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The Searchers

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Daren Deadmond

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Posted: 1 Jun 1999
 

No, this article isn't about the 1956 John Ford classic movie featuring John Wayne and Natalie Wood. Today, we have all become searchers for that needle of crucial information in an electronic haystack of information overload. This article will help you become a successful searcher-- a spelunker of the virtual catacombs of mailboxes, folders, and document libraries. No, GroupWise doesn't ship with a divining rod, an arthritic knee, or a metal detector to help you find what you're looking for. GroupWise's Find feature can ferret out that needle in the haystack. You know the one, the one your manager wants in five minutes, the one you guess is located in one of those folder things on your desktop, each of which contains over 100 messages. Yikes! But the Find feature will find it and let you save your arthritic knee for more personal searches, like the ongoing manhunt for your television remote.

Find 101
This is the quick-and-easy, get-outta-my-way-and-
lemme-find-something search tool known and loved by millions (give or take a few hundred thousand). Just type what you're looking for, then let that bloodhound go.

1. Click the Tools menu, then click Find.
2. Type the text you are looking for in the Find box, then click OK.

Find looks in everything specified in the Look In tab (folders, document libraries, etc.) in all fields of all sent and received items (for example, the Subject and Message fields in messages, or Author and Revision Number fields in documents or document profiles).

Find places the results in the GroupWise Find Results window. If you didn't find what you were looking for, click the Tools menu, then click Modify Find to tailor your Find to more closely fit what you're looking for.

If you have a lot of folders, libraries, and messages, the quick-and-easy Find may take longer than you would like. We suggest you narrow your Find by using Advanced Find. By narrowing a Find we mean that you tell Find which field of an item to look in, or which date range to search, and so forth. Click Graduate-Level Find to find out how.

Graduate-Level Find
If you know the info you're looking for is in the CC box of some message, why should you sit through Find's exhaustive search in the message, subject, and To boxes, too? Advanced Find is the way to speed things up by identifying where to look or what to look for in your messages and documents. Its robust filtering tool will place you in front of that hard-to-find item in no time! Here's how to use Advanced Find:
1.  Click Tools, Find.
2.  Click the Advanced Find button.
3.  Select a field in the first drop-down list, then select an operator. Operators are the symbols that represent a mathematical or, in this case, a Find operation. The operators may change according to the field you select.
4.  Type in the parameter (what you are looking for), then click OK if you are done.

OR

If you need to add more rows to your Find (to search for things like all messages from a particular person in the last three weeks), select Add, type in the additional information you are looking for, then select End.

Find places the results in the GroupWise Find Results window. If you didn't find what you were looking for, click the Tools menu, then click Modify Find to tailor your Find to more closely fit what you're looking for.

Okay, you know the steps so let's set up a hypothetical Find. Suppose you received something from your boss, Jason Lindsay, last month and you know that the subject line said something like, "Important--don't mess this up." You are on the verge of messing this up because you can't find the message. Let's start with what you do know: the message is from Jason Lindsay, it was delivered last month, and the subject contained the words "don't mess this up." You have more than enough clues. Let's get to work.
1.  Click Tools, Find, then click the Advanced Find button.
2.  Click From in the first pop-up list. Hint: don't even think about clicking Author in this case. Author refers to the author of a document. In this situation, you are looking for an e-mail message. I just don't want you to make the same mistake that I always make.
3.  Click Matches in the second pop-up list, then type "Jason Lindsay" in the third box.
4. Click And in the fourth pop-up list. This will add another row of conditions to limit your search even further.
5.  Click Subject in the first pop-up list in the second row, then click Contains in the second pop-up list.
6.  Type the words "don't mess this up" in the third box, then click And in the fourth pop-up list in the second row. Again, this will add another row to add more conditions.
7.  Click Delivered in the first pop-up list in the third row, then click Before Date in the second pop-up list.
8.  Click the little calendar button, select the first day of the current month, then click OK to close the Date Input dialog. This row of conditions will look for messages sent before the first day of this month. When you combine this row with the others, you should get anything from Jason Lindsay that contains "don't mess this up" in the subject line and was delivered before the current month.
9.  Make sure End is selected in the last pop-up list. This is what it should look like:

Picture

10. Click OK twice to start the Find.

Find it WHERE?
Find looks for the stuff you specify in lots of places: each message in every individual folder and each document in every document library. Find cannot be faulted for being thorough. However, if you can reduce the number of places to search, you may save yourself some time, especially if your organization houses several cavernous document libraries. To narrow the locations Find will sift through, do this:
1.  Click the Tools menu, then click Find.
2.  Click the Look In tab.
3.  Select and deselect folders and libraries to search in, then click OK.

Picture

Folders and libraries marked with a check are slated for search. Folders and libraries that are dimmed (like Trash) are not searchable. This hopefully is no big loss; even virtual trash is better left ignored, right?

Now That I've Found It,
How Can I Save It?
Yeah, the Find feature can make you look good. But what good is it if you can't save what you've found? Thank goodness the savvy GroupWise developers were thinking the same thing. The results of your Find can be saved in a folder. What's more is that you can set up this folder so that every time you open it, Find runs again to catch anything new that matches what you're looking for. Here's how you save your Find:
1.  Perform a Find.
The results of your Find are displayed in a Find Results window. If the results aren't exactly what you were looking for, click the Tools menu, then click Modify Find to adjust the Find to reflect what you were hoping to find.
2.  From the Find Results window, click the File menu, then click Save As Folder.
3.  Type a name for the folder in the Name text box.
4.  If you want to change the folder's position, click on it, then click Up, Down, Right, or Left.
5.  Click Next.
6.  If you want, type a description of the folder's contents in the Description text box.
7.  Select Find New Matching Items Each Time the Folder is Opened to run the Find again each time you open the folder.
8.  Click Finish.

The folder containing the results of your Find is placed in your cabinet (where your other folders are located). Find folders look like other folders, only with a magnifying glass in front, like this:

Picture

If you are still undecided about Find's coolness, check out the Find Q&A in the Vault to see two good uses for Find. The first question helps a user restore the Sent Items Folder that came with GroupWise 5. The second question helps a user root out slackers who haven't completed GroupWise Tasks on time. After you read these Q&As, you'll agree that Find is, indeed, cool. Furthermore, you can see that you can create your very own Find to locate just about anything--as long as it is in your GroupWise Mailbox.

Admin Stuff:
GroupWise Find
The core technology of the GroupWise Find feature is Novell's QuickFinder, an information indexing and retrieval engine that works with the Post Office Agent (POA) to index every item (including mail messages, tasks, notes, appointments, phone messages, and documents) in your GroupWise databases and subsequently search those indexes to fill a user's Find request.

Indexing
QuickFinder can search through large amounts of data with remarkable speed because it is not searching the data (i.e. GroupWise items) directly. Instead, it creates full-text indexes of the actual text in every document or message and its properties (for example, Author, Subject, From, To, Version, BC:, CC:, and so on). This data can be searched later using the GroupWise client.

When a user creates or imports an item to be stored in a GroupWise database, GroupWise sets a pointer in an "indexing queue" within that same database to identify the item for future indexing.

If QuickFinder indexing is enabled, the POA polls the indexing queue at regular intervals to find items to add to its indexes. The POA creates an index without decompressing or decrypting the item, so no temporary "reading" directory is necessary. The POA places the compressed index files (*.IDX) in \INDEX subdirectories in the post office directory structure. For more information, see the Directories and Files in Post Office topic in the online documentation for GroupWise Administrator.

During the indexing process, QuickFinder also creates a "wordlist" file that contains a list of all the words found in the indexed items. The POA stores this list with the document and replicates it to mailboxes with references to certain GroupWise items. GroupWise Find uses this wordlist for full-text searches of referenced items without actually connecting to the document database or message store. When a new indexing cycle occurs, the wordlist file is replaced when the document is indexed, not necessarily at midnight during the compress.

Index Updates: New Items
The QuickFinder indexes are updated at an interval you specify with a POA startup switch or at the POA object Agent Properties page in NetWare Administrator. New GroupWise items are added to the index at each update cycle.

Index Updates: Existing Items
If an item is modified after being indexed, several things happen:
1. GroupWise sets a pointer to place the item in the index queue again (for reindexing).
2. The modifications are stored in "incremental" files (*.INC) that are backed up and updated at each indexing cycle.
3. The wordlist file is replaced and replicated.
4. At each update interval, the *.INC files are merged and compressed with the .IDX files and obsolete *.INC files are deleted.

Prepare the Post Office Agent for Indexing
To set up the POA for indexing, click the "Enable QuickFinder Indexing" checkbox on the Agent Settings properties page for the POA in NetWare Administrator. If you select this feature, you can set the "QuickFinder Interval" found on the same page. This setting determines the number of hours between POA indexing cycles. If you set the value at zero, the POA continually repeats the indexing cycle. You can also set the indexing interval by using the /qfinterval switch in the POA startup file or on the command line at startup. For example: /qfinterval-8 will initiate a QuickFinder indexing cycle every eight hours.

How Find Works
A user can execute complex searches in POA-indexed information by using the Find Jump to main Find articlefeature from the Tools menu of the GroupWise client. From the GroupWise back-end perspective, the search request process differs depending on where the GroupWise item is located (that is, the message or document store in a post office and where the document library is located--a local post office or remote post office) and the access mode the client has to these items. For more information about access modes, see the Post Office Access Modes: Direct versus Client/Server topic in the online documentation for GroupWise Administrator.

Direct Access; Search Local Post Office
1.
User activates Find and sets query parameters, which determines the display format of the returned search results.
2. GroupWise client finds the \INDEX subdirectory of the local post office, opens the index files and performs the search.
3. GroupWise client displays search results.

Client Server Access: Search Local Post Office
1.
User activates Find and sets query parameters, which determine the display format of the returned search results.
2. GroupWise client submits search request to POA through TCP/IP packets.
3. POA finds the \INDEX subdirectory of the local post office, opens the index files, and performs the search.
4. POA passes search results to the GroupWise client through TCP/IP packets.
5. GroupWise client displays search results.

Client/Server Access: Search in Another Post Office
1.
User activates Find and sets query parameters, which determine the display format of the returned search results.
2. Search request is placed in the WPCSIN\0 directory of the post office (the high-priority message queue of the MTA). Request may be placed here by the client itself, through a store and forward process of the POA or through a TCP/IP connection to the POA, depending on your system settings.
3. MTA scans WPCSIN\0 at set intervals. During the next scan cycle, MTA detects search request and places it in the WPCSOUT\0 of the appropriate post office.
4. POA in the appropriate post office scans its WPCSOUT\0 directory at set intervals.
5. POA detects search request during next scan cycle, opens the index files in its \INDEX subdirectory and performs the search.
6. POA places search results in the WPCSIN\0 directory of its post office.
7. MTA detects search results message and places them in the WPCSOUT\0 subdirectory of the local post office.
8. Local POA detects the search results and passes the results to the GroupWise client, where they are detected and passed to the user. Results may be passed to the client through a store and forward process of the POA or through a TCP/IP connection to the POA, depending on your system settings.
9. GroupWise client displays search results.

NOTE: A search in a document library in another post office always utilizes the store and forward process, but if you want to retrieve the actual document from that library, it can come only through client/server access using a TCP/IP connection. GroupWise Remote is the exception to the rule because it always uses the store and forward process.

Some Considerations for Finding Documents
If you have set up GroupWise libraries as part of the Document Management System, you should carefully consider some of the following system configurations to meet your users' needs as they search for documents with Find.

Distributed Libraries
Generally speaking, users need frequent access to documents pertaining to their department or location. The users in these departments or locations are usually on the same post office. If you create a library for each post office, document accessibility will be very fast for local users and access to documents in other libraries will still be possible.

Analyze the Demands on Your Server
The indexing process can be very processor-intensive if the number of items in your GroupWise databases (user, message, library, etc.) is great. The indexing cycle can require a lot of your processor resources if extensive reindexing is necessary.

If your GroupWise system is set up with a single POA for each post office, you should weigh the importance of accurate, up-to-the-minute search results to each user. If document creation is primarily performed by a few people who may not use the Find feature very often to find familiar documents, you can set the indexing interval for updating every few hours with no detrimental effect. However, if document creation is a major part of the corporation, up-to-the minute search results may be more important. In this case, you will have to set the indexing interval to occur more often. If reindexing occurs often, the POA could become burdened because it is also responsible for client/server access and message flow.

Set Up Dedicated POAs on Different Servers
If you suspect your POA may be burdened, you should consider setting up several post office agents with each agent configured for one of these purposes. For example, the POA on your production server could be used to handle client/server access to the post office and possibly message flow, while a second POA on another, less-used server could be dedicated to indexing documents. You would set the POA dedicated to indexing with the QuickFinder Interval set to zero, Message Flow set to "None" and TCP/IP requests disabled. The POA running on the production server should use the /NOQF setting to eliminate indexing on the main POA.

Considerations: Server Utilization vs. Network Traffic
If you are wondering whether to set up multiple servers like this, consider how your servers are utilized and the current load on your network. If your production server is currently under high utilization, load the indexing POA on a different server.

If you start a POA on a server other than the server where the post office is located, all POA requests must travel across the wire to the post office server, increasing network traffic. During the indexing cycle of a POA, this traffic could be very significant because the documents must travel to the indexing POA for the read process. The index files must also travel back across the wire to be written to disk.

Given these considerations, the ideal scenario for multiple POAs would be a POA loaded on the production server for client/server and message flow processing and a second POA on a second server for the indexing process. To eliminate network traffic, the second server should be attached directly to the production server via a separate network segment. This will allow for optimal performance of all POAs without hindering user access to the post office and libraries.

Settings for Multiple POAs
If you elect to set up multiple post office agents on one post office, it is important that you configure each with the settings that will enable it for its particular function only. Make these settings either in the NetWare Administrator, or with a startup switch in the startup file or at the command line.

Settings for Indexing Dedicated POA
Function:
Enable QuickFinder to create indexes
NetWare Administrator Settings: Enable QuickFinder Indexing selected
Startup Switch or Startup File Command: (Not using the /noqf switch enables this function.)

Function: Specify a number of hours between each QuickFinder indexing cycle
NetWare Administrator Settings: QuickFinder Interval=0 (always reindexing)
Startup Switch or Startup File Command: /qfinterval=n

Function: Prevent the POA from processing client TCP/IP requests
NetWare Administrator Settings: Enable TCP/IP deselected
Startup Switch or Startup File Command: /notcpip

Function: Prevent the POA from handling message flow for the post office
NetWare Administrator Settings: Message File Processing = Off
Startup Switch or Startup File Command: /nomf

Settings for TCP/IP and Message Flow Dedicated POA
POA Function: Disable QuickFinder for creating indexes
NetWare Administrator Settings: Enable QuickFinder Indexing deselected
Startup Switch or Startup File Command: /noqf

POA Function: Enable POA TCP/IP processing requests
NetWare Administrator Settings: Enable TCP/IP selected
Startup Switch or Startup File Command: /tcpthreads=n (Sets the number of threads dedicated to TCP/IP. Not using the /notcpip switch enables TCP/IP processing.)

POA Function: Enable message file processing
NetWare Administrator Settings: Message File Processing = x
Startup Switch or Startup File Command: /threads=n (Sets the number of threads dedicated to message flow. Not using the /nomf switch enables message flow processing.)


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