Helpful Tools – Ytria EZ Suite (part 2)

Two weeks ago I wrote about Ytria EZ Suite, a set of tools for HCL Domino that I have been using for years. Unfortunately there were so much to write about the tools that I had to split it up into multiple blog posts. This is the second article about the tools that comprise EZ Suite. In that first post I covered scanEZ, consoleEZ, actionBarEZ and viewEZ, and if you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here.

Most of the tools I previously covered were aimed more towards developers, especially actionBarEZ and viewEZ. The consoleEZ tools can also be very useful for a developer who needs to keep an eye on the server console for potential error messages from agents being executed on the server. But Ytria offer tools directly geared towards administrators as well, so today we will take a look at them.

The first of these tools is aclEZ, and as the name indicates it is used to manager the ACL (Access Control List) of Domino databases. You get an overview of who has access to the databases, and you can modify, create and of course delete entries. You are of course not limited to displaying one database, you can select multiple databases and compare the ACL settings between the different databases. You can also copy ACL settings between databases, so you can setup one database with the proper security settings and then copy them to as many databases as you like on your server.

Ytria is using a configurable grid to display columns in all their tools. This is making it easy to view just the info you are looking for. Columns can be hidden or displayed, sorting can be set, and much more. I find this flexibility very helpful, there are often columns I am not even remotely interested in and now I can just prevent them from being displayed.

In addition you can sort the columns in the grid, and also apply filters so only values matching a specific criteria are displayed.

This is just a couple of examples of the many details I enjoy with the Ytria tools. They have over 20 years of experience creating tools for Notes and Domino professionals, and that shows. Everything is well thought through, and the tools offers great flexibility.

A tool I find extremely useful is databaseEZ. It allows me to get a high level view of all databases on a server, check things like the ODS version, if they are full-text indexed or not, the database size,, when they were last compacted, and also look at the size of the view index for each view in a database.

All this information helps me for example if I need to find out why a Domino application is slow, or which databases needs maintenance first. Almost this information can be accessed from the Domino Administrator client, but not in this easy to read format. Instead you need to open a number of different views and dialog boxes in each database. This is a huge time saver!

The last tool I want to mention today is replicationEZ. As the name states, this is a tool to locate and compare replicas of databases on different servers. Like in the other tools from Ytria, there are too many functions to list them all. I would like to mention a few that I find very useful.

Here I have loaded two of my servers into the replicationEZ grid, and it is now easy to see that there are a couple of databases I don’t have replicas of on my secondary server. I am also loading and comparing the number of documents and deletion stubs in two replicas of a database, and you can see there is a discrepancy on the number of deletion stubs between them (highlighted in red).

It is of course easy to create new replicas, or rather a replication stub. This is another example of how Ytria added functionality that I miss in the native Domino Administrator. Instead of having to sit and wait for a new replica to be created and all documents replicated to the new server (or start the replication, cancel out after a few documents have been replicated, and then let the Domino server finish the replication in the background), replicationEZ creates a replication stub, and I can continue to work while the full replica is created.

There are a few more tools from EZ Suite that I want to talk about, so check back in a few days for the last blog post.


Review – Ytria consoleEZ

Recently I wrote about the great customer service I received from Ytria, and that made me realize that I haven’t been writing about one of their newer tools yet. The tool is consoleEZ, and it has actually been out for over a year. A new version was recently released.

As the name indicates, it is a Domino server console on steroids. You can load a number of consoles into one window, have them neatly tiled and get a great overview of what’s happening on your servers. Just like all other Ytria tools it runs in it’s own process, which means that it does not lock up your Notes, Administrator or Designer client. This is of course very convenient.


Each console window has a field where console commands can be entered. A nice feature here is auto-complete/type-ahead. You also have a drop-down button that will give you any previous commands you sent to any console, it does not have to be the one you are working on. And the commands are saved, as opposed in Domino Administrator where you lose your command history when you close the client.

You can also launch a task viewer, where you can see what tasks are running on a specific server. It updates every 3 seconds, so you can stay updated for example on views being updated, somethings I sometimes need.consoleEZ2

I would highly recommend consoleEZ for any Domino administrator, as well as for the more advanced developer who need to see what’s happening on the servers.

Contact Ytria for a current price quote in you region.



Good vs bad customer service

Today I experienced some very good customer service, and that made me think about how important that is when it comes to how a company is seen by customers (current and prospective).

What happened was that I downloaded the latest version of Ytria‘s developer tools (scanEZ, toolBarEZ, viewEZ, designPropEZ and signEZ). I been using those tools for year, and was very excited when I found out they had just released a major new version. So I downloaded it as normal, installed it and then logged in to our account to get the new license keys. I then found out that the license had not been renewed last fall. I got the invoice and passed it on within my company, but somewhere on the way it got dropped.

So now I had the new version installed, but could not use it as I did not have any valid license keys. I found the old invoice, mailed Ytria and they told me that we could just pay that invoice and the license would be reinstated. They even gave me temporary license keys so I could get up and working even before that payment was sent out from our accounting department. I had not expected that, and this little thing really impressed me. I have always liked their tools and their customer service and support is excellent.

Then we have the opposite. Recently my wife broke her phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note5. She is dependent on it and uses it every day, not only for calls and internet but also to sign things with the pen (that’s the reason she got the Note). She contacted the insurance/replacement company AT&T is using for this kind of exchanges/insurance claims and started the process online. Then when she talked to them they told her that the Note5 was back-ordered and they did not knwo when they would get one in for her. They could not tell if it would be a day or two weeks. My wife was using her old Galaxy S4 temporary, and she was not happy to hear this. So we all switched our family plan (with 5 phones, a tablet and a hotspot) to T-Mobile withing a couple of days. We are even saving some money after switching (if you sign up for three lines you get one without any extra cost), plus we all got brand new phones (Samsung S7 Edge) with a “buy one get one free” offer. We also got a few other goodies (one VR headset and one year free Netflix per phone).

So in one case the company made an existing customer happy and gained long-term loyalty, in the other case the company lost a customer spending $400+ on their services and pushed us to a competitor.

PS. If you are a Notes/Domino developer or admin, Ytria will have a webcast on Wednesday, May 11 where they will demonstrate the new version and it’s features.



Useful utility to rename files in bulk

Earlier today I had to rename about 400 image files, and I was looking for a convenient tool that would help me out. I had to remove part of the filename, in the middle of the filename, which was a bit tricky.

I found a very useful tool, called Bulk Rename Utility. It does not have the most user-friendly interface, but it is very powerful. And the best thing is that it is free. You can download it here.

This is teh somewhat messy but very powerful user interface...
This is the somewhat messy but very powerful user interface…


CrashPlan online backup

I have been thinking about using one of the many online/cloud services for backup. I have plenty of photos (200+ GB) and also other important documents I don’t want to lose. Today I have them mirrored on an external USB drive, but in case something happens to my place, like fire or burglary, that drive will most probably also be gone. So an online service would make sense.
There are a number of contenders out there. Carbonite and Mozy are perhaps the most high profile ones, because of their advertising. Mozy just switched from unlimited storage to plans where you pay more if you store more.
Carbonite still offers online storage for $59/year, but they don’t support backups of large files (4GB+), don’t include video files by default, and don’t support external drives. There are also bandwidth restrictions. Up to 35 GB you get full speed, then it drops to 512kbit/s up to 200 GB. After that the bandwidth is throttled down to 100 kbit/s. An online calculator showed that 250 GB would take me 83 days to upload.And I actually have closer to 400 GB that I want to backup. Both services also lack a Linux client, the clients are only available for Windows and MacOS.
However, I stumbled on a new service yesterday, called CrashPlan.Not only does it cost about the same as Carbonite, at $5/month or $49.99/year, they also claim not to have bandwidth restrictions (throttling). In addition they have clients for Linux and Solaris, as well as apps for Android and iOS.
But the really cool features are some that Carbonite and Mozy does not have, and that to me are very useful. You can backup not only to the online storage on the CrashPlan servers, but also to external USB drives, network drives or even a friend across town or in another country. You can create different backup sets, and have them being backed up to different places.
I installed the client at home, and created a few backup sets. My photos are backed up to my external 1.5 TB Seagate drive, as well as to the CrashPlan servers. My documents and images (like icons and graphics I use for my Notes/Domino applications) are backed up to the online storage only. My MP3 files are backed up only to the external drive.
I also plan to setup CrashPlan on my sister’s computer in Sweden and backup my photos there. The files are encrypted on the external drive and at the friend/family member, so they can not see the filenames or the content.
I think this combination of backups in multiple places is brilliant. I am currently using the 15 days free trial, but I intend to purchase theservice in the next day or two, if it lives up to the promises.
Update: CrashPlan is now $59.99/year or $5.99/month for the cheapest unlimited plan. Details here. Also, something both me and other noticed is that the upload does take time, about the same as Carbonite. So they have some kind of bandwidth limitation, but it seem to be constant, or possibly they just have so much traffic that their bandwidth is not enough.



My Favorite Tools

Kathy Brown today asked “What’s Your Favorite Tool“, so I thought I wanted to share the tools I use.

My favorite tool is probably NoteMan from MartinScott. If I have to pick one tool from the suite, it would be either NoteMan.Editor or NoteMan.DocDelta. It is very hard to decide between the two of them. Editor is great for editing documents, see the contents of different fields and even change data types. I use it to get the UniversalID of documents and much more. DocDelta help me solve replication conflicts quickly and easy. I can higly recommend the NoteMan suite of tools to any Notes/Docmino developer, and for the price ($395 for the whole suite), you get a lot of functionality.

I also use several tools from TeamStudio and Ytria. Yes, I am lucky enough to have a boss who believe in getting me the tools I need.

From TeamStudio I use Undo (previously called Snapper) to make snapshots of the design while developing for easy roll-back, Profiler to find performance issues in my code and Configurator for search-and-replace through-out a database (design and/or documents). Those tools run around $500 each, if I recall correctly. I also use their free class browser, a tool I highly recommend to everyone doing object oriented Lotusscript development.

From Ytria I use a number of tools.The two I use the most are scanEZ and actionBarEZ. The latter is great when I want to apply a specific design of action bars to many forms and/or views. I design the action bar in one view, with colors, fonts, backgrounds, etc. When I am satisfied I can update all views and forms the the database with the new design. I don’t use scanEZ as much, but still on a regular basis. It also have functions to identify replication conflicts, like NoteMan.DocDelta, but the two tools complement each other. Using scanEZ, I can locate and delete documents of a particular type, including profile documents, and much more. I also sometimes use designPropEZ to check the design of a database and make sure it does not inherit element from the wrong templates/databases.

Here is a screenshot of my currect toolbar with all my development tools:


In addition I use Photoshop CS2 for graphics editing, TechSmith Jing to create screencam demos for managers/users, and Notepad++ for some HTML/Javascript/jQuery editing.


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