Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Notes 8.5.1 Attachment Issue - Help?

I've been chasing a simple attachment issue in Lotus Notes 8.5.1 with IBM support for a while now but we're not really getting "engagement" yet. I thought I'd document it and see if we're the only ones with this problem.

The Problem
What we've discovered is that if we attach a file using a Lotus Notes 8.5.1 client, everything behaves as per normal in the Notes client but if we use a web browser to look at the NotesDocument, the file name disappears.

It's best illustrated.

On the left, you can see how the attachment renders in the Notes client using a standard discussion database. On the right, you can see how it renders in the web browser. There is no filename. It's not white-on-white, it's simply not there.

Our Parameters
  • It only happens when we use Lotus Notes 8.5.1 clients, but it's not a problem with 8.5
  • I've only tested the problem on Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3
  • It happens on lots of computers, regardless of brand, configuration and memory.
  • Our Domino server is currently still 7.0.2 (this might be the problem?)
  • It happens with customised databases and with the standard R7 and R851 templates.
IBM Support
As I've said before, I haven't used IBM support (other than online discussion databases) in the last ten years because the online community was so much better than support. I opened two PMRs recently mainly to test support.

I've been sending a few emails back and forth but I'm running out of ways to describe the problem. Right now, we're just six days shy of the one-month anniversary of my original submission (I'm glad I marked it urgent) - hence my comment about not really getting engagement.

Has anyone else seen this problem?


NotesTracker said...

My sympathies, Gavin. Looks like the sort of bug/quirk that we've battled with before (see one of mine at http://notestoneunturned.blogspot.com/2009/04/image-served-out-by-domino-not-visible.html for example). All products from all vendors have them, particularly especially when new releases are brought out.

As a temporary workaround, for the Web environment [hide when] why not simply display the filename in a nearby computed text field? Yes indeed, it's a bit of a pain to have to do this sort of thing ...

Again, my commiserations!

NotesTracker said...

What a pain! ... As a temporary workaround, in the Web envirinment [hide when] why not for the moment show the filename in a computed text field? This should at least remove the pebble from your shoe until the IBM PMR leads to a fix.

Gavin Bollard said...

Thanks Tony,

At the moment most of our people are on Notes 8.5, so the issue hasn't become a real problem except for the 8.5.1 users (myself included).

It's a good workaround to put a computed field there but with 200+ databases likely to be affected, we run a large extranet, it's easier for us to simply decide that this is a show-stopper for 8.5.1.

IBM needs to provide a fix.

Erik Brooks said...

I find that the #1 way to get engagement from Lotus Support is to give a step-by-step description to reproduce the problem.

Unfortunately in your case that will likely mean a whole lot of extra work. But if you do something from the ground up it should work, e.g.:

1. Install Domino 7.0.3 on Windows Server 2003
2. Install Discussion Template database via... etc.etc.
3. Install Notes 8.5.1 client on Windows XP.
4. Open NSF from step #2, click "New Document"
5. .....

etc. Once it's absolutely reproducible then they'll bump it up to L3 (development). Unfortunately I find that most of the time I'm the one that has to provide the reproducible case.

Simon O'Doherty said...


I had a quick look and your PMR in reference to this is severity 3 (5 day follow up). The comment of it being critical may of been misinterpreted.

So I would recommend you ask them to raise the severity of the call. Please be aware that it also means that the severity raises for you. So while a sev1 will get the fastest response you will need to be available daily to assist in progressing the issue.

IBM Support handbook (re:severity)

Second, if at any time you feel you are not getting the best support please ask to speak to a Manager. All engineers should put you through to one or arrange a time for them to call you back.

If you have to complain, it is better you do to a manager at that point in time. Posting to a blog or filling out a survey later means there is less chance of trying to give you the service you should get.

bob said...

Hi Gavin,

Yes, I have experienced the exact same problem, and issued a problem report in the Parter Forum 2009 with the title "Problem with attachment-names on web, when saved with Notes 8.5.1 versus older versions?". The Notes-URL - if you have access to the Partner Forum is notes:///__8525753C0065611C.nsf/0/5412

I have not gotten any response from anybody either.

Just as you have discovered, I can't save documents with attachments intended for web with Notes 8.5.1 at all. Very unfortunate in my opinion!


Sebastian said...

Here there is an internal "bug" in Notes. Until 8.5.1 when you attached a file in a RichText field, the file name and the attachment icon were put alltogether. You can make an easy test in R7: Select an attached file in Notes, right click on the attachment and select "Copy". Then open paint and paste it... you will see that Notes copies the attachment and the file name. This is (again) because the attachment itself is rendered altogether (attachment icon + name).

Now in 8.5.1 they don't do it on this way anymore. They put the attachment icon and there is another CD field with the attachment name. This is a very bad decision since they tried to solve one issue and they created worse issues. Here if you do the same procedure then when pasting in paint only the icon will be pasted.

I cannot believe they did such a shit... they are supposed to be good programmers and they know that only only third party products will have this issue but they will have problems like the one you are reporting!

I think they will need to rollback.

Erik Brooks said...

Gavin, do you have an SPR#?

Caspian said...

Hi Gavin, based on your comments IBM has taken the liberty of increasing your PMR to Severity 2.

IBM Support is currently waiting on a reply from you to their email dated 19 November.

Gavin Bollard said...

My PMR is 86153,999,616 and I replied to the Email of the 19th yesterday - in fact, I did the test and the graphic as part of my reply and then decided that it was worthwhile alerting the community via blogging.

I find that blogging the problem often highlights whether it's my own systems at fault or whether a problem is more widespread.... and you can be sure that I'll post the answer as soon as I get it - in case anyone else has the same problems.

Graham Dodge said...

Blogging also alerts Business Partners who haven't seen that problem before and allows them to follow the issue through to eventual resolution. I do sympathise with IBM's desire to minimise 'bad' publicity, but IMHO IBM would only get bad publicity if they failed to fix the problem. We all know there are bugs in software - what is important is how quickly the vendor moves to fix them.

Gavin Bollard said...

I'm certainly not out to give IBM bad publicity (I'm actually surprised that the issue is still open and unresolved - I wanted to blog a triumphant "answer").

I have received a note from them that the problem is being escalated.

Believe it or not, I actually have four sure-fire ways to crash the Notes 8.5.1 client in under 10 seconds which I haven't posted because I can "live" with them for the moment.

I probably should though because it would be good if;
a. Other people knew about the problem
b. IBM was made aware so they can be fixed in 8.5.2

I'm just not clear on the means to do it. IdeaJam would be the ideal place if I was really sure that the IBM Lotus Development team would check it.

Mark Vincenzes said...

Sebastian provides a good summary of what happened. My understanding is that using the caption is better for accessibility than just "baking" the name into the icon. The web server does not handle the caption property of images, hence you now don't see the name.

The challenge to make this work now is to come up with some HTML that contains the caption and will look good in as many different places (browsers, notes client, conversion back to rich text) as possible. The IMG tag does not have a "caption" attribute, so there no direct translation from rich text. Using a TABLE will break the flow (causing a line break), stylesheets may not work everywhere. The most straightforward thing is to just have the caption as text following the IMG tag.

One thing that can definately be done is to add the attachment name as the title attribute in the anchor tag. Then many browsers will show the title as popup text.

Anonymous said...

This issue is report as Lotus Notes SPR # CJON7XR2EK and will be Resolved in Notes 8.5.2 and Notes 8.5.1fp2. I'll technote the issue as no-one has seem to have created one.

Bob - Lotus Notes Support

Anonymous said...

I was told by Lotus team it will only be fixed on 851 FP4

Anonymous said...

Hi Gavin,

We experience the issue but only when opening the page on web from a AIX PC. Same runs OK (with some glitches with the font size) on a Domino running on Win XP.


Cis said...

This solved it for me:

Put AttachmentsUseCaption=0 in the notes.ini

Anonymous said...

thank you cis
worked for me too