Notes Tone Unturned
(formerly Asia/Pacific Computer Services, closed down at the end of
2013). This is now the PERSONAL website of Tony Austin,
not a business site.
Do not contact me offering to provide business-related services, such
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NotesTrackerTM Measure the Usage and Success of your Lotus Notes
and Domino Applications
For ALL organization types, ANY Notes/Domino environment,
and ALL sorts of database applications
Everything you wanted to find out about Notes database document usage.
NOTICE - This page is now archived, in read-only state
The original company that
established this website (Asia/Pacific Computer Services) has
been closed, shut down, no longer conducting business, ceased
operating due to my retirement.
As a result, starting mid-September 2014 most of the site's original pages have been taken offline.
These web pages ar no longer being maintained.
However, if you are seeking to view the old content of these web pages,
you should be able to find a copy of the original web pages at
the Internet Archive
(a.k.a. the "Wayback Machine"),
These archived pages are in read-only form. The pages were saved by the Internet Archive organization
during one of its regular web crawls, and I have absolutely no control over the archived pages.
Therefore it is pointless contacting me to ask for any amendments to the archived pages,
such as adding or deleting links yo your own web sites.
For historical purposes, below is the original content of this page
about NotesTracker ...
WHAT IT IS
NotesTracker is a universal application enabler for
IBM Lotus Notes database usage tracking, compliance and effectiveness monitoring.
It is universal because it works on local computer databases
accessed offline (in disconnected mode) via a Lotus Notes
client, as well as on remote databases on your Lotus Domino servers
(whether the latter are accessed by Notes clients or over the
Internet by Web browsers).
records generic usage tracking data in an easily-understood universal fashion,
for any platform that supports IBM Lotus Notes
and Domino -- Windows. Macintosh, UNIX/Linux, i5/OS (OS/400), z/OS.
It is an application enabler
because it is a developer toolkit (SDK)
for readily adapting
your applications to meet
your specific usage tracking and monitoring needs.
NotesTracker operates in a completely standard Lotus Notes/Domino environment,
there's no need to
install plug-ins or learn special new skills.
NotesTracker's focus is to profile the application
usage of your IBM Lotus Notes databases, in
a unique and consistent way across both Notes and Web environments,
providing a common reporting mechanism via up-to-the-minute Lotus
WHO SHOULD USE IT
NotesTracker can benefit virtually anyone in your organization who has
an interest in some sort of user activity tracking and reporting of Lotus Notes and Domino applications.
Executive sponsors who are keen to ensure
that their organization's Notes applications are being used effectively.
IT management who are concerned with the best deployment and efficient operation of the
Security consultants or auditors who need to carry out
in-depth investigations of database activity. Detect and prove
eavesdropping, data tampering or outright deletion.
Notes/Domino developers and administrators, seeking technical database
usage information otherwise hard or impossible to obtain (such as view
Compliance analysts who need to know when and how a particular
database's content was generated, viewed, modified and deleted ...
both a broad and a very detailed level.
Help Desk staff, who can use NotesTracker reports to determine
where users are having any difficulties with your applications
(such as when a particular document was deleted, and by whom).
Smart Business Leaders Support Log Management --
to quote Realtime Publishers series "IT Compliance in Realtime" (April 2008, Volume 1, Number 2):
"To comply with a multitude of current laws, regulations, and standards, virtually all organizations
must generate logs of some type, consistently follow documented procedures to review and analyze the logs,
react to anomalies, and retain the logs appropriately.
The log data should be regularly reviewed and analyzed
not only to meet compliance requirements but also to enhance overall information security, privacy,
and availability for the business. Consistent, regular log review and analysis will reveal many types
of activities that could be negatively impacting business, such as policy violations, errors
in application processing, operational problems, fraud, and security incidents, just to name a few." ...
NotesTracker can provide such detailed logging of the application usage of your Lotus Notes databases.
ABOUT VARIOUS TYPES OF NOTES AND DOMINO METRICS:
Just as there are "Lies,
Damned Lies, and Statistics" there are different types of "usage
statistics" or "usage metrics" for a platform such as IBM
Lotus Notes/Domino. There are native Domino server statistics that give you a overall picture
of database usage parameters: total uses, total reads and total writes
for the previous day, week and month.
However these basic statistics have a distinctly technical emphasis, aimed mainly at assessing Domino server performance (disk, CPU, memory, etc)
and network traffic loads (for document replication, e-mail transmission, etc).
See also: Do Metrics Matter?
And on the Internet side of Domino, there's the Domino HTTP Web Server log (the DomLog.NSF database)
which gives you extremely detailed information about Web events such as page "hits" on your
Domino databases. However this Web server log stores vast masses of information that are of little interest
to most people (such as the names of each and every graphics file sent out to Web browsers).
This Domino log database can be very daunting to sift through to work out general application usage patterns.
Useful as they are, the above metrics are of very little use for giving you a deep understanding what's happening
in your Notes/Domino databases at the application level -- individual documents, fields and
views. Furthermore, all the other tools report on web browser accesses but DO NOT REPORT ON NOTES CLIENT ACCESSES.
(The Lotus Notes Client is still widely used, and offers the most feature-rich way to interact with your database applications.)
NotesTracker was specifically designed to track usage via BOTH web browser and Notes Client, and to report on usage
for both environments in a consistent, easily understandable way
(no incomprehensible technical data), via a common set of
up-to-the-minute Notes views.
NotesTracker is aimed specifically at the APPLICATION LEVEL -- the tracking of document accesses
and optionally the tracking of view usage (by tracking view switching in the Notes Client interface).
It's the Notes documents that hold the database content, and it's the usefulness and popularity of the DOCUMENT CONTENT
that is at the very heart of successful applications.
it's the content that is most meaningful in terms of tracking application usage.
As the saying goes: Content is King!
So, because it's the content that is a measure of the business
value of each of your databases, NotesTracker is squarely focused on measuring
DATABASE CONTENT USAGE -- rather than on technical metrics like network traffic load, or server CPU and disk utilization
(which, while being important, are of interest primarily to IT
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Design elements in Lotus Notes databases are
sometimes referred to as "notes" or "design notes" and it is certain of
these types of design notes (documents, the fields in documents, and
views) that are tracked -- hence the concept of "notes tracker" or
"Notes document usage tracker"-- leading to the product name "NotesTracker".
NotesTracker is a developer toolkit, carefully constructed so that you need only make a
relatively few simple changes to a database's
design for the database to be fully trackable. Your Notes developer
can make the
changes in a standardized, easily repeatable way that typically requires only minutes
(not hours) per database.
These changes enable tracking of individual Notes document usage --
including universal or "generic" tracking of changes to database fields
-- as well as other important application events such as document deletions,
pasting or mail-in of documents, and even the tracking of view opens
(for the Notes Client environment).
You can examine the simple, clear NotesTracker usage views at any time and easily see what's going on inside your databases,
for such things as:
You can examine NotesTracker's simple and clear
Usage Log views at any time and discover what's going on inside your databases:
Comprehensive document history trails
(sometimes referred to as "breadcrumbs") - See who Creates, Reads, Updates, and
Deletes individual Notes documents, as well as document pastes and mail-ins. ...
Great for troubleshooting, and for finding the guilty ones
who entered bad data or deleted key documents!
All the active users of your Notes databases, arranged to show the significant users or
"the makers" -- those who contribute to your databases by adding/updating
content, versus "the takers" who consume content but don't develop and maintain it.
At least one user of NotesTracker has used this to reward their knowledge contributors.
Field audit trails -
Determine who made what changes to individual field values in each document.
(One user purchased NotesTracker for this unique capability alone, to gain insights into and control
over changes in just one critical database.)
What sort of document content
is most popular, or "hottest". (You will see the percentage usage of each document in a database.)
Which documents have low usage rates, and thus are good candidates to archive or purge.
Notes view opens - determine the
frequently used views that may be worth streamlining, or the infrequently used views
that are candidates for removal, potentially reducing much server load (CPU, memory and disk).
One user purchased NotesTracker for this alone!
When and where it happened - the date, time and server for each "hit."
Identify usage patterns and trends -- over a period of hours, days, weeks, months or years.
Detailed navigation patterns
- How and when each user shifts from document to document, and database to database.
Which specific document actions are contributing most to Domino server loading.
Breaking News --
a filtered view (for just one database, or a composite view spanning a set of databases) that
displays the latest documents, great for generating RSS newsfeeds..
"special" documents -- certain documents in a database that you
designate as being particularly interesting and/or important for some reason.
Alerts -- get notified via e-mail as soon as documents are updated, deleted,
and so on (even when certain fields that you select are updated), or as
soon as a "special" document is used.
Track "generic" events - button clicks and
other application actions that are of interest.
Track only individual users of a particular database (or
omit individuals), if so desired.
Click the button to view
NOTESTRACKER OFFERS INFORMATION SUPERIORITY There's no need to wait for batch reports to be scheduled and run. NotesTracker presents usage
information as soon as it is logged, in the form of regular Notes views,
and without the need for special reporting tools. The normal replication cycle between NotesTracker
Log databases on your servers will provide -- without the need for any
complicated collation procedures -- a timely global or composite
picture of database usage around your entire network, The provided NotesTracker views "slice and dice" the usage
metrics in many interesting and useful ways (and it's a simple matter for you to
modify and fine-tune these views, or add extra views, to meet your exact usage reporting needs).
Read the article by Shaku Atre:
Why are Operational Business Intelligence Applications so Important?
To quote: "Essentially, business intelligence is business success realized through rapid and easy access to actionable information."
-- NotesTracker is an OBI enabler, since it provides you with up-to-the-minute details
about the the usage of your Notes/Domino database applications.
NotesTracker you can at last start measuring and analyzing the
BUSINESS VALUE of your databases, in as much detail as you like.
And NotesTracker can provide significant TECHNICAL VALUE too.
Your IT department
can get what are otherwise unobtainable document usage metrics and thus have a firm basis
to analyse the effectiveness of database design, to plan more informed design enhancements,
and to better monitor database operation. Not only that, NotesTracker also can track
your Mail or other database usage for security and privacy compliance.
DO IT YOURSELF, OR INVEST IN NOTESTRACKER?
NotesTracker was initially developed to meet several of our clients' rather specific
knowledge management requirements, and then was improved and broadened
in scope over more than six years of research, testing and customer feedback.
If you are prepared to allocate funds and divert precious man-months of development time to the task,
you might develop something similar to NotesTracker.
Certainly, there are some "free" tools and coding techniques around
on web sites here and there that
give you some bits and pieces of what NotesTracker delivers. But with these
other techniques you're
on your own and have to do all the work required to put together
(hopefully) a practical solution -- so are they really free, and is
it worth the risk?. Why "reinvent the wheel"? And anyhow, your
home-built solution is highly unlikely to be as robust, comprehensive
and adaptable as NotesTracker, unless you are prepared to spend all those man-months
on design, development, testing, refining and careful documentation
that we have spent in order to come up with our "tried and tested"
Try clicking the safe link >
< to send us a request via e-mail. If you don't see a link, then please
check your browser settings
"active content" browser warning messages.
Note: it is quite possible that the above
e-mail link will fail for various reasons (including delivery problems
arising from spam filtering, or your Notes Mail client not responding
replying to all incoming NotesTracker-related mail usually within 24
If you do not get a response from us after a day or two, then
please send us an e-mail requesting evaluation
registration assistance: evaluation @ asiapac . com . au (without the intervening spaces)
Otherwise, contact our office by telephone: +61 3 9888 7772
or mobile phone: +61 414 88 7771
and we will call you back as soon as possible.
... Username: notestracker
(click on this button to make a free call, if you have Skype
We'll send you a personalized e-mail reply with full evaluation details.
Please allow for any time zone difference (we're in Melbourne,
Click the button to see NotesTracker pricing ...
NOTE: you should click here
to view in advance the NotesTracker Terms & Conditions since it is assumed
that you understand and accept them prior to evaluating or using NotesTracker.
Chat with us via Skype, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or ICQ to discuss NotesTracker.
Our user name for all of these services is:
notestracker (It is advisable to send us an e-mail in
advance to arrange a suitable date and time for such Instant Messaging.)
WHERE TO USE NOTESTRACKER
The only limit to where you might apply NotesTracker is your ingenuity and imagination ...
NotesTracker can be applied to virtually ANY sort of Notes document
tracking, monitoring or auditing situation, and can meet diverse needs.
NotesTracker will be of interest to IT staff and application users or sponsors alike.
NotesTracker deliberately uses native LotusScript and @Formula languages
only, which work on any operating system platform supporting
Notes/Domino without requiring any tricky plug-in installation on either
server or client sides. This means that you do have to make some design
changes to your database designs, but they have been carefully crafted
to be as easy as possible to incorporate.
Some will see the need to modify database
designs as a drawback, and honestly we do understand that. On the
other hand, our approach offers tracking capabilities that other
methodologies cannot provide.
Importantly, NotesTracker Version 5.0 introduced tools that automate
many of the steps involved in the design change process
Anyhow, the 80/20 rule (the Pareto Principle) applies. You almost
certainly do not have to implement
NotesTracker in every single one of your databases. You will easily identify
a small number of your
databases that offer most payback, and use NotesTracker just for
them. And it's not a case of "all or
nothing" -- for many of your databases, usage tracking will make
little sense and have no value.
And you can roll out NotesTracker in stages -- one
database or set of databases at a time -- starting with
those applications that have critical tracking needs and/or the greatest
Examples of Ways People can use NotesTracker
NotesTracker is valuable to anybody involved with any
sort of Lotus Notes application: executive sponsors, marketing managers,
knowledge and content managers, Domino administrators, Notes developers, Help
Desk managers/staff, consultants, auditors, end users, and more.
Here are just a few ways that you might use and benefit from NotesTracker:
Content Management and Content Popularity tracking - find out who has accessed a specific Notes document (such as a new
product announcement letter, or a new HR Policy, or
which posts in the company's weblog database are most
Knowledge Management - determine, and maybe reward, the key knowledge
contributors (document creators/updaters).
Developer support - "Which forms/views are heavily used, and so worth
streamlining?" or "Which views are rarely used, and so safe to remove?"
Domino administrator support - "Who updated that Server document,
and what field changes did they make critical to security or performance?
Who deleted that Group document? Who changed that person's Internet
Desk application support issues -
"Who deleted my travel request?" or "Who changed my customer's billing address?"
or "Who reduced my expense claim amount?"
Workflow tracking and problem solving - investigate a user's usage trail
within a given database application.
Learn how your people work - which databases they use and
the order in which they perform their activities.
Boost your applications - new
capabilities introduced with NotesTracker version 5 enable your
applications to be enhanced with generic capabilities, such as reacting
to a certain button being clicked (like the Mail Send button). See the
NotesTracker guide for details.
Dynamic News Feeds - display the latest documents on your Notes Client or Domino Web
site's portal page. This is a good way to generate
Security Auditing and Tamper Detection - detect suspicious usage patterns, undesirable accesses,
intrusions, privacy violations, and tampering with database content.
A good example is the monitoring of Notes Mail databases for illegal or misleading activity
(such as reading another person's mail without permission, or changing a
sent mail message then falsely claiming its contents to be original).
whether your databases (and the individual documents within them)
contain sought-after content, and are being used
effectively or in the way that you anticipated. Follow the usage of "hot" documents to see how
they're being accessed, from the time of creation until usage eventually
declines. Discover what sort of database content your users like, and
perhaps what they don't
like! This enables you to remove the guesswork and to plan changes to
database content or design in a scientific manner.
Only by identifying the
best knowledge in documents and databases can
you make informed decisions -- about whether and how you
improve database content, structure, function, usability,
deployment, distribution, support, documentation, user training. NotesTracker
can give you
a firm scientific basis to determine the sort of information
that is most useful to your various target
audiences, when individual documents are "stale" and need to be freshened up, and much more.
Use our proven methodology to rapidly deliver a low-risk metrics solution.
Successful implementations by a number of prestigious international corporate
organizations have highlighted interesting document usage patterns, and
also some quite unexpected ones. Knowledge managers, content
creators and general management get great value out of the range of dynamic
reports (which come in the form of Notes views). End users are
delighted with the "What's New" or "Breaking News" portal page capability that it enables.
The only way to get an all-encompassing picture of
Notes/Domino performance ...
Use NotesTracker in conjunction with our
partners' tools such as
Toolsto get the FULL story on
your server and application performance --- database usage tracking, database design analysis, performance simulation
and modelling, performance testing and monitoring. This way, you can
determine and fix all aspects of poor performance and not fall into the
trap of fixing just part of the problem.
NotesTracker Works on ANY
Notes/Domino platform ... NotesTracker was deliberately coded entirely in
regular Formula Language and LotusScript. This was done to ensure that
there are no
operating system dependencies and no need whatsoever to install/administer any add-ons, plug-ins or Java components on
your Domino servers, Notes Clients and web browsers.
Notes Client and the Web Browser functions of NotesTracker were designed
without trouble in any Notes/Domino Release 4.5 or later environment, local or server-based,
connected or disconnected, on any supported operating system.
The current environment -- CPU, memory, hard-disk, operating system -- required for standard
IBM Lotus Notes and Domino is all that is
necessary to install and run NotesTracker. (Technical consideration: It
must be realized that NotesTracker makes use of the WebQueryOpen and
WebQuerySave events running on a Lotus Domino server to track document
If your database uses Browser-only techniques to affect what
appears on the Browser without any interaction between Browser and
Domino server, then NotesTracker will not track them while they are
taking place. An example of such a technique is described in the IBM
Using AJAX to manipulate Lotus Notes documents. Nevertheless,
once the document changes are sent back to the Domino server, the
WebQuerySave event will detect them and the changes will be
recorded by NotesTracker. This is equivalent to the way that
NotesTracker only records changes made to a document via a Notes Client
once the document is finally closed, not every single time that the
document is saved before closure.)
NotesTracker is Easy to Implement ... To set up NotesTracker on one of your databases, you only need designer
access to the database (and its design must not be hidden). Simple LotusScript
skills would enable you to tailor the code, but generally are NOT needed.
The "Fast Design Propagation" tool added in NotesTracker Version
5.0 eases the Notes developer's workload by copying the required forms,
views, subforms, agents and scripts in a matter of a minute or less
(where prior to V5.0 this might take some tens of minutes).
Once implemented by the designer, usage tracking can be turned on
or off at will without any further developer involvement -- for each individual database and
each individual event type: Create, Update, Field Change, Read, Delete,
Paste, Mail-in, View Open, Database Open, etc. Thus
you can track
usage precisely when and how you want merely by changing NotesTracker
configuration settings in each tracked database.
Source code and other design elements are provided to purchasers of NotesTracker (in effect a
form of escrow) so that you can freely incorporate NotesTracker design into your databases.
You can implement the design as supplied or after adapting it to meet your own tracking requirements.
For more information, read the Developer Topics section of the NotesTracker Guide.
If you don't have the skills (or the available people) to adapt and
enhance NotesTracker to meet your needs, just ask us. We could do the
job for you, quickly and cost effectively.
Contact us using
(click this button to call)