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Nexic Symphony 5.5 Top Ten Features

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Ken Circeo

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Posted: 28 Jun 2000
 

In its quest to extend the power of GroupWise 5.5, Nexic seems to have figured out a basic manufacturing point that eludes all too many software makers: most end users don't care how sophisticated your program is under the covers; what they want are useful features that work. With Symphony 5.5, Nexic has delivered just that.

According to David Bagley at Nexic, "Our unique, custom architecture makes it easy for us to add simple but powerful features to Nexic Symphony in our ongoing effort to enhance GroupWise." I've never seen this architecture so I can't report on its uniqueness, but judging from the number of features that the guys at Nexic have added to Symphony in a relatively short period of time, it looks like Nexic's architecture is the real deal. In fact, the company seems to want to bend over backwards to make sure it doesn't miss anything, soliciting customer enhancements in both its marketing brochures and Website (www.nexic.com).

Speaking as a long-time GroupWise user (dating back to WordPerfect Office for DOS) and a short-time Symphony user, here are my top ten features of Nexic Symphony 5.5.

Number 10: Automatic Message Backup

Automatically saves new messages that you are in the middle of writing. Raise your hand if you've never lost a long, involved message you were working on because GroupWise (or your network) decided to crash before you were finished. Hmmm...I don't see any hands so you must all be in the same boat as me. This Symphony feature creates a backup file for the active message, then restores the message if the GroupWise experiences a problem. Restarting the client prompts you to delete or open the backup file and continue where you left off.

Number 9: Add to Address Book

Helps you to quickly add a sender's e-mail address to your personal address book. Just select the message then click Add. How simple is that? The e-mail addresses are evaluated and added to your address book. If you have more than one address book, Symphony lets you choose which one you want to add the address to. And get this: you can also specify if you want the recipient list added as well.

Number 8: The Multiple Archives

Lets you easily save your messages to two or more archive databases. Trust me, if you work in an accounting office or a law firm, this feature alone is worth downloading Symphony. The shipping version of GroupWise 5.5 contains physical and operational limits to the size of an archive, so you don't want them to get too big. However, for organizational reasons, you may want to begin a new archive database every year so you can save the current year's messages in the default archive, but have easy access to older archives. The Multiple Archives feature is like a full-time file clerk that you don't have to pay. Very cool.

Number 7: Nexic Templates

Nexic Macro files that can be created for mail, note, task, appointment, or phone messages to simplify situations where the same message is re-sent with minor or no modifications. Let's say you have to send out a standard message to all new employees but you want to personalize it each time. Just type the message once and save it in a Nexic Template. Rather than going through your Sent Mail folder and finding the message to re-send it, you can just open the Nexic Template file you saved and plug the new employee's name in the blanks.

Number 6: Nexic Macros

Allow you to play simple GroupWise 4.1a macros in the GroupWise 5 32-bit client. Nothing elaborate, just something you've wanted to do in GroupWise 5.5 that no one had figured out how to do until now. Because the GroupWise 5 32-bit client won't let you record macro commands, the Nexic Macros have to be created manually. But to simplify the process, system administrators can use the GroupWise 5 16-bit client to record and save macros in WordPerfect file format. Converting these files to ASCII text will give you a starting point for modifying the macros to work with the Nexic Macro Facility and the GroupWise 5 32-bit client. The Nexic Macro Facility doesn't support variables or conditional statements yet, but Nexic says those features are under construction even as I write this.

Number 5: Remind Me

Feature lets you create a message to remind you at a specified time about one or more messages, appointments, tasks, or notes in your mailbox. Say you've returned from a week in Tahiti to find 68 messages in your Inbox. As you go through your mail, you naturally prioritize the messages according to importance. Using Symphony's Remind Me feature, you can program GroupWise to send you reminders about less important messages and tasks after you've given proper attention to the high priority items.

Number 4: Multiple Signatures

A signature is text that is added to the end of a message just before it is sent. You've seen them before. Every e-mail you get from that guy in Maryland has his three phone numbers and the same Groucho Marx quote that was only funny the first time you read it. That's his GroupWise signature. The problem is: if he wants to change the quote or use a less formal signature, he has to manually edit his single signature. With the Multiple Signatures feature in Symphony, your Maryland friend can choose from an unlimited number of signatures as well as use any combination of signatures in his e-mails.

Number 3: Nexic Notes

I love this one because I'm constantly keeping notes about e-mail messages I've received. Only now, instead of opening up Wordpad, I can use Nexic Notes. A Nexic Note lets you add or modify notes for any message by automatically adding a Nexic Note field to the GroupWise account schema. This field is part of the message and wherever the message goes, the data in this field goes with it. Beautiful.

Number 2: Categorize Messages

Let's face it, we all have different ways of organizing our messages. The Nexic Categorize feature lets you categorize messages with a text category that you define. Maybe you receive certain messages that you need to follow-up on. Just create a category called "Follow-up" and whenever you need to see the messages to follow-up on, just click on your Follow-up query folder.

And the number one Symphony 5.5 feature is...

Number 1: Rule Wizards!

As a writer, I once had to write a series of steps that explained how to create a simple GroupWise rule. Care to guess how many steps it took? Seventeen! No joke. And I don't mind telling you that among my peers I'm considered one of the less-wordy writers. Another writer could have easily stretched it to 24 steps. That's why Rule Wizards is my number one Symphony 5.5 feature.

Nexic has taken a procedure that is important to millions of GroupWise users and simplified it to the point where even the least experienced GroupWise user can go on vacation with the confidence that his GroupWise rule is firmly in place and completely functional. Some of the more common rules are: Out of Office rule, Forward to Pager rule, and Auto-Accept Message Sent by Yourself rule. They even say they can add more custom rules as needed.

So there you have it: the top ten features in Nexic Symphony 5.5. Maybe I like Symphony because Nexic has done a great job with it, or maybe I like it because someone has finally produced a GroupWise product that even I can understand. But one thing I know: since I started using Symphony, my GroupWise experience has been much more enjoyable.

Ken Circeo is a free-lance technical writer and reviewer. He lives in Pleasant Grove, Utah with his wife, three kids, and a yard that needs mowing.


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