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MWLUG 2015 from Atlanta — the Good, uh..that’s it

mwlug-banner

Post titles like that usually have “bad and ugly”…that’s what you were thinking, right? Well no such criticism here. This was a fantastic meeting. Here are my stats:

20 Lotuspheres
14 Advisors
16 VIEWs
12 Collaboration Universities
17 LUGs
1 MWLUG
764 beers (not me)

This was my first MWLUG and it was a blast – very very well run, great attendance, engaged audience, lots of sponsors, and a terrific venue. And, the SweetWater 420 beer wasn’t bad. All 100 of them – my session “Free Beer 12: Southern Style” was well-attended for an admin session (there are more developers here), but there was enough to go around to the rest of the rooms speaking concurrently. Here’s a link to my session slides – the technical content of which involves the installation and use of Notes, Domino Designer and Domino Administrator (especially admin) on a Mac or Linux client using CodeWeavers’ CrossOver and Prominic.net’s custom build.

The combination is fantastic for admins who want rapid access to the admin client from their Mac. Five seconds flat for me!

MWLUG 2015

Enjoy!

And now for something not so completely different

QuickBaseThis week is a week of announcements in our tech world (check the at wires 3AM EDT tomorrow, for instance…). My own announcement is that SNAPPS has become a partner with a new major vendor, Intuit, with their QuickBase online database SaaS solution. This effort is 8 months in the making, and I’m very pleased to say that after several visits with Intuit QuickBase folks both at their headquarters and other events, I’m very excited about the prospects of working together on the next generation of online collaboration — the generation that takes pure generic collaboration and easily extends it to very specific, functional areas of business. As well, I look forward to creating some interesting integrations with IBM software.

TeamAnywhereSNAPPS is revitalizing its 15-year-old brand, TeamAnywhere, to address the SaaS application, services, and strategy market and will be leading the way with QuickBase applications and consulting. Some of you may be familiar with TeamAnywhere as a service we offered from 1999-2013 hosting team workspaces based on IBM’s Lotus Quickr. We of course still consult in that area, but given the end of marketing for Quickr we are shifting this part of our practice to Intuit QuickBase. As such we have become an official QuickBase Solution Provider, undergone extensive training, and are actively participating in QuickBase marketing and events.

This has no effect on our 18-year history as an IBM partner, 6 years as an Apple development partner, or other strategic consulting activities, it’s simply an expansion of our practice to cover more and more SaaS solutions for our clients.

I will have a lot more to say about QuickBase (insert joke about failure to change first five letters of anything I work with here…) in the coming weeks and months. Press releases, events, certifications, and I’ve even had the pleasure to develop some applications already. In fact, I’ve come within 15% of approximating the features of Quickr.

So welcome to the new world. SNAPPS. IBM, Apple, and Intuit QuickBase partner.

That just happened. And by the way, this is what “dead” means in software.

Well IBM’s Lotus Quickr 8.2 is going out of service a bit earlier than I anticipated.

In fact, I was on a web conference with a client just today(!) and they showed me their custom 8.2 site and discussed their desire to export it and get the contents into SharePoint (yeah, I do that, sue me).

Here’s the full announcement.

And the relevant details:

Effective on the date listed below, IBM will withdraw support from the following product release(s) licensed under the IBM International Program License Agreement:

                   Withdrawal 
                   from
Program            support
number     VRM     date       Program release name
 
5724-S31   8.2.0   09/30/14   IBM Lotus® Quickr

The good news is, IBM does keep on fixing it…

Quickr for Domino, removed from marketing and sales in May, still has a strong user base and support from IBM and partners (myself included — we do support for our enterprise clients, especially customizations).

So Fixpack 41 was just released. As you can see from the dates, it’s slowed down a bit as they used to be monthly. But, there are some critical fixes (a couple of mine, so they must be!) included. Visit IBM Fix Central to download and install the Fixpack. Remember some best practices when applying an IBM fixpack:

  1. Back up your customizations (or keep them under source control, which you should be doing anyway)
  2. Catalog the customizations and settings
  3. Review the new qpconfig_sample.xml for new parameters and nodes that may apply to your environment
  4. Review your custom widgets to see if IBM has updated any functions that you are using in your widgets. I’ve discovered that IBM has created fixes that we fixed first (so we can remove them), or added functionality that we would lose by continuing to use our widgets.
  5. Unlock just the locked places — if it’s a large server, figure out what these are by checking the place catalog and unlock just those places. It’s a waste to unlock all like in the instructions when there will only be a few locked.

Go crazy. Here are the fixes in 41:

FP 8.5.1.41

10/28/2013

PPOR97KDND

LO75255

Issues with Swedish characters when creating new users and passwords.

10/28/2013

JMAC9C4SLB

LO77297

Attachment name with apostrophe displayed incorrectly when ActiveX round trip editor is enabled.

10/28/2013

HMON975JHH

LO75066

Un-reproducible Domino server crash with the top call of the crash stack “nquickplace.QuickrWS::ClbDynamicDateValue::~ClbDynamicDateValue”

10/28/2013

PPOR9ABHDU

LO76522

After upgrading from 8.2, some documents are displayed in a small area of the page making it unreadable.

10/28/2013

No SPR

When saving a Microsoft Office document based on a custom form that has the option to only save the document in the Index, the document is saved to the Index, but also appears in the Table of Contents for that place/room. 

10/28/2013

No SPR

Some documents in a folder are not displaying in connectors when a checked out document is locked by a user whose name contains Unicode characters.

10/28/2013

GAKI99JFRA

LO76204

The Quickr Domino server my crash when clicking the Members link when using EMM.

09/27/2013

PPOR9AZK9X

LO76809

Under certain circumstances, after creating a new Page, the About tab does not display.

09/27/2013

No SPR

Under certain circumstances, in a Folder, the menu New Folder and Folder Options are lost once a page is added to that folder.

09/27/2013

PPOR9B8G9Y

LO76896

When a user is a Reader in a Folder protected by ACL and that user chooses Place Actions / New , they are prompted with a basic authentication dialog.

09/27/2013

PPOR9AZEAZ

LO76804

In Connectors, a user might not see all places they are a member of when in the Add Place dialog.

09/27/2013

RTIN9BQPCV

LO77131

Quickr modifies the notes.ini variable $h_hostname with every request.

08/27/2013

No SPR

When entering a place, if there are many items in the TOC, the TOC doesn’t scroll to the top automatically.

08/27/2013

DWHN9AJCZJ

LO76605

When selecting [All Members] as the membership of a room, those members do not get a link to the room in the TOC.

08/27/2013

JMAC9A5QNE

LO76468

For places that still use the Drag and Drop applet, using Java 7 greater than update 21 prompts a 2nd time saying that the jar hasn’t been signed.

08/27/2013

GAKI98DJTS

LO75635

When the Quickr Server has a different date format then the browser, Advanced Search By Date may not return the correct results.

08/27/2013

MBJZ8SD9SL

LO71940

When using SiteMinder, pressing Logout may not perform the actual logout functionality.

(see fix MBJZ8SD9SL in “Additional Information for special fixes” section)

08/02/2013

DWHN999JXD

LO76093

When within a Forum or a Forum Topic, choosing Place Actions -> New -> {document type} the Location will be in the Forum or Topic, it should be Library.

08/02/2013

MMOI979NNH

LO75116

Some inbound SMTP messages from Outlook clients do not display properly in Quickr.

08/02/2013

RSOI95REDS

LO74377

When a Place Manager opens a document checked out by another user in Connectors, the original document opens and any changes get saved back removing the other user’s changes.

07/10/2013

TMAI98T4K4

LO75829

Business cards do not display when hovering over the user’s link in a Room.

07/10/2013

PPOR98TL2B

LO75281

What’s New HTML email notifications do not contain hyperlinks to the document

(see fix PPOR98TL2B in the “Merging Notification Template Updates” section)

07/10/2013

GAKI96MLCU

LO74799

In Internet Explorer 8.0.7, Quickr Folders display incorrectly.

07/10/2013

TMAI98MD2S

LO75754

When viewing a page with an attached .xlsm file, it is referenced as an “Unknown Document Type”.

07/10/2013

PPOR98TL2B

LO75281

Using a specific customer place, Quickr on Domino 853 will crash when retrieving the contents of the TOC via Notes Connector.

DAOS and Lotus Quickr: The Right Way

QuickrLogoTinyThis entry is an excerpt of a report prepared for an enterprise client of IBM Lotus Quickr, running several clusters in staging, development and production. The project was completed a year ago and the client has seen many benefits to enabling DAOS. However, as the documentation on DAOS specific to Quickr is nonexistent, we learned to take into account several other factors…

Introduction

Domino Attachment Object Store is a low-level option on Domino servers (beginning with version 8.5) that allows files to be saved to the file system and referenced seamlessly as if they were still in the Domino nsf structure. Two advantages of DAOS in a traditional environment are lower disk space usage and improved backup time.

In a Quickr environment, not much disk will be saved overall, as most of the attachments are different and de-duplication of files is the primary reason for this savings. However, as most attachments are stored on the file system and only changed when the attachment is changed from the web UI, incremental backups will be significantly faster due to the much smaller size of nsfs and <1% of files changed in a day.

My experience from an enterprise client with fourteen Quickr servers has been phenomenal savings in backup time – more than 85% reduction from what used to be approaching a 24 hour cycle across production.

When DAOS is enabled, attachments over a specified size are saved to disk as “nlo” files. These are the attachments and are – speaking in binary terms – identical to their more friendly-named files such as Word, PDF, Excel documents. “nlo” stands for Notes Linked Object.

It is important to note that DAOS operates on a single server level. Normally this means that nlo files are encrypted with a specific server’s ID, and not shared among clusters. If this is the case, a place cannot be moved from one server to another when there are DAOS files detached from the nsf. However, in any Quickr environment, I recommend that we disable encryption of the attachments on the file system by implementing the notes.ini variable “DAOS_Encrypt_NLO=0”. This must be done on each server prior to enabling DAOS. This will allow us to reconstitute a Quickr place on another server for disaster recovery, testing, development, etc.

Quickr Templates manual step (pre-DAOS)

Quickr databases are based on templates stored in the directory <domino data>\LotusQuickr\Areatypes. When DAOS is first enabled, the PlaceTypes have DAOS turned on. However, some of the Quickr “.ntf” files need to have this turned on manually. To do so, the database property should be checked: “Use Domino Attachment Object Store” on the databases PageLibrary.ntf and MeetingRoom.ntf.

Moving a Place

In order to move a place temporarily from one server to another for testing, we must “un-DAOS” the place. This activity puts all of the attachments back into the place. Testing has revealed that although not specifically documented, this work on both a single NSF and on a directory full of them – which is how Quickr places are organized.

To prepare a place for moving, the following command should be initiated from Domino Administrator, RECON, the Domino server console, or from the Java console:

>load compact –C –daos off lotusquickr\placename

This will a) turn off DAOS on the database properties and b) reattach the attachments with their original names. Note that the NLO attachments will remain on the file system for a default 30 days unless they are pruned.

After performing this command, it is important to review the log.nsf file (or if the place has few rooms, the console) to determine if there were any errors during the compact operation. One error that was seen once during testing, actually happened while turning DAOS on and relates to attachments failing to detach – hence not an impact in this case.

After the log is reviewed, the place may be archived (qptool archive), or the server downed and the place copied to its new location.

Once in its new location, if the target server has DAOS enabled, the place may be “re-DAOS” enabled by using the compact command again with the place directory as an argument:

>load compact –C –daos on lotusquickr\placename

Performance Notes and Caveats

It is not recommended by IBM that the DAOS base path is on the same drive as the Domino Data directory, for disk performance reasons. However, this recommendation is based on the preponderance of Domino MAIL servers using DAOS and the high transaction rate of mail servers. In our case, Quickr attachments will be detached once, then a miniscule percentage of changes made to them in a given day. That coupled with the disk space available on other volumes often being scarce, and the significant backup benefits, there is enough reason to not heed this recommendation.

It should be noted for the future that transaction logging, which is on, is a prerequisite for DAOS, so should not be turned off while DAOS is enabled.

At Lotusphere 2012, it was recommended that we do NOT decrease the minimum object size to 4000 bytes as sometimes discussed, but for management purposes and performance of the DAOS catalog keep it at the higher 64000 byte level. This means we will also only require one pass per server for DAOS enablement.

This should be enough to get you started. In addition to the above, we conducted numerous tests and published results, developed a Production Plan, identified five Scenarios for disaster recovery and restoration procedures, and built a DAOS utility to gather NLO file references that was a necessity for Quickr. If you are interested in this additional analysis and how it may apply to your situation, please let me know in the comments. I can’t send it out as is, but am happy to answer questions you have about DAOS in general or Quickr in specific!

IamLUG: Still a few slots left!

IamLUG300IamLUG, the largest user group meeting in the US for IBM collaboration professionals and users, is happening May 6-7 in St Louis. I’ll be there speaking as will Jerald Mahurin from my team. My session “So a gadget and a widget walk into a bar…” is almost done, but I’m still working on the punch line. Of course this is about OpenSocial and iWidgets in IBM Connections. Jerald will be taking the stage on IBM Connections user interface design – themes and more.

For the first time (like, ever, anywhere) SNAPPS is also going to be a silver-level sponsor at IamLUG. So we’ll have a pedestal and the talented Liz and Julie from our team will be there to introduce you to SNAPPS service and products. Yes, we actually do more than speak and write!

So I’m told there are a few attendee spots left, but the insanely cheap hotel rooms are going fast. If you would like to join a few hundred of the industry’s best and brightest for two days of a great training and learning experience, and hang out with the gang, be sure to snag one of the remaining spots at iamlug.org.

See you in St Louis!