Friday, January 13, 2006

NotesTracker V5 progress report - 13th January 2006

Development of version 5 of NotesTracker is well under way. Many of the proposed new features are working (but there's a fair bit more testing, refinement and documentation to do).

One key new feature is the option of nominating individual documents in a database as being "special" so as to be able to focus more on them compared with other documents in the database. This enhancement is in response to a user request to have the ability, while still tracking all document usage, to place greater emphasis on certain documents that for some reason or other are especially important. Certain of their Domino servers play a key role in their network (as might be the case in your Domino network), and it's important to them to be able to closely monitor and control all changes in the Server Documents of these particular servers. (Of course, the same ability to focus on certain specific "special" documents would be widely applicable to other sorts of databases as well.)

Another enhancement will be the ability to track the Pasting of documents has been added to the previous list of actions trackable via NotesTracker: document Updates, Creates, Deletes and Reads (not to forget View Opens).

Right from the start (NotesTracker V1) you could always passively view database actions as soon as they appeared viewable in the NotesTracker Repository, which would be virtually immediate for a local Domino server or at the enext replication cycle for a remote Domino servers. But with NotesTracker V5 there will be a major new feature: the sending out of e-mail alerts for important tracked events. This brings proactivity to NotesTracker, instead of your having to rely on passively detecting actions while perusing the Usage Log (possibly long after the event).

The proactive sending out of NotesTracker alert messages will be able to be specified for:
  • Any combination of the above document actions (as before, against any and all documents in a database).
  • All actions, or any combination of actions, carried out on "special documents".
  • In the case of updates, the ability to specify a list of important fields -- "trigger fields" -- that cause an alert to be sent whenever any of the fields is changed (rather than just the document as a whole having been updated). This will provide an extremely powerful auditing and control capability!
You can choose to generate the e-mail alerts either "immediately" (synchronously, at the time that an action occurs) or "delayed" (via a scheduled agent, every 5 minutes or at some longer time interval). Which of these two send options you choose is mainly a performance issue.

Much of the NotesTracker code base is being reviewed and touched to make these (and other) enhancements. In the process, quite a few usability enhancements and tweaks are being made.