Two misc. items

  • Formula Engine Rewrite is an amusing story of how real software gets developed. In this case, a language processor inside Lotus Notes. VM hacking and the like...

  • Waterstone's fires 11-year-employee for blogging. I wouldn't normally link to such an item, but since we all tend to buy books, and I am a great fan of bookstores, allow me to suggest our UK readers boycott Waterstones's.

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I emailed them yesterday, and told them I was watching, and that my future custom depended on what they did. I also posted this on the BBC's UK 'hitchhikers guide to the galaxy' website, where it has stimulated some conversation.

Steve Merrick

"Who cares, wins"

i believe (read in another di

i believe (read in another discussion on this) that waterstones was recently bought by hmv. a bit of googling suggests they were originally all part of emi, so i'm not sure how much sense that makes - apparently the management changed as a result of the takeover.

also (although any online info is going to be pretty biassed) it appears that the person in question was pretty well know as being hugely dedicated, writing reviews in the magazine, and generally caring about his job. i guess that will help him find a new position.

i wonder which store it was. didn't waterstones buy out james thin in edinburgh? i hope it wasn't the round faced dude in the philosophy dept there - he was always really friendly... (or maybe that was blackwells? if so, who shops at waterstones in edinburgh anyway?!)

(the other post was a fun read too - in that case sounds like the guy found a manager from heaven)

Work with Notes Formulas prior to this time

Did a bit of work on Notes R3, R4 and early R5. Haven't worked with R6, but it'd be interesting to see what new features got added in the rewrite.

Notes made things related to workflow incredibly easy, but normal database and programming things incredibly hard. You'd start out using Formulas, and run into the wall early. Then you'd shift over to NoteScript, and run into another wall. Finally, you'd end up in C with the Notes API to do the really tricky or stuff that was slow in the other languages. Biggest problem with C is that you'd have to retest your stuff with each new release, whereas the Formulas and NoteScript didn't have to be revisited.

One of the reasons I didn't carry on with Notes is that it was a domain specific thing. Those who do Notes, don't do much anything else than Notes. Not easy to get into, but not easy to get out off either.

Biggest understatement in the article:

"I was trying to use C++ in the wrong way (a very easy thing to do)"

I add that C Notes API comes

I add that C Notes API comes with a buggy documentation and that answers are not easy to get.

I remember a function returning a pointer to a value without type information. The doc tells that it will be a list but, for some lists of 1 element, this function returns directly the element.

Solution: read the byte _before_ the returned pointer to find type information. Dirty hack.

That too

been a long time, and I've long since fogotten any of the specifics. IIRC, Lotus had disclaimers in the API to the effect that they were caveat emptor - no support and could be changed without notice.

Still, the Formula engine wasn't bad, if only limited range.

All's well that ends well?

All's well that ends well?