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Letters to the Editor: The 'from' and 'sent by' hubbub

One recent Security and Administration Ask the Expert question, Why is Notes naming someone else in a new memo?, stirred up our readers. We received many e-mails from members who had alternative solutions to the problem. We posted one as a tip called Getting 'from' and 'sent by' to match and we posted more member feedback under Chuck Connell's original response.

One recent reply to a SearchDomino Security and Admin Security and Administration Ask the Expert question, Why is Notes naming someone else in a new memo?, stirred up our readers. We received many e-mails from members who knew alternative solutions to the problem. We posted one as a tip called Getting 'from' and 'sent by' to match and we posted more member feedback under Chuck Connell's original response. Here's what some of our members had to say.

Lee W. wrote:
This issue has been the subject of huge discussion since Notes v3 and perhaps earlier. I believe Tim Tripcony's tip covers one aspect well, but there are others. Prior to R6.0.1, there were limited ways for admins to support one workstation with several users, or a "roaming user" whose work took him/her to different locations and workstations. Often, the admin would put files out on a network share and each user would logon using his/her ID. The logged-on user was different from the mail file owner and the "sent by" was simply there to put recipients on notice. Recipients soon learned the tricks of whom to reply.

Another approach was to create a location document for each user. This method "pointed" to the required file wherever it was stored, saving some guesswork for the user, and could point the client to the correct mail file so the owner and ID matched.

Yet another approach was to install the client code on the workstation, but put all the configuration and data out on the server. This let the user log on and have the benefits of his own workspace configuration (desktopX.dsk) and his own mail file. Impacts on network traffic and security were all less than optimum with these workarounds.

Often, when installing a new Notes client, the naive admin would use his own ID. The mail file thus created was "owned" by the Admin, and not the intended user. Since some versions required "Manager" rights in the mail file ACL to edit the Mail File Owner field, the user was effectively handcuffed because they were invariably assigned "Editor" level in the ACL. I know one admin who created a couple hundred Notes client installations with this problem. We helped him fixed it by coding a simple formula on a button, which he then e-mailed to all users. When the user clicked the button the code executed and changed the Mail File Owner field to the hierarchal name of the logged-on user.

I had a huge problem one day when I misspelled a new user's name. I registered him as "O'Niel" instead of "O'Neil." When he noticed the error, he asked one of my associates to correct it, which he did by creating a new ID. The results were exactly as Tim describes, and for a while we were stumped. Not only did we get the "Sent By:" notice, but mail to the fellow was bouncing all over the place. An astute developer noticed the transposition of the two letters and exclaimed, "Aha! Got it!"

So, now I've added just a little more perspective to this topic, which has already received its fair share of discussion. Ahhh, Notes. We love ya.

Terry B. wrote:
Actually, as an administrator I find the difference between the "from" and "sent by" labels to be extremely useful. We have many mail-in databases used for communication with outside clients. Because we want replies to come to a central point, not the individual working with the client, the difference allows our employees to be logged into Notes as themselves, send out e-mails from within the mail-in databases and receive replies at the mail-in address. The "sent by" field is only visible on internal communications; on SMTP mail outside our domain, the recipient sees only the "from" corresponding to the Preferences name, and replies go to that name.

This process allows our users to keep mail organized without having to switch IDs and locations, AND it allows me to have accurate logs and "sent by" folders for security purposes.

This works in R5, not in R4. In R4, mail would return to the actual sender.

Lisa D. wrote:
I have experienced this, but when I checked the owner it was correct. It was usually after a rename and it did not happen every time. I have seen this in 4.x & 5.x. The only way at that point that I found to correct it was to delete and recreate them or rename the user again.

Alex E. wrote:
I have a MailScript application that is freely available to download. The application contains a script library that can be easily added to any application to give you much more control over the format of your outgoing Lotus Notes/Domino mail messages, including controlling the value of the "from" field.

How is this achieved?
This is achieved by creating messages directly into the Domino server database just as you would create a document in any other database. Our script library handles all the necessary access to the server/, formatting of the mail message and mandatory fields required by the Domino router, lookups to address books and conversion of addresses. It even handles group names. All you need to do is tell the script to whom to send the e-mail (SendTo, CopyTo and Blind CopyTo), add your subject and add content to the "body" field using the standard Lotus Notes RichTextItem class methods.

We have many customers using this product and it supports Domino 4.6x, 5.x and 6.x.

The MailScript utility can be downloaded here.

You will need to login using the following details:
Username: software
Password: download

The database contains a script library (MailScript) and a sample agent (Send customized e-mail), which demonstrate how easy it is to interact with the script from your own applications. We've also included revision history, technical notes and documentation on how to incorporate the script into your application. The script has been developed using standard LotusScript and developer comments have been provided throughout the code itself.

The "Help -- About Database" document contains general comments and revision history and the "Help -- Using Database" document contains all other documentation.

Editor's note:
This give-and-take with members is what helps to be so dynamic. We always appreciate feedback from our members about, the technology, what you would like to learn more about, or what you don't like on the Web site. If you have suggestions or comments, please let us know. We're always willing to listen and adjust content on the site to best suit you. is not responsible for the validity or workability of this code. It is contributed by our members as their opinions.

Do you have questions or comments to contribute? Let us know what you think.

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