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How to Mail with GroupWise HTML Support

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Jill Boogaard

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Posted: 3 May 1999
 

The world is a big place, right? And the Internet brings it all to your doorstep. You receive all kinds of e-mail from friends and colleagues who may be next door or halfway around the world. Some of them don't use GroupWise®; they may use Outlook Express or Netscape Messenger. In addition, you may have subscribed to web-based information sources, such as InfoBeat, Excite, or Wired News. These Internet activities and others may be bringing HTML messages into your GroupWise mailbox. And you may not be liking what happens to them there.

OK, we admit it. Unassisted, current GroupWise handling of HTML messages leaves something to be desired. You GroupWise 5.2 users are getting HTML code splattered all over your HTML messages. Not very pretty... So you have to save the HTML message and view it from another application. You 5.5 users fare a little better -- you receive your HTML messages as attachments to empty GroupWise messages. You can just double-click the attachment to view it, but if multiple HTML files are attached, any links between them don't work. Not very convenient...

Notice that we included the word unassisted in our description of current GroupWise handling of HTML messages. In fact, assistance is readily at hand and may be one of the best kept secrets of the 5.5 release. You can receive native HTML messages, properly displayed, in your GroupWise message views. Links between HTML message files can work. And if message presentation is extremely important, you can create and send an HTML message from GroupWise. "How?!" you demand to know? Just use the HTML Support C3PO that ships with GroupWise 5.5.

Installing the GroupWise HTML Support C3PO

C3PO™ stands for Custom Third-Party Object™ and has no relation to the shiny, gold droid of Star Wars fame. The HTML Support C3PO was first introduced as a beta-level goodie for GroupWise 5.2 users who frequented Cool Solutions. GroupWise 5.2 users can still download it at Odds and Ends: C3POs. GroupWise 5.5 users have it right there on their GroupWise 5.5 distribution CD, but in case you didn't know that, here's some help with installation.

For GroupWise 5.5 users, the HTML Support C3PO is one of the optional components presented during a standard client installation, along with GroupWise Desktop, Tip of the Day, GroupWise Imaging, and GroupWise WorkFlow. "But," you sputter, "I saw no such thing when I installed the GroupWise 5.5 client." If you're a true-blue Netscape user, you wouldn't have. In order for the HTML Support C3PO to appear in the list, you must have Internet Explorer 3 or 4 already installed.

Now, don't worry. We're not saying you have to use Internet Explorer as your default browser. We're not saying you have to use Internet Explorer at all. We're just saying that it has to be present at the time you run the GroupWise 5.5 client setup program in order for the HTML Support C3PO to be available for installation.

So if you missed it the first time around, Install Internet Explorer 4 on your computer.

Exit the GroupWise client.

Rerun the GroupWise client setup program to install the HTML Support C3PO.

Restart the GroupWise client.

You're now ready to view HTML messages.

If you follow these steps and you still don't see the option for installing the HTML Support C3PO, go check with your administrator. He or she may have removed the files from the CLIENT\WIN32\ADDONS\GWHTM subdirectory in the GroupWise software distribution directory for some reason unknown to both of us.

If you ever need to uninstall the HTML Support C3PO, just open the Windows Control Panel > double-click Add/Remove Programs > select GroupWise HTML Support > click Add/Remove. Viewing HTML Messages

With HTML Support installed and set up, your HTML messages can look like this in your GroupWise message view:HTML Message Displayed in GroupWise

The first time you open an HTML message in GroupWise, you will see a message box referring you to more information about HTML messages if you click HTML > HTML Message Help. We suggest you do this to become fully acquainted with the available options.

HTML messages you view in GroupWise can consist of a single HTML file or multiple files. All files that make up the message appear as attachments to the GroupWise message, as well as being displayed in the GroupWise message view. Links within and between files in the message are active. Links out to Web pages are also active. Once you link out to a Web page, you can change over to your favorite Web browser by clicking HTML > Browse this Page. This can provide a bigger view of the page. You can also bookmark the page in your browser for future reference.

To print the HTML message, you must actually open the HTML file in a browser window by double-clicking its icon in the Attachments window. The standard GroupWise print item functionality doesn't recognize that an HTML file is being displayed in the Message window, so if you use standard GroupWise printing (File > Print), you only get the From, To, Date, and Subject information, not the HTML message. Sending HTML Messages

For those who crave multiple fonts, embedded graphics, tables, and links in their e-mail messages, you can set up GroupWise to send such messages. It requires some extra work, but may be worth the effort to those who yearn to send supremely creative e-mail. See if you already have a custom view directory defined for GroupWise. In the client, click Tools > Options > double-click Environment > click File Location > check the path displayed in the Custom Views field. If there is one, make a note of it. If there isn't, specify a directory for storing custom views.

Download usmlhtml.vew into your GroupWise custom view directory.

Using your favorite HTML authoring tool, create an HTML file for your message. Create multiple linked files if you wish. Add graphics galore. Have fun -- there are no limits to your creativity here!

When you are ready to send your monumental message,

In the GroupWise client, select the HTML view from the Create New Mail drop-down list.

Address the message and enter a subject as usual.

In the message body, provide text for any recipients who are not using the HTML Support C3PO (such as WebAccess users, Macintosh client users, or non-GroupWise users). Be aware that this text will also appear in the QuickViewer for recipients who use that feature to check their mail.

Attach the main HTML file to your message.

The first attached file is considered the message home and will be opened into the GroupWise message view first. As you browse through links in the HTML message, you can always return to the "top" of the message if you click HTML > Message Home.

Attach any other files that may be referenced.

Send your message as usual.

Welcome to the world of HTML messaging for GroupWise. And don't think for a minute that this is the end of the road for GroupWise and HTML. This is just the tip of the iceberg. More and better features are hovering just beyond the horizon! (But for now, our lips are sealed... Sorry...) But Wait! There's More: HTML Scripting

Being able to send and receive HTML messages is great. Just as exciting -- maybe even more so for some users -- is that the HTML Support C3PO also adds scripting to the GroupWise Windows 95/NT client. This means you can once again automate many of the tasks you previously used GroupWise 4.1 macros for. In fact, most GroupWise 4.1 macros can be manually converted into scripts.

A script is simply an HTML file that contains scripting code to access GroupWise through tokens (such as macro commands) or through the Object API. For detailed information on these tools, consult GroupWise Developer Essentials.

You can write the scripting code in JavaScript, VBScript, Perl, REXX, or any other scripting language you happen to have an interpreter for. If you're not already familiar with any of these languages, your local bookstore can provide a variety of instructional books to help you.

To give you an idea of what's possible, you can download a self-extracting executable that includes some sample scripts: Holiday Script - Adds holidays to users' calendars.

Message Thread Script - Helps you organize messages from e-mail list servers into into folders based on subject.

Work Day Script - Creates an overview of your work day that you can personalize to include only those items requiring your attention. Writing a GroupWise Script

Probably the easiest way to write a script is to take an existing script and start modifying it. Bring any of the sample scripts described above into your favorite HTML editing tool and start improvising. Keep all of your scripts in the same directory for easy access from the GroupWise client. Running a GroupWise Script

If Internet Explorer 4 is installed, the HTML Support C3PO adds a Run Script item to the GroupWise client Tools menu of every GroupWise view. To run a script, simply click Tools > Run Script > select the script to run. The Work Day Script listed above is an example of a script you could run for yourself on a daily basis.

But wait -- there's more again! An HTML message sent from GroupWise can contain a script that runs when the recipient opens the message. Not only can you automate activities in your own GroupWise mailbox, you can provide useful services to your users as well. The Holiday Script listed above is an example of a script that enables an HTML message to modify users' calendars.

Some recipients may not find such services useful at all and might not want other people's scripts messing with their mailboxes. Don't worry -- such suspicious recipients are protected. Whenever a message arrives containing a script that would access GroupWise, the Security Warning dialog box displays: Security Warning dialog box

The recipient can click Yes or No to allow or prevent the script from running. In addition, the recipient can decide whether to generally trust all scripted messages from that particular sender. Once a sender is trusted, the Security Warning dialog box no longer appears for messages from that sender and any embedded scripts run automatically, so be very careful about who you add to this list. To view the list of currently trusted users, click HTML > Trusted Users.Trusted Users dialog box

This is where you can delete users who prove untrustworthy. Summing It Up

We hope you're pleased with the capabilities of the GroupWise HTML Support C3PO. In summary, you can: View HTML messages in native HTML format in your regular GroupWise message view. Send HTML messages. Write scripts similar to GroupWise 4.1 macros to perform repetitious actions for you in the GroupWise client or to perform actions on the mailboxes of recipients (with the recipients' permission, of course).

More HTML capabilities are yet to come. If you have suggestions, submit them to the Novell Product Enhancement Request website. Perhaps your enhancement request will appear in the next version -- it could happen!


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