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Looking for OS issues at LDD? Good luck!!

Michael Brown   July 22 2009 01:57:24 AM
When looking for platform-specific issues on IBM Developerworks (LDD, Notes.Net... whatever you call it!) the natural place to look is the Platform view.  Or at least, it used to be.  IBM has screwed it up on the 8.0 and 8.5 forums.  Compare the two screen shots below:

ND7 Forum Platform ViewND8/8.5 Forum Platform View

In the ND7 version, if I click on the Macintosh twistie all the Mac issues are shown right there, in a list, just as I want to see them.  In the ND8/8.5 versions, it takes me three clicks instead of one to get down to the actual data, and I have to drill-down through some arbitrary classifications that I don't much care about.  I don't know how many clicks it would take to see all Mac issues (or Linux for that matter); dozens I would think, and I would never be able to see them side by side.  Useless.  (I used the Web feedback form to report this to IBM quite a few weeks ago, but no reply).

Never mind, I thought to myself.  I can use the search to find my Mac issues.  There's a by Platform drop-down on the search page, right?  Wrong.  There used to be one on the ND7 forum, but it ain't there for ND8/8.5:

ND7 Forum Search PageND8/8.5 Forum Search Page

One can only imagine the focus groups and technical committees these decisions went through.  "Hey, I don't know that thingie down there does, so let's get rid of it?"

My next approach was to try and create the missing search URL myself.  All I had to do was examine the search URL that the by Platform option generates from the ND7 forum search, and then substitute the ND8/8.5 forums' database names into that URL.  That's when I discovered how much IBM has really messed this up.  Here's the URL that the ND7 search page generates for my by Platform = "Linux" search.

Over a thousand results for that baby!  Next, I substituted in the ND8.5 database's file name into the URL to give:

It didn't work; no results at all.  I then noticed that on the by Platform view for ND8/8.5, the "Macintosh" keyword is now "Mac OS X".  So, I changed the query term to just "Mac" to give:

No results again.

Investigating further, I noticed something very odd: the by Author field on the ND8/8.5 search page doesn't work.  Try it now.  Enter any name you like - "Ed", "Mike", "Bruce" - and you'll get zero results every time.  It's bust.  That's when it hit me what IBM has done.

They changed the field names on the main Topic form, but forgot to recode the Search form to look for them.

The "from" field that the Search form looks for is simply not there any more.  It's called Author now - $UpdatedBy works too.  Substitute those into your search URL and you'll get some results.  Seriously, if a first year Summer student had rolled out a piece of work this sloppy, you'd take him out the back and whack him over the head with the Clue Stick.  But IBM actually did it.

Getting back to my "by Platform" problem.  Once I'd realised that "Platform" was no longer the correct field name, I took some guesses at what it might be, but no luck.  Then I thought I might be able to spot it by examining the HTML of a new Topic.  Sure enough, there it was: select name="OperatingSystem".  So, the "Platform" field is actually called "OperatingSystem".  I substituted that into my previously failing URLs and bingo!  The results started appearing.

So, here for you, free of charge, some URLs to find Platform OperatingSystem issues in the ND8.5 forum:

Find ND8.5 Linux issues

Find ND8.5 Macintosh issues

These searches are both sorted in reverse chronological order, with the most recent results at the top.

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