit helps. You can go ahead and tell me that I will drop to my knees in gratitude over 8.5.1. And pardon me, if I don’t believe you.

  • http://www.phigsaidwhat.com Sean Burgess

    I have to agree that the help in Designer simply sucks! Instead of hitting F1, I simply open the Desginer Help from the Notes client and use the Index view like I always have. It’s so much easier and more natural for me. I truly can’t understand the search results for Help in the Designer nor can I figure out which doc I should be looking at.

  • http://www.hodgebloge.com Jeremy Hodge

    It seems to me the “4 1/2 hours” it takes to open something seems to be a UI related issue … It seems to me that if I don’t do anything and just wait for it to open, it takes forever, but if I click on the tab of the currently open item in designer, the new item opens almost immediately after that … I admit, it might be just “new shoes make you run faster” syndrome, but it does seem to be more than that… And in my twisted little head I can see where it could be, because from what I understand UI events are processed in a separate thread, and served sort of on a “best ability” basis, and when you click a tab or something you might be “awakening” the thread to do UI updates, which includes drawing and opening the form … maybe ???

  • http://www.theloveablegeek.co.uk Frank Docherty

    Speaking purely from an Admin/very-part-time-Notes-Developer point of view, I uninstalled 8.5 completely, and reverted back to 8.0.2.

    I just could not adjust to the new UI of the designer client. I found it very, very clunky to use, even when performing the simplest of tasks. I didn’t even get as far as looking up the designer help. First impressions do count for a lot, in my book.

    So, I await ND 8.5.1 with baited breath ..!

  • http://www.devinolson.net Devin Olson

    Hey there Kathy.

    I (literally) can’t give the details, but trust me when I say I truly feel your pain.

    In time, some things will get better. Some other things will continue to drive me nuts.

    My solution for the slowness in opening was to upgrade my laptop. I know this isn’t really a viable solution for everybody, but my primary development laptop was due for an upgrade anyway (7 years old this October).

    My new laptop goes from cold boot to sign in page in about 15 seconds. It is a Dell M6400 Precision Mobile Workstation running an Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme QX9300(2.53GHz, 12M L2 Cache,1067MHZ) main processor. This chip is is quite simply the fastest most powerful commercially available processor in the entire world today. I’ve got 8 Gig of RAM, dual 7200RPM Hard Drives, and am running 64 bit Windows 7 RC. This machine totally rocks.

    Eclipse Galileo launches in just under 5 seconds.

    DDE 8.5 still takes forever -anywhere from 30 seconds to a full minute Emoticon

    I can’t give the details, but I’ve been testing another thing in this environment, and it launches in just under 6 seconds. Emoticon

    Of course, this other thing is most likely not going to be officially supported by it’s particular vendor, but I like to live life on the edge.


  • http://www.devinolson.net Devin Olson

    That last sentence should have been:

    “…officially supported in this environment by it’s particular vendor…”

  • Jason Hook

    The behaviour I like least is that DDE adds design elements to your databases when you open them.

    So let’s say you have a production 8.0.2 environment and you happen to use 8.5.x designer maybe just to have a look at a database design (you shouldn’t of course). By the time you’ve opened the database DDE has added:


    If you now open the db in an 8.0.2 client and use the search by example form feature you’ll see those design elements in the list as though they were forms.

    And that’s rude, isn’t it?

    For all the reasons you’ve pointed out and more it’s not ready yet.

  • http://www.dominointerface.com Richard Moy

    I tried the Designer 8.5 client and reverted back to the 8.02 client. Since I am not doing anything with XPages at this time, I will wait until 8.51. But I will not hold my breath. I am using the Eclipse Flex framework and it runs much faster so it should not be that slow.Emoticon

  • Debbie Farley

    I so feel your pain. I am not a developer but an Admin that must at times use the designer client. So I am struggling with not being familiar with Development but now I’m having to deal this “new and improved” designer client.

    I’m wondering if I can run 8.5 Notes client and the 8.0.2 Designer client on the same box…

    I’ll take a little cheese with the whine please.

  • Peter Presnell

    Hi Kathy, I guess you need to figure out what is more important. Starting down the road to the new way of doing Notes development or staying with a faster more stable environment. I work with 8.5.0 during the day and 8.5.1 beta of an evening. I hate returning back to the 8.5.0 designer client. I put up with it because for me I see huge advantages in being one of the first in my team to master this new technology. But it really is a pain at times it might be Domino Designer 8.5.1 but it really is DDE 1.0.

  • http://www.runningnotes.net Kathy Brown

    Well, you’ve all convinced me. I signed up for (and will hopefully get into) the 8.5.1 Beta program. *Some* people have insinuated that I will get in, just so they can get me NDA, so I’ll shut up. Emoticon

  • http://www.vanessabrooks.com Keith Brooks

    Half the fun of being a DP or in on a beta is posting on the private forum what works or doesn’t work and sometimes why if you know.
    I use 8.5 on my laptop, have 851 on a separate machine.
    Spent most of today trying to get a simple formula to work in 8.5 designer client.
    Evidently something changed someplace but as I am 99% an admin, not for me to complain.
    Personally I like the new Designer client UI, but it is sluggish.


    Kathy – i too understand what you are talking about BUT – I really like the Eclipse IDE – Not the help , i aggree with @9 100% get onboard now in 8.5 you know they are talking 9.0 :) Emoticon

  • http://nathan.lotus911.com Nathan T. Freeman

    Being sung in our dev lab right now…

    “DDE killed the Domino star!”
    “DDE killed the Domino star!”

  • http://www.runningnotes.net Kathy Brown

    I am cracking up and will now sing that EVERYTIME I open DDE. Emoticon

  • http://www.edbrill.com Ed Brill

    I was going to tell you to sign up for 8.5.1, but looks like you already have Emoticon

  • http://www.lotushints.com Vladimir

    1) Focus is changed about 5 times during Designer opening procedure

    2) After Designer opens, I have to wait umpteen time for the database I want to really open.

    3) Designer in some odd examples crashes if Client is opened. Some memory sharing violation.

    4) Apparently those workgroups are there to help us and ease our work. But how can that be, when a menu only displays last 5. If you want to change to some other workgroup, you need to go to manage workgroups which is annoying as hell.

    … but hey! Apart from all that, it runs like a charm Emoticon

  • http://www.buzznotes.com.au Giulio

    And I thought I was just a grumpy old b_stard for griping about 8.5 performance on an Intel Core 2 duo 3Ghz system with 2 gb of ram at work.

    The only way I can describe the performance of 8.5 (and 8.02 as well), is like a fat lady falling down the stairs and trying to stop herself on the way, (yes, just like Eddie Murphy describes in Delirious). She’s heavy, clunky, and takes forever to get to the bottom of it, (“oh my shoe!”, it should be “oh my plugin!” for 8.5). Because everything has been plug-in-ified, and it has a framework ontop of the core DLL’s with Eclipse, nothing is tightly integrated anymore and so won’t run smoothly, everything is it’s own logical island, linking itself together when it’s called. I goto open something in designer, it takes a long time to work out what to present to me. I thought it was network traffic but there is no activity that I can see, it’s just Eclipse and Notes wrestling over what they need to do show me a list of forms or agents.

  • http://www.runningnotes.net Kathy Brown

    So does that make me a grumpy old b_stard? Emoticon

  • http://www.josephhoetzl.com Joseph Hoetzl

    I feel your pain.

    Also of note – don’t let your system go into sleep mode or lock the OS while you have DDE and the client loaded – it will most likely crash and be careful switching between the two as well.

    SWTexception errors for the Widgets

    The SPR’s are currently under investigation for Release 8.5.1.


  • http://www.carrotcrunch.co.uk Ian Mannion

    I agree the designer is extremely slow when compared with the earlier releases.

    However, after seeing what xpages can do I’d be prepared to wait twice a long.

    Love it.

    Fingers crossed they improve the performance issues in the 8.5.1 release.

  • http://www.buzznotes.com.au Giulio

    I feel your pain sister! I am at a consistent level of cynacism after all the hype of release 8. I don’t believe anything I read/hear/view on the web any more.

    It would help if IBM got rid of this ridiculous notion of designing the systems through eclipse. It’s a hungry beast that requires very (very) clever people to make work smoothly. The skill set is just not there in IBM to date.

    Just code it up to work fast and have more tightly linked modules. It’s not the perfect or best practice from an architecture point of view. But neither is software that sucks!

    But I would rather have something that runs Lotus Notes app’s flawlessly without all the framework hub-bub, than some “correctly” architected white-elephant that has all these issues you have quite accurately described Emoticon

  • Geoff

    It’s 2011 and I’m still using the 8.0.2 Domino Designer. I’ve reverted back 8.0.2 numerous times last year because of crashes, slowness and just plan weirdness with the new designer. I’m sick of being a beta tester and I’m totally afraid of upgrading again.

    Have you seen improvements in 8.5.2 FP1? Is it stable?

  • http://null Gregg Bendtsen

    Kathy, have you found anything that helps with this? Nathan Freeman posted a bunch of tips, my developers have applied them, and they still complain of incredible slowness. Anything else you can suggest? <{ Link }