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Deploying a customized Discover page in IBM Notes 9.0.x

Thomas Hampel
 17 March 2016

Vlad Tatarincevs already described how to customize the Discover page in the Notes Client.
In his guide he is assuming that all Notes clients are installed in exactly in the same path. While this might be the case for small deployments, its often not the case for enterprise deployments.

What is this Discovery page based on?

When starting the Notes client for the first time, it creates a text file in the Notes Data directory called "populatedTemplate.txt"
This file is used as a reference for computing the Notes Discovery page which is stored in a file called "populatedHTML.htm" in the same directory.

Both files are nothing else than a HTML page which you can customize according to your needs, but since the file populatedHTML.html is overwritten every once in a while, you should not modify this file directly.
Instead apply your modifications to the "populatedTemplate.txt"

Example Customization

In my example the following customizations have been done:
Image:Deploying a customized Discover page in IBM Notes 9.0.x
This file unfortunately contains hardcoded file and path references to the Notes program directory which are unique to the current computer.
In order to deploy a customized discover page in an enterprise environment you'll need to replace the path with the correct path on every single workstation. .

Once you've done your customizations you'll need to replace hardcoded path references with a placeholder which can be updated with computer specific path information when rolling out your new discover page to end user workstations. To do this we will be using a small VBS script that will read the Notes program directory from the Windows registry (sorry, no Mac / Linux support in this example) and updates the placeholder used above with the correct path reference before copying the file into the Notes data directory.

So this is what you have to do:

1.) put your customized "populatedTemplate.txt" into a new directory, and rename the file to "DiscoveryTemplate.txt" - this file name is used in the VBS script
2.) search "DiscoveryTemplate.txt" for the path of your Notes program directory and replace it with the placeholder. In my case I'm using "@NOTESPROGRAMDIR@" which is used in the script later on.
3.) put the following VBS script into the same directory
InstallDiscoverPage.zip

Running the script will overwrite any current "populatedTemplate.txt" in the Notes data directory with the DiscoveryTemplate that contains your customizations.
To display the updated Discover page you need to close and reopen it in the Notes client, or just restart your Notes client once.

You can manually open the Discover page from within the "Open" menu
Image:Deploying a customized Discover page in IBM Notes 9.0.x
where the second item from the bottom is your customized Discover page.
Image:Deploying a customized Discover page in IBM Notes 9.0.x

Remarks
  • Upgrading the Notes client to a future version will most likely overwrite the file "populatedTemplate.txt", so all your customizations will be lost.
  • Yes, it would be possible to deploy a custom discovery page from within the Notes client, but in my experience most enterprise environments have some sort of software distribution method for rolling out patches.

PS: Thanks to Bjoern Wolfgardt for providing a few hints and Marc for testing.
Tagged with: Code Notes
Comments

1.) Untitled

Christian http:// 17.03.2016 14:31:01

"Install-DiscoveryPage.zip" is invalid !!!!

2.) Untitled

Kai Schleifer http:// 17.03.2016 15:40:13

Hi Thomas. We use a MarvelClient filedrop job with an OS condition (32 or 64bit). The user assignment is done via a dynamic group build on department or company basis. Works brilliant. Happy costumer! :)

3.) Untitled

Thomas Hampel www.thomashampel.com 17.03.2016 16:07:35

Attachment link has been updated

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