Skip navigation

Making the Most of IBM Sametime Connect’s Managed Settings

Originally Posted on Author's Blog

The Sametime Connect and Sametime embedded clients are both based on the IBM Expedtior framework which is in turn based in the open source Eclipse system. As such this allows us to have great flexibility about the way in which the clients are deployed and the options which can be installed. It also brings with it a level of complexity which Domino administrators (who are usually the ones with the job of managing the Sametime client) are not familiar with and can find baffling.

There is good documentation on the general principles of the control you can get over the preferences and options available when rolling out and managing Sametime clients, but I have found some of it to be contradictory and unclear especially around what is supported on the embedded Sametime client which comes as part of Lotus Notes client and on how to make the settings for the embedded client.

You should also be aware that the Lotus Notes client’s embedded Sametime client is usually a step behind the current level of the independent Sametime Connect software. For example, Notes 8.5.2 client ships with the equivalent of Sametime Connect 8.0.2. The current full version of Sametime Connect, which is not embedded in Lotus Notes and runs as its own standalone software is 8.5.2.

Both systems, however, support the administrator management of settings and options which appear in the preferences menus in the software. In both Notes and Connect these can be found by selecting File, Preferences and expanding the Sametime section that appears:

Sametime Preferences

I will describe my approach for implementing centralised, fine-grained control of the Sametime client preferences assuming you are running a Domino environment. This is probably a safe assumption given that you need Domino to provide the Community Server component of the system.

1. Make sure you have a web server

If you are using Domino, check that the HTTP process is running. Type SHOW TASKS at the server console and look to see if its there. If not, type LOAD HTTP to kick it off.

2. Find your Domino web server’s HTML root folder.

As well as serving up Notes databases as web sites, the Domino server can also acts a more ordinary web server. On the Domino server itself, locate the \domino\html folder. Into this folder create a blank file called managed-settings.xml

3. Edit the managed-settings.xml file and check that it appears.

Open up the file you just created for editing. Add the following:

<ManagedSettings>


</ManagedSettings>

Save the file then go to a web browser and enter

http://mydominoservername/managed-settings.xml

Replace mydominoservername with the name of your domino server, e.g social.acme.com

You should see a blank XML file appear in your browser with the opening and closing ManagedSettings tags.

4. Update your system console.

The deployment of the settings in the managed-settings.xml file is done through policy documents. In most situations this is done through the Sametime System Console. Log into your SSC and at the left select Sametime System Console, Manage Policies.

I usually edit the default instant messaging policy but you may have a more complicated setup which you would configure differently. Either way, open the policy document you want and find the Update Site URL field. Into that field enter the address you used in step 3 to test the settings, minus the managed-settings.xml file.

Save the policy settings file.

5. Start to work on your managed settings.

The managed-settings.xml file is a relatively easy to configure document. You already have the starting and ending tags in the file. Each group of settings you want to make are wrapped in a tag. You specify the name of the resource you are providing settings for and then, within the group, start defining the settings. Here’s an example:

   <setting name ="something" value="something" isLocked="something"/>

   <setting name ="something" value="something" isLocked="something"/>

The settingsGroup name is given by IBM in their documentation and refers to a product feature’s class name. Just copy the text given by IBM into the “com.ibm.something” string and you’re good.

Within the settings group documentation you will see all of the possible settings you can make and an explanation of what it does. Copy the setting name into the name=”something” field between the quote marks. Note that it is case sensitive.

Next, in the value=”something” field choose the value of the setting you want. Again, these are defined in the IBM documentation. These are case sensitive too.

Where no previous setting has been made by the user for the setting you have configured, the managed-settings.xml file will make that setting for you. If the user subsequently changes the setting then their preference overrides your managed-settings.xml setting.

To overcome this, and mandate what the setting should be, you use the isLocked value, either setting it to “true” or “false”. Doing so locks the setting in place, greying out the user’s ability to manually change the setting. It’s likely that your users will have set one or more of the settings you might want to control so I would advise always to use the isLocked property unless you don’t mind the user changing the value.

When you have completed your settings for the feature in the settings group, you close the tag as shown above in the example and repeat the process for the next settings group you want to configure.

One useful settings group you can use when testing your settings is to change the refresh frequency of the managed-settings.xml file. By default the client checks every 720 minutes for an updated file. It also checks at start up. You can increase the frequency by adding the following settings group into your file:

6. Testing

Earlier in the process we tested for the presence of the XML file by opening a web browser and navigating to the URL where the managed-settings.xml file lived. Do the same again as a way of checking for typos in your XML. Your browser’s inbuilt XML parser will generally catch formatting and syntax problems with your code.

Remember that the settings are refreshed by default every 720 minutes or when you start up the client. In my experience I have found the easiest approach is to update managed-settings and then shutdown and restart my Notes or Sametime Connect client.

When checking that your settings are taking effect gives the client a few seconds to connect to the community server and finish its synchronisation.

Next time: using Domino policy documents and managed-communities.xml to control which communities you can connect to.

Chapters
United States
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahrain
Belgium
Brazil
Cambodia
Canada
China
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
France
Germany
Global
Greece
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Isle of Man
Israel
Italy
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kuwait
Malaysia
Mexico
Moldova
Mongolia
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nigeria
Oman
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Portugal
Qatar
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Tunisia
Turkey
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom