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Storing OLE objects on a Domino database

An architectural client of mine wants to use a Domino database to store project-related files. Sounds good so far, but I'm concerned about storing them all as OLE objects. They use Microsoft Office for many of their files (probably not a big concern), but they also use Autocad for their building plans and it is OLE-compliant. They like the auto launch aspect of using OLE, which is different than working with an attachment where you save in one place and than go through a second step to attach. They also like the object displayed that they get with an OLE object. I tested creating an object on a Notes mail form in the body field and it seems to work just fine.

My question is this: Are their any unforeseen problems with designing the application this way -- performance-wise? And how will these objects display and work when viewed with a Web browser vs. a Notes client?

The database will get very large, of course. This is not a problem unless it exceeds the maximum size of a file on the server's operating system. If that may be a concern, you might look at Domino.Doc. Performance is mainly a matter of how many documents you have and how much summary information is in them. OLE objects aren't part of the summary information, so the individual documents being large is not a concern unless your network is slow (and then it's a problem no matter how you store the files).

I don't know a way to make the OLE editing work in a Web browser. The embedded object is just rendered as a graphic in HTML. But you can see that image when it is converted to a GIF of JPG (depending on HTTP server settings).

There's a function on attachments, available thru the Notes client UI, that lets the user launch them for editing as opposed to just "opening" them. Any changes are automatically recorded into the document attachment when the document is saved. If users can be trained to use this -- or if you give them an action button that does the same thing -- then attachments are as usable as OLE objects, except you don't get the image when you view the document in read mode. On the plus side, you use less storage since attachments are stored much more compactly.

This was last published in February 2005

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