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Multiple Problems with Outlook Email Integration

New Member
Posts: 13
Country: USA

Multiple Problems with Outlook Email Integration

Hi Everyone,

 

I am running V19 Pro. Outlook has 2 IMAP email accounts. The default account is the users personal email. The other account is a company account used for sales and many other purposes. I have configured email setup as follows. All of these settings are the defaults.

 

Email - Editor: Outlook

Email - Record History: Email Subject and Message

Email - Attach to ACT! Contacts: Email Subject and Message / From Contact only / Create contacts if they are not found is unchecked

Email - Activity Invitation: ACT! / Edit and Create Activity / Create contacts if they are not found is unchecked

 

Here are list of questions and problems that I am encountering...

 

1. Please explain the difference in Record History and Attach to ACT! Contacts screens? This is confusing because they both create a history entry for a Contact.

 

2. When the email setup is run for the first time, an address book is created in Outlook under Other Address Books called ACT! Address Book - databasename.pad. This is to be expected. However it seems that this address book is not updated when new ACT contacts are added or deleted. I see this as a problem. Why is address book not updated dynamically?

 

3. When the user sends an email to a contact from within ACT via the Write E-mail function, a history record will be attached to the contact. Based on my email setup, this is correct behavior. However when the user sends an email directly from Outlook, an attempt to attach a history record to an ACT contact occurs. This occurs when sending the email from either Outlook account. This is a huge problem. The user will send many emails to addresses that are not associated with ACT. We do not want these email recipients to be associated with ACT. What happens is that the messages will get stuck in the Attach to ACT! Contacts queue. They of course will never get attached since no contact exists. I can envision hundreds or even thousands of not attached messages. I suspect that the attachment process will keep trying to attach these non attachable messages. This could potentially cripple the system. I realize the user can delete the messages but they should not be required to do so. If the user sends an email directly from Outlook not from within ACT, the message should never go into the attachment queue.

Administrator
Posts: 4,024
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Multiple Problems with Outlook Email Integration

Hi MrGreg,

 

To answer your questions:

 

  1. These two options represent different ways of recording history to a contact in Act!
    • E-mail - Record History This option defines the behaviour when sending outgoing email from Outlook to an Act! contact. This happens automatically upon send.
    • E-mail - Attach to Act! Contacts This option defines what happens when using the Quick Attach or Attach to Act! Contacts buttons in the Outlook Add-ins tab. These actions are manually triggered by the user, and are usually used for recording inbound email from a contact to the relevant Act! contact record.
  2. The Act! address book that is added to Outlook should always be updated when new contacts are added to Act!, however, there must be an email address recorded for the contact for it to appear in the Outlook address book. If this is not occurring, check in Outlook Account Settings > Address Books > Act! Address Book > Change, and confirm the database and location is correct, then click Edit, and confirm the Act! username and password are correct.
  3. The automatic outbound history recording utility will attempt to record any outgoing messages from Outlook to an Act! contact once. If no matching contact can be found, the message will be kept to give you the chance to review the unattached messages and manually attach them, or create new contacts from the messages. After a configurable amount of days, the unattached messages should be automatically deleted. There appears to be an issue with this feature at present and I have submitted this to the product management team for review.
    This automatic history recording feature is designed to work whether or not the email was initiated from within Act! to better keep a record of all your contact interactions.
New Member
Posts: 13
Country: USA

Re: Multiple Problems with Outlook Email Integration

[ Edited ]

Thanks for your answers and sorry for my slow response. Let me comment on all 3 sections...

1. Thanks for this explanation. This clears things up nicely for me.

2. This works perfectly. When I was testing, I was creating / deleting contacts without an associated email address.
Now that you enlightened me, I confirm that newly created contacts are automatically added to the address book.
Likewise deleted contacts are removed from the address book. I tested this with Outlook open and closed and confirm
correct behavior in both cases.

3. OK let me respond to each of you responses in quotes..

"The automatic outbound history recording utility will attempt to record any outgoing messages from Outlook to an Act! contact once."

So you are saying that history recording utility will only attempt to record the record once? Are you positive about this?

"If no matching contact can be found, the message will be kept to give you the chance to review the unattached messages and manually
attach them, or create new contacts from the messages."

Fair enough. I can certainly see where this would be helpful to the user.

"After a configurable amount of days, the unattached messages should be automatically deleted."

OK I like what you are saying here. I am implementing history attachment on 1 machine until I can sort out some problems and questions.
I just checked and there are 36 not attached messages. The messages are dated from 02/16 until the present. So nothing is getting
deleted automatically. Can you please enlighten me as to where I configure the amount of days to hold the messages?

"There appears to be an issue with this feature at present and I have submitted this to the product management team for review."

OK can you give me more information about what is not working?

"This automatic history recording feature is designed to work whether or not the email was initiated from within Act! to better keep a
record of all your contact interactions."

I must say that I completely disagree with the design of automatic history recording. How does the current design help better keep a
record of all your contact interactions? Outlook is used for emailing to many recipients. The majority of which are not ACT! contacts
and should not be contacts. I would suspect that this is the case for allot of users. How can the developers make the assumption that
all emails are or should be associated with ACT!? I think the developers did not think this through. Does it not make sense to only
attempt history recording if the email is initiated from within ACT!? At least make this a configurable option. There should also be
an option to select which email account that history recording is linked to. In our case the users personal email account will never
be used to correspond with ACT! Contacts. We have a shared email account that is used to communicate with ACT! Contacts.

Lastly, I have discovered another problem. I launched Attach to ACT! Contacts Progress from the system tray. The Advanced Tab give the
user the ability to view log files for Successful and Unsuccessful attachments. Both buttons pull up an XML file in Internet Explorer.
Mine are both empty. Can you confirm this on your system?

Administrator
Posts: 4,024
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Multiple Problems with Outlook Email Integration

[ Edited ]

Hi MrGreg,

 

Please find my replies to your points below:


MrGreg wrote:

"The automatic outbound history recording utility will attempt to record any outgoing messages from Outlook to an Act! contact once."

So you are saying that history recording utility will only attempt to record the record once? Are you positive about this?


As far as I'm aware, it only tries once. Do you have reason to believe otherwise?

 


MrGreg wrote:

"After a configurable amount of days, the unattached messages should be automatically deleted."

OK I like what you are saying here. I am implementing history attachment on 1 machine until I can sort out some problems and questions.
I just checked and there are 36 not attached messages. The messages are dated from 02/16 until the present. So nothing is getting
deleted automatically. Can you please enlighten me as to where I configure the amount of days to hold the messages?

"There appears to be an issue with this feature at present and I have submitted this to the product management team for review."

OK can you give me more information about what is not working?


To clarify, the feature which removes/purges the unattached messages after X days, is not working. This has now been logged as defect D-05630.

The feature to purge successfully attached records is working correctly.

The length in days for the messages to be held is set in the Advanced tab, next to the View Log File button.

 


MrGreg wrote:

"This automatic history recording feature is designed to work whether or not the email was initiated from within Act! to better keep a
record of all your contact interactions."

I must say that I completely disagree with the design of automatic history recording. How does the current design help better keep a
record of all your contact interactions? Outlook is used for emailing to many recipients. The majority of which are not ACT! contacts
and should not be contacts. I would suspect that this is the case for allot of users. How can the developers make the assumption that
all emails are or should be associated with ACT!? I think the developers did not think this through. Does it not make sense to only
attempt history recording if the email is initiated from within ACT!? At least make this a configurable option. There should also be
an option to select which email account that history recording is linked to. In our case the users personal email account will never
be used to correspond with ACT! Contacts. We have a shared email account that is used to communicate with ACT! Contacts.


In short, Act! is designed to record all interactions you have with a contact in your database.

 

When any email is sent from Outlook, the service checks to see if the contact you're emailing exists in your Act! database. This check is what determines if the email is attached to Act! or not. You can configure what is recorded if the contact is found, in step 5 of the E-mail System Setup Wizard.

 

Sending emails to contacts which are not in your database should not affect the user experience as the emails will not be recorded in the database. The services gives the user the option to attach an email to Act! after the fact, either by manually attaching it to a different contact, or creating a new contact for the recipient in the database. These are both totally optional steps.

 


MrGreg wrote:

Lastly, I have discovered another problem. I launched Attach to ACT! Contacts Progress from the system tray. The Advanced Tab give the
user the ability to view log files for Successful and Unsuccessful attachments. Both buttons pull up an XML file in Internet Explorer.
Mine are both empty. Can you confirm this on your system?


I can confirm this button is not currently working correctly. This has been logged as defect D-05304.

You can open the correct log files by navigating to %AppData%\ACT\ACT Data\HistoryQueue\Logs in Windows Explorer. You'll see two logs for each of the two queues. The log files with the larger filesize will contain the logged info up to the point where they were last purged.

 

 

P.S. Apologies for the forum posting issue you ran into. If this occurs again, send me a PM with a screenshot of the error you receive, and the text you were attempting to post. I'll forward this on to the forum developers.

New Member
Posts: 13
Country: USA

Re: Multiple Problems with Outlook Email Integration

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your support. Your comments are between the lines.

 

______________________________________________________________
As far as I'm aware, it only tries once. Do you have reason to believe otherwise?
______________________________________________________________

 

I am not aware that it does, but check my next comment about this.

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
To clarify, the feature which removes/purges the unattached messages after X days, is not working. This has now been logged as defect D-05630.
The feature to purge successfully attached records is working correctly.
The length in days for the messages to be held is set in the Advanced tab, next to the View Log File button.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I am not sure that the length of days is configured in the View Log File button. I believe those numbers are to purge the log files so they do not grow out of control. Have a look at this XML file ACTHistoryErrorHandlers.xml located in %AppData%\ACT\ACT Data. I suspect that this file controls the purging of the actual messages. This file also seems to indicate that retries are happening. Am I wrong about this?

When was this submitted to development? I searched for D-05630 in the forums and get no hits. Can I view D-05630 or is this only for internal use?

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In short, Act! is designed to record all interactions you have with a contact in your database.

When any email is sent from Outlook, the service checks to see if the contact you're emailing exists in your Act! database. This check is what determines if the email is attached to Act! or not. You can configure what is recorded if the contact is found, in step 5 of the E-mail System Setup Wizard.

Sending emails to contacts which are not in your database should not affect the user experience as the emails will not be recorded in the database. The services gives the user the option to attach an email to Act! after the fact, either by manually attaching it to a different contact, or creating a new contact for the recipient in the database. These are both totally optional steps.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

OK, I do not agree with this design but I am fairly certain that the development team will not change it. I do not think the service is checking anything. I suspect it is simply doing a blind attempt to attach the history record. I do not think the code even knows whether the email was initiated from within Outlook or from within ACT! This is just a poor design. The fact that the user has to deal with the not attached messages, does affect the user experience. That is my opinion anyway.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I can confirm this button is not currently working correctly. This has been logged as defect D-05304.
You can open the correct log files by navigating to %AppData%\ACT\ACT Data\HistoryQueue\Logs in Windows Explorer. You'll see two logs for each of the two queues. The log files with the larger filesize will contain the logged info up to the point where they were last purged.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I had a look at the logs folder. It would appear that there are 2 log files for success and 2 for not attached. It would also appear that the buttons are invoking the wrong log file(s). Again I would like to know when was this submitted to development? Also can Can I view D-05304 or is this only for internal use?

 

Lastly I have found yet another problem. It seems that the Attach to ACT! Contacts Progress system tray icon is vanishing. I can get it to reappear if I send another email that does not attach. It is as if there is a timeout on the icon. I would think that it should stay active in the tray as long as there is not attached messages. This is clearly the case on my system. Can you confirm this behavior? Also is there anyway to manually launch the tray icon? I found a KB article that said you can manually start it by doing this from the run box. Sadly this does not work.

"C:\Program Files (x86)\ACT\Act for Windows\Act.Outlook.Service.exe" -showqueue

Administrator
Posts: 4,024
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Multiple Problems with Outlook Email Integration

Hi MrGreg,

 

I'm certainly becoming more familiar with this service now! Please find my responses below:


MrGreg wrote:

 

 

I am not sure that the length of days is configured in the View Log File button. I believe those numbers are to purge the log files so they do not grow out of control. Have a look at this XML file ACTHistoryErrorHandlers.xml located in %AppData%\ACT\ACT Data. I suspect that this file controls the purging of the actual messages. This file also seems to indicate that retries are happening. Am I wrong about this?

When was this submitted to development? I searched for D-05630 in the forums and get no hits. Can I view D-05630 or is this only for internal use?


We've done some more digging into how this works, and it would seem I was wrong about how exactly it processes messages and what the 'purge records' time value does.

 

Regarding ACTHistoryErrorHandlers.xml, have a look at this Knowledgebase article which details how this file is used and how the messages are processed. I'll summarise this below:

 

Messages sent from Outlook are saved as a .msg and a .xml file in the HistoryQueue folder. The message appears in the Progress tab in the service window.

  • If the message is successfully attached, a record of this is saved in the logs/successfulhistories.xml file, and the .msg and .xml files are deleted from the HistoryQueue folder.
    • This log is cleared periodically as per the value in days on the Advanced tab.
    • When this log is cleared, it removes the records from the table on the Progress tab.
  • If the message is not attached (for example if the contact does not exist in the database), then it will remain in the Progress tab and retry to attatch based on the rules declared in ACTHistoryErrorHandlers.xml.
    • Once these rules have been followed (for example for a NoContactsFoundException, it will remove the message after 1 attempt, or after 1 day), the message will be removed from the Progress tab and added to the Not Attached Messages tab.
    • When this happens, the .msg file remains in the HistoryQueue folder, but the message .xml file will be moved from the HistoryQueue folder into the Holding folder. A message .xml.error file will also accompany the message in the Holding folder. 
    • Once the messages are in the Not Attached Messages tab, the service no longer tries to attach the message to the database unless the Retry Attach button is clicked.
    • We're currently investigating the expected purging behaviour for the logs/nothandledmessages.xml log file, as well as the .xml and .xml.error files in the Holding folder, and the .msg files in the HistoryQueue folder.

The defect ID is used for internal reference. We don't have a public list of known issues.

 


MrGreg wrote:

I had a look at the logs folder. It would appear that there are 2 log files for success and 2 for not attached. It would also appear that the buttons are invoking the wrong log file(s). Again I would like to know when was this submitted to development? Also can Can I view D-05304 or is this only for internal use?


That appears to be the cause of this issue. This was first logged in Dec 2016 for Act! v18.

 


MrGreg wrote:

 

Lastly I have found yet another problem. It seems that the Attach to ACT! Contacts Progress system tray icon is vanishing. I can get it to reappear if I send another email that does not attach. It is as if there is a timeout on the icon. I would think that it should stay active in the tray as long as there is not attached messages. This is clearly the case on my system. Can you confirm this behavior? Also is there anyway to manually launch the tray icon? I found a KB article that said you can manually start it by doing this from the run box. Sadly this does not work.

"C:\Program Files (x86)\ACT\Act for Windows\Act.Outlook.Service.exe" -showqueue


The Attach to ACT! Contacts Progress icon only appears in the system tray when there are unattached messages in the list, otherwise it does not appear. This is the expected behaviour.

To show the window when there aren't any messages, the command in the Knowledgebase article (adding the -showqueue flag to the executable target) does work, but only when initially launching the service. If the service is already running, this won't do anything. Exit the process from the Task Manager and try again.