Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tracking of Rich Text fields

As a deliberate design decision, NotesTracker does not track changes to the full contents of a Rich Text (RT) field, but only the changes to the "plain text" component of each RT field. This was done to minimize the size of the Usage Log (the NotesTracker Repository database).

If the entire contents of each and every RT field in the document were to be logged, this could generate some inordinately large Usage Log documents, since it would be necessary to store the Before and After values for each and every file attachment and embedded object in the field (which in some cases would amount to many MB per Usage Log document).

It was considered that for most usage tracking purposes, it would be sufficient to track only the changes to the "plain text" part of the RT fields. If this is not adequate for a particular databse, then some code changes would be needed (particularly in the "UsageTracker_FieldsAfterUpdate" subroutine).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Desirable NotesTracker V5 features? Your feedback needed!

This is an invitation to all NotesTracker users -- and also those who have evaluated NotesTracker but perhaps found some feature or capability lacking.

Please let us know ASAP what changes and new features you think NotesTracker needs. Use this blog to post your comments.

To kick things off and get you thinking, here are some possible changes, not in any particular order nor guaranteed to be implemented:
  • e-mail alerts -- for example, when a particular document is updated (or deleted) or when a particular field is updated, or when a specific database or document is accessed by particular person or group? Would this sort of alerting be of any value? How configurable should it be (how detailed should the tracking go for this)? Can you suggest how it might be implemented? Our thinking is that for best performance of tracked databases any such e-mail alerts should be sent asynchronously, say once every 15 minutes or hour? (What frequency would be satisfactory for such alerts?)
  • Sample code for tracking such things a button clicks?
  • Sample code for showing how to enable usage tracking for database accesses carried out via LotusScript agents? (Because NotesTracker is LotusScript-based, it will only be possible to do this with LotusScript, not for Formula Language or other database accesses such as importing documents.)
  • Sample code for adding NotesTracker capabilities to a Notes Mail database (for compliance monitoring, tracking of changes in mail message text, etc). This would make it harder for somebody to get away with falsification of mail violating privacy of mail database owners.
  • Sample code for automatically generating RSS feeds from Breaking News types of views? (And qhat about Atom feeds, is this important?)
  • New field for configuration field for "Tracked Database's Category", so that accesses across multiple databases can be grouped together in the reporting views. (For example, all Human Resource databases, or a all Marketing/Sales databases or all Finance/Accounting databases.)
  • Add a "legend" to the NotesTracker Repository which describes in outline the meaning of the various tracking fields and options?
  • Provide example methods for producing managenent reports and charts from the usage log entries in a NotesTracker Repository?

A lot of thinking has already taken place and a few things have already been developed: an improved "look and feel" for the NotesTracker Repository, and an agent for easily signing the two NotesTracker Web Agents with the appropriate ID for execution in the Domino server environment. (Tentaive V5 release would be mid- to late-first-quarter 2006.)

Over to you for some good ideas!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Announcing the NotesTracker News & Tips weblog

NotesTracker -- from Asia/Pacific Computer Services -- the "universal enabler" for document usage tracking and metrics for your Lotus Notes and Domino database applications.

General product information iabout NotesTracker is available at the following mirror-image Web sites. Choose the server that is more often available or faster for you:
This weblog was set up in November 2005 to provide you with breaking news about NotesTracker, tips and techniques, background information, and to solicit your feedback on NotesTracker (as it exists or what improvements/additions you'd like to see in the product).