Rest in peace Mail Rule Utilities!

Five years ago I posted an open source utility called “Mail Rule Utilities” on OpenNTF. I designed this utility when I was on the Lotus product development team. The primary function of the utility was to be able to run mail rules locally on your database. Using the same rules you created in the interface, the utility could run locally without a server involved. This made Notes usable for multiple email accounts in my opinion and is a feature that has been in Outlook for years.

I also blogged about it several times, even offering a download here on my blog for those not familiar with OpenNTF. Between the two sites the utility was downloaded over 7,000 times. Now, according to Mat Newman, it was announced in a session yesterday at IBM Connect that this function will be part of Notes 9.0.2! Here is the tweet in case you missed it:

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 8.12.52 AM




So, I will leave the utility out there for those still on 8.x and 9.0.1 for a bit so don’t worry, it’s not a total rest in peace statement but it’s coming. I had been contacted by the Notes dev team earlier this year and was actually excited this function was going to be put into the product. While the Mail Rule Utility was not a huge effort to support, I would infrequently get enhancement requests, some install issues, etc. Unfortunately I have found the open source concepts on OpenNTF is not truly “open source” as no one else really contributes to the authors projects.

In ending, I really do thank everyone for all of the kind words over the years and the dozens (probably more) of great emails stating they loved the plugin. Thank you, because that is what makes open source worth it!

You can read about the Mail Rule Utilities on the original DeveloperWorks article here.


New Lotus Notes Attachment Viewer 2.0.1 posted

The Attachment Viewer 2.0.1 for Lotus Notes is now posted on this site. I fixed a couple of problems reported and it looks like the Microsoft Office Converter EXE is now behaving a bit better. From the original post (click here), you may need to install the inter-op libraries for your version of MS Office in order to use it. You need to be running at least Lotus Notes 8.5.2 for this update.

Drag this to My Widgets in Lotus Notes

Continue reading

Attachment Viewer 2.0 beta – MS Office Support!

I need some help testing this out. After playing around a little bit with C# and the MS Office integration API’s I was able to compile an executable that calls out to MS Office to show Documents, Presentations, and Spreadsheets. The architecture is pretty straightforward, the attachment viewer calls out to an executable to have the file converted to HTML and then the document is shown in an iframe in the viewer. I have seen some minor issues and thankfully no crashes.

This version is also Dojo enabled and currently needs to have internet access in order for it to work since I pull Dojo 1.5 from the Google CDN. You will notice the Dojo toolbar and the different view modes – Film Strip, Slide Show, Thumbnails:


Installation Instructions:

  • If you have a 1.0 version of the attachment viewer installed, please make sure you uninstall it first.
  • Once you have the older version installed you can drap and drop the icon below to your My Widgets panel to have the new Eclipse plugins installed.

Drag this to My Widgets in Lotus Notes

  • You may also need to set the preference for the viewer under File | Preferences:

Once I get some good feedback I will be posting the binaries and sources to the OpenNTF project.

Some known issues:

  • The thumbnail view does not show the last image as a thumb
  • Sometimes the MS Office link is broken, a restart or shutting down MS Office may be needed.

In advance, thanks for all of your feedback and interest in this project!

Lotus bubble – Make Dojo better…get involved!

As a community, the Lotus community is very strong. We all get involved with things like OpenNTF, blogs, tweets, etc. One place I see Lotus fall short is getting involved with the many technologies our core Lotus products use – like OSGI, Eclipse, CKEditor, and Dojo.

Dojo is no exception! We, as a community, need to make this the best JavaScript library out there. So I urge everyone to start learning it, fixing it, documenting it, and promoting it. If you see a problem with an API or the documentation then fix it! It’s open source!

Getting the most from the Notes Java UI API’s

If you are doing any plugin development for Lotus Notes then you need to check out the OpenNTF project Java UI API Exerciser. The project is a pretty good reference and usage of the Java API’s we will be talking about at Lotusphere. The tool can also be used to inspect documents, views, etc and the different properties each of them have in the Eclipse world.

Poll: Do you have any idea what EventAdmin is?

After reading this post today and seeing some of the responses from the Eclipse community it would be interesting to hear from IBM customers and partners on whether or not they use or even know what EventAdmin is!  I have written about EventAdmin many times and have even contributed a project to OpenNTF for a composite application bridge but in general I don’t see the technology widely adopted or understood even.  I created this poll, it is stated a little different that the blog post to get more specific responses.

[poll id=”17″]

Is open source sustainable?

There is an interesting post over on Alex Kings site – he is a plugin developer for WordPress.  The conversation makes me wonder about other open source initiatives like OpenNTF.  I know many people across the community contribute amazing material to OpenNTF and I have often wondered if it was maintainable.  I know that every thing I contribute either in an article, blog post, or on OpenNTF will have some level of “support” in the future.  It may be days, weeks, months or even years but an email, a question, or a enhancement is inevitable.   I would have to say if you are not an open source enthusiast and simply do it because you love it or you in fact do “get paid” enough through donations then your interest over time supporting free enhancements and upgrades will diminish.  I do think many people, especially in the Eclipse and Lotus communities contribute to open source for many other reasons – building a community, promoting a technology, or just polishing skill sets.  Many, like myself, have a vested interest in seeing the community or technology grow so it creates more opportunities in the future – that to me is the essence of open source.

The OpenNTF for Eclipse plugins

Most of my readers are in two camps, with many intersections along the way.  The two primary camps are Eclipse Developers and Lotus Notes/Domino developers.  I have lately been more on the Eclipse side – primarily because of my job – but none the less I do post occasionally Notes and Domino development stuff.  Anyway, I want to introduce to both communities (if not already known) the Eclipse Marketplace!  This is essentially the same thing as what OpenNTF is for the Notes community.  So for all of you Notes folks out there, there is another site you can use for Eclipse tools, plugin’s and solutions that may fit into your enterprise or in your daily tools.  Check it out!

Download counter update

If you recall my last post about the download counter plugin for WordPress; well, today I have an update to the usefulness of this plugin. While  OpenNTF is a great tool to share source code, widgets and sometimes binaries, it may not reflect how many people are actually using the widget.  If the widget accessed a remote site you could potentially figure out how many different clients connect to the server but none of my widgets do that, so I am left with download counts on OpenNTF and from my own site.

You can see the Attachment Viewer download statistics on OpenNTF:

Attachment Viewer – Releases

Release Date
Oct 6, 2010 Bob Balfe 137
Aug 23, 2010 Bob Balfe 122
Aug 10, 2010 Niklas Heidloff 129
Jul 22, 2010 Bob Balfe 79
Jul 19, 2010 Niklas Heidloff 1.0 215

And here are the statistics for the Multiple Database Search project:

Multi-Database Search Plugin – Releases

Release Date
Oct 25, 2010 Bob Balfe 141

The problem with this is I really don’t know how many people are actually using it! And to be honest I don’t think I ever will because someone could download it and distribute it freely – oh well.   So what I wanted to do was provide the binaries on my site and provide the widget XML so end users can install it themselves, without having to look at the source code.  You can see the numbers are very close, so this means the readers of this site closely mirror the people who are also downloading on OpenNTF – well that’s a loose theory anyway.

For reference, here are the widgets you can use to install the different projects:

Attachment Viewer

Mail Rules Widget

Multiple Database Search

YouTube, VideoFest, the iPhone and a treadmill

I have to say I love VideoFest!  Since its launch I have actually started doing something that seems to be a no-brainer but I had not done before.  That is, watching YouTube videos on my iPhone while on the treadmill!  Yep, I love it.  I have now done it for almost two weeks and I have watched dozens of videos at this point and have learned a lot.

I have also found that I really like the “raw video” – ie. videos created by normal people describing tips, tricks, or something about a product.  Most seem like they are roughly scripted but for the most part you are hearing it from their heart and their experience.

So if you have an iPod and a treadmill why not stay fit and learn at the same time!