Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to force iNotes into Full Mode on a tablet computer

With IBM Notes Traveler and IBM Connections apps available for mobile devices, it's not all that often anymore that I try to get into IBM SmartCloud from a browser, especially on my phone, where the form factor is just too, too small. But on a tablet like the iPad it's still useful sometimes. Of course, when I do, if I try to look at my mail, calendar, or contacts, it defaults to displaying them in the iNotes UltraLight interface. That's fine most of the time and it's perfect for a phone with its, again, small screen. But a tablet's screen is big enough to accommodate the iNotes Full interface. And sometimes I wish I could switch over to it. Don't get me wrong. I think the iNotes UltraLight interface is brilliant. But sometimes it's just too minimalist.

iNotes UltraLight interface
IBM SmartCloud displays iNotes UltraLight mail interface in iPad's browser
 A few years ago I decided to go to Lotusphere without a laptop computer in tow. Having bought and fallen in love with an iPad I thought I'd try surviving a week that year with just the iPad, my iPhone and the laptops they provide at Lotusphere. And I managed just fine, but I wished I could bring up iNotes on the iPad in Full interface mode. Lotusphere was (and its successor Connect is) about the greatest place in the world to have such a wish because you can just go to any of the labs and talk to IBM's own experts on any subject. I did just that and the guys in the lab helped me figure out how to force iNotes into Full mode. We bookmarked it in Safari, I thanked them, and I went on my way (while, behind me I heard one of them say to another, "See, I told you people would want to use this stuff on an iPad".)

iNotes Full interface
IBM SmartCloud can display iNotes Full mail interface in iPad's browser
I went years with that bookmark on my iPad, using it less and less frequently as I got more into the Traveler/Connections app groove and out of the SmartCloud-by-browser groove. (One reason for that is that the apps offer a much better editing experience, providing, as they do, access to Apple's double-edged editing tools.) Then, just the other day, I got a question from a customer, a new Notes/iNotes/SmartCloud Connections user, wanting to know if there was a way to get the Full mail/calendar/contacts interface on a tablet. Oh, yes there is, and I know how to do it! I went looking for my bookmark and, omigod, it was gone! I don't know where it went, but I could no longer find it on my iPad.

So I had to relearn how to force Full mode on a tablet. I experimented with the URL, but the darn thing kept coming up in UltraLight mode. I Googled it, but, surprise, it doesn't seem to be a topic that has been discussed much in GoogleSpace. What the heck, I even opened a PMR with IBM SmartCloud to find out if they knew the answer. But then, impatient for them to get back to me, I went back to work on the URL and (ta da!) I cracked it.

Here's the URL that appears in the Safari browser on the iPad when you click Mail in the SmartCloud interface and brings up iNotes UltraLight (substitute your own mail path name for the zeroes, ones, and twos):
https://mail.notes.na.collabserv.com/data0/11111111/22222222.nsf/iNotes/Mail/?OpenDocument&Form=m_HomeView

Here's how I changed it to force iNotes to come up in Full mode:
https://mail.notes.na.collabserv.com/data0/11111111/22222222.nsf/iNotes/Mail/?OpenDocument&ui=inotes_full

As you can see, the key (which I had missed initially) was not to add "&ui=iNotes_Full" but rather to substitute it for "&Form=m_HomeView". And here's a plus: Once you are in Full mode, you stay in Full mode. Touching any of the mail-related links on the screen returns that screen in Full mode as well.

The next thing that happened was that I got a call-back from IBM SmartCloud Support. I told the guy I had solved the problem and he said, "Oh, really? Would you please send me the solution, so we'll have it in case anyone else ever asks?" That made my day. Well, sort of. The fact that they didn't already know the answer reminded me that this is a solution in search of a problem. A smaller and smaller problem as IBM continues to enhance its mobile Traveler and Connections apps.

But, hey, it gives me, all from within the browser interface on my iPad, access to my mail views, folders, rules, archives, and delegated mail databases, all of the calendar views, my To Dos and Notebook entries, my iNotes preferences, and even the Sidebar-base Sametime Communications widget. Caveat: Not officially supported by IBM. And not, perhaps, 100% functional. I get occasional 404 errors; but when I click OK, Safari tries again and my data finally appears. And I haven't actually tested everything, so who knows what else might break?

I'm good with that. Thank, IBM, for some great software.

Copyright 2014 Rob Kirkland

7 comments:

  1. Thank you SO much. This information helped me tremendously!!

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  2. Doesn't work with me. :(

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  3. Or you can set the browser to "Desktop Mode" and it should work as well.

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  4. This technique no longer works for me, three and a half years after writing the original post. When I try it, the browser displays an error message: "IBM Verse has not been certified to work with this browser." Hmm. I wasn't trying to run Verse, but rather iNotes. Oh, well.
    But if I use a different, much shorter URL, the Verse interface comes up, which in my opinion is better than iNotes anyway: HTTPS://Verse-host.example.com/verse
    The browser still displays an error message or, really, a warning: "It looks like you're using an unsupported browser, which can cause problems... ." Fair enough!
    RK

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  5. On further testing, I find that this only works on an iPad, not on an Android browser.

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