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Advansys Formativ gives you the power to make GroupWise work the way you want! To help you understand what is possible with Formativ, read on for an insight into a particular applet and how it can help you. We discuss how it works and offer some suggestions for extending its functionality even further.

Featured Applet:

Formativ Stationery


How does this applet benefit me?

For business people communicating with customers and colleagues, it is becoming more of a challenge to stand out in the crowded inbox, particularly with the level of email that most people receive on a daily basis.

In the good old days of the letterhead with company logo, unique paper, color and design helped differentiate the company or sender. To achieve differentiation with email, the good news is that you can use the existing HTML features of GroupWise 6 and 5.5 EP to send messages based on impressive, attention grabbing email 'stationery'.

The Formativ Stationery applet was developed to provide quick access to your library of HTML email stationery. Each stationery template is first created with a HTML editor, such as Front Page, HotMetal etc. and can include tables, colors and images (yes, including animated GIFs!), such as your corporate logo. You can create a standard email 'letterhead' as well as special templates which may have graphics or text to promote a new product or special pricing. And of course, you can include active URL links back to your product, home or even a special promotion page. As there is no limit on the number of stationery templates you can access with the Formativ Stationery applet, the form and function of your email stationery is limited only by your imagination!

One other advantage of the Formativ Stationery applet is that you can insert more than one stationery form into the same message. In the message body text area, position your cursor where you want the stationery to start, run the applet and your selected stationery will be inserted. To achieve various designs or function, you could create stationery 'building blocks' and use the applet to append them. For example, to tailor your correspondence, you could use generic company stationery and opt append stationery which promotes a new product or service.

The applet is configured easily for placement on the GroupWise main and/or a message view toolbar, where it can be executed at the touch of a button. This means that you can use your Formativ stationery for your other GroupWise message types, such as appointments, tasks, phone messages and notes!

To add further flair and function to your stationery based messages, you can also use the Formativ Multiple Signatures applet in conjunction with the Formativ Stationery applet.

How does it work?

Here's how it looks when the applet is configured to execute when you click on the Formativ Stationery toolbar button, either from the GroupWise main or the email message view toolbar.

Figure 1 - Formativ Stationery selection dialog

You simply select the name of the stationery you wish to use and click OK. We are going to select the GroupWise Cool Solutions stationery.

Once we click OK, Formativ inserts the chosen stationery into the newly composed email message and then we can complete the message text. You can see the newly composed email message below:

Figure 2 - New email message created with Formativ Stationery

The applet is designed to operate differently depending on whether you initiate it from the new email message (i.e. Ctrl-M or File|New|Mail) toolbar or if you start it from the GroupWise main toolbar. If you start it from the new email message view (a composing message), the applet will load the stationery directly into the open message. If you start it from the GroupWise main toolbar, the applet will automatically create a new email message and then load the stationery into it. You can take advantage of the fact the applet appends the selected stationery to the end of the composing item to create some cool compound messages. For example, you might create standard HTML 'sections', and append the appropriate ones to build your email message.

For the applet to work correctly, you must be in the HTML Compose mode. If you are running Formativ Stationery from the email message view toolbar, and yet your default compose view is not HTML (in GroupWise 6, see Tools|Options|Environment|Views|Default Compose View) you can change from Plain text to HTML mode by using the menu View|HTML or select the HTML button on the mail toolbar. If you are initiating Formativ Stationery from the GroupWise main toolbar, you should ensure that your default mail compose view is HTML.

Creating your HTML email stationery

The key to maximizing the benefit from the Formativ Stationery applet is to create good-looking and functional email stationery. As the inbuilt GroupWise HTML message editing is limited, we'll introduce you to techniques which allow you to use tables, background colors, formatted text, graphics (including animated GIFs!) and hypertext links within your email stationery. For example, below are some other email stationery examples:

Figure 3 - New email message created with Formativ Stationery

Figure 4 - New email message created with Formativ Stationery

We've create a few other examples to help you get started (see below). You can download them from here

Some techniques we used to create the GroupWise email stationery are outlined below. It should be noted that these suggestions are not exhaustive and there may be other techniques which you can use within your stationery. However, you should be aware that there are limitations on the HTML which you can use within a GroupWise message and you will need to test any new techniques and designs. We used HotMetal Pro 6 HTML editing software to create the sample templates but you can use any HTML authoring product with which you are familiar.


Tables are a great way to layout your stationery, particularly when combined with CSS parameters (discussed below). You can choose to embed tables and you can create full width or fixed width tables. The example stationery shown above makes extensive use of embedded tables. You can also use the background color property in the table and cell HTML codes.


Image and URL references should not be made relative (i.e. IMG SRC="images/advansys.gif") within your HTML document, i.e. you need to explicitly specify the full path to the image or the target URL.

For example, for images you can write your HTML source as follows:

<IMG SRC="" ALT="Advansys Header" WIDTH="178" HEIGHT="28">

(the above refers to a graphic on a web server)


<IMG SRC="file:///c:/web/images/advansys.gif" ALT="Advansys Header" WIDTH="178" HEIGHT="28">

(the above refers to a graphic stored on the workstation local drive).

Remember that you can also use animated GIFs to add pizazz or action to your stationery.

It should be noted that, after the stationery is selected and the message is sent, GroupWise will add all stationery images as message attachments. It is not possible to add an image to a GroupWise message only as a remote link -- it will always be included as an attachment when your message is sent.

Web Page Links

When you wish to reference a Web page link from your stationery text or image, you need to use fully qualified URLs, i.e., just like you do when including images (see above). For example, if in the stationery we wish to reference the What's New page on the Advansys web site, we need to use the following code:

<A HREF="">What's New</A>

CSS Parameters. Style sheet parameters provide very powerful control over how your stationery will look. Most of the latest HTML browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and above, supports CSS. Due to HTML constraints within GroupWise messages, you cannot embed CSS HTML style sheets in your stationery. The good news is that you can include CSS parameters, but they must be inserted within the specific parent code which you are formatting. For example, the following CSS parameters are being used to modify the style properties of a hypertext link <A HREF></A> HTML code:

<A HREF="" STYLE="font-family: Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; font-weight: bold; text-decoration: none; color: #2B4FA4">What's New</A>

Page Background Image and Color. A background image or color embedded in the stationery will not display in message, but you can manually add them via the GroupWise message's HTML editing toolbar before or after the Formativ Stationery applet is run and the stationery is loaded. However, you can use background colors for tables and other HTML codes in your stationery, such as Table cells etc..

If you want to learn more, there are many good HTML page design sites on the Web. A useful and comprehensive site is the Web Developer's Virtual Library, which provides information on all the key areas of Web development, including CSS.

As you can see from the examples above, you can create impressive Formativ email stationery which contains formatted text, graphics (such as animated GIFs and company logos), URLs and just about every other HTML feature - just how cool is up to your imagination! To help you get started, we've created a few simple examples (shown below), which you can download from here
Generic Goods for a Generic World
Insert text here...

Voice: +555 6666  Fax: +555 7777
ACME Corporation
Click here to visit the ACME web site
Generic Solutions for a Generic World
Contact Us
Insert text here...
Voice: 555 6666  Fax: +555 7777
ACME Corporation
Your GroupWise Consulting Firm
555 Street Address
Your City and State 555555 USA
Phone: 555-5555
Fax: 555-6666
Dear *
Kind regards,

Bob Smith
Your GroupWise Consulting Firm
The opinions and views expressed in this e-mail are those of the sender and may not necessarily represent the management of <insert your company name here>. The information contained within this e-mail is intended for the named recipients only and it may contain confidential and/or privileged information. If you have received this message in error, you must not copy, duplicate, forward, print or otherwise distribute any information contained herein, but must ensure that this e-mail is permanently deleted and advise the sender immediately.
One of Formativ's key strengths is its ability to execute applets, with point and click simplicity, from just about any toolbar, menu or event in GroupWise - and absolutely no programming is required! With this in mind, it is very easy to integrate the Formativ Stationery applet to make it work just the way you want. Figure 5 below shows the Formativ integrations tab. Here you can see the Formativ Stationery applet has been integrated with the GroupWise main window and email view toolbars (which creates a button for you). Some of the other events and integration types which you could also select, such as the Mail Context Menu, are visible.

Figure 5 - Formativ Integrations

Take a look at the Formativ User's Guide to see just how easy it is to integrate applets with GroupWise.

Below are the recommended integration suggestions you may like to try:

Main GroupWise Toolbar

Clicking on the Formativ Stationery button will display the stationery selection dialog. Following your selection, the applet will automatically create a new mail message based on your choice of stationery.

Email View Toolbar

With a new, empty message open, just click on the Formativ Stationery button to select your desired stationery.

Email View Context Menu

The Email View context menu is the popup menu which appears when you press the right mouse button over an email message. Just like adding the applet to the toolbar, the context menu provides you with quick access to your stationery.

Other Message Types

The Formativ Stationery applet will work with every GroupWise message type, including appointments, notes and tasks. Simply integrate with the toolbars of each message type with which you would like to use the stationery.
The Stationery applet is deceptively simple. A review of the applet source code reveals its secrets.

Applet operation

Stationery is stored in HTML files. You can create these using any HTML or text editor as described above.

Your stationery files can be located on your local PC or on your network. To change the location, simply change the value of the STATIONERY_LOCATION constant. For example, the default value is the standard Formativ data directory, which is accessed using Utilities.GetDataDirectory.

You may want to change the STATIONERY_LOCATION value to point to your personal directory on the network. For example, if all users have a personal directory mapped to the M: drive, you could edit the applet source so that the applet looks for stationery in a directory called 'stationery' in the personal directory on the network by using:

STATIONERY_LOCATION = "m:\stationery\"

The applet works a little differently, depending on the state GroupWise is in when the applet is executed. The applet checks to see if a composing item is available. A composing item is a message you are currently editing that has not yet been sent. The applet uses the GroupWise.ComposingItem method to identify such messages. If a composing item is located, the applet will insert the chosen stationery into that message. If a composing item is not found, the applet first creates a new draft email message, then inserts the stationery into the body of the new message.


Let's dive in and have a look at some of the techniques the applet uses. Remember, because you have the applet source, you are free to modify it to work just the way YOU want:

File System Object

You'll notice the applet creates an instance of the Windows File System Object with the line:

Set filesObj = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")

The File system object provides you with the tools you need to access the file system. Primarily it lets you read and write files, and scan directories. The Stationery applet uses it to load the names and locations of all your stationery files into a string list object so that they can be sorted and displayed in a dialog. See the SetupDlg function for details.

Detecting a valid GroupWise message

In order to determine if a new message needs to be created before inserting your stationery, we must have access to a valid GroupWise composing message. The applet checks for a valid message in the ValidMsg function. The applet checks the GroupWise.ComposingItem method. ComposingItem represents a new item that does not yet exist in the GroupWise message store. Again, see the Programmers Guide for full details.

Adding data to list boxes

In many cases you might need to display a list box that contains human readable data, but where each item also stores other 'invisible' information. The stationery applet does this in the LoadFileNames() function.

The applet has at this point loaded the full path and name of each stationery file located into a string list object. A string list object is a simple collection of strings. The applet creates dialog that contains a list box, and loads the list box with the name of each stationery file located. However, the applet also needs to know the full path and filename represented by each entry in the list box. It does this by using the AddObject() method of the list box control to populate the list box.

The AddObject() method takes two parameters: The caption of the data to be shown in the dialog, and another string representing the data associated with the caption. The stationery applet passes the name of the stationery file as the caption, and the full path and name as the data. This technique makes it much simpler to access the full path and name of the selected stationery file. See the Programmers and Language guides for more information.

Creating a User Interface

Formativ provides a comprehensive set of commands which you can use to easily create forms and dialogs. The SetupDlg function illustrates how a simple dialog containing a list of sorted stationery files is created.

Creating any dialog consists of three basic steps:
  • Create the dialog object by calling Utilities.NewControlBoxDialog
  • Add controls to the dialog object returned by NewControlBoxDialog
  • Call the Execute method of the dialog object to display the dialog.

Most Formativ applets create dialogs and they represent an excellent learning reference.
For those who like to tinker, or who have specialized requirements, the applet provides many possibilities. The most obvious area for customization is the management the stationery data. As mentioned previously, you control the location of the stationery files by changing the value of the STATIONERY_LOCATION constant, which stores the path to the stationery files.

Stationery is ultimately just a HTML file that is inserted into a message. The file could come from anywhere. For example, it would be possible to store stationery data in Novell eDirectory, and access it using Novell's ActiveX controls.

Assuming that you have an Internet connection, another interesting possibility would be to dynamically create or modify stationery data prior to insertion in a message. For example, you could add current stock prices or weather information to your stationery in real time. In fact, you could add information from any system which exposed its data through a COM/ActiveX interface.
This version of the Formativ Stationery applet can be downloaded from the Formativ Solutions Download page . The applet should be copied to the Formativ local applets folder, the default being c:\program files\advansys\formativ\local\, and then restart the GroupWise client.

To help you get started, we have also created a few simple examples of stationery files. Get them here .

  Add entry to Address Book

  Add or Edit Message Note

  DWS Go to sender's Web page

  Formativ Stationery

  Publish Folder List to Microsoft Word

  Multiple Signatures

  Virus Alert

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