In the past few weeks I lamented on Twitter about the lack of a way to control Lotus Notes connection documents. These are kind of important if you access a Domino server and the lack of any way to manage them from IBM is tad near sighted. No doubt that eventually Lotus Live Notes (or SmartCloud for.....well you get it) will force a fix for this at some point but until then I was in rant-mode.

Until I attended MWLUG last week. An astoundingly obvious fix for this dilemma was given by Andy Donaldson in his session "How to use InstallShield Tuner for Lotus Notes" in which he showed a way to include them with new Notes installs. Now this is only fixes 1/2 the issue (new installs), but the fix is pure genius and is so simple that I'm pretty embarrassed I'd never even considered it.

So what is this genius fix I hear you cry?

Well, (and again all credit for this goes to Andy), as part of creating a custom installer for Notes you can add your own files! Get it yet?

No? OK, well that means you can add custom NSF files? Penny dropped yet?

No? Well you can add a pernames.ntf already populated with locations and connection documents!

Yes! You can break open a standard NTF and add your own documents, and when a new database is created those documents are also created (that bit I knew already). What had never occurred to me previously was that with InstallShield and a custom pernames.ntf I can now solve the 20 year problem of Lotus Notes connection documents. Well, for new installs at least. But I'll take that for now.

Ergo, no matter how long you have been doing a job, you will never know everything. This is why, even despite my fame notoriety I still attend LUG's and sessions and continue to learn from others.

There were other excellent sessions at MWLUG and I gained a whole from them (choosing a MDM solution, mobile applications with TeamStudio's Unplugged tool, and many others), but this fix from Andy's session would have justified the cost of attendance all by itself.

If you didn't attended this year I see no reason why I won't see you at MWLUG 2013 in Indianapolis next year. If it's like this years, you will find it worth every penny.
Darren Duke   |   August 20 2012 08:07:03 AM   |    Lotus Notes  Installshield    |  
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Comments (4)

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1 - Andy Donaldson    http://blog.macian.net    8/20/2012 9:13:20 AM

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Darren! Glad you enjoyed it!

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2 - Mat Newman    http://www.matnewman.com    8/20/2012 5:58:46 PM

One of the fantastic things about Roaming users is that the personal address book is replicated to the server, and the roaming data is also located in the person document.

It's pretty easy now to create an agent that updates locations and connections that cycles through the Domino Directory and targets the right names.nsf on a user-by-user basis.

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3 - Steve Bailey    http://sdfbailey.blogspot.co.uk/    8/21/2012 8:08:58 AM

I understand that this does the job for free, but I'd still prefer to deploy a config using Panagenda Marvelclient, or a similar tool. At least that way, I'd only build the config once, and I wouldn't need to repeat the job each time a new release of Notes comes out.

The ROI of time saved completing this and many other basic admin operations (preconfigured bookmarks, workspace, local replicas etc) make a compelling business case for purchasing Marvelclient.

(PS: I don't work for or sell Marvelclient, I'm just an enthusiastic user).

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4 - Irv Schor    http://www.rpmperformancecoatings.com    8/22/2012 11:23:33 AM

I simply added a 'Create Connections Doc' button and added it to the 'About this Database' of the central Domino Directory. A simply click at client setup creates all the basic connection docs, and if servers change (add/new), the button can just be updated and if a user needs to he/she simply clicks the button and all connections are updated accordintly. We also use a validate home mail server button which will update the location doc's home server field against the value in the person doc. I do agree, however, that this too is a rather shameful approach. Not sure why such items can't, for example, be setup via a policy as part of the user's person doc.... perhaps a server config db for same, and then assign the user to the config. In addition, would be great, without having to customize the install via install tuner, to centrally pick which 'locations' you want available for a user. For example, how many folks have had Citrix users accidentally toggle to Island or Offline? There should only be one (Online) connection for these users.... so now as a step we ask folks setting these users up to delete the unecessary locations at setup, but that too could be and should be addressable via some sort of policy.