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Lotus Notes 8 MAILTO attachment missingQuestion

Posted on 2009-07-07
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Last Modified: 2013-12-18
This is a followup to a previous question about the same problem.  The previous problem was resolved by having the user uninstall and then reinstall Notes 8.  While this worked on some of the users, it did not on others.  

I am now looking for suggestions on how to determine what is causing the error.  This is obviously a setting in some Windows, Notes or Internet Explorer option but the problem is how do you determine which?  

I am working for a major corporation that provides their people with laptops that run a standard software configuration.  All of the failing users recently got a new laptop to replace an existing one.  They had not trouble with the form until they moved to the new machine.  I recently had my machine replaced and had hoped (strange as it seems) that I would get one that had the problem so that I had something to work with.  My system, like the majority of people getting one, did not fail.  I now have a handfull of remote users failing and no way to get my hands on a system so have to find a way to diagnose this remotely.

=======================================

Original:
I have users of a form that uses MAILTO function to open a note under Lotus Notes with an attachment that contains information to be submitted.  Some users are now migrating to Notes 8 and when the Submit is done on the form, a note is generated under Notes but the attachment (POSTDATA.ATT) is not being generated.  I have tested this on my system with no problem.  The user that is having the problem worked fine with Notes 7.  

The form is an HTML/JavaScript form that runs under IE 6 and Windows XP.  When the submission button is pressed, it invokes a function that contains:
     document.updateForm.action = "mailto:XXXXX@SYSTEM.VNET.XXXXX.COM"  (text for subject, note body, etc.)
     document.updateForm.encoding = "multipart/form-data";
     document.updateForm.method = "POST";

The note is being generated in all cases and the note "to" address, subject and body text are fine.  When it works there is an attachment file as a result of the POST method.  When it does not work, the attachment file is not present.  Other than the missing attachment, everything seems to be the same.

Given that Notes, IW and Windows XP are all involved, the number of options that could be impacting the process is large.  What I am looking for is 1) pointers to any known problems with Notes 8 and attachments, 2) any settings in Notes 8 that could control attachments, or 3) any suggestions on how to go about debugging this.   Is there anyway to trace what is happening in Notes?

Just as an FYI, we have many users on Notes 8 that are not having the problem and just a very few who are.
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Question by:SCMGR3
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by:SysExpert
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one, have the users with issues send you the following

1) Output ( export or save or ) Winmsd/ msinfo32
this will give you the total hardware and software environment of the user

2) notes.ini file from the correct directory ( maybe they have more than one, and that can also cause issues )

compare with your environment.

Could be MIME conversion setting ( usually on the server in the Domino Directory )

I hope this helps !
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by:Sjef Bosman
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Oh dear, I had really hoped that the issue had gone...

What I'd like to know is: were ALL laptop installations based on the SAME image, language, etc. etc. ? What are the differences? And what are the similarities in the laptop installations of the faulty laptops??

PS If you have a link to the original question, so people can see what's already been done?
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by:SCMGR3
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SysExpert,
I have asked for MS Info output and the notes.ini file from users to see if I can find any differences to mine.  We have several hundred people using the form and only a handful are failing so, while the MIME settings on the email servers could be a potential suspect, the odds are against it as there are probably other users on each email server in the network who are working.  I am keeping that in mind though as we did have an experience in the past where some email servers were configured to block notes containing HTML controls.  All my users are remote so it will take a bit of time to get reponses from them and to crawl through the files to see if there are any differences.

Sief,
Your's was the solution to the original post - uninstall Notes using the MS Add/Remove Programs and then to reinstall it.  That worked for the original person who reported it to me and for some of the others but not all.  I cannot say whether or not all laptop installations are based on the same image, language, etc.  I am working a contract for a major international corporation and have no access to the group (or groups) who are building them.  My guess is that there are multiple sites based on geographic locations around the world.  Right now the application I work on is running in the U.S. and multiple countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  When someone reports the problem, I am asking them to try the uninstall/reinstall to see if it resolves the problem.  My instructions to them are explicit in the requirement to unistall using the MSAdd/Remove Programs and then to reinstall it but I have no way to guarantee that they don't simply reinstall on top of the existing installation.  

My thanks to both of you for replying.  As always, any suggestions gladly accepted.  The PC environment has too many variables and far too few diagnostic tools.  
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by:SCMGR3
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Attn: sjef_bosman
On the original posting of this problem, you suggested using Visual Basic to launch Notes rather than the MAILTO funciton under JavaScript:

              Brilliant! In any of the attempts, did they try to run some client-side vbscript code to create a mail? Here's an example:
              http://www.haveworld.blogspot.com/2006/10/vbscript-and-lotus-notes.html
              You cannot create the attachment that way, but I suppose that you know other ways to put data in a body-field (like XML).
I have not tried mixing VB and JavaScript on the same form.  Do you have any tips?  I am hoping that a change in the method of invoking Lotus Notes will correct the problem.  In the original, I posted a simplied form showing what my form was doing.  Here is that simplied form:
--------------------------------------------------------------
I thought I would post a simple (very simple as the original is almost 2600 lines) form that uses the same submit logic in case anyone wants to play.  You will need to fill in a valid TO address in place of "USERID@Inter.Net.Addr" .  You have to have Lotus Notes set as the email program under IE.
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Test Form</TITLE>
<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript" TYPE="text/javascript">
// <!-- Hide script from older browsers
function submitForm() {
window.document.updateForm.submit();
}
function setUpdateMethod() {
document.updateForm.action =
"mailto:USERID@Inter.Net.Addr"                  +
"?Subject=Test Data Form"                              +
"&body="                                               +
"In order for this form to be processed successfully " +
"will need to SEND this email and then "               +
"replicate your mail.  "                               +
" There should be an "                                 +
"attachment with this email.  Do not modify or remove "+
"the attachment. "
document.updateForm.encoding = "multipart/form-data";
document.updateForm.method = "POST";
}
// End hiding script from older browsers -->
</SCRIPT>
<BODY ONLOAD="setUpdateMethod();">
<FORM NAME="updateForm">
<P>
Your name:
<INPUT TYPE=TEXT SIZE=30 NAME=Userid VALUE="">
</P><P>
Please select a number, any number:<BR>
<INPUT TYPE=RADIO NAME=Number VALUE="1" CHECKED>1<BR>
<INPUT TYPE=RADIO NAME=Number VALUE="2">2<BR>
<INPUT TYPE=RADIO NAME=Number VALUE="3">3<BR>
<INPUT TYPE=RADIO NAME=Number VALUE="4">4<BR>
<INPUT TYPE=RADIO NAME=Number VALUE="5">5<BR>
<INPUT TYPE=RADIO NAME=Number VALUE="6">6
</P>
</P><P>Please feel free to add any comments you like:<BR>
<TEXTAREA ROWS=5 COLS=72 NAME=Comments></TEXTAREA>
</P>
</FORM>
<P>When you are finished with filling the form, click here:
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="Send" onClick="submitForm();">
</P>
</BODY>
</HTML>                        

On my system, it will create a note under Lotus Notes with the TO address filled in, the Subject line set to "Test Data Form", the note body containing the instructions and an attachment file that, in my case, is named POSTDATA.ATT.  If you view the file you will see delimited sections of data that contains the element name plus the value set.
----------------------------------------------------------------
 Thanks,
Rollin
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by:Sjef Bosman
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The VB-idea is based on NOT starting Notes. Well, Notes will be started but not the client and its UI. Instead, a mail is created and sent entirely by your application's code. So the user won't even see the mail, and cannot modify the mail unless you provide the means.
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by:SCMGR3
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I am interesting in finding another way than the MAILTO from under JavaScript to initiate the build and transmission of the response note with the attachment that contains the update.  The response must be generated under Lotus Notes.  The only possible problem based on the the statement "not the client and it UI. Instead a mail is created and sent entirely by the applications code." is that a user may not be connected to the internet at the time they complete the form and do the submit.  The form is originally sent to them as an attachment to a note that is received under Lotus Notes.  They can then complete it and generate an email under Notes to send back.  Right now, they can do this while connected to the internet or not.  If not then the next time they connect, they can send the response note.  Many of the users of the form only connect to the internet occasionally to send/receive mail.

I am looking for a replacement to the current MAILTO function as it is definitely not a well behaved interface nor is it, apparently, a well defined interface.  As long as the user runs under Internet Explorer (and this is part of the requirements for using the form), the HTML/JavaScript used to build the form and control the data entry, works fine.  The problem area is the generation of the response.  Lotus Notes must be the email program as that is the approved program for the corporation that is was built for and it is a way for the overall process to ensure the security of the process and to ensure that the response attachment is in a standard format.

Another method than MAILTO might not solve the problem but it gives me a way to see if something else eliminates some of the problems with MAILTO or, at least, with the way it is cuurently implemented in my form.
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Sjef,

Thank you.  I will give this a try and see what happens.  I wll post feedback once I see what happens.
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As part of my attempt to find the problem, I have asked users with the problem to send me the NOTES.INI file so that I can compare it with my own.  I got one and have been altering my settings to match and then testing to see what happens.  The user has the MAILTYPE setting set to zero while I have it to one.  I have searched the web trying to find the meaning of the parm value but have not found any definition other than "controls the type of mail" answers.  Does anyone know what MAILTYPE=0 and MAILTYPE=1 mean, especially on Notes 8?
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Sjef, thanks for the pointer.  I tried changing my setting to use the server mail file instead of local but, unfortunately, it made no difference in the behavior.  
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by:Sjef Bosman
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Didn't expect it to. It must be some installation f**k-up, the registry getting messed up, whatever. IMHO, you'll never find out what it was. Or if you do, it'll have cost you a bundle and you still might be unable to solve it.

Summarizing your project:
- you need a solution to prepare a mail
- from a browser
- into Notes
- that gets sent immediately,
- or automatically when Notes has a network connection.
The tricky part is: how can you get data from the browser into Notes.

Is that it?

Possible solution directions: browser-side VBScript, browser-side Java (applet), some ActiveX control
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by:SCMGR3
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Sjef,

Good description of the requirements.  Let me summarize the application.
- HTML forms are built by a mainframe application using a skeleton form into which project specific values are inserted.
- The form is sent to the project owner as an attachment to a Lotus Note.
- User launches the HTML attachment (under Internet Explorer) and updates the project information.
- User presses the submit button on the form.  The Javascript logic issues a MAILTO command.  The update method has been set by the form logic to Post.  This creates a note under Lotus Notes (it must be designated as the email pgrogram under IE options).  The note contains an attachment that has the "output" data from the form.  The note is addressed to an internet address monitored by a mainframe application.
- The note is sent and the attachment is then processed by the mainframe system, the data in it is used to update a database, and then a response note is built and sent to the user as a confirmation.

The real requirement when the submit button on the form is pressed is that the contents of the form fields be captured and sent to the email address of our mainframe for processing.  The form contents must be in some predictable format that can be recognized and extracted by the mainframe application. Right now we recognize the ATT attachment file and are able to parse out the contents.  

Our users may or may not be connected to the web at the time they launch the HTML form and make the updates.  By having the Submit button create a note under Lotus Notes, the user can do the work and then send the resulting email later when they do conenct to internet.  This ability was a hard spec when the application was designed as many users only connect to the internet once or twice a day.

The current form contains over 2500 lines of HTML and JavaScript.  Converting it entirely to VBScript (or Java) would be a daunting task.  Changing the protion that drives the email creation off the Submit button to something else that did not have frgility of the current MAILTO interface while leaving all the other logic intact would be great.  MAILTO is a pain in the rear as it is totally unredictable.  The form has survived for over 8 years but I offer burnt offerings to the computer gods everytime we move to a new level of IE or Lotus Notes.  Luckily, the corporation desided to not move on to Windows Vista from XP.

Because the design of the form depends on some Microsoft only JavaScript/HTML funcitons, we currently require that the users use IE as the browser.  We also require the users to use Notes as the email program.  This is done for two reasons.  First, it is the email program that is designated as the corporate email system.  Also we found that the encoding of the data in the attachment varied from email program to email program.  By limiting the process to Notes only, we do not have to write update extraction routines for all the different possible results.  Notes is installed on all coprporate issued machines.

The net is your assessment that I need a browser side VBScript, browser side Java or some ActiveX control is correct.  I need to be able to imbed it in the existing JavaScript/HTML form.
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by:Sjef Bosman
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Here's a stupid question: why is it an HTML form? Okay, the mainframe pukes and there is the form, but can't you make some changes there to make life less miserable?

Suggestion:
- mainframe still pukes, but the mail is sent to a Domino server
- the server accepts the mail, processes it and send a mail WITH A NOTES FORM to the user
- the user fills in the form, IN NOTES, and clicks Submit
- the Domino server receives the form's data, processes it and sends a mail to the mainframe with the processed data

The mail the mainframe sends could even be an XML mail... And a browser would be eliminated from the chain.

Some more comments:
> Converting it entirely to VBScript (or Java) ...
AFAIK you don't have to convert to VBScript, you have to modify the Submit button to call a small VBScript function that creates a mail. Ideally, that is... But if you have to modify the MF application anyway, I'd say make it future-proof.
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by:SCMGR3
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Sjef,

The form is HTML since no one was able to build a form like what we have using Notes.  The form has a section at the top that identifies the project.  Below that is an area that has a fixed section on the left that contain totals for the various cost and revenue items for a project and, on the right, is a variable size, scrollable window that has a row for each cost/revenue category and a column for each for each month covered by the project.  This window automatically sizes/resizes for the width of the user's screen.  Below that is another section of the form that shows the original estimates for the cost/revenue for the project, the current actuals, the forecasted future costs/revenue (which the user can update using the totals/monthly section) and a variance between the original estimates and the current actuals plus forecast.  All of this is visible on one screen that can be as small as 800x600 pixels and there is no scrolling required except in the monthly values "window".

No one has been able to reproduce the essential piece of the form under Notes which is the variable, horizontal scrolling window for the monthly cost/revenue values.  The have been attempts by other people but they end up with a screen that requires users to scroll the entrie form vertically or horizontally, not just the monthly values, which means that you have to scroll back and forth to see the impacts of any changes on the other sections of data, or they have implemented a solution that requires users to open up another window to enter data for each cost/revenue category.  All of these have been rejected by our users as to messy to use.  

Before this solution, our users had to have an id on a mainframe system and be connected to the mainframe via a remote session in order to update the forecated costs/revenues.  The application on the mainframe that lets them do this is an ISPF based app that presents screens that are limited to 80 characters wide by 24 rows.  Not exactly user friendly and we were given the requirement to develop a single screen form that let the users do the work remotely without being connected to a corporate system.  This form and the supporting email based processing is the result.

The mainframe system only contains the master databases for the information.  Periodically, jobs are run that create the new HTML/JavaScript forms from the existing data and sends the forms to the owner of each projects.  The owner gets an email under Notes that has the form attached with text to tell them what must be done.  They launch the HTML under IE, make the changes needed to the costs/revenue values, and hit a button that causes an email to be built under Notes that has an attachment which contains the updated costs/revenues plus the project identifiication information.  This is then sent by the user to the the email address of a coprporate mainframe.  There is an application there that is triggered by the incoming files which extracts the update information and updates the data bases.  No changes would be needed to any part of the mainframe system except to modify the skeleton HTML/Javascript master form for any changes to it and, if these result in a different format to the response file sent back with the udpated data, then the routines that parse out the data to make the changes would be impacted.   These would be minor.

I am attaching the form code elements that define the form action on submit and the routine invoked via the button onClick definition.  The routine that sets the form action is run when the form is first loaded via the onLoad definition of the <body> tag.  I also included the HTML button definition for Submit button.  I changed some of the text to hide the company identiiers.  

Rollin
JavaScript to define update method and to do the action when submit button pressed:
 

function setUpdateMethod() { 

document.updateForm.action = 

"mailto:XXXX@MAINFRAME.XXNETW.ABCDE.COM" + 

"?Subject=*ABCDE CONFIDENTIAL: Project P12345 Forecast Update" + 

"&body=[ABCDE CONFIDENTIAL]:" + 

" " + 

"In order for your forecast to be updated successfully"+ 

" you will need to SEND this email to XXXX and " + 

"replicate your mail. " + 

"The 'To:' field should be addressed to " + 

"XXXX@MAINFRAME.XXNETW.ABCDE.COM.  There should be an " + 

"attachment with this email. Do not modify or remove" + 

" the attachment. " + 

"Your forecast data will be processed when this note " + 

"is received on the XXXX server. You will then be " + 

"sent a Response confirmation email from " + 

"YYYYYY. " + 

"Until you receive that confirmation email your " + 

"forecast update cannot be considered successful."; 

document.updateForm.encoding = "multipart/form-data"; 

document.updateForm.method = "POST"; 

} 

function submitForm() { 

if (validateData()) { 

if (window.location.protocol == "file:") { 

window.document.updateForm.submit(); 

} else { 

alert("At this time, direct submission " + 

"updates from the web is not " + 

"implemented.\n\n\r On next prompt " + 

"click OK button to submit the " + 

"update as an email attachment. " + 

"You must have Lotus Notes " + 

"specified as your email program " + 

"and be running Notes 5.5, 6.0 or " + 

"higher." + 

"\n\n\rClick CANCEL button on next " + 

"prmpt to exit " + 

"the submit processing."); 

window.document.updateForm.submit(); 

} 

} else { 

return false; 

} 

} 

==========================

HTML definition for the Submit button

<input type="button" name="saveChanges" 

id="saveChgs" 

style="width:110px; color:#000000; 

visibility: hidden;" 

value="Submit Forecast" 

onClick="submitForm();" 

onFocus="window.status='Save changes to ' + 

'the forecast.'; 

return true;" 

onBlur="window.status=window.defaultStatus; 

return true;" 

onMouseOver="window.status='Save changes to ' + 

'the forecast.'; 

return true;" 

onMouseOut="window.status=window.defaultStatus; 

return true;" 

>

Open in new window

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by:Sjef Bosman
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Thanks for helping me remember... Tight spot it is...

Did you ever investigate the potentials of a Java applet in a Notes form?? I don't exactly know what happens if a mail is sent with an embedded form, whether the applet is sent along as well, but that would have been the first thing I would have tested. Interfacing between Java, JavaScript and LotusScript is not easy, but doable. I have a form with an applet that is used to define the frameset layout in a web database.

A different way: MF sends XML attachment to user; user clicks button that opens a different local database, with the logic to grab the attachment, get the XML, and present it to the user. For multi-value stuff there are utilities available that present the data in a DialogBox or so. Finally, that Notes-application sends a mail back to the server.

Plenty ideas, but they are no good to you probably.

All I can say is: try VBScript, or else an ActiveX, but even then you'd have to develop and test.
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by:SCMGR3
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At thios point, given the complexity of the form, converting it to something else is not an option.  The only options I have are to 1) discover what causes the attachment to not be generated (or not attached to the resulting note)  or 2) find a replacement function for the MAILTO that will open a note under Lotus Notes with the address, subject and instruction body text plus the attachment that contains the update.  
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by:Sjef Bosman
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1) as Neptune would say if all the seas were dried up ("I haven't an ocean")
2) can't find anything

I'm terribly sorry...
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by:SCMGR3
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No reason to be sorry.  You have provided me excellent help and ideas in the past and I appreciate that plus your suggestions on this one.  At the moment, I am pursuing the approach of finding another way to invoke Lotus Notes from the form other than MAILTO.  From the very beginning, it has been an extremely fragile interface.  I've always found that the approach of if nothing else works, change something and see what happens.  If it doesn't fix it, tt might change the symptoms into something that provides a clue as to what is wrong.
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I have managed to get the NOTES.INI file from a user that had the problem before and after they did the full Windows uninstall of Notes and then reinstalled it from the corporate web site.  This, like most for most users, made the problem go away.  I am hoping that I can see some setting in the INI file that will give me a pointer to what is wrong.

Now, the problem is where do I find a full description of the Notes 8 NOTES.INI settings?  I have found some sites on the web that have bits and pieces but nothing thus far that gives me all of the settings.  Does anyone know where I can find such a listing?
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At this point, I have found no setting that has an effect on the attachment.  The only thing that has worked is to have the user uninstall Notes 8 and then reinstall it and, if some of my users are to be believed, this does not always work.  Of course, I have followed up on some of them and found out that they did not believe the part about uninstalling it first and simply did a reinstall on top of the existing which does not work.  I am closing the open quesiton at this point as no active work is occurring on this at the moment.
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Hope you appreciated the discussion and the ideas and suggestions...
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Sjef, thank you for the reminder.  I should have thanked everyone in my post for all of the suggestions.  This is a great group which has always been helpful.  
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