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Advansys Formativ - A Cool GroupWise Solution

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Advansys

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Posted: 20 Dec 2001

Advansys Formativ - A Cool GroupWise Solution

When the GroupWise 5 architecture was introduced in 1997, it delivered a new, powerful set of third party programming capabilities which could be used by developers to create useful add-on functionality. These new programming capabilities replaced the GroupWise 4.1 'macros' paradigm, which was generally considered to be easy to use for simple automation requirements.

The paradigm shift from GroupWise macros to the powerful set of industry standard programming capabilities is well suited to experienced software developers. The drawback is that the skills required to integrate and customize GroupWise, to meet individual and corporate needs, was put well beyond the resources of most people within the GroupWise community.

That is, until now. The ease of GroupWise macros are back? in the form of exceptionally powerful Formativ 'applets'.

Dynamic Solutions for GroupWise

Advansys, a specialist GroupWise? development partner since 1994, has poured their experience into developing Formativ, a simple, yet powerful, GroupWise customization, integration and automation tool for the wider GroupWise community. Advansys Formativ provides a fast and easy method for tailoring GroupWise to meet your specific requirements. Formativ delivers:

  • a wide range of ready-to-use GroupWise enhancements;
  • a highly integrated tool for developing your own GroupWise solutions;
  • personal and/or centralized Novell eDirectory administration;
  • GroupWise 6.0 and 5.5 support; and
  • a low cost runtime version.

Formativ offers substantial benefits to all GroupWise users:

  • immediate benefits from the Business Solutions Pack applets supplied with Formativ;
  • use the inbuilt applet recording feature to automate common tasks rapidly;
  • easily extend the applets supplied and develop your own solutions;
  • deploy corporate-wide GroupWise solutions quickly and easily;
  • increase satisfaction by delivering the functionality that your users demand;
  • maximize your competitive edge through increased functionality and productivity;
  • maximize return on investment in your GroupWise infrastructure; and
  • dramatically reduce development costs;

It's All About Choice

In today's business environment you need to move fast. When something needs to be done, or a problem needs to be solved, a solution is often needed quickly and at minimum cost. The wider the choice for approaching a solution generally means it is easier to find the optimum fit.

Prior to Formativ, when you needed GroupWise to do that something extra, you had to rely on costly, skilled programming resources, whether they be in-house or third party developers. If you were lucky, you could purchase an 'off-the-shelf' GroupWise third party product to satisfy your exact needs and budget. Or if it was a generic requirement which could benefit all users, you could submit an enhancement request to Novell and wait to see if it was included in a future GroupWise release. The reality is that many GroupWise users had little choice but to fit in with the way GroupWise worked.

Formativ was developed to provide cost-effective choice. With Formativ, when you need GroupWise to do something beyond its extensive, out-of-the-box capabilities, you have a far wider choice on how you can approach your GroupWise enhancement. You can now decide to:

  • use one of the wide-range of GroupWise enhancements which ship with Formativ;
  • modify an existing Formativ applet (more than 50 to choose from!);
  • record or write your own applet; or
  • use an existing third party applet or have a programmer, third party developer or Advansys write a Formativ applet solution for you.

You own the rights to the applets that you create. At any time you can choose to modify your applets, or ones which ship with Formativ, to suit your current needs. You do not need to return to a third party vendor, in an often expensive attempt, to have changes made to your solution.

The good news is that the choice of solutions will continue to expand as Advansys and others in the GroupWise community develop an ever increasing number of Formativ applets for GroupWise. With Formativ, you now have a far greater choice for making GroupWise work the way you do.

Ready-to-use GroupWise Solutions

With Formativ installed, GroupWise functionality can be extended immediately with a wide range of ready-to-use Formativ applet solutions. There is absolutely no programming required! Listed below are the Formativ Business Solutions Pack and example applets which ship free with Formativ.

Formativ Business Solutions Pack Applets

  • Address Book Publisher
  • Anti-spam and File cabinet rule
  • Create Word mail merge source
  • Day Blocker
  • Find Contacts in Address Books
  • Holiday Importer - Category Support
  • Holiday Importer - Date Creator
  • Internet Reply Formatter
  • Mail Merge Utility
  • Mass Mailer
  • Message To Template
  • Multiple Signatures
  • Out of the Office Rule
  • Proxy
  • Publish Folder List to MS Word
  • Search and Replace
  • Template System
  • Virus Alert

Formativ Example Applets

  • Add or edit message category
  • Add sender e-mail addresses to address book
  • Address Book Entry to Clipboard
  • Address Mail using Selected Items
  • Anti-spam rule
  • Create GroupWise Filter
  • Create GW Calendar web page
  • Create Routing Mail Message
  • CSV Export
  • Delete Custom Fields
  • Disable GroupWise Features
  • Disk Statistics
  • Document Management
  • Domain Information
  • Dynamic Dialog Test
  • Excel Automation
  • Execute a program
  • Export Messages To XML
  • Find message attachments
  • Formativ Directories
  • Forward Selected Messages
  • Import or Export ACT Contacts
  • Import Outlook Items
  • Mass Mailer - Address Extractor
  • Messages to Microsoft Access
  • Messages To Word Document
  • Print Directory Information
  • Remind Me
  • ReminderExecute
  • Remove duplicate Address Book entries
  • Remove duplicate calendar entries
  • Routing Mail Message
  • Run an application
  • Run Rule List
  • Select an Archive Path
  • Send Welcome Message
  • Space Saver
  • Standard Dialog Test
  • String List
  • Timer Test

Applets coming soon

  • Add entry to Address Book
  • Create Anniversaries
  • CSV Address Book Importer
  • Disclaimer - Auto
  • Disclaimer - Manual
  • HTML Personalized E-mail Merge
  • HTML Stationary
  • New Appointment
  • New E-mail
  • New Note
  • New Phone Message
  • New Task
  • Read eDirectory Data
  • Remove addresses from Frequent Contacts
  • Save attachments into folder
  • Save messages as HTML or text

Figure 1 - Example of a multiple signature applet

Figure 2 - A HTML signature inserted by the applet

The full list of Formativ Business Solutions Pack applets and brief descriptions can be found at and the range of example applets at

Advansys is continuing to develop many new applets and will post them to the Advansys web site,

Creating Your Own GroupWise Solutions

Advansys Formativ simplifies GroupWise development by unifying the key GroupWise programming interfaces into a single, simple, yet extremely powerful applet development environment. You no longer need to master three or four different GroupWise programming interfaces to implement a solution as is often the case with traditional GroupWise development. As a result, solutions built with Advansys Formativ can be developed and deployed faster than those developed using conventional techniques. You can now use the power and simplicity of applets to access GroupWise, instead complex third and fourth generation languages.

Formativ provides all the resources you need to start creating your own applets, some of which are outlined below.

Complete Applet Source

Formativ Admin ships with a number of pre-written applets that solve common GroupWise enhancement requests, such as multiple signatures, template support, search and replace within messages, holiday importing and data input/output. These pre-written applets not only teach developers the basics of developing solutions with Formativ, but also represent immediate functionality out of the box. Complete source code is included free of charge, and therefore you are free to change them to work exactly the way you want.

Applet Recorder

Formativ lets you record GroupWise applets! You can simply start recording, and Formativ will remember your actions in GroupWise. When you stop recording, an applet is built automatically that you can generally play back as-is, or further edit and enhance as a basis for a more complex applet. Recording applets makes automating simple tasks in GroupWise extremely easy.

Industry Standard Applet Language

You develop applets by using the Formativ language, which is 100% compatible with industry standard Visual Basic Script. To provide easy access to the underlying GroupWise message store and the GroupWise client, the Formativ language includes hundreds of commands designed especially for use with Novell GroupWise.

For those users who like to get even deeper into the workings of GroupWise, the Formativ applet language also provides comprehensive access to the underlying native GroupWise Object, Administration and Token programming Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Secure Environment

Formativ applets are stored using a proprietary file format and are not Visual Basic Script files. They run only within the secure Formativ execution environment - this means they cannot be executed as attachments, within e-mail messages or from Windows. They are not executed by the Windows Scripting Host (although this does need to be installed). These architectural features protect you from Formativ applets being used like the malicious script-based viruses which plague Microsoft Outlook users.

Easy Development

Customizing GroupWise using Formativ is as easy as ABC! By following three simple steps you can extend and customize GroupWise:

    A - Write or record your applet

    Write your new applet using Formativ Admin's integrated development environment, which is tightly integrated with the GroupWise client. You do not need a third party development environment, such as Visual Basic, Delphi or Visual C++. The Formativ environment includes a fully featured applet editor and a debugger.

    Figure 3 - An example of the FormativCentral editor

    B - Integrate your applet with GroupWise

    Once you have written and tested an applet, it can be integrated with the GroupWise client. You can specify how and when the applet is run. You can add buttons to toolbars which run applets and add applets to both standard and context (right-mouse button) menus. You can also associate your applet with many standard GroupWise events, such as on client start-up and message on send.

    You do not need to write any code to add buttons, menu items or hook into events - never before has integrating and extending the GroupWise client been easier!

    Figure 4 - Point and click applet integration!

    Figure 5 - Just type the description and click to select an icon for your button

    C - Distribute your applet

Depending on your installation configuration, you may now distribute your new applet. If you are an administrator, you can make your applet and its integrations available to users, simply and securely through Novell eDirectory. When your users next start GroupWise, your applet automatically becomes available to them. If your applet contains client integrations, they too automatically become active. For example, your users might see a new button appear on a toolbar which runs your new applet. There is no need to visit each workstation to install or configure your applets. Applet distribution and management is covered in more detail below.

Managing and Distributing Your GroupWise Solutions

Advansys Formativ is fully Novell eDirectory enabled. This means you can use Novell eDirectory to securely and centrally manage Formativ within your organization, saving you time and money. What's more, tools and documentation are included that enables simple mass deployment using Novell ZENworks or the GroupWise AddOn facility.

From a central location you can easily and securely:

  • deploy Formativ to hundreds or thousands of users' desktops;
  • control which Formativ features are enabled for individuals, groups, organization units or organizations; and
  • share corporate applets with individuals, groups, organization units or organizations.

Figure 6 - Easy distribution and secure administration using eDirectory

The eDirectory management features that ship with Formativ mean you never have to leave your desk to configure the Formativ client on your users' computers, and distribute corporate applets, regardless of whether you have 10 or 10,000 users!

Managing Formativ directly from eDirectory using familiar adminstration tools, dramatically increases the return on investment that you can expect from Advansys Formativ. For more information on Formativ's eDirectory capabilities, see

At the time of writing Formativ had already passed the NetWare 5.1/6.0/GroupWise 6.0 Novell Yes Tested & Approved tests and is awaiting formal publication.


Formativ is available in two versions, Formativ Admin and Formativ Client. Formativ Admin is the 'full' version that lets you create, record, edit, execute, encode and manage applets. Formativ Admin should be installed for those users who need to create, record and edit applets, or who need to administer shared eDirectory applet libraries.

Formativ Client enables you execute encoded applets only, and/or applets that are stored in eDirectory Formativ applet libraries. Formativ Client does not allow applets to be created, edited or recorded. Formativ Client should be installed for those users who only require applet execution capabilities. Formativ Client represents a low cost option for providing Formativ applet execution capabilities for your whole organization.

An organization requires at least one copy of Formativ Admin to administer shared eDirectory libraries, or to encode local applets which can be executed by the Client version.

The following table illustrates the key differences between Formativ Admin and Formativ Client:

Feature Formativ Admin Formativ Client
Create applets X  
Record applets X  
Edit applets X  
Execute unencoded local applets X  
Create encoded applets X  
Execute encoded applets   X
Execute applets stored in eDirectory applet libraries X X
Manage applets in eDirectory applet libraries (user requires appropriate security) X  
Predefined applet integrations allow automatic addition of buttons to GroupWise toolbars, items to GroupWise menus and associate applets with GroupWise events X X
Create applet integrations X  
Delete applets X  
Supplied with the Formativ Business Solutions Pack applets X  

Review the Documentation

Want to see the nitty-gritty detail before installing Formativ? Click on a link below to download the Formativ documentation in which you are interested:

Try it for Free!

Fully functional, 30-day trial versions of both Formativ Admin and Formativ Client are available from

Additional Information

  • For more information on Formativ, visit the Advansys Web site at or e-mail Advansys at GroupWise customers in North America may contact GroupWise specialists, The Messaging Architects, on 1-866-GWS-0101 / 1-866-497-0101 or visit their Web site at

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