Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Install the OpenNTF Document Management Plugin for Lotus Notes 8.5.x

There's now a great new OpenNTF document management plug-in for Notes. I'm interested in seeing if I can move away from MS Office and this little utility seems to me to be the best way to start. It allows you to work on documents in folders while still keeping things available for users who prefer to access folders directly. The only caveat that I've found so far is that it wants everything to be stored in OpenDocument format and will convert the imports accordingly.

So... I've just installed this plug-in and in typical "dumb-user" fashion, I had to ask a number of questions of the authors.

I thought that to save others a bit of time and to illustrate the whole procedure, I'd make the procedure available here. Even if you're not interested in this particular plug-in, you might be interested in some of the others which are available. (like the awesome FileNavigator project). These steps might just be the ticket to installing them.

My instructions worked on Lotus Notes 8.5.2 but should work on other some versions too.

Click here for the project page for DocumentManagement. In theory you can download it from OpenNTF. I think you have to be logged in first. For some reason, I've been finding it difficult to download anything on OpenNTF recently, so if you experience difficulty, head to their blog post and use the download link there.

2. Extract All files to a folder:
In my case, since I put all our Widgets together on a corporate drive, I extracted all of the files to X:\IBM\Lotus\Widgets\DocumentMangement. Your setup is probably different so just extract them wherever you want (and remember where you put them).

Note that I had to separately unzip the updatesite sub-folder. For some reason it's a zip inside the ZIP. Notes didn't want to read it when I first tried, so I unzipped it.

3. In Lotus Notes client click File, Application, Install on the menu.
What? You don't have a File, Application, Install menu option? Sometimes you don't. I'm not sure why. It might be an 8.5.0 or 8.5.1 thing because I didn't need to do it in 8.5.2.

To enable the Eclipse update manager UI in Lotus Notes, use these steps...

a. Close your Lotus Notes client

b. Start Notepad or your preferred text editor.

c. Open the \framework\rcp in the Notes Application Directory
In my case, this was,
C:\Program Files\IBM\Lotus\Notes\framework\rcp

d. Look for a file called plugin_customization.ini and open it.

e. Add the line
anywhere in the file.

f. Save and close file

g. restart Lotus Notes

Thanks to Christian Petters at www.cubetoon.com who first saved me from that gotcha.

Ok, detour over... let's resume...

3. In Lotus Notes client click File, Application, Install on the menu.

4. Choose the option maked (o) Search for new features to Install and click the button marked Next.

5. Click the button marked Add Folder Location...

6. Browse to:
(or wherever you saved your files to back in step 2)
and click Ok.

7. You'll be presented with an "Edit Local Site" dialog box, just click Ok.

8. Click Finish. (this button lies - seriously... there's a long way to go yet)

9. On the next screen, select DocumentManagement/updatesite
For some crazy reason, it defaults to unticked ... then click Next

10. Click (o) I accept the terms in the License Agreements, then click Next.

11. Click Finish. (Guess what, this button lies too - we're not finished yet).

12. On the next screen, select (o) Install this Plug-in
This is another crazy default because it defaults to do not install the plug-in. If you weren't paying attention, you'd have to start all over again - I've been there before... more than once.
Click ok.

13. Watch Bar Graph

14. Restart the Notes Client

15. I got this lovely message when the client restarted
Failed to login
I don't know what it means but it went away and hasn't come back, so hopefully it's nothing to do with the install procedure.

16. In my installation, this was where I made a big mess. I kept expecting to see a sidebar plug-in and when it wasn't there, I tried reinstalling. Don't do this. It's not the correct procedure. :-)

Click on your Open menu and hopefully you'll see a Document Management option.

Don't click it... I didn't say to click it.

If you did, you'll probably get an error message about the root directory when you first start the application. Don't worry, it's alright. Just click ok. Then close the Document Management window.

17. From the Lotus Notes Menu, click File, Preferences. Look for a Preference called Document Management and click on that.

18. Choose a folder to manage and click Ok.

19. I think the document management app opens up automatically after this but if not, click Open and then Document Management.

If you've got some ODT documents, you might want to drop them in the folder you nominated and then click Refresh. You'll then be able to work with them in the document management facility.

You can also import files and categories (folders) - and everything seems to be updated on the server's file shares in real-time. Now that I've had a quick play, I'll point to something bigger.


giuliocc said...

I think its great that people can now write these amazing widgets. This is something that Notes developers have wanted to do for well of over 5 years now.

But having to follow some 20+ "easy to follow" steps to install and start the widget, (not including obscure error messages), tells another story that is not so favorable for Notes as an easy to maintain platform.... sigh!

Gavin Bollard said...

I was rather hoping I could say, "download, then click Next, Next, Next, Next, Finish".

IBM need to work on that.

Niklas Heidloff said...

We will add this Eclipse feature to the update site on OpenNTF so that you can install it via drag and drop as documented here: http://openntf.org/Internal/home.nsf/dx/Projects_Installation

Right now however we're facing a technical issue related to the OpenNTF infrastructure that we need to fix first.

Bruno CARTIGNY said...

You can install these plug-ins more easily using the Updatesite.nsf.
Extract the plugin file, and then import the site.xml file in this database. And that's all ! Users can then install this plugin with the 'configure a widget from...' from their widget bar on the right (just give them the URL nrpc://yourdominoserver/updatesite.nsf).

Mayank said...

Dear Gavin,

Thank you for the steps.
I have tried the same. Everything went successfully however I am unable to see the Document Management tab under preferences or the open menu. Please help.