Policy control over business card retrieval settings and retrieval order

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.

You can access a person’s business card to find out more about the person and retrieve their contact information. The following products can potentially provide the data that is displayed in the business card:

  • Lotus Connections
  • Lotus Notes
  • Lotus Sametime

If you have more than two of these products installed and enabled, you might want to specify which product should serve as the primary source of the business card data or you might want to prevent one of the products from contributing to the business card altogether. This is not a required task.

To prioritize the source of the business card data, complete the following steps:

  1. Find the plugin_customization.ini file in the following directory: <Notes>/framework/rcp
  2. Open the plugin_customization.ini file in a text editor
  3. Do one of the following:
    • To prevent one of the products from being the source of the business card data, add the following property to the file:
      com.ibm.rcp.bizcard/disable.content.for.<provider_name>=true
      where <provider_name> is one of the following values:

      • Lotus Connections: profiles
      • Lotus Notes: NotesContacts
      • Lotus Sametime: com.ibm.lconn.client.bizcard.livename
    • To change the order of products from which to retrieve the business card data, add a com.ibm.rcp.bizcard/change.priority.for.<provider_name>=<priority> property for each of the supported products where is one of the following values:
      • Lotus Connections: profiles
      • Lotus Notes: NotesContacts
      • Lotus Sametime: com.ibm.lconn.client.bizcard.livename
        and <priority> is a relevant alphabetic character. Use letters that come later in the alphabet to specify higher priority products and letters that come earlier in the alphabet to specify products with a lower priority. For example, a priority of A is lower than a priority of B.

      By default, the business card is populated with data from the products in the following order:

      • Lotus Connections
      • Lotus Sametime
      • Lotus Notes

      You can change the order and have the business card retrieve data from Notes first, then Lotus Connections, then Sametime, for example:

      com.ibm.rcp.bizcard/change.priority.for.NotesContacts=G
      com.ibm.rcp.bizcard/change.priority.for.profiles=E
      com.ibm.rcp.bizcard/change.priority.for.com.ibm
           .lconn.client.bizcard.livename=C
      
  4. Save the changes to the file.
  5. Restart Notes.

Option to install a widget from a .zip file, file structure, and focus on provisioning

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.

Notes users can now install a widget that is supplied to them as a .zip file. Users can either drag and drop the .zip file into their My Widgets sidebar panel or use the Import menu option from the My Widgets sidebar panel.

This option is available for all supported widget types and enables the user to install a widget while working online or offline. The widget definition xml-file must be at the root of the zip file and the widget definition file name must be extension.xml. To make provisioning widgets self-contained in the .zip file, the updateSite URL in the widget definition must be set to jar:${zip.root}!/ and the updateSite itself must also reside in the .zip file.

The structure of the .zip file must be as follows:

features (DIR)
plugins (DIR)
extension.xml
site.xml

When a provisioning widget’s .xml definition is processed, the updateSite URL is replaced with a URL to the embedded updateSite in the .zip file. Automatic update is not supported.

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.

com.ibm.lconn.client.base/server=<server_URL>
com.ibm.lconn.client.base/authtype=<authentication_method>
com.ibm.lconn.client.base/authserver=
     <server_URL>:443/activities/j_security_check

where

  • <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:

com.ibm.lconn.client.base/policy-mode=<mode>

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:

NSF_UpdateODS=1

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:
Create_R85_Databases=1

To create ODS 48 databases:
Create_R8_Databases=1

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

NSF_UpdatedToODS=#

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.

Limitations

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

Configure Eclipse 3.5 for Notes 8.5.2

As for previous versions I maintain a document outlining how to configure a vanilla Eclipse install to work with Lotus Notes for Java extension development (with install_id and rcp.base). I have made the first version for Notes 8.5.2 as of code drop 5 so please see Configure Eclipse 3.5 for Notes 8.5.2 if this is of use to you.

Please Lotus that 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.

Notes 8.5.2 – preload on startup

Disclaimer: 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.

Being part of the design partner program for Lotus Notes 8.5.2 I just received code drop 5 i.e. the latest beta of Lotus Notes 8.5.2. Part of this release you are asked a new question while installing which is whether you want to enable preloading Lotus Notes when starting Windows (don’t know if this goes for other platforms).

Now I’m on a SSD drive so my experience may be different from others on a “normal” spinning drive but it will be interesting to see how it performs and if it makes a noticeable difference.

Complete guide to manually uninstalling “plugins” from Lotus Notes

As you probably know installing and uninstalling Java extensions (“plugins”) into the Lotus Notes client is easy using either File >> Application >> Install, File >> Application >> Application Management or the widget catalog. Sometimes however this doesn’t work and you’ll have to resort to a manual uninstall. This blog post outlines the way to perform a manual uninstall.

We have to start with some basics though. A Java extension in Lotus Notes (also known as a “plugin”) consists of two things:

  1. Eclipse plugin(s)
    The plugin is where the actual code and functionality is stored together with additional resources such as images, string translation etc.
  2. Eclipse feature
    The feature is what’s actually installed from a Lotus Notes perspective. The feature points to the Eclipse plugins that provides the actual functionality. It’s almso important to note that a single feature may reference multiple plugins.

Both an Eclipse plugin and an Eclipse feature are represented in the file system as JAR-files (files with an extension of “JAR”) and both of them are kept in the file system. A JAR-file is just a fancy ZIP-file with a predefined folder structure. Eclipse Features and plugins are stored in two directories beneath your Notes data directory (<Notes data dir.>/workspace/applications/eclipse/features for the features and <Notes data dir.>/workspace/applications/eclipse/plugins for the plugins).

From the above it may seem obvious that simply deleting these files will uninstall a Java extension – unfortunately there’s a final piece to the puzzle. Lotus Notes also keeps a record of what’s installed in a file called platform.xml (stored in <Notes data dir>workspace.configorg.eclipse.update). Simply deleting the feature(s) and plugin(s) may seem to work but will misbehave for instance when activating the File >> Application >> Application Management interface. The solution is to edit this file as well.

The complete steps to manually uninstalling a Java extension is therefore as follows:

  1. Close Lotus Notes
  2. Open the “features”-directory (<Notes data dir>workspaceapplicationseclipsefeatures)
  3. Locate the Eclipse features to uninstall.
  4. For each Eclipse feature you need to open it and edit the feature.xml file. Locate the <plugin>-tags and fine the names of the referenced plugins. Note that there might be more than one. Combining the plugin id and the plugin version will give the full filename of the plugin (<plugin id>_<plugin version>.jar).
  5. Delete the Eclipse features you’re uninstalling.
  6. Open the “plugins”-directory (<Notes data dir>workspaceapplicationseclipseplugins).
  7. Delete the plugin JAR-file(s) you recorded in the step above.
  8. Open the directory containing the platform.xml file (<Notes data dir>workspace.configorg.eclipse.update).
  9. Edit platform.xml and go to the end of the file.
  10. Remove each entry you see for the features you deleted in the step above.
  11. Save and close the file.
  12. Since Lotus Notes also keeps a record of which Java extensions to load it’s best to start Notes with some parameters to make it recompute the Java extension registry: notes.exe -RPARAMS -clean

Let me know if the above doesn’t work for you.

Please note: Manually uninstalling a Java extension installed via a widget descriptor via a widget catalog/policy will probably just make it reinstall once uninstalled.