Document Overview (Quick Scroll Table):

What does FORMGATE do?

FORMGATE sends the field values from a fill out form on a WWW server to a Lotus Notes database based on a Lotus Notes server. The filled out WWW forms appear as new unread documents in the Notes database where they can be viewed and processed using all known Notes features (e.g. macros, V4 agents, @MailSend)

How does FORMGATE do this?

FORMGATE consists of two programs:

These two programs communicate with each other and may run on different systems within a domain and even across the Internet.

What is needed to set up a WWW form page that can be processed by FORMGATE?

The form page on the WWW server must have three additional hidden fields named:

There are some other possible additional fields recognized by FormGate as well: All other used WWW form fields should have an equivalent field in the Notes database form. This version of FORMGATE only supports the Notes text fields. Fields on the Web form must be named the same as in Notes.

Is there an example on this WWW server showing FORMGATE in action?

Yes, there is such a page available. You can visit the demonstration form page showing the features and leave a message if you like.

What is the current development status of FORMGATE?

I would consider it a stable software now.

Is FORMGATE platform independent?

Yes, but there are some restrictions so far:

There are only SPARC Notes server systems tested so far. Some people from the net suggested porting FORMGATE to the following platforms: I'd like to port the software to these server platforms. I have not decided when and how this could happen. I personally think that Windows NT is now a too pupular platform. It's likely that this platform will be supported soon.
You can tell me (using the above mentioned demonstration form page) which platform you would like most. There are fields in the www form for selecting the platforms for fgclient and fgserver. Use can also use the comment field for asking questions or for commenting on something.

What are the differences to Domino and other Notes to HTML conversion tools?

With FORMGATE it's possible to let users on the Web contribute to the organizations internal Notes world regardless where this server is located on the Internet.
There is no need to run the Web and the Notes server on one machine. You can have your Web server outside your firewall and the Notes server inside. People from the Web can contribute to the internal Notes world.

What is planned for the near future?

When will FORMGATE be available?

FORMGATE may be made available after some still missing finishing touches on the documentation and parts of the implementation.

I'm doing this in my spare time now. My personal interest in finishing this project slowed down significantly 'cause Lotus is now shipping with Notes R4.x Domino - a full featured web server free of charge. This product incorporates similar functionality like FORMGATEs form submission features.
The major diffence is the fact that domino and the web publisher from Lotus require you to run them on the same machine like the Notes server. If you can't do this, then FORMGATE might be your or your internet service providers (ISP) solution for form submissions to Notes databases.
You can still send questions and suggestions regarding FORMGATE over the gateway. This might help to motivate me finishing the last things left to do. I'm particular interested to hear from you what kind of feature(s) you'd like to see build into the system that haven't been addressed by either FORMGATE or any other product out there in Cyberland.

However, there is a beta version 0.98a of FORMGATE on my harddisk right now. It runs on a Notes V4 server under SunOS 4.1.x or Solaris 2.x - that's the fgserver module as a Notes Add-In server task.
The Web cgi-bin module called fgclient runs on SunOS 4.1.x, Solaris 2.x, Linux, and SGI Unix Web servers.
If you are really interested in trying out one combination of this Web/Notes server set mentioned above - send me an email and I see what I can do for you...
It was also planned to have support for the file upload feature of the new Netscape 2.x client. This would make it easier to submit complete information (e.g. Word[Pro] text documents or spreadsheets from the external users Web browser to the internal Notes database/document world.

Due to the availability of SSL HTTP servers like Apache it might be worth thinking about a secure module for FormGate that takes full advantage of those capabilities...we'll see.

I've been working on form upload features for FORMGATE recently. It will be possible to submit even more that one file to a Notes document using this gateway. Due to the fact that I have to change the internal protocol between client and server to make this possible it might still take some time until I have a working version supporting that feature.

Copyright © 1995-98 Uwe Brahm · <brahm@mpi-sb.mpg.de>

Document last changed on Friday, 26 March 1999 - 14:20