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Latest PTFs appear to cause issues with TDI on iSeries

Bit of a weird gotcha we have discovered this week. TDI for Connections on iSeries was not happy with the latest PTF fixes applied to the machine.

TDI was working without issue prior to the PTF’s being applied. An IPL was performed to allow everything to apply correctly – that is when we noticed issues with TDI.

When attempting to populate the profiles DB or even run a collect_dns we were seeing an error. Nothing had changed in any of the config files but we were seeing an error relating to the LDAP URL.

PTF_error
On the off chance that something specific had been overwritten we decided to reinstall TDI. The only thing that had changed was the PTFs, so it was likely something in one of the many applied to the system had overwritten something that TDI was looking for.
The steps ran were as follows:

  • Uninstalled TDI
  • Removed the directories that had been created under the /QIBM/ProdData and /QIBM/UserData folders
  • Run – export QIBM_CCSID=819 as required
  • Install TDI and patch
  • Reconfigure the TDISOL directory – take the one from the /QIBM/ProdData/IBM/Connections/TDISOL as it is more up to date than the wizard version
  • Test

Theoretically nothing should have affected TDI – but something appears to have .. It was a fairly quick fix (about 2 hours in total)

So if you are running Connections on i and have applied the latest PTFs .. check the TDI sync still works

Come see us at Engage.UG

We are thrilled that our session Adm11. Connx install in 45 minutes or less, or your money back – has been selected for Engage.

It’s going to be a great conference – 65 speakers in total, among them 30 IBMChampions!

The agenda looks fantastic – jammed with sessions into 5 tracks over 2 days. As well as all the great content, there are social events, speed sponsoring, a chance to network and catch up with old friends and make new ones.

It is one of the best user groups around and Theo and the team work tirelessly to put on an amazing 2 days. If you work with IBM Collaboration software in any way, shape or form its a fantastic opportunity to gain more knowledge.

Session Info:

Adm11. Connx install in 45 minutes or less, or your money back
Connx install in 45 minutes or less, or your money back (Entry fee €1.00 *)
New to Connections Admin / Dev? Need an environment to test your development? Need a test system or proof of concept? Don’t know where to start? Never fear – We can help you become Collaboration Super Hero!!!
In this session we will help you plan, install and most importantly CONFIGURE a connections environment to fit what YOU need it for.
Need to get data into your new system – No problem. We will guide you through migrating / importing existing Connections data into your new Connections environment.
From software required, DB selection, useful tools and trouble shooting tips – for Linux and Windows – whether you are an admin or a developer we will enable you.
* Money back for this session only. Note – the actual install takes a lot more than 45 mins 🙂
** All money goes to Dander4Dosh 2015

 

Come and see us just before lunch (11:30am) on Tuesday 31st March  – Room C: Vermeylen 2nd floor

Fun and games with Community Widgets

Last night we managed to close a PMR that had been open for a few weeks on a strange issue with Community Widgets.

Rewind 3 or 4 weeks – One our amazing customers made some security changes which in turn required some reconfiguration of Connections. We switched to a secure LDAP connection, reconfigured WebSphere global security and changed the LDAP realm to fix and LTPA issue we had seen and also just for good measure switched the WebSphere Admin user to be an LDAP user – a few changes to implement at once, but not rocket science.

 

The only bit of reconfiguration that needs a bit of work is the changing of the connections admin user – previously we had just used the standard wasadmin user,  Connections application security was switched (using the community scripts – thank you Christoph), changing references to administrative credentials was completed and the lovely task of updating the messaging bus was completed.

 

Everything worked exactly as expected except for 2 tiny issues – Adding the blogs and surveys widgets inside a community thew a nasty error.

communityError

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The errors in the logs were not actually helping much – just saying the new admin user did not have the authority, which didn’t really make much sense as all the other widgets were adding to communities without issue and the blogs app worked perfectly outside of Communities – also any exiting blog widgets were also working as expected.

After some very intensive investigation from IBM Support, especially Justin Cornell who ploughed through much logs, traces, fiddler records and a live debugging session where he saw the problem live – we were still no closer to getting to the bottom of the issue. Justin then brought up the issue in a team meeting and another college mentioned that he had seen something similar.

Waltz and Sonata were recognizing the new admin user but something else was still not quite right – the suggestion was to remove and remap the admin user for the applications – forcing the remapping of the security and flushing any old info relating to the old admin user. We also re-synced the new admin user against all the connections applications just to be sure using the Application.MemberService.syncMemberExtIdByEmail(“emailhere“) command. After this was done we still had the same problem. By now this was becoming extremely frustrating – it made no sense, it should just work!

It was a public holiday in the UK on Monday so I didn’t notice the mail Justin had sent me straight away – he suggested that before this goes up yet another level of the support chain that we remap the widget admins again, just to make sure that it had actually added the new admin user correctly. After quickly jumping on to the Deployment manager machine and remapping the widget admin user for the blogs application and restarting the blogs app we attempted to add the widget to a community again – AND IT WORKED !! Re-mapping the admin user for the Forms Experience Builder (surveys) app and restarted that application also resolved the issue with that widget too.

It appears that re-mapping these individually and saving and restarting flushed out any cached or old admin information, when it was done as part of a script or mass change it didn’t seem to clear out the old info.

This is one of the most frustrating and strangest issues we have seen with Connections – as theoretically nothing has changed. The new admin user was mapped correctly previously – but re-mapping it fixed it.

Thanks IBM Support and the very tenacious Justin who was just as frustrated and determined to get to the bottom of the issue.

 

 

 

 

Weird issue deploying Connections Mail

I have been looking to implement Connections mail for a while for one of my customers, after finally sorting out some SSO issues we had been seeing I was ready to deploy into their DEV/TEST environment. No problem I thought – Connections mail is a very simple install a couple of config files and a quick wsadmin command to get the help to work.

Once I had deployed I was seeing the strangest issues –

Contact your system administrator:
Missing element with class=”os-site-mail-notify”

After spending a few hours trying to work out what the issue was, sanity checking myself in the Connections skype chat and much google-ing – I threw in the towel and opened a PMR. I did my usual of explaining the situation, listing OS and level, Connections versions and fixes etc and sending in a screen shot, Log files and the Connections mail config file – a couple of hours later I had a response.

It appears that something has changed between V4 and V4.5 of connections – I had customisations brought over from V4 and copied the header.jsp as it looked on first glance that there was no changes between 4 & 4.5

In Version 4.5 the span for the mail notify icons is :
–%><span class=”os-site-mail-notify”></span><%–

Previously it was:
–%><span id=”os-site-mail-notify”></span><%–

Changing this span from id to class resolved my issue.

So the moral of the story is even if you think nothing has changed – it most likely has

Big thanks to Jonathan P. Dormady Staff Software Engineer in Connections Support for finding me a solution so quickly

Sharon speaking at Engage

Sharon will be speaking at Engage by BLUG in March – a big thank you to Theo and the team for the opportunity

On Monday the 17th of March Sharon Bellamy & Christoph Stoettener – Adm04. Practical Solutions for Connections Administrators – Tips and Scripts for Your Daily Business – 14:45 – 15:30, room: B

On Tuesday the 18th of March Sharon Bellamy & Tim Clark – Adm08. Collaboration Stack – Lessons Learned at the Coal Face – 16:00 – 17:00, room: B

We are looking forward to our first BLUG / Engage as it is such a great conference, the full agenda can be found on the Engage web site

http://engage.ug/engage.nsf/pages/Event20140317_Agenda2

So that’s how he did it – Luis Benitez tells all

Our favourite IBM Connections product manager is releasing a series of blog posts on what code and products were used in his Keynote / OGS demo at Connect.

I must admit I was impressed and only yesterday I blogged on my personal blog that I wished we knew more on what products made up the OGS demos.

Great post by Luis, can’t wait to read the rest of the series

The full post can be found here:

The Code Behind My IBM Connect 2014 Keynote Demo

We are proud to announce Sharon is speaking at IBM Connect 2014

Cube Soft are proud to announce that Sharon along with friend and community peer Christoph Stoettner will be speaking at this years IBM Connect / Lotusphere conference.

The pair of enthusiastic Admins will be speaking in the Best Practices track, sharing our admin and scripting tips and tricks to help make an IBM Connections Admin’s day a little easier.

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 12.58.57

The full article can be found here on the IBM social insights blog

We look forward to seeing you in Orlando in January 2014.

mod_deflate compressing your Connections pages before they hit the client

The Apache v2 module mod_deflate is extremely handy if you are serving IBM Connections up to remote locations with little bandwidth. Some of the Connections pages have large css or java script files that are required to function correctly but for countries that have poor connection to the remote server this causes slow page load times and sometimes timeouts.

So mod_deflate to the rescue ..

open your httpd.conf file and ensure that the mod_deflate is uncommented

LoadModule deflate_module modules/mod_deflate.so

just before section 3 for virtual hosts – add the following

## set deflate
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
# Netscape 4.x has some problems…
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
# Netscape 4.06-4.08 have some more problems
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
# MSIE masquerades as Netscape, but it is fine
# BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
# NOTE: Due to a bug in mod_setenvif up to Apache 2.0.48
# the above regex won’t work. You can use the following
# workaround to get the desired effect:
BrowserMatch \bMSI[E] !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
# Don’t compress already-compressed files
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .(?:gif|jpe?g|png)$ no-gzip dont-vary
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .(?:exe|t?gz|zip|bz2|sit|rar)$ no-gzip dont-vary
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .(?:avi|mov|mp3|mp4|rm|flv|swf|mp?g)$ no-gzip dont-vary
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .pdf$ no-gzip dont-vary
DeflateCompressionLevel 9
</IfModule>
### Section 3: Virtual Hosts

Note – I have the DeflateCompressionLevel set to 9 – this is the highest amount of compression. Depending on the load and size of your HTTP server this may use a lots of CPU time to deflate, this may need to be monitored and tuned for your specific server

Inside the virtual host for the secure Connections server add the same deflate directive (see example below)

<VirtualHost *:443>
ServerName yourservername.com
SSLEnable
Include “/opt/IBM/HTTPServer/conf/rewrite.conf”
Header set Access-Control-Allow-Origin “*”
## set deflate
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
# Netscape 4.x has some problems…
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
# Netscape 4.06-4.08 have some more problems
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
# MSIE masquerades as Netscape, but it is fine
# BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
# NOTE: Due to a bug in mod_setenvif up to Apache 2.0.48
# the above regex won’t work. You can use the following
# workaround to get the desired effect:
BrowserMatch \bMSI[E] !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
# Don’t compress already-compressed files
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .(?:gif|jpe?g|png)$ no-gzip dont-vary
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .(?:exe|t?gz|zip|bz2|sit|rar)$ no-gzip dont-vary
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .(?:avi|mov|mp3|mp4|rm|flv|swf|mp?g)$ no-gzip dont-vary
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI .pdf$ no-gzip dont-vary
DeflateCompressionLevel 9
</IfModule>
</VirtualHost>

 

restart the HTTP server and the deflate module will be active

You can test the compression by visiting  http://www.whatsmyip.org/http_compression/ and enter a url of a Connections page

For instance I put the profiles page of a customer’s server here that mod_deflate is enabled and the compression was a massive 67.4%

Original Size: 7.27 KB
Compressed Size: 2.37 KB
Data Savings: 67.4%

So all in all if you have sites that are in bandwidth starved places – mod_deflate is worth taking a look at.

ConnCtrl bash script for IBM Connections

My good friend Mr Tim Clark asked me this morning if there was a script available for starting and stopping IBM Connections on Red Hat (RHEL) – I know lots of people do have them, but wasn’t aware of one that was available to the community.

So we wrote one ..

The script has a bunch of variables to allow you to input the path to the WebSphere deployment manager and nodes, and a place to enter the names of your Connections servers.

Please visit Tim’s blog for all the information and to download the script.

Customise the Branding of the IBM Connections Desktop Plug-in

There is a great new post from Luis Benitez on how to customise the desk top plugin for IBM Connections.

It’s possible to brand IBM Connections to your own look and feel and we are often asked if it’s possible to change plugin and now it is.

There is some documentation to be found here – we’ll be giving it a try