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Compatibility Mode improvements in IBM Notes 9.0.1 Feature Pack 9

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Modern email clients, including Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and IBM Notes, support repeating meetings. A user creates a repeating meeting when he wishes the meeting to recur at set intervals.

IBM Notes supports two kinds of repeating meetings.

  • Regular repeating meetings repeat daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly.
  • Custom repeating meetings repeat on any dates the user selects.

Calendaring systems in the different email clients use iCal to exchange their Calendar information. iCal (or iCalendar) is a standard (RFC 2445) that is used to transmit calendar related information over SMTP / Internet.

When a Notes user sends a repeating meeting invitation to another email client, such as Outlook, the invitation should be formatted correctly for the receiving client, so the invitee can take actions like Accept or Decline on the meeting and its separate instances. Similarly, a meeting received by Notes should be correctly formatted and allow the Notes invitee to act on it seamlessly.

However, compatibility between different email clients with respect to repeating meetings is not very smooth. This hinders interoperability between Notes and other mail applications.

To improve interoperability between Notes and other clients, Lotus Notes 8.5 introduced Compatibility Mode. Compatibility Mode ensured that meetings and updates sent by Notes meeting chairs include complete meeting data, and that Notes invitees receive complete data from other email clients.

As a chair, a Notes user may wish to reschedule, update, or cancel a repeating meeting that includes non-Notes user invitees. Similarly, a Notes user invited to a repeating meeting by a non-Notes chair may want to decline, delegate, or propose a different time for a repeating meeting. In either case, with Compatibility Mode set, the Notes user cannot update more than one instance at a time. In the Change Repeat dialog box, only the “Just this Instance” option is enabled.

Although Compatibility Mode enabled exchange of meeting invitations between Notes and external mail clients, it still it wasn’t very smooth. The experience differed from meeting exchanges between Notes users, and wasn’t user-friendly. Customers wanted more.

Feature Pack 9 improves the way Compatibility Mode works. Notes users can now update one, multiple, or all instances of a repeating meeting involving non-Notes users, with one action.

  • Notes meeting chairs can reschedule, update, and cancel multiple instances.
  • Notes invitees can decline, delete, and counter multiple instances of meeting invitations received from a non-Notes user.

Before Feature Pack 9, a Notes user creating a repeating meeting with a non-Notes invitee encountered a dialog box warning of action limitations. With Feature Pack 9, that warning no longer appears.

With Feature Pack 9, if a Notes user wants to reschedule or cancel a meeting with a non-Notes invitee, all the options on the Change Repeating Entry are enabled.

Change Repeating Entry dialog with all options enabled

Change Repeating Entry dialog with all options enabled

This improvement also means that users with and without Compatibility Mode enabled have similar experiences, whether they are meeting chairs or invitees.

New behavior for Notes users

The tables below summarize the new behavior Notes users see with the Compatibility Mode enhancements.

When a Notes chair sends… Notes invitees receive…External invitees receive…
a reschedule of multiple instances of a repeating meetinga single notice with the reschedule details for all instancesa separate notice for each rescheduled instance
a cancellation of multiple instances of a repeating meetinga single notice with the cancellation details for all instances
  • for All Instances, a single notice with the cancellation details for all instances
  • for This and Future and This and Past, separate notices for each instance
When a Notes invitee or delegate… Notes chairs receive…External chairs receive…
sends a counter proposal for multiple instances of a repeating meetinga single notice with the counter proposal details for all instancesa separate counter proposal notice for each meeting instance
declines multiple instances of a repeating meetinga single notice with the decline update
  • for All Instances, a single notice with the cancellation details for all instances
  • for This and Future and This and Past, separate notices for each instance
deletes multiple instances of a repeating meetinga single notice with the decline update
  • for All Instances, a single notice with the cancellation details for all instances
  • for This and Future and This and Past, separate notices for each instance

Custom repeating meetings and weekend rules

Custom repeating meetings and Weekend rules are the exception to the compatibility mode enhancement. These scheduling facilities are not well understood by other email clients, so compatibility mode functions as it did before Feature Pack 9. If the user selects either of these options while creating the meeting, the old compatibility mode logic is enabled and the earlier restrictions apply.

This table summarizes Feature Pack 9 behavior with custom repeating meetings and weekend rules.

Notes chair…Notes…
creates a 5 date custom repeating meeting with a non-Notes invitee
  • displays the non-Notes invitee in a notification dialog
  • blocks the Chair from sending the invitation because it involves a custom repeat set
creates a simple 10 date repeating meeting with a non-Notes invitee and specifies some weekend exceptions
  • displays the non-Notes invitee in a notification dialog
  • blocks the Chair from sending the invitation because it involves a custom repeat set
updates a simple 10 date repeating meeting with Notes invitees by adding a non-Notes invitee
  • displays no notification for the added non-Notes invitee
  • generates a repeating meeting invitation which is sent normally
reschedules an instance of a 5 date custom repeating meeting with Notes invitees, adding some non-Notes inviteesdisplays no notification for added non-Notes. Allows the Chair to select any repeat option value

New behavior for external client users

The behavior for an external client user also changes. If a Notes user re-schedules a repeating meeting, the external invitee receives separate notifications for each meeting instance. If the Notes user reschedules a 5-day repeating meeting, the external invitee receives 5 reschedule notices. The external user must accept each individually. The same behavior applies to updates and confirmations.

Similarly, if a Notes invitee counters multiple instances of a meeting sent by an external user, the non-Notes chair receives multiple counter notices, and must act on each separately.

For cancellations and declines, the behavior is a little different. Whether they are for single or multiple meeting instances, the external user receives a single notice. When the external user applies the notification, all relevant dates are updated in the external client calendar.

Disabling the changes

The two ini variable settings below allow Notes users to revert to the old Compatibility Mode behavior for meeting chairs and invitees respectively.

  • CSDisableChairCompatOverride=1
  • CSDisableInviteeCompatOverride=1

Conclusion

These new changes in compatibility mode promise to be a great enhancement, enabling much smoother interoperability between Notes and other email applications.

Requirements

  • Notes client: 9.0.1 Feature Pack 9
  • Template version: 9.0.1 Feature Pack 9
  • Server: 9.0.1 Feature Pack 9

Downloadable resources


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ArticleTitle=Compatibility Mode improvements in IBM Notes 9.0.1 Feature Pack 9
publish-date=09052017