The first technical book that I have read, cover to cover, is Lotus Notes Developer's Toolbox: Tips for Rapid and Successful Deployment by Mark Elliott. This is also the first book that a publisher sent to me specifically for review. Luckily, it is a topic that I know a little something about and I didn't mind that it wasn't my normal nightstand book.
Contents: Chapter 1 - An Introduction to the Lotus Domino Tool Suite Chapter 2 - Getting Started with Designer Chapter 3 - Navigating the Domino Designer Workspace Chapter 4 - Domino Designer Elements Chapter 5 - An Introduction to Formula Language Chapter 6 - An Introduction to LotusScript Chapter 7 - Fundamentals of a Notes Application Chapter 8 - Calendar Applications Chapter 9 - Collaborative Applications Chapter 10 - Reference Library Applications Chapter 11 - Workflow Applications Chapter 12 - Web Applications Chapter 13 - Design Enhancements Using LotusScript Chapter 14 - Design Enhancements Using Formula Language Chapter 15 - View Enhancements Chapter 16 - Sample Agents Chapter 17 - Miscellaneous Enhancements and Tips for Domino Databases Chapter 18 - Data Management Chapter 19 - Security Chapter 20 - Application Deployment and Maintenance Chapter 21 - Troubleshooting Appendix A - Online Project Files and Sample Applications Appendix B - Lotus Notes/Domino: What's Next?
How many times have you wondered if there is a good book covering Domino development? Take a serious look at this book. Lotus Notes Developer's Toolbox is a book that should take space on your bookshelf, whether you are new to Domino development or an old hand.
While the seasoned developer would find the first few chapters "review," Mark puts some excellent nuggets in those early chapters. One of the best things that I found in the early going was a figure showing the way that a Notes form processes (page 60). That is just one example. Another would include excellent development practices, helping the new developer to design an application using best practices. For those that have developing in Domino for awhile, the later chapters are indispensable. There are copious code examples, written so that even I could follow the logic, that would probably fit (with proper modification) any development issue or user request that you may get. While most are used to develop a specific application (the latter chapters help you develop specific apps), they could be very useful to a project that you are working on, or supporting. By the way, that is another nice feature of this book - Elliott creates new applications from scratch, he does not use the standard templates as guides or say "go look here for examples." This was an excellent idea.
An interesting, and very valuable addition, is that Mark includes links for more information at developerWorks:Lotus at the end of every chapter. He may touch on a topic, but provides a URL for more, detailed information on the web. A very nice touch. He also sprinkles throughout the book, tips for the developer that show how administrators (and their use of groups and security) that may affect your application. Elliott recommends that the developer create a good, working relationship with the admins, as they can assist with troubleshooting. And allow your agents to run on the server (sorry, a little "Admin humor").
Finally, look at the chapter listing. Mark moves easily from basic concepts to advanced features. This is a fairly comprehensive guide to Notes development (a pretty amazing achievement) and he manages it nicely. One of the latter chapters, "Troubleshooting" should help you with the wonderful "Variant does not contain an object error" or assisting you with using the Lotus provided tools for troubleshooting agents. Take a look at those steps before posting to developerWorks:Lotus. :-)
New to development or a pro looking to enhance your skills, this is an excellent book and one that I highly recommend.
As an aside, be sure to look at the Acknowledgements. You may see some names that you recognize.
It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more