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Nice Notes 8.5.2 feature - policy control for access settings for Lotus Connections

Disclaimer: The following is from the release notes of Notes 8.5.2 so I don't take credit for writing this. Lotus Notes 8.5.2 is in beta and there are no guarantees that the features described here will be in the final product that IBM ships.

From Notes 8.5.2 administrators can now define the Lotus Connections server to which the sidebar should connect by adding the following properties to the plugin_customization.ini file located in the <Notes>/framework/rcp directory. Modify this file within the installation package prior to distributing it to end users. If you are installing this code drop for the server as well, use the new policies to manage the accounts instead.

  • <server_URL> is the full Web address of the Activities feature on the Lotus Connections server including the protocol. Add a backslash before each colon. For example: http\://enterprise.example.com/activities
  • <authentication_method> is one of the following values:
    • J2EE-FORM: Form based authentication, default
    • TAM-FORM: Tivoli Access Manager Form authentication
    • SM-FORM: Siteminder Form authentication
    The port number might need to be changed from the default of 443 depending on your deployment.
To tell the Notes client where to read the server information from, add the following property to the plugin_customization.ini file:
where <<mode> is one of the following values:
  • DEFAULT: Allows users to modify the server URL. This is how the client behaves by default.
  • FORCED: Prevents users from being able to edit the Server URL field in the Activities preferences page.
  • OVERWRITE: Overwrites the server URL that was specified in the preferences page with the one specified in the com.ibm.lconn.client.base/server property. Use this setting if you change deployments and want to force users to switch from accessing one server to accessing another.
If you choose to specify the server using the plugin_customization.ini file, keep these things in mind:
  • When you define the Lotus Connections server to connect to using the plugin_customization.ini file, be sure to specify the full URL of the Activities feature.
  • Tell users to access the Activities sidebar before opening the Connections preferences page when starting the Notes client for the first time. Accessing the sidebar is what triggers Notes to pull the server information from the plugin_customization.ini file.
  • If the server information displayed in the server URL field of the Connections properties page is not the information specified in the plugin_customization.ini file, click Restore Defaults, provide your log in credentials, and then click OK.

Nice Notes 8.5.2 feature - upgrading multiple local databases to a new ODS

Please note: The following is from the release notes of Notes 8.5.2 so I don't take credit for writing this. Lotus Notes 8.5.2 is in beta and there are no guarantees that the features described here will be in the final product that IBM ships.

In the latest code drop of Notes 8.5.2, using either the Notes Client, Domino Administrator Client, or Domino Designer Client, a customer can force the client to perform ODS upgrades of all local databases. For most non-essential databases, the ODS upgrade will take place in a background process and while a database is upgraded, the end user will not be able to use the database. For essential databases that are in use at the point that an upgrade is attempted, the ODS upgrade will be done at the next first time open which will typically occur at client restart.

Configuration Options - Required

The following new NOTES.INI setting performs the upgrade:

With this set, the client will do a one time pass to upgrade local databases using the compact task.

Configuration Options - Optional

In addition, the specific ODS level that is desired should be set (if none set, ODS51 will be forced):

To create ODS 51 databases:

To create ODS 48 databases:

User Feedback

For databases compacted in the background, there will not be any user visible indication that the database compacts are in progress. If a user attempts to use a database while the compact is in progress, they will see the error:

"Database is being Compacted; Compact must finish before use"
For databases that are in use at the time the compact is attempted (names.nsf, cache.ndk, log.nsf, and possibly user mail files), the compact will occur at the next client restart. When the database is compacted at restart, progress will be shown in the splash screen or in the status bar, depending on when the database is opened.

For each database that is compacted, a "Compacting..." and "Compacted...." will appear in the log.

11/12/2009 03:01:49 PM  Compacting dummy.nsf (dummy),  -r -C
11/12/2009 03:01:52 PM  Compacted  dummy.nsf, 0K bytes recovered (0%)
For each database that is at the desired ODS (or later), only "Compacting..." will appear in the log
11/12/2009 03:01:49 PM  Compacting dummy.nsf (dummy),  -r -C
At the end of the upgrade, the following will appear in the log:
10 databases had an older NSF ODS version. 8 of 
those databases were successfully upgraded to a 
later NSF ODS.

Book keeping Options

After the upgrade is attempted for all local databases, this will be set to the ODS level that was requested. Deleting this setting will cause the code to attempt to perform upgrades. If upgrades are not necessary, the database will be skipped. If the client is shut down before all databases are completed and processed, then this is not set, and the next retry will attempt compacts on databases that are not at the desired ODS.

Clarifications/Not in scope
If there is an error during the compact, the database ODS will not be changed. There will not be any retry logic. If there is not enough space, which can be one of the errors, then the database ODS will not be changed. If a database takes a while to compact then the user does not have access to that Db during the compact. For always in use databases, their compact will be done on the next client restart, and will block user usage.

Only Windows and Linux are supported. Macintosh support will be available in a later code drop.