LotusScript® is a programming language that is very similar to BASIC. It can be used within the Lotus Notes program or as an agent in a Domino server. LotusScript® comes with Lotus Notes Release 4, Word Pro, Freelance or Approach. The language has to operate within the confines of one of these programs to function. It is generally used to expand the existing functionality of other programs or to integrate them with other software, and can also be useful for accessing databases and controlling the user interface.
All computer programs are driven by a programming language that essentially tells them what to do. Computers need to be told how to respond in all situations, and the programming language is the method used to communicate with the computer. Behind any small tool or application that can be found on a computer are lines of coded language within them that control their operation. LotusScript® is one such language, and anybody who learns to “speak” in that language can then program tools or applications.
LotusScript® is often compared to BASIC, which is another programming language that can be thought of as a mother-tongue for LotusScript®. There are some differences between the two, the most evident being that the Visual Basic package provides the user with the ability to control the user interface, and LotusScript® relies on Lotus Notes or the other supplied program for the user interface.
Scripts are the key components of applications created in Lotus Notes, and the LotusScript® language is used to create them. Scripts are collections of commands that tell the program what to do when a certain event occurs. For example, if a user has created a button that performs a “convert” function from Celsius to Fahrenheit, the event of a left-click on that button has to be associated with the action of working out the equivalent temperature in Fahrenheit. In LotusScript®, these actions have to be compatible with the host-program, and the host program may even automate parts of the scripting process for ease of use.
Programs are comprised of subroutines, which are functions, commands and variables that control its operation. Using LotusScript® doesn’t mean the user has to create these functions themselves, he merely has to compile the pre-built subroutines in order to perform the desired function. This makes use of programming languages much easier—more like putting together a jigsaw than painting a picture from scratch.