Tuesday, April 6, 2021

SnTT - When you need OS Acces, but DON'T Have it, OPENNTF to the Rescue

 

I should tag this as #HCLAmbassadorTips, but that is so #2020.

Picked up a new client from my home state with a small but necessary business, which they run on their HCL Domino application.

The problem started when I realized I needed to scrape their old website from a hosting provider and then put it under HCL Domino.

Simple enough to get the site files and fodlers, but when I went to add the site to Domino realized I did not have RDP/VPN/FTP access to their server at the OS level.

What do I do?

As it turns out, there have been a few tools that existed that do this, but being an Admin and not a Developer, I never needed them and never looked into it.

I ended up finding a solution at Openntf.org with a project called Remote File Browser.

It was posted in 2010, still works, and I am using an R12 beta client to work with it on my end and the R11 server on the customer side.

It does just what I needed:

  • Create a folder
  • Delete files
  • Move Files
  • Upload file
  • Download files
Did you note an extra letter between the last 2 items? It seems you can download multiple files, but you can only upload 1 file at a time.

Okay, a bit tedious. I had about 40 files, but if I needed to edit the notes.ini or to change the SSL keys(if you are not using LE4D) and did not have access at the time, this does the trick.

Follow the instructions for it, copy it to the server, sign it, assign an ACL and then start browsing the server files.

Created a folder under domino\data\domino\html and then moved all the files.

Edit the Internet Site Document, so it knows which directory to read from and which HTML file to use as the primary page and restart HTTP, and it works.

If you know of anything similar and is available, free or for a fee, include it in the comments or message me to include the other options for everyone.

The best part is I get to cancel a meeting for later today that was about access.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

SnTT - Adding a 3rd party Task to the Domino Admin Client Monitoring Dashboard

 


This has bugged me for a while. I may have just been a bit lazy as well.

But that's what friends are for, and Ted Hardenburgh came to my rescue in our Openntf slack channel.

You can join the slack channel here: https://openntf.slack.com if you have FOMO or just want to ask us your crazy questions.

Anyway, back to Ted's help with my situation.

We have a client running a task that is not a native Domino task, and I wanted to monitor it from the Admin client's Server-Monitoring tab that acts as a Dashboard.

You did know you have a dashboard built into the Admin client, right?

I will presume you know how to add your servers to the dashboard.

But when you want to add a task, you select a server and right-click and select Monitor New Task from the list shown. The default only includes the native Domino tasks.


Naturally, I figured there must be a way to add the 3rd party task, I was hoping without too much under the cover messing around, and that is when Ted helped me out.

My thought was there is a subform someplace to edit, and Ted pointed me to it.

Open the domadmin.nsf file in the Designer client.

Look at the Forms, and you will see a long list of Task\names.



The easiest way to start on this journey is to copy one of the tasks and paste it back in and begin editing it.



In this case, I am creating a task for bccdbt, I already renamed the task.

The name has to match the task name you would run when at a server console.

The fields you will need to edit from the above screen are the following:

Task name, Task filename, and Task Monitor Name and Description.

Task name field = Name as you want it to be seen in the Add Monitor Task pop-up window.

Task filename = the task name as you would enter it in the server console to run it.

Task Monitor Name = Should be how the task is described when you run a sh ta command. Like Router, Schedule Manager, etc...

Description = Edit according to what you need to tell your fellow admins.

Save it and then test it.

The task should show up within a few minutes, the dashboard updates automatically.

That's it. Many thanks again to Ted.



Thursday, February 18, 2021

SnTT - How to Stop a Domino Task/App using a Program Document

Here is something that I had no idea about.

In fact, I even opened an aha request to solve this.

Luckily someone else looked deeper into it than I did and found the answer.

I asked around but no one had an answer so here we go.

We all know we can create Program Documents to run tasks, but do you know how to stop the tasks?

A client had a 3rd party application that we had some issues with recently.

While waiting to get a fix or better understanding of the problem, we wanted to only run the tool during certain business hours to prevent the server from crashing as it had been doing every night around midnight.

But I could not figure out how to create a Program Document to stop the process.

Turns out Mike, one of their developers, had the same thoughts but being a developer had some ideas I did not think about. He gets all the credit, but we all get the benefit.

Turns out you want to enter the details as shown::

Maybe if the app/task has switches built-in, you can use them, like q, -q but in this case, we didn't have these options. 

Not everything in life has to be so difficult, nor requires a large blog post.









Tuesday, January 19, 2021

SnTT - Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Something new at Openntf for ADMINS

Show n Tell Tuesday

That's right, I resurrected Show n Tell Tuesday for this post because I can, it's my blog, and why wait for Thursday anyway?

A few months ago, my friend Roberto had the luck to join the Openntf Board. 

If you don't know what Openntf is, click on the link and check it out. NOW! 

The TL;DR is Openntf is THE place to go when you need a template for an HCL Domino or Notes application to help your company. It is also where you can go for tutorials on various development topics and all kinds of developer code snippets.

Admittedly, few admins ever add to the site, because, well, historically there is not much for admins there and often what we see/know is proprietary to our clients and companies. This has been my perspective for many years. However, a new world, a new time, and progress is being made, thanks to Roberto.

Openntf was not ignorant of the issue, many of my friends and fellow IBM Champions, and HCL Ambassadors, have worked hard over the years to make Openntf as useful as it is today by their incremental changes and awesome templates and code bits, even if I don't understand all of them. 

We have come a long way.

Maybe we just got older and complained more, maybe they finally realized without Admins there is no server running, or maybe we do bring some benefit. 

After all, as we rise like an HCL Phoenix from the ashes of the IBM years we are seeing new people ask questions and post requests, young and old, and they need guidance from us old, er, wizened people.

Roberto asked many of us what we would like to see as Admins in Openntf and I said I would like to see Lotusscripts, Formulas, and other code bits that help make our lives better, easier, and faster. 

I was worried that as some of us move along or retire or cross the Golden Firewall, we will lose knowledge and that would be pretty sad, given how many years of managing Notes and Domino networks we represent.

I am sure other admins also gave him input and I hope they will look into it further after reading this post or you reach out to Roberto with more ideas.

In December I was asked to test something on the Openntf website and that is what this news is about.

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS!

In addition to the existing benefits of the Openntf site, there is now a dedicated section for snippets of code, which is what EVERY admin needs. Here is a link to it: https://openntf.org/XSnippets.nsf/home.xsp

Now when you add a code snippet, the option to select the Language for it can be called "Admin Scripts".

There is a tag field so you can put whatever else you need in it to help your fellow admins find it when they need it.

I have posted 3 snippets which I use frequently, no doubt most of you will recognize the need for these as well.

  1. Create a Forwarding Address in a Person Doc based on Email Address
  2. Looking up and Converting a List of Notes Names into their Email Address
  3. Converting Regular Common Name Lists into Notes Hierarchical Names
The first one is a simple script to grab an existing email and edit it for another field. Helpful when updating domains or in merger situations. Edit it, select all, done. 

The second one is really good for your AAs or Marketing people who need to extract email addresses of employees or clients, and upload those into bulk email sending services like MailChimp or into Salesforce. I have set those users up so they never bother me again. Okay, I lose some billing time but honestly, who wants to look up a few hundred or thousand people's emails anyway? This takes seconds to do it.

The third, a similar request to the second one, is because I was receiving very long lists of names to create ACL groups and mail groups. Names should be listed properly in these groups and this script helps you out. Again, in seconds.

Could these snippets be coded better? 
Could they be used differently?
Will I be adding more over time?
Can any Admin, or Developer, use them?
Should you use these?

The answer to all these questions is YES!

I tried to explain the code and how to use it, so if I need to edit it or you have problems let me know and I will try to help you best I can.

Looking forward to seeing more snippets up there and that we can say 2021 is the year of the Admin.

Have things you need or like to see, let me know, I might have them and get them posted.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Metrics and Data when Viewed by Admins vs Management vs Users

 I get it, but not sure if I like it, or if users should see it, or if I should let management use it.

We have reached the era of metrics and data that can be measured.

But should it.

No question most systems have had usage reporting, patterns, logs, pretty but usually ugly data to make sense of for your boss.

In Twitter with Rachel Happe(https://twitter.com/rhappe) from The Community Roundtable asked: 

Prompted some discussion and some replies from various people.

She found an answer for Microsoft Analytics from Alan Lepofsky:

And then Rachel asked about the admin side. 

Over my 30 years in IT I have been asked to provide metrics, sometimes network items, sometimes user usage. Naturally, as a good employee or consultant, I gave customers what they asked for and automated some of them and others needed some manual efforts.

Should software of course provide this information because it helps IT plan the future, and also be proactive in `their support efforts. 

What I found is many people are ignorant of the data available.

It seems even more people are ignorant of understanding their own data.

Does management really care about the usage internally? Yes, because in some cases they can shut off a service no longer used. Alternatively, they may need to up their licensing or merge some solutions.

But users, do users care what they do or how they do it, or when they do it? I am not s sure.

I know what I do, I think most people if pushed would also know what their habits are but does it imply you are a good employee or not? Does it mean you are goofing off or being more productive?

When I am managing clients or teams I have scheduled one day a week for most of my meetings. I reasoned I'd rather "waste" one day instead of multiple days on meetings. 

This usually has worked for me and my teams because 4 days a week we could work unimpeded.

Meetings don't last 30 or 60 minutes, the time before and after is lost, sometimes as much as 15 minutes or more on both ends before you get back in your groove.

SaaS apps live on the usage data, they want people using their apps and do anything they can to have people using them, but is it a false metric? 

I am in my email all day long, it stays open, so is 8 hours of email, coupled with my network/vpn login time and then my individual application usage(some Saas, some network) to get to some crazy idea I work 20+ hours a day. 

Who wants their company to view them in this way?

No employees.

But management has nothing else to work with usually.

Yes, revenue and sales, ok, that is the only given.

Back-office people, not much to show for their effort. You ran a campaign? You built a server? You rolled out an update? Nice work but quantifying it properly, not so simple, ROI vagueness.

What if all your meetings and online time were tracked to show your actual working time was minimal? 

How would you fight it? 

HR gets involved and guess who is on the chopping board?

People are working from home and the last thing they want is to be picked on for their work effort which they are doing the best they can with what is going on.

Hopefully, this is not going to affect you or your company but it is in the shadows, today. Soon it may be upfront and then it will get interesting with how employees push back or beat the system.

When I worked on Wall Street in the early 90s, we had a database someone wrote to track time. Nothing unusual about that, but the coder was not so advanced and could only set up increments of 15 minutes.

One of the IT guys I knew got yelled at but the boss because it turned out he billed for 30 hours in a day. 

Twice.

It turns out he was delivering things to users, a mouse, a keyboard, software(they used to come in packages and everyone had a license and we had to leave them with the user) and so in theory if you spent 30 seconds dropping off a box or 5 minutes pugging in a mouse, you still billed 15 minutes per person because you could not select less time, because each delivery was billed back to the person and their business line expense code.

Data doesn't lie.

He got paid but was told to never do it again. 

Next time, he took 3 days off instead because he billed his 40 hours in 2 days and just adjusted the dates.

Not the best employee, but this is where interpreting the data is so important to change systems and metrics as the system is running.

Maybe in time the metrics and data will be edited to be more useful but right now it is still hard to get good data and you should be aware of how to handle this discussion when you get into it.

And the discussion is coming to a cubicle or zoom call soon.