Since I kind of backed my way into Domino development and administration, there are a number of areas of the server's functionality that I'm either unfamiliar with or casually brushed off as unreliable or not overly useful.
The Domain Catalog is one such area: I've been vaguely familiar with it, but have never bothered to tend to it or use it to solve problems. Fortunately, a problem it's perfectly suited to fell into my lap. In an overarching administration database, I want to get from a document with a database doclink to the database itself as quickly as possible. The easiest way, programmatically, is to use the
.DBReplicaID properties in a call to an unconnected NotesDatabase object's
This works well, but doesn't take into account the existence of local replicas - the admin database is running on one server, while the databases are created and linked to on the primary production server. Given that these servers aren't even in the same physical state, it's significantly faster to use a local replica when available, and only fall back when it hasn't been created yet. My first attempt at getting around this was direct: I first call
.openByReplicaID(...) with a blank first parameter and, if it's not open, try the real server. Again, this worked, but is not ideal. It's programmatically ugly and, besides, there are more than just the two servers.
.openWithFailover(...) looked promising, but seems to only accept real file paths, not replica IDs, which ruled it out for this purpose.
This is where the Domain Catalog comes in. It already contains a (hopefully-up-to-date) list of all of the replicas of every database in the domain along with everything I could need to connect to them. Furthermore, I realized I could use this information with a dash of extra intelligence: since I know which servers are physically closest, I could use that to find the "best" replica in each situation. So I made a view for this admin server ("Ganymede") of all of the database stubs, sorted first by replica ID and then by a column with this formula:
name := @Name([CN]; Server);
With replica ID in hand, this means that I can just do a @DbLookup() in the view and the first result will always be the best, regardless of which server it is. I have another column with the full "Server!!FilePath" path, so I can just pull that value and do it in one function. Nice, easy, and it lets Domino take care of the nitty-gritty details for me.