Monday, April 16, 2012

IM an Expert has been updated to version 1.5

Another Engineer at Time2Market was getting ready to deploy IM an Expert for a customer and mentioned to me that the Admin and End User docs were recently updated (March 8, 2012). So I pulled down the Admin doc and noticed it had version 1.5 on the title page. Also, on Page 13 is a section that highlighted the changes in 1.5.

Below I have highligted the changes on Page 13... having the bot running as a service is reason enough to upgrade. The other change that I found intriging was "Conversation Following". Enjoy!

Changes for Version 1.5

The latest version of IM an Expert replaces V1.0 of the system which shipped in March 2011. For the V1.5 release there are a number of feature additions and bug fixes.

New Features
  1. Support of Resource Forests: Version 1.0 of IM an Expert did not work for organizations where Lync was setup with a resource forest configuration. Such a configuration has a set of users with information such as SIP address in a different domain/forest from the one that is their actual user account. So, when they visit the IM an Expert webpage, the site could not locate their information. To fix this, we improved the way we retrieved user SIP/Name/Email so that we search for the user in resource forests as well as the current forest. IM an Expert now offers a sophisticated highly-configurable mechanism to allow admins to specify how user identities are resolved from Active Directory. More information about deploying Lync Server 2010 in resource forests can be found here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg670909.aspx
  2. Content-type Adaptation: If a message sent by IM an Expert cannot be received by the client (e.g., the message is sent as HTML and the client does not support HTML), then the system will automatically switch to plain text, resend the current message, and use plain text for the remainder of the conversation. The occurrence of the adaptation is governed by the SIP error code that IM an Expert receives when it tries to relay the first message in the conversation. The BotSipErrorCodesForPlainTextResend configuration parameter can be used to specify the list of SIP error codes for which content-type adaptation should be attempted.
  3. Message Content-type Specification: Messages can be sent in plain text or HTML. This can be specified using the BotMessageContentType parameter in the imx.config file: “text/plain” for plain text, and “text/html” for HTML.
  4. Lync Mobile and Outlook Web Access: IM an Expert will now work with Lync Mobile client (tested for iPad, iPhone, and Windows Phone), and Outlook Web Access (OWA).
  5. Run as Service: IM an Expert can now be configured to be run as a service which can be configured to start automatically when the server hosting the Bot boots up. Note that the Bot can still be run as an executable.
  6. Conversation Following: If a candidate answerer declines a question invitation they receive via IM, they now have the option of subscribing to the conversation by typing “follow” in response to the invite. At the conclusion of the dialog between the asker and another answerer (if one is found), all followers will be emailed a link to the transcript of the dialog on the IM an Expert website, where they can also add follow-up comments and additional answers.
  7. Usage Statistics on Homepage: Administrators can now display usage statistics on the IM an Expert homepage, including a stacked bar chart of the ratings assigned to answered questions and other statistics such as the average time to answer and average number of users contacted to get an answerer.
  8. Memory Management: The Bot should now consume less memory on the server on which it is running, especially in situations where the Bot is running for prolonged periods. To do this, we store less in memory, clear in-memory data structures more frequently, and periodically request garbage collection.
  9. Support for More Sophisticated PageCrawler Regexes: The PageCrawler now supports multiple regular expressions for the same page and as multiple match groups for a page within the same regular expression. This allows administrators to extract multiple items from a web page via a single regular expression, multiple regular expressions, or some combination of the two.
  10. Resetting Bot Status: Allows administrators to set the Bot’s Lync status to variable (“Online” or “Offline”, depending on whether the Bot is running) after being set to “Always Online”. In V1.0, once the Bot was set into an Always Online state, it could not be undone by IM an Expert. 
Bug Fixes
  1. SIP Address Normalization: In V1.0, SIP addresses were not being normalized. In companies with uppercase domain names, this caused a non-match between user SIP addresses as far as we knew them (e.g., user@company.com and SIP addresses returned by Lync when we queried for presence status (it would give us user@company.com). This has been fixed so that IM an Expert normalizes all SIP addresses by lowercasing the sip: and the domain portions and leaving the username portion unchanged.
  2. PageCrawler Configuration: Corrected errors with parsing of special fields such as EMAIL, SIP, and SIPALIAS, which are meant to be replaced by the current user’s email/SIP/SIP alias/etc.
  3. Website Viewstate Validation: Occasionally, users would get a “validation of viewstate MAC failed” exception when using forms on the IM an Expert website. This has been fixed.

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