Some time ago I produced a video, on Intec’s channel on youtube, showing how to use an XPage to create a live-text enabled widget. The beauty of this technique is it works in any 8.x Notes Client, it just needs a Domino 8.5.x server. I’m currently using the same technique to create a reporting sidebar panel for one of our customers.

At the time I intended to add a second video showing how to create a live text recognizer so that you could right-click on a date to launch a floating window that displays documents based on that date. I was asked a number of times to provide a sample database, and intended to package the two. Unfortunately things have been rather hectic and, for all my good intentions, I never got round to doing that part. And I can’t see it happening in the short term either.

So I’ve attached a sample database with the relevant XPage – you’ll notice it looks a bit smarter than in the video. To give the background, there are two XPages – personWidget.xsp and personWidgetBrowserTest.xsp. The latter is designed to allow you to test everything’s set up correctly. You can type in a name, and an onblur event pulls the relevant person’s information from the names.nsf on the same server as the sample database. The former is the one used by the widget – the name is passed by the live text.

I would strongly recommend following the instructions in the video for creating the widget yourself. This is the most foolproof way and I strongly believe it is of benefit for a developer to understand how to do it. You’ll need to if you want to create your own widgets, which is the main reason I created the video. And, believe me, it’s not rocket science. But if you really don’t want to do that, open the sampleExtension Page in a browser, save the content as extension.xml and drop it into your My Widgets panel. This should generate the required widget, authenticating against an account called intranet, but it is very much a hack.

You can compare your final extension.xml to the extension.xml file resource in the sample database. Needless to say the server name is not accurate, and the sample database is not on any of our public servers.

One other points of note: in the video I use a floating window because the live text spawns multiple sidebar panels, if that is used as the source. 8.5.2 introduces the singletonSidebar attribute, which allows you to reuse an existing sidebar panel. However, as far as I am aware, this will only work if the Notes Clients you deploy to are 8.5.2.

Lastly, I want to reiterate that the sample database is to show how to do it. It’s not designed as an app to deploy to end users. I am sure I don’t need to outline the possibilities for integrating live text with existing applications, to enable users to perform simple functions directly from their email. The applications in question don’t necessarily need to be XPages applications. Indeed your code doesn’t even need to be in those databases. And the same technique can be used to produce sidebar panels for allowing users to perform simple functions or, as I’m doing at this moment, offer reporting. It opens the possibilities for getting into XPages without the daunting challenge of redesigning whole applications, leveraging your company’s investment in Domino and showing your users what’s possible if they dare to dream.

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