Lotus Notes Out of Office Agent, revisited: Part 2

Administering and troubleshooting the Out of Office agent

We conclude our two-part series on the Lotus Notes Out of Office agent with a look at Out of Office agent administration, using Out of Office features with Domino Web Access, and troubleshooting Out of Office issues.

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Julie Kadashevich, Software Engineer, EMC

Julie Kadashevich has been working as a developer on the programmability team of Domino server since 1997. Her specific area of expertise has to do with anything related to agents.


developerWorks Contributing author
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27 September 2005

Also available in Japanese

In part 1 of this article series, we reintroduced you to the Notes Out of Office agent. We presented a detailed overview of how the Out of Office agent functions, both externally and internally. In part 2, we now turn our attention to Out of Office agent configuration. We'll also discuss troubleshooting the agent. As with part 1 of this series, we assume you're familiar with using the Notes client and/or administering a Notes/Domino environment.

AdminP and the Out of Office agent

As we mentioned in Part 1 of this article, AdminP is used to enable the Out of Office agent for Editor level users. When an AdminP request is issued to configure and enable the Out of Office agent, a document for that request appears in the Admin4.nsf database (see figure 1).

Figure 1. AdminP request for the Out of Office agent
AdminP request for the Out of Office agent

When the request is processed, a response document is posted (see figure 2).

Figure 2. AdminP response document
AdminP response document

When AdminP completes configuring and enabling the Out of Office agent, the agent list shows the agent as enabled and signed by the server. How quickly AdminP enables the agent depends on the following:

  • How many threads AdminP is running
  • How many other AdminP requests are pending
  • How often AdminP processes requests on the server
  • Whether you are operating in single-server or multi-server environment

In a single-server environment, the home mail server and administration server are the same, and the enabling request is submitted to Admin4.nsf on the home mail server. The delay in the enabling is minimal. In a multi-server Domino configuration, the enable request is sent to Admin4.nsf on the home mail server, which is then replicated to the hub server based on the “administration server” setting in the ACL of Admin4.nsf. The hub server processes the request, approving or denying it. Then Admin4.nsf replicates back to the user’s home mail server with the approved or denied request. The delay in enabling depends on the replication schedule between the two servers.

In a single-server environment, the home mail server and administration server are the same, and the enabling request is submitted to Admin4.nsf on the home mail server. The delay in the enabling is minimal. In a multi-server Domino configuration, typically the AdminP request is formed on the home mail server of the user, but it is possible that:

  • The server specified in the request is not the home mail server of the user (for example, the location document has the wrong information).
  • The user does not have access to admin4.nsf.
  • The user is working in a disconnected local replica copy.

In these cases, the information is replicated to the home mail server. In the second and third cases, the information is mailed to the administration server, and then replicated.

In these special cases, the enable request is sent to Admin4.nsf on the home mail server, which is then replicated to the hub server based on the “administration server” setting in the ACL of Admin4.nsf. The hub server processes the request, approving or denying it. Then Admin4.nsf replicates back to the user’s home mail server with the approved or denied request. The delay in enabling depends on the replication schedule between the two servers.

You can force AdminP to process requests by issuing the following server commands:

tell adminp process all
tell adminp process new

When an AdminP request may fail

As noted previously, the mail file owner must have at least Author access in the ACL of Admin4.nsf. The default access on the Admin4.nsf database is Author, so unless the default was changed in your environment, no modifications are needed. The AdminP request checks to see whether or not the requestor name is the same as the mail file owner (because editors can only enable agents in their own mail files) and whether or not the agent has a valid signature before proceeding with enabling the agent.

Here is a list of possible valid signatures:

  • Lotus Notes Templates Developer/Lotus (this does not need to be listed in the Security tab; the rights are granted implicitly)
  • Server ID (this also does not need to be listed in the Security tab)
  • Any signer who has rights to sign agents that run on behalf of someone else

In addition, an AdminP request will fail if the server name in the user's location document isn't fully qualified, or is incorrect.


Compatibility with R5

Starting with Domino 5.0.8, the agent manager can recognize agents turned on by Editor level users. These agents are recognized by the agent manager and executed on Domino 5.0.8 and later servers. However, the Domino Designer 5.0.8 user interface and R5 mail template do not accommodate this new feature. Therefore, Release 5 Editor level users cannot activate agents, nor can Domino Designer 5.0.x graphically differentiate the status of agents enabled with the Notes 6.x client.

To keep track of the enabled status, we've added icons to the Agents view in Domino Designer 6:

  • A check with a number 5 next to it indicates the agent is enabled only for Release 5 servers (R5.0.7 and earlier). This icon also means the agent was disabled by an Editor level user in Notes/Domino 6. The agent will be treated as disabled by Domino 6 servers (also R5.0.8 and later), but as enabled on Domino 5 servers running R5.0.7 and earlier.
  • A check with a number 6 represents agents that run on Notes/Domino 6 (also R5.0.8 and later). This icon also means the agent was enabled by an Editor level user in Notes/Domino 6. The agent will be treated as enabled by Domino 6 servers (also R5.0.8 and later), but as disabled on Domino 5 servers running R5.0.7 and earlier.
  • The plain check without a number identifies agents enabled for both Release 5 and Notes/Domino 6. The agent was not enabled/disabled by an Editor level user and will behave the same in Release 5 and Notes/Domino 6. (See part 1 of this article series for an image of this icon.)

Enabling the Out of Office agent for someone else

As noted in part 1 of this article series, the Out of Office agent was not originally designed to support delegation. We have heard from our customers that this feature is needed, and our template team is working to address this issue. In the meantime, here are a couple workarounds for delegation:

Workaround 1. To enable any level user

To perform this workaround, you need to have the right to sign agents that run on behalf of someone else. In Domino Designer, open the mail file of the user for whom you want to enable the Out of Office agent. Select the (EditOfficeProfile) agent, and click Run from the menu. It will display the Out of Office profile, where you can specify dates of absence and edit the mail text message.

Next, open the Out of Office agent (which is listed in the agent list as OutOfOffice) and specify the name of the mail owner in the “Run on behalf of" field. Check that the server to run on is set to the user’s home mail file, and save the agent. Then enable the agent from the agent list.

When you enter the mail owner name into the "Run on behalf of" field, you need to enter the Domino abbreviated hierarchical name (for example, Rain Cloud/Lily). If you enter a name without a domain (such as Rain Cloud), you will get the following error:

mm/dd/yyyy 07:08:34 PM AMgr: Start executing agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf' by Executive '1'
mm/dd/yyyy 07:08:34 PM AMgr: 'Sandy Beech/Smallville/Acme' is
the agent signer of agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf'
mm/dd/yyyy 07:08:34 PM AMgr: 'Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in
'mail\rcloud.nsf' will run on behalf of ‘Rain Cloud’
mm/dd/yyyy 07:09:52 PM AMgr: Error executing agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf'.:
You are not authorized to perform that operation
mm/dd/yyyy 07:09:52 PM AMgr: Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
is scheduled to run next at: 07/22/2005 07:13:32 PM

Workaround 2. To enable a Designer/Manager user

If you as administrator need to enable another user’s Out of Office file, you can temporarily change the name of the mail file owner to your own name. You can do this by selecting Tools – Preferences and entering your name into the "This mail file belongs to” field. This will make the Out of Office option appear under Tools. This will allow you to enable the Out of Office for the original mail file owner. You can compose the message to include the name of the person who is away (in the subject line and/or text of the message). However, the Out of Office message will be signed using the ID of the person who enables the Out of Office agent (which in this case is you). This means the messages will be sent under your name. The server on which the Out of Office agent runs is derived from your current Location document Home/mail server setting. So, if you use a machine with a Location document that points to a server different from the user’s home mail server, you have two options to correct it. You can edit the agent in Domino Designer and change the scheduled server name, or you can temporarily change the current Location document to point to the user’s home mail server.

If you use this approach, the Welcome Back and Please Disable email messages will be sent to you (the person who enabled the agent), instead of the mail file owner where the agent was actually enabled.


The Out of Office agent in Domino Web Access

Out of Office functionality was added to Domino Web Access (DWA) in R5.0.8. Domino Web Access and the Notes client used two different agents to perform Out of Office functionality until release 6.0.2; Notes used the OutOfOffice agent and Domino Web Access used iwa_OutOfOffice. Starting with release 6.0.2, both the Notes client and Domino Web Access share the same OutOfOffice agent in the mail template. The main difference between how Notes and Domino Web Access accomplish this functionality is that Domino Web Access always uses AdminP to both enable and disable the agent, whereas Notes only uses AdminP for the initial configuration/enablement.

AdminP is always used to enable and disable the agent for Domino Web Access, so it requires the agent to be signed with an ID that has rights to sign agents to be run on behalf of someone else. If you edit the agent from Domino Designer, you will sign it with your own ID. If you don’t have the rights to sign agents that run on behalf of other users, AdminP will fail and display the message, “You are not authorized to perform this operation.” Refer to the section “Troubleshooting AdminP requests” later in this article.

In release 5.0.8, Domino Web Access users who wanted to use the Out of Office agent needed at least Designer access in the ACL of their mail files. This was because the Domino 5.x server did not have the AdminP scheduled agent enablement feature. Starting with Domino 6.0.2, Domino Web Access users only need Editor access (the default) to their mail databases.

By default, the Out of Office agent does not reply to email from the Internet. You can change this behavior on the Exceptions tab of the Out of Office configuration document by disabling this option.

If you enabled the Out of office agent using Domino Web Access, disable it using Domino Web Access. Similarly, if you enabled the agent using the Notes client, disable it using Notes. If you switch between the two clients, you may encounter problems. If you do encounter problems, restore the Out of office agent from the template. The easiest way to do this is to replace the design of your mail template. From Domino Desginer, delete the “(OutOfOffice)” agent (this ensures that you will get the original version), then select File - Database - Replace Design. Select Local for the template server name. Scroll down the list and select Domino Web Access (6). The file name iNotes6.ntf will be displayed. Click the Replace button. This is a quick operation and should take about one minute.


Troubleshooting

This section reviews some of the Out of Office agent problems handled by our support team, and offers some tips on troubleshooting these issues.

User did not receive notification of absence as expected

It is possible that the end user expects to get notifications for every message sent by each sender. However, by design the agent responds only to the first one. Ask the end user if they received any messages from the person, and if not, proceed to the following steps.

Check with the user to determine whether or not they enabled the agent using Tools -- Out of Office. In the following troubleshooting steps, we assume that they have done so but something went wrong. The first thing we need to determine is whether the agent did not run, or whether the agent ran but the messages were not sent.

The first possible cause of failure is that the agent did not get enabled. Keep in mind that the initial enablement process for an Editor level user is not instantaneous. Another possible cause of failure is the agent security configuration when the agent starts to run. A third possible issue is misconfiguration of the mail server. Finally, it is possible that the Out of Office agent was turned off due to the design update of the agent itself. We will look at how to diagnose each of these possibilities.

Is the agent enabled?
Check whether or not the agent is enabled. Figure 3 shows how the Out of Office agent appears in the agent list when enabled:

Figure 3. Out of Office agent enabled
Out of Office agent enabled

Figure 4 shows the Out of Office agent disabled:

Figure 4. Out of Office agent disabled
Out of Office agent disabled

Make a note of the name that appears in the "Last Modified By" column.

If you see that the agent is disabled and the agent owner level is Designer, check to determine whether or not the owner has the right to create LotusScript/Java agents. If they do not, the agent will not be enabled in the agent list. When Designers who do not have the right to create LotusScript agents enable the Out of Office agent, they will receive the error, “You are not authorized to perform this operation” on the status bar (see figure 5). The current status will change to Enabled and the error can be overlooked. (This is due to an error that should be corrected in an upcoming release.)

Figure 5. Not authorized error message
Not authorized error message

If a Designer level user does not have the right to create LotusScript agents, grant them that right. They should now be able to enable the agent. (Manager level users are granted this right by default, so this situation will not occur with them.)

If the mail owner has Editor access, it is normal for the Out of Office agent not to be enabled instantly. In this case, you will see a warning to this effect at the top of the Out of Office dialog (see figure 6).

Figure 6. Request in progress error message
Request in progress error message

This delay happens because the agent needs to be configured for the Editor level user, and this is done via a request to AdminP. The typical delay is from several minutes on a single-server environment, to approximately 30 minutes in a multi-server configuration (because the requests need to replicate between servers). If sufficient time has passed and the agent has not been enabled, refer to the section “Troubleshooting AdminP requests” later in this article.

If you see that the agent is disabled, signed by the Lotus Notes Template Developers/Lotus, and the modified date is more recent than when the agent was supposed to be turned on by the user, this means that the agent was disabled by the Design task as part of the update of the code of the Out of Office agent. These updates happen infrequently, but unfortunately, when they do occur, the signature of the user who enabled the agent cannot be preserved. As soon as the byte codes of the agent change, the old user signature becomes invalid. The Design task replaces the active agent in the mail database with the updated agent from the template, which has the signature of the template designer rather than the user and is disabled (since it cannot run under correct authority).

This situation was difficult to detect prior to Notes/Domino 7; the end user would notice that agents stopped performing their task but couldn’t tell why. In Notes/Domino 7, the administrator is notified using via Domino Domain Monitoring (DDM) with an event report like the one shown in figure 7, and he or she can take corrective action if necessary.

Figure 7. Event report
Event report

The DDM event report contains the name of the agent and the name of the user on whose behalf it was running. The administrator can edit the agent in Domino Designer, set the "Run on behalf of" value to the name of the user that was disabled by the update, and enable the agent. The administrator would need to have rights to sign agents on behalf of other users in the Security section of the Server document.

Did the agent attempt to run?
If the agent is enabled and you are still within the vacation period so the agent is still supposed to be active, check to see whether or not it appears in the schedule queue of the agent manager. To see the schedule queue, issue a "tell amgr schedule" command at the server console. If the agent is scheduled, you will see this line in the output:

S S 05:08 PM Today OutOfOffice|OutOfOffice
mail\etornado.nsf

This command should be issued on the home mail server of the mail file owner. If you don’t see it in the agent schedule queue, check which server the agent is scheduled to run on. We can see whether or not it attempted to run by either looking at the agent log, or looking at the server log. Keep in mind that the agent is scheduled to run every six hours by default. Checking the agent manager queue allows you to see whether or not it has been scheduled to run even before it runs for the first time.

To see the agent log, select the agent in the agent list, right-click your mouse, and select Log. If the agent ran successfully, the log will look as shown in figure 8. The time stamp will tell you when the agent ran.

Figure 8. Agent log
Agent log

Note that if you have been testing the Out of Office agent by running it on the client, it will overwrite the log generated during execution on the server. And if you modify the agent in any way, the log of the last run will be deleted. If one of these cases applies to you, you will need to examine the server log to determine whether or not the agent ran or had any errors during that run. If the agent did not run, you will see a message that says, “The agent has never been run before." This means it has not run since it was modified (enabled).

To determine whether or not the agent has run in the server log, examine the server log and search for the name of the mail database of the user who has the problem.

To see information about agent runs, you need to turn on agent manager logging. There are two Notes.ini options for agent logging: LOG_AGENTMANAGER=1 provides minimal logging, and AMGR_DEBUG=* provides verbose logging. If the agent is enabled successfully, you will see the following output on the server console (this output is generated with the Notes.ini variable LOG_AGENTMANAGER=1):

For an Editor level user:

mm/dd/yyyy 04:35:36 PM AMgr:
Start executing agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\etornado.nsf' by Executive '1'
mm/dd/yyyy 04:35:36 PM AMgr: 'Fisheye/Lily' is the agent signer of agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\etornado.nsf'
mm/dd/yyyy 04:35:36 PM AMgr: 'Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in
'mail\etornado.nsf' will run on behalf of 'Emily Tornado/Lily'

Note that the agent signer is the server (Fisheye/Lily) and the agent runs on behalf of the Editor level mail owner (“Emily Tornado/Lily”). This is the result of AdminP configuring and enabling the agent.

For a Designer/Manager level user:

mm/dd/yyyy 04:45:36 PM AMgr: Start executing agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf' by Executive '1'
mm/dd/yyyy 04:45:36 PM AMgr: 'Rain Cloud/Lily' is the agent signer
of agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf'
mm/dd/yyyy 04:45:36 PM AMgr: 'Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in
'mail\rcloud.nsf' will run on behalf of 'Rain Cloud/Lily

Note that the mail owner is the agent signer, as well as the "on behalf of" value (Rain Cloud/Lily), because the mail owner directly enabled the agent.

The following is an example of a successful run (for a Designer/Manager level user) using the AMGR_DEBUG=* Notes.ini variable. It displays information not only about the agent start, its signer, and on whose behalf the agent is running; but also information about script library signers, as well as the length of the agent run (in ticks) along with the scheduled time of the next run:

mm/dd/yyyy 03:07:41 PM
AMgr: Start executing agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf' by Executive '1'
mm/dd/yyyy 03:07:41 PM AMgr: 'Rain Cloud/Lily' is the agent signer
of agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf'
mm/dd/yyyy 03:07:41 PM AMgr: 'Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in
'mail\rcloud.nsf' will run on behalf of 'Rain Cloud/Lily'
Agent 'OutOfOffice|OutOfOffice' calling script library 'Common':
Agent signer 'CN=Rain Cloud/O=Lily', Script library signer
'CN=Lotus Notes Template Development/O=Lotus Notes'
Agent 'OutOfOffice|OutOfOffice' calling script library 'TIMEUtilities':
Agent signer 'CN=Rain Cloud/O=Lily', Script library signer
'CN=Lotus Notes Template Development/O=Lotus Notes'
mm/dd/yyyy 03:08:39 PM AMgr: Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in
'mail\rcloud.nsf' ran successfully; elapsed time was '25' ticks
mm/dd/yyyy 03:08:39 PM AMgr: Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
is scheduled to run next at: 07/19/2005 09:05:39 PM

If the agent started running, but failed with an error that mentions security rights, there was a problem with the rights of the agent signer. There are two possible errors; the error depends on the ACL level of the mail owner.

No permission to run LotusScript agents. The following error occurs when the agent failed to run because the mail owner with Designer/Manager rights did not have permission to run LotusScript agents in the Server document:

mm/dd/yyyy 06:03:51 PM
AMgr: Start executing agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf' by Executive '1'
mm/dd/yyyy 06:03:51 PM AMgr: 'Rain Cloud/Lily' is the
agent signer of agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\rcloud.nsf'
mm/dd/yyyy 06:03:51 PM AMgr: 'Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
in 'mail\rcloud.nsf' will run on behalf of 'Rain Cloud/Lily'
mm/dd/yyyy 06:04:50 PM AMgr: Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
in 'mail\rcloud.nsf' does not have proper execution access,
cannot be run
mm/dd/yyyy 06:04:50 PM AMgr: Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
is scheduled to run next at: 07/20/2005 06:08:50 PM

No permission to sign agents that run on behalf of someone else. The following error occurs when the administrator, who manually configured the agent for an Editor level user, does not have rights to sign agents that run on behalf of someone else.

mm/dd/yyyy 05:59:32 PM
AMgr: Start executing agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in 'mail\etornado.nsf' by Executive '1'
mm/dd/yyyy 05:59:32 PM AMgr: 'Rain Cloud/Lily' is the
agent signer of agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
in 'mail\etornado.nsf'
mm/dd/yyyy 05:59:32 PM AMgr: 'Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
in 'mail\etornado.nsf' will run on behalf of 'Emily Tornado/Lily'
mm/dd/yyyy 05:59:32 PM Agent Manager: Agent
'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice': Users without rights to sign 'On Behalf'
agents ('Rain Cloud/Lily') can only run agents
on their own behalf.
mm/dd/yyyy 06:00:31 PM AMgr: Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice' in
'mail\etornado.nsf' does not have proper execution access,
cannot be run
mm/dd/yyyy 06:00:31 PM AMgr: Agent 'OutOfOffice OutOfOffice'
is scheduled to run next at: 07/21/2005 06:04:31 PM

Both "permission" errors can be corrected by granting the agent signer rights in the Programmability Restrictions section in the Security tab of the Domino Directory Server document (see figure 9). Designers and Managers need, at a minimum, the right to run restricted LotusScript/Java agents. Administrators who set up the agent manually need, at a minimum, the right to sign agents than run on behalf of someone else. The Lotus Notes Template Developers/Lotus group, as well as the server ID, have the implicit right to sign agents than run on behalf of someone else, and therefore do not need to be explicitly listed.

Figure 9. Programmability Restrictions fields
Programmability Restrictions fields

For all levels of users, if you do not locate the output produced by the agent run, check whether or not you have one of the agent manager Notes.ini variables turned on. If you do, check the server the agent is scheduled to run on. Perhaps the agent is scheduled to run on another server.

For Editor level users, if you do not locate the output produced by the agent run, check whether or not the "Allow user activation" field is enabled, and whether or not the user's name appears in the "run on behalf of" field. If sufficient time has passed and those values are not set, the AdminP request did not complete successfully. See the discussion later in this article about Troubleshooting AdminP requests.

Was mail sent?
If the agent started running, but did not send mail, check for the following server console errors indicating a problem in mailing:

  • Unable to find path to server
  • Server Not Responding
  • ...remote server is not a known TCPIP host

These errors are usually caused by server configuration errors. Check the following fields in the Server document to make sure they are correct:

  • ServerName is located on the Basics tab, and should contain the abbreviated hierarchical name of the server.
  • MailServer is located on the Basics tab. If this entry is incorrect, the error typically returned is "Server Not Responding." This might happen if the server name has been changed and this entry has not been updated. The entry should contain the server's abbreviated hierarchical name, for example, Fisheye/Lily.
  • NetAddress is located on Notes Network Ports tab, in the Ports section. This field should contain a fully qualified Internet host name, an internal IP address, or the Domino server Short Name. The TCPIP port setting's Network Address entry within the Server document should be checked for accuracy against the hosts file or DNS. The correct syntax to use in the Network Address field should be the server's fully qualified domain name, for example, fisheye.lily.com.

Another troubleshooting technique is to simplify the problem and to test sending a message from an agent simpler than the Out of Office agent. Use the following LotusScript code to create an agent that simply sends a message. If the message is not sent, this confirms that the problem is with the server configuration, not the Out of Office agent:

Dim session As New NotesSession
Dim db As NotesDatabase
Dim doc As NotesDocument
Set db = session.CurrentDatabase
Set doc = New NotesDocument( db )
doc.Form = "Memo"
doc.SendTo = "your name /your org"
doc.Subject = "Testing mail"
Call doc.Send( False )

Users receive multiple acknowledgements for the same message

If the user complains about receiving too many out of office acknowledgements, it typically indicates that the Out of Office agent is running on more than one server. Selecting “-Any Server-“ instead of the specific server name in the Out of Office agent configuration will cause the agent to run on all servers where there is a replica of your mail file. (Depending on the logic of your agent, running the same agent on multiple servers may cause replication conflicts.)

If you changed the trigger to "After new mail arrives" by default, the agent will only run on your home mail server. If the AMgr_DisableMailLookup Notes.ini variable is not set, and if the "new mail" agent is set to run on a non-home mail server, the agent will not run. In R4.62 and later, the following runtime error will be generated: "AMgr: Agent 'agent' will not run. It is intended to run on 'servername,'" where servername is the name of your home mail server.

The Out of Office agent does not prohibit the user from specifying dates in the past. This may cause extra messages to be generated. Check the dates specified in the Out of Office profile.

Users receive multiple reminders to turn off the agent

After disabling the Out of Office Agent upon returning to the office, a user might continue to receive a reminder to disable the Out of Office agent. The most common cause of this problem is the existence of another replica or copy of the mail file that still has the Out of Office agent enabled. A good way to troubleshoot this is to look at the document properties of the message, to determine which server actually sent the message (assuming that you have multiple servers in your domain). Then, after you know which server sent the message, you can issue a "tell amgr sched" command to the server console, to determine which agents on the server are currently enabled. Don’t forget that the agent can also be enabled in the local mail file, which will not show up in the server "tell amgr schedule" command.

Problems with Out of Office agent after the user is renamed

The Out of Office agent stores configuration information in a Profile document in the user’s mail file. When the user changes his or her name, AdminP changes the mail file owner field. It does not, however, change the Profile document that contains configuration information about the Out of Office agent. To fix this problem, the Out of Office Profile document can be removed:

Sub Initialize
	Dim session As notessession
	Dim uiws As New notesuiworkspace
	Dim m_officeprofile As notesdocument
	Dim nSuccess As Integer
	
	Set session = New notessession
	Set m_officeprofile = 
	   session.CurrentDatabase.GetProfileDocument
	   ("OutOfOfficeProfile")
	m_officeprofile.Remove(True)
	
End Sub

Field or paragraph is more than 32K

A Profile document is used to record the names of the users to whom the agent responded. It is unlikely, but possible, that the number of recorded names has grown too big during agent execution. In this case, the user will receive an error message “Field or paragraph is more than 32K” when they enable or disable the agent. Deleting the Profile document should resolve this issue.

Editor level users and local replicas

Enabling the Out of Office agent in a local replica was not recommended in R5. In Release 6, this option is supported. The status of the agent is enabled on the local replica; the server is set to the home mail server and this information is replicated to the server where the agent operates. In versions prior to Notes/Domino 6.0.5/6.5.4, this worked well for Designer and Manager access users, but the Editor level user status change did not replicate to the server. This problem has been corrected in Notes/Domino 6.0.5/6.5.4. (Notes/Domino 6.0.5/6.5.4 became available in early 2005.)

Questions to consider while troubleshooting

We finish the troubleshooting section with a series of questions to ask when a user reports a problem:

  • Is the Out of Office agent not working for just one person, or for everyone? If it is not working for everyone, it is more likely to be a mail configuration issue. Also, make sure that the agent manager and AdminP tasks are running.
  • Is the agent signed by an ID other than Notes Template Developers? If it is signed by another ID, this means some operations have been performed to change the agent. Is it a signature that you expected? (Server for Editor level users, mail owner for Designer/Manager users). If not, check the access level of the signer.
  • If the agent is supposed to be running now, is the agent in the agent manager schedule queue?
  • Is the debug level set to Log_AgentManager = 1?
  • Are there any errors on the server console?
  • If the user has Editor access, are there requests issued on the user’s behalf in the AdminP task?
  • Is the agent scheduled to run on the right server?
  • Has the user been recently renamed?
  • Did the user’s ACL recently change? If the user's access used to be a Designer and then was changed to Editor, the Out of Office agent may be signed by an ID that causes AdminP to fail.

Conclusion

The Out of Office agent is the most widely used agent in Notes. In the vast majority of situations, the Out of Office agent works perfectly. But when things go wrong, the administrator hears about it loud and clear! We hope this article series has made it easier for you to handle the problems by understanding what is happening with the agent "under the hood."


Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank the Lotus support team, and especially Amy Knox, for compiling issues and experiences our customers have encountered with the Out of Office agent. The support knowledge base, along with the posts in the Notes/Domino forums on developerWorks: Lotus, helped the author cover many of the issues discussed in this article.

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