Monday, 26 November 2012

FT Search Manager v5 - Full Notes Mail Integration

We're pleased to announce the availability of FT Search Manager v5, allowing full Notes Mail integration, as shown below. This integration can be implemented into the R853 Standard Client (Mail Files or Templates) via a single click, and provides yet another search method for Notes Clients, in addition to our existing Search Scope, Widget, Actions & Toolbar Icon search methods.


The UI is fully translatable (via documents, the Search button here is shown in German), and you can use your own logo, provide your own help functions etc. 

To try this in your own environment, please download a demo database here, then open the database and choose to set up Mail & Archive searching (for yourself or others), then select 'Set up searching via Mail File Integration'.

You can either just click the 'Install Mail Integration Search' button to install, or set it up manually following the instructions.

For more information about the FT Search Manager and other forms of searching, please visit the product page here.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Adding search highlighting to Notes documents

As part of a recent upgrade to our FT Search Manager product, we added a workaround/hack to offer (optional) search highlighting to Notes Mail documents.

For quite some time, this functionality has been 'available' in standard Notes Full Text searches, although it seems pretty hit and miss, and usually doesn't work with MIME content. As for the Agent property ''Store highlights in document", we've never found a way to use it (has anyone?)

So to add our own version, we used a Javascript handler on the result document to allow the search result HTML to call a LotusScript function. 

That function firstly backs up the target document, then converts MIME content to Rich Text, then parses the Rich Text using standard NotesRichTextNavigator, Range and Style techniques, adding word highlighting. It then saves the document and opens it, navigating to the first instance of a search phrase. Straight after loading the document, the code restores the original content of the document from the backup.

Hence the document loads with search results highlighted, but if you Reply With History or Forward (or re-open the document from mail), it uses the original document, as normal.

This function is only applied to mail search results, because;
a) mail doesn't generally get modified after delivery.        
b) there is limited chance of conflicts due to other users editing the document at the same time.
c) unread marks don't change.

This makes searching a lot more efficient, because you don't need to read the entire document looking for your target data, and you can use Ctrl-G to quickly move to the next instance of the search phrase.

For example, a search for 'ibm +partner*' might show a result like this;

Opening the result will display all the search phrases highlighted, and also scroll to the first match found, no matter it's location in the document;

The downsides;

1. If you edit/save a document opened from the search results, you'll be prompted with a save conflict.
2. Editing the document means the LastModified/LastAccessed properties change, which may affect archiving and replication. 

It's a hack - but it's optional, and a tradeoff between providing a more useful search experience, and the two downsides mentioned above.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The limitations of Notes Mail searching

Lotus Notes is great at many things, but the native search capability is not one of them.

A majority of Notes Mail users will have personal silos of information, most of it corporate, stacked up in their mail file and possibly also contained in several archive databases.

When they want to search that information, they have to know roughly where the target resides, i.e. their production mail or whatever archive, because there is no central index. That means opening each database manually and searching it individually.

Furthermore, the results of a Notes Mail search are quite poor - you get the same row-based information as a Notes View - so if you're searching on a common word, i.e. the name of a major client, you might get hundreds of search results. If all you see is basic summary information (Sender/Recipient, Date, Subject), how do you find the email you want?

The answer is you open each email and scroll through to see if it's the one you want. If you can't find it, you widen your search and start again. 

That's horribly inefficient, and means users can take a long time to achieve something as trivial as finding an email.

What Notes has long needed is a multi-database/file system personal search tool (think a Site Search for your mail, archives, local databases and local file system), where the search starts from Notes itself, and the results show you your search phrases in the context of the document. You can then perform only one search, scan documents from the result set via document-context information, and quickly find the target email.

As an example, if you were searching for an email you received last year, which mentioned something about a major client 'ACME' starting a project, you might search using a query like 'ACME and Project'. Using the result set, you'd then have to guess from the brief summary information provided which document it might be, and open each one to check the contents.

However if the result set showed the search query in the context of each document, then it's pretty simple to identify the email you want.

This is exactly what we've done with the FT Search Manager, and it makes finding information in mail (no matter it's location) much, much faster. Until IBM provide better search tools in Notes, solutions like this can save you a lot of time, and therefore money.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Adding Google-style Category-based searching

The latest addition to our Notes FT Search Manager is (optional) Category-based searching directly from the Results Page, as per most common Web search engines. 

This means the Results Page also displays the available Categories, so users can refine their search, using both Notes or Web. 

If you're using a Category-based search originally, the Category list is the same, otherwise it's based on the Categories defined for your selected Databases (and even documents within each Database can be defined as different categories).

This functionality also applies to Domain Search and Frame/iFrame based searching.

For example, from a Web search like this;

You get results back like this (the 'Category' area, colours, fonts, logos etc are all customisable via CSS);
You can then click each category to search again using the same criteria, but limited to that category only, e.g. here searching only the 'File Systems' category; 

and again in the 'Directories and Bulletin Boards' category;

The same functionality also applies to the Notes Client;

For more information or a demo version, please visit

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Free Notes Domain Search Extension

Many Notes environments will have tried the Domain Index/Domain Search at some time or another, but few will actually use it.

This is because while it's fast and free, the User Functionality is poor and the User Interface is not great. It hasn't noticeably changed since it was first introduced.

So to improve it, we've added a free Domain Search Extender* to our FT Search Manager tool, seamlessly integrating with the existing Notes Client & Web Browser Domain Search. This means you can now search the Domain Index using our product as below (you can change the logo, colours, fonts, labels etc)

and Browser

and get back more useful results in the Notes Client;

or Browser (including Tablet, Smartphone etc);

You can re-sort the results by column, export results and re-search, directly from the result pages.

Instead of getting a barely usable result set, you get much more useful search experience. For example;

  • Seamlessly replace the standard Notes Domain Search.
  • Configure the information returned per database, including the amount of summary data.
  • Easily prevent 'rogue' documents from appearing in the result set, such as hidden or lookup documents.
  • Control all aspects of the User Interface - Labels, Logos, Colours, Fonts, Font Sizes, Highlighting etc.
  • Translate the UI to different languages - for example the Search button shown here is in Dutch.
  • Click column headers to re-sort the result set.
  • Search again using wider or narrower criteria.
  • Export the result set via Notes or Browser.
  • Take advantage of a host of other usability features, such as a web-style search syntax, many different user options, and just pressing Enter to search.

The result is Domain Searching as it should be - fast, easy, and powerful for both Notes Clients and Browsers, and most importantly, free.

Extend your Domain Search today, and make the most of your existing Notes infrastructure.

To download the Domain Search database and try it out, free of charge or obligation, please Click Here.
For information on other types of searching, please visit our FT Search Manager Page.
And for any other information or queries, please Contact Us.

*The Domain Search Extender is the only free component of the FT Search Manager, by default it does not include support or maintenance, and specific license conditions apply.

Monday, 20 August 2012

OpenOffice support added to our free File System Indexer

We've recently added OpenOffice (*.odt, *.odp, *ods) support to our free File Systems Indexer database.

This Notes database uses Apache libraries, and to extract text from and index the following file types: doc, docx, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx, vsd, pdf, odt, odp, ods, wpd, txt, htm and html.

This in turn allows users to search File Systems (server-based or local) using standard Full Text search queries, from their Notes Client or Browser, and see the File System results combined with results from their Notes data, e.g. Mail, Archives, Applications etc.

The result is that all the data they need can be found in one place, and from a single source - their Notes Client and/or Browser (including Smartphone, Tablet or iNotes). File System security is defined by the Administrator, Notes security is as normal.

As an example, several clients make technical information stored in PDFs and Notes 'Knowledge Bases' available to users of their Intranets, via search, e.g:

"Your software is a big hit with our field sales and technical service group, and our product managers.  It saves time answering customer questions around the globe. Thank you for this elegant solution." - Mitch Holtzer, Cookson Electronics, New Jersey.

For more information, and the free File Indexer database, please visit our FT Search Manager page at

File System Search Results via an iPad

Monday, 2 July 2012

50% Discount on Notes Search Tools

We think we have the best Notes Search Tools currently available, and this video shows why.

But it's not just us who think this - many users have said so also;

- "FT Search Manager is really the 'killer app' we have been searching for."
- "Great tool - saves heaps of time and is so quick in searching and finding results."
- "This is a great product at a great price and something everyone in the Notes/Domino community should be using."
- "Love it :)"
More testimonials available here.

There's no point in having our search product just sitting on the shelf (albeit a virtual shelf), so we're offering a massive discount of 50% off the list price, providing your interest is registered during July 2012.*

All you need to do is register for a download, or contact us during July of this year. If you eventually decide to purchase (even if it's not in July), you realise the discount. If you don't decide to go any further, no problem.

So please feel free to try out the demo - we think you'll be surprised at how much more effective it makes your Notes environment.

For more information on IONET products & services, or to contact us, please visit

* Full discount might not apply to reseller-brokered sales.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

iNotes getNonce change

If you're using the iNotes Extension database (usually forms85_x.nsf) to extend iNotes, and using a 'nonce' (not to be confused with the slang term), you might be interested to know that between 8.5.2 & 8.5.3 the syntax changed.

If you couldn't understand why the call fails with 8.5.3, and you found this post via web search, hopefully it will help.

Change this

to this
AAA.HHT ?  AAA.HHT() : AAA.getNonce();

and it should be fine.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Speeding up Notes applications

Our FT Search Manager product ( has been around for a while now, and being a search tool, we're always trying to increase it's search speed. The latest version (4.6 - sound familiar?) is a lot faster than previous versions - FYI here's a short YouTube demo showing the faster speed achieved

If anyone's interested, here are the main methods we used to speed it up;

1. Each multi-threaded search agent only populates up to the first page of results (e.g. 10 results if that's how many results are displaying per page) then writes it's full result set to a storage document. It only populates the first X results because that's the slow part - getting data from each document. The last agent to finish assembles all the results, re-sorts them, then presents them. The first couple of pages are already available, and the remaining stubs are then populated in the background, which means the first page displays in the shortest possible time.

2. Concatenating evaluate statements. We use fields & @formulas to return document data. If there are 4 fields & @formulas required, it's much faster to execute one evaluate statement, e.g. Evaluate(@formula1 : @formula2 : @formula3 : @formula4, NotesDocument), rather than repeating it 4 times.

3. Using NotesDocument.Save only when necessary.

4. Using NotesRichTextItem.GetUnformattedText instead of GetFormattedText.

5. Using Lists to store commonly used databases, views & variables.

6. Using the LS 'Split' function as much as possible.

7. Moving everything unnecessary out of loops.

8. Performing only one @DBLookup to get all required data in one operation, then splitting the results into separate fields.

9. Storing data in Profile documents and only retrieving new data if the relevant option changes.

Hopefully someone finds these points useful.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Getting the most from your Notes environment

One of the problems with the continual upgrade cycle of computing (--> Connections, Quickr, XPages etc) is that it doesn't make efficient use of your existing environment - it's like buying a new TV when you could improve your viewing by re-tuning the old one.

Notes has been around for 20+ years, and it's distributed nature means users have their data scattered around many locations - Mail, Archives, Discussions, Document Repositories, File Systems, Apps, Quickr etc.

Over time, finding that information becomes more and more difficult - because users need to know roughly where it is. If they forget that, it can take a long time to find, or just not be found at all. It's surprising how much time (and therefore money) is spent looking for information.

The native Notes search facilities (Domain Search or Search Site - don't mention Extended Search) can search a lot of data and present a lot of results, but they don't present it very well or offer many options for using & refining it. They're fast, but navigating through hundreds of results that all look very similar is really just not useful enough, which is why few companies implement them.

It's much more efficient for users to be able to search only the data sources relevant to them, get easily understood and useful results, then refine their search or re-sort the results as necessary. This is slower than the native search methods, but it's much more accurate. This in turn is more useful, less frustrating, saves wasting time, and therefore saves money.

Giving your users tools to use the data they already have - as well as adding new tools such as Connections & XPages - is the best way to get the most from your Notes environment.

For more information, please see our FT Search Manager

Monday, 13 February 2012

Search speed improvements

We're pleased to announce that the latest version of the FT Search Manager (v4.3) is at least 25% faster than older versions - and often more, depending on the content being searched.

This was achieved by rewriting the Notes search engine, so that each search thread first identifies the top x documents matching it's criteria & sort options, e.g. 'Person contains *acme*' & 'newest first', and then populates only enough results to make up the first result page.

The last thread to finish this process becomes the 'Sort' thread, sorting the result data from multiple searches/databases, then writing to the Results page. Because there is multiple page content already assembled, this is a very fast process.

After the first page of results displays, the Sort thread continues adding further result data in the background, using stubs set up by the initial search threads.

The initial results are therefore presented much faster, and that makes a difference when you have a large mail file to manage.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

A better Notes Mail search

Since the start of 2012, we've spent a lot of time adding functions to our FT Search Manager product, specifically for Mail & Archive searching. The results are much, much easier to use, and it's by far the easiest way to find mail you're looking for, no matter it's location.

For example, you can start searching from a Toolbar icon (e.g. anywhere in the Notes Client);

or perhaps an Action in your mail file;

then search using whatever fields & options the Administrator has enabled;

(note the interface is translatable, e.g. 'Zoeken').
You then get an easily understood precis of the result set (in Notes), sorted as required, allowing you to quickly find your target document.

If you still can't find what you're looking for, you can change the criteria and re-search, start a new search, or just re-sort the existing results (here the 'Date' column has been re-sorted ascending).

You'll be surprised by how much time you save looking for documents, compared to a 'normal' search. And being a Notes Database, it also works locally.

If you're interested in other types of search, you can also search File Systems, iNotes, Quickr, and any custom Notes apps, via Notes Clients, Browsers, iPads, iPhones, Web Services, Portals and Discovery/Compliance Searching.

For free trial versions & more information, please visit