A tale of two cities – well two books actually …

During the recent holiday break I took a look through two books on Lotus Notes development – the first was Domino 7 Application Development published by Packt Publishing ISBN 978-1-904811-06-0 and the latter Lotus Notes Developer Toolbox from IBM Press ISBN 0-13-221448-2.

The quality and number of books on Lotus Script and general Notes Domino development since versions like 4.5 have been variable to say the least and sparse even at that. As an occasional and infrequent Notes coder I find it useful to have reference material and examples that I can use to formulate solutions to Notes based problems or where Notes is the obvious candidate for developing a system for client.

A few already published books that will no doubt be on the shelf of many hardened Notes developers are the likes of Patton’s Practical LotusScript ISBN: 1884777767 published in 1999 and Rocky Oliver/Brian Benz’s Lotus Notes and Domino 6 Programming Bible ISBN 9780764526114 – which are essential if you are doing anything useful with Notes development. Bearing in mind Patton’s book is really based on Notes 4.5 and Rocky’s on version 6.0 !!

So I hoped that the two candidates I found would have something to offer in the arena of the changes that have occurred to Notes in the intervening period.

However in one case I was very disappointed. The Domino 7 application development book has to be one of the most pointless Notes books I’ve ever had the misfortune to pick up. I’ve seen better in house manuals for admin procedures than this lightweight (200 page) collection of screen shots and pointless information !!

Contrasted with this the Lotus Notes Developer’s Toolbox by Mark Elliot was a breath of fresh air. 670 pages covering the main current facets of developing with Notes 7 ( and mentions of 8 at the end) were the kind of material useful to both someone new to Notes development but familiar with programming. I found the examples plausible and detailed enough for getting to know the capabilities of Notes and found some nuggets of code that would be useful for me as a developer.

So my advice – avoid the Packt Publishing book – it is indeed pointless – but if you want something useful – Go for the Lotus Notes Developer’s Toolbox.

Final plea – please please please Rocky – update the book to version 8 and do an O’reilly cookbook for Lotus Script – this would make my year !!!