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GroupWise 6 WebAccess: For GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5 Users

Articles and Tips: article

Tay Kratzer

01 Jul 2002


GroupWise 6 WebAccess, which supports both web and wireless clients, has been getting rave reviews from Novell's customers. When Danita Zanr and I wrote the GroupWise WebAccess and Wireless User's Guide, we not only documented the new GroupWise WebAccess interface but also tested and documented GroupWise wireless support on the following:

  • Windows CE with Internet Explorer 4.0 (simple HTML)

  • Palm OS (webclipping)

  • RIM Blackberry (RIM-based browser)

  • Cell phone (wireless markup language [WML] and handheld device markup language [HDML] enabled Internet browsers)

Like Linda Kennard who used many of these same devices to research "GroupWise to Go" for the last issue of Novell Connection, Danita and I were impressed with the number of features available with any one of these clients. For example, Figure 1 shows the GroupWise wireless client on a RIM Blackberry device.

Figure 1

Although these new web and wireless features are enough to make any company anxious to upgrade to GroupWise 6, upgrading from GroupWise 5.5 Enhancement Pack (EP) to GroupWise 6 may take months to complete if your company has a large GroupWise system. Fortunately, you can make the web and wireless capabilities built into GroupWise 6 WebAccess available to all users on GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP post offices.

As a result, you do not need to provide GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP users with two different links to log in to GroupWise WebAccess. Users accessing either post office can log in to the same place and use the same interface. (Of course, the GroupWise 5.5 EP users will not see the features that are not supported by GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess.)

In addition to supporting both GroupWise 5.5 EP users and GroupWise 6 users, GroupWise 6 WebAccess provides another useful feature. The GroupWise 6 WebAccess client can proxy to a user on a GroupWise 5.5 post office. Not even the GroupWise 5.5 Windows client can do that!

This article explains the GroupWise 6 WebAccess architecture, which allows it to support both GroupWise 6 users and GroupWise 5.5 EP users. To illustrate how you can configure GroupWise 6 WebAccess for a mixed GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP environment, this article then explains how to set up GroupWise 6 WebAccess to meet the needs of a particular company. Although your company's needs and your company's configuration are undoubtedly different from those described in this article, this example coupled with an understanding of the GroupWise 6 WebAccess architecture will help you create your own solution. If you have problems, however, this article also includes some troubleshooting tips.

ARCHITECTURE

GroupWise 6 WebAccess includes two server components that work together to create a WebAccess solution: the application (or servlet) and the agent.

WebAccess Application

The WebAccess application runs as a Java servlet on a web server and loads automatically with your web server. As a result, when the web server is running, the application is running.

Note. The GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess server components use a similar architecture. In GroupWise 5.5 EP, the WebAccess application was usually referred to as a servlet. The actual term is not important. What you need to understand is the function of the application (or servlet).

WebAccess Agent

The WebAccess agent is a server executable that runs on either a NetWare server (GWINTER.NLM) or on a Windows server (GWINTER.EXE). The workhorse of the two WebAccess server components, the WebAccess agent acts as a GroupWise client on behalf of users who are using GroupWise 6 WebAccess. The WebAccess agent interacts with the user's post office to display the user's mailbox.

The GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent can access both a GroupWise 5.5 EP post office and a GroupWise 6 post office. However, the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent can access only a GroupWise 6 post office.

Configuring the WebAccess Application and Agent

The WebAccess application and the WebAccess agent are often configured to run on the same server. However, they can run on separate servers. In fact, the WebAccess application can run on a NetWare server while the WebAccess agent runs on a Windows server. Likewise, the WebAccess application can run on a Windows server while the agent runs on a NetWare server.

The GroupWise 6 WebAccess application can work with both a GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent and a GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent (with Support Pack 3 or above). When you install GroupWise 6 WebAccess, you can configure the application so that GroupWise 5.5 EP users can enjoy much of the new interface and all of the wireless capabilities that are available to GroupWise 6 users.

The GroupWise 6 WebAccess application is intelligent enough to know which version of the GroupWise WebAccess agent it is communicating with. For example, if the GroupWise 6 WebAccess application is communicating with a GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent, that application knows it should not display features that the GroupWise 5.5 EP agent cannot support.

Note. A GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess application cannot work with a GroupWise 6 agent.

CONSOLEONE ENHANCEMENTS

The GroupWise 6 snap-in modules for ConsoleOne include two new features that allow GroupWise 6 WebAccess to support both GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP post offices:

  • The GroupWiseProvider object

  • The Default WebAccess property page on GroupWise post offices and domains

The GroupWiseProvider Object

When you install GroupWise 6 WebAccess, the installation program creates the GroupWiseProvider object in eDirectory. You use this object to configure the WebAccess application running on the web server to communicate with more than one WebAccess agent. You can also configure the GroupWiseProvider object to enable a GroupWise 6 WebAccess application to communicate with both GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP agents.

The GroupWiseProvider object is unique because it is stored only in eDirectory and not in the GroupWise WPDOMAIN.DB. When you modify the GroupWiseProvider object from ConsoleOne, you are actually modifying the following files:

  • The COMMGR.CFG file in the domain\WPGATE\WebAccess gateway directory. The WebAccess agent (GWINTER) uses this file to determine which encryption key to allow.

  • The COMMGR.CFG file in the web server\NOVELL\WEBACCESS directory. The WebAccess application uses this file to discover the following: the encryption key to use to communicate with the WebAccess agent and the WebAccess agent's IP address and port .

  • The WEBACC.CFG file in the web server\NOVELL\WEBACCESS directory. The WebAccess application uses this file to determine which WebAccess agents are available.

Note. The WEBACC.CFG file has other functions, but those functions do not relate to this discussion.

The Default WebAccess Property Page

You can use ConsoleOne to configure the GroupWise 6 WebAccess application so that it chooses a GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent to service GroupWise 5.5 post offices and a GroupWise 6 WebAccess Agent to service GroupWise 6 post offices.

PREREQUISITES

Before you begin to configure GroupWise 6 WebAccess, you should complete the following tasks. First, you must obviously have begun the upgrade to GroupWise 6. Specifically, the primary domain must be upgraded to GroupWise 6.

For this article, I am also assuming that one or more of your GroupWise post offices have been upgraded to GroupWise 6. For this solution to be successful, however, none of your company's GroupWise post offices have to be upgraded to GroupWise 6. You should also be using ConsoleOne 1.3.2 or above with the GroupWise 6.0.1 or above snap-in modules. All GroupWise 6 agents should be GroupWise 6 Support Pack 1 or above. In addition, the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent must be upgraded to GroupWise 5.5 EP Support Pack 3 or above.

CALEDONIA--MAKING AN EXAMPLE

Because GroupWise WebAccess has such a flexible architecture, customers have already configured it in a variety of ways. Because it is impossible to address every possible configuration, for this article, I have created a fictitious company called Caledonia Inc. Caledonia has one NetWare 5.1 server running the GroupWise WebAccess 5.5 EP application and agent. The web server is Netscape Enterprise Web Server.

Caledonia uses one of the most popular configurations for GroupWise WebAccess--that is, Caledonia is running the WebAccess application and the WebAccess agent on the same server. With GroupWise 6, the company can continue to use this configuration.

Although Caledonia will have both GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 post offices for a period of time, the company wants to make the GroupWise 6 WebAccess capabilities available to users on both GroupWise 5.5 EP post offices and GroupWise 6 post offices.

To do this, Caledonia will require at least two servers: The first server will run the GroupWise 6 WebAccess application and the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent. The other server will run the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent.

Note. Caledonia could run the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent on the same server as the GroupWise 6 WebAccess application. These two processes can peacefully exist on the same server despite the fact that they are different versions. However, the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent and GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent cannot run on the same server.

As mentioned earlier, Caledonia is in the process of upgrading its GroupWise system. The GroupWise primary domain is a GroupWise 6 domain. A few other GroupWise secondary domains and one GroupWise post office have been upgraded to GroupWise 6. The next sections briefly explain Caledonia's setup and outline the steps you would take to install and configure GroupWise 6 WebAccess to support Caledonia's GroupWise 6 users and GroupWise 5.5 EP users.

Details of Old Configuration

  • WEBDOM1, a GroupWise 5.5 domain on which GroupWise WebAccess is installed.

  • WEB55E, the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess gateway.

  • CALWEB1, the NetWare 5.1 server on which the WEBDOM1 domain and the WEB55E gateway are installed. This server is also running Netscape Enterprise Web Server.

Details of New Configuration

  • WEBDOM1, a GroupWise 6 domain on which GroupWise WebAccess is installed.

  • WEB601, the GroupWise 6 WebAccess gateway.

  • CALWEB1, the NetWare 5.1 server on which the WEBDOM1 domain and the WEB601 gateway are installed.

  • WEBDOM2, the new GroupWise domain on which a new GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess will be installed.

  • WEB55EP3, the new GroupWise WebAccess agent that will be defined. This GroupWise 5.5 EP agent will access GroupWise 5.5 post offices.

  • CALWEB2, the NetWare 5.1 server on which the WEBDOM2 domain and the WEB55EP3 gateway are installed. (Netscape Enterprise Web Server is not running on this server.)

CONFIGURATION

To configure GroupWise 6 WebAccess to support Caledonia's GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 users, you would complete the following steps:

  1. Upgrade the WEBDOM1 domain to GroupWise 6.

  2. Access ConsoleOne, and delete the WEB55E object. (You cannot really upgrade WebAccess gateways. You must delete the gateway and reinstall the new gateway with the latest code.)

  3. Install the GroupWise WebAccess software from a GroupWise 6 Support Pack 1 (or above) Software Distribution Directory (SDD).

    Go to the GroupWise 6 Support Pack 1 (or above) SDD, and find the SETUP.EXE file in the INTERNET\WEBACCES directory.

    When the installation screen appears, select the WebAccess Agent & Application option. Follow the wizard to install the GroupWise WebAccess agent and application.

    When prompted to specify the domain in which to install the WebAccess agent, specify the WEBDOM1 domain.

    When you see a screen similar to the one shown in Figure 2, note the location where you place the WebAccess application information in eDirectory. This location is where you will go later to configure the GroupWiseProvider object.

    Figure 2

    Review the details of the Summary screen. Click Next to install the software.

    Note. The domain in which you install GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess can be either GroupWise 6 or GroupWise 5.5 EP.

  4. Install the GroupWise 5.5 EP Support Pack 3 (or above) WebAccess agent to the WEBDOM2 domain. If this is going to be a GroupWise 5.5 domain, make sure the Message Transfer Agent (MTA) matches the version of GroupWise WebAccess.

    Go to the GroupWise 5.5 Support Pack 3 SDD, and find the SETUP.EXE file in the INTERNET\WEBACCES directory.

    Check only the Install GroupWise WebAccess/WebPublisher Agent option.

    When prompted to specify the domain in which to install the WebAccess agent, specify the WEBDOM2 domain.

    Complete the remainder of the steps outlined by the installation wizard.

The Last Configuration Steps

After Caledonia completes these steps, the following three GroupWise WebAccess components now exist:

  • A GroupWise 6 WebAccess application

  • A GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent

  • A GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent

The GroupWise 6 WebAccess application is already configured to work with the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent. Users on GroupWise 6 post offices can access their post office without any further configuration. (There is one exception: Post-office links sometimes have to be tweaked. For more information about how to edit post office links, see "Editing Post-Office Links.")

You must now configure the GroupWise 6 WebAccess application to work with the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent. Specifically, you must complete the following tasks:

  • Configure the GroupWise 6 WebAccess application provider list to include the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent.

  • Configure the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent to have the same encryption key as the GroupWise 6 WebAccess application.

  • Configure the Default WebAccess gateway for GroupWise 5.5 post offices to be the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent.

To complete these configuration tasks, you perform the following steps:

  1. Launch ConsoleOne and connect to the WPDOMAIN.DB for the domain that owns the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent.

  2. Access the eDirectory browser view (in other words, not the GroupWise View), and find the GroupWiseProvider object.

  3. Edit the GroupWiseProvider object. The GroupWise WebAccess Agents box should list the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent. Click the Add button, and then browse to and select the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent. For Caledonia, you would select the GroupWise WebAccess agent in the WEBDOM2 domain.

    The GroupWise WebAccess Agents box now lists the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent first and then the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent.

    Note. It is important that the GroupWise 6 WebAccess Agent is listed first.

  4. In this GroupWiseProvider configuration screen, highlight the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent, and select the Edit button. The WebAccess Settings page for the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent appears. Copy the string in the Encryption Key field to the Windows clipboard. You will use this same encryption key in a moment for the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent. Cancel out of the WebAccess Settings page.

  5. You should be back to the page that lists the GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agents. Highlight the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent, and select the Edit button. Go to the Encryption Key field, take out the existing encryption key, and paste from the Windows clipboard the encryption key that you copied from the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent. With the identical encryption key in place, select the Apply button, and select Close. The encryption key in the COMMGR.CFG file that resides in the WEBDOM2\WPGATE\WEB55EP3 directory is rewritten.

  6. In the GroupWiseProvider configuration page, select the OK button. ConsoleOne then tries to rewrite the information in the WEBACC.CFG file on your web server. (This file is stored in the \NOVELL\WEBACCESS directory.) Among other things, the WEBACC.CFG file has a list of all agents that the GroupWise 6 application can communicate with.

  7. Edit the GroupWiseProvider object. In the GroupWiseProvider configuration screen, highlight the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent, and select the Edit button. The WebAccess Settings page for the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent appears. Find the Encryption Key field, and place an X at the end of the encryption key. Click the Apply button. The COMMGR.CFG file, which is located in the WEBDOM1\WPGATE\WEB601 directory and on the web server in the \NOVELL\WEBACCESS directory, will be updated.

    Now remove the X that you added to the Encryption Key field. Click the Apply button. The COMMGR.CFG file will be rewritten.

  8. Next, shut down and restart all of the GroupWise WebAccess components affected. Specifically, you must complete the following steps.

    a. Shut down the web server, and restart it. For example, on a Netscape Enterprise Web Server running on NetWare 5.1, you typically use the following shutdown commands:

    NSWEBDN JAVA -EXIT To load the web server, you usually enter the following command:

    NSWEB b. Shut down and restart the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent. On a NetWare server, you usually select the F7 key to exit. To reload the GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent NetWare Loadable Module (NLM), you usually enter the STRTWEB command. c. Shut down and restart the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent. On a NetWare server, you usually select the F7 key to exit. To reload the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent NLM, you usually enter the STRTWEB5 command.

  9. Select a user who is on a GroupWise 5.5 post office for testing purposes. In ConsoleOne, edit the Post Office object that this user is a member of. To edit this object, access the Default WebAccess property page, which is available in the dropdown menu under the bold GroupWise tab.

  10. In the GroupWise Default WebAccess page, place a check in the Override checkbox. Then select the Browse button, and select the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent. The change you just made will immediately take effect.

  11. Follow instructions outlined in step 10 for each GroupWise post office. You can set the override at a domain level and a post office level. Setting the override at a domain level affects all post offices in a domain.

TROUBLESHOOTING

In my experience, when you configure the GroupWiseProvider object to support both GroupWise 6 post offices and GroupWise 5.5 EP post offices, sometimes things don't work exactly as they should. The problem isn't GroupWise 5.5 versus GroupWise 6. It's just the process of defining multiple GroupWise WebAccess agents to the GroupWiseProvider object, no matter which version of GroupWise you are using.

The GroupWise snap-in module for ConsoleOne was written to support the notion of defining multiple GroupWise WebAccess agents. Sometimes, however, you have to get heavyhanded with the software to make things happen.

My experience has shown that you should focus on the COMMGR.CFG files. You must ensure that these files get the updates they should when you make changes, such as new encryption keys or new agents listed in the GroupWiseProvider object. The best way to modify the COMMGR.CFG file is to edit the GroupWise WebAccess agent from inside the GroupWiseProvider object details. (That's why I had you complete the exercise of putting an X in the Encryption Key field.)

In my experience, the COMMGR.CFG file on the web server is sometimes not updated when the COMMGR.CFG in the Domain\WPGate\WebAccess gateway directory is updated. You can manually copy this file to the web server\NOVELL\WEBACCESS directory on the web server.

If you do not see multiple agents listed in the WEBACC.CFG file, you may also need to manually edit this file. The following example shows the lines that list the GroupWise WebAccess agents:

Provider.GWAP.Default.address.1=165.22.211.105:7205 Provider.GWAP.Default.address.2=165.22.211.97:7205

The first Provider.GWAP object is a GroupWise 6 WebAccess agent. The second Provider.GWAP object is a GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent.

The GroupWise WebAccess application and agent do not reread the COMMGR.CFG after it has loaded. If you make a change, you should restart the component whose COMMGR.CFG file has changed. (For more information about defining multiple GroupWise WebAccess agents, read Chapter 11 of Novell's GroupWise 6 Administrator's Guide, which is available at http://www.caledonia.net/.)

The following are questions customers frequently have when they are considering using GroupWise 6 WebAccess for both GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP users. The answers to these questions may help you decide if this solution will work for your company.

Q: My system has mostly GroupWise 5.5 users. Can I define the GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent as the first agent in the provider list and then put the GroupWise 6 agent as the second? I can then designate the GroupWise 6 agent as the default agent for the few GroupWise 6 post offices I have.

A: You can do this, but you will run into one problem. When a GroupWise 6 user tries to proxy, that user will receive an error. GroupWise 5.5 EP does not know how to process a proxy request.

Q: Can I install more than one GroupWise 6 or GroupWise 5.5 EP WebAccess agent?

A: Yes, you can. To make the system work with each agent, you must access the GroupWiseProvider object and add the additional agents as described in this article.

Q: My company uses GroupWise WebPublisher. Will this solution work with GroupWise WebPublisher?

A: Unfortunately, no. We have encountered problems trying to use this solution with GroupWise WebPublisher.

Q: Does Novell support the configuration outlined in this article?

A: Because Novell has not extensively tested this configuration and because development support for GroupWise 5.5 EP ends July 19, 2002, Novell does not officially support this configuration. If you implement this configuration and a problem occurs, Novell will recommend that you upgrade the GWINTER to GroupWise 6.

That said, both Danita Zanr and I work with customers who have used this solution for months. None of these customers have had any problems with this solution.

CONCLUSION

Your company's needs and your company's configuration are undoubtedly different from those described in this article. However, you can use these basic steps to configure your company's GroupWise system to make the web and wireless capabilities built into GroupWise 6 WebAccess available to all of the users on GroupWise 6 and GroupWise 5.5 EP post offices. Users can then access their GroupWise accounts from anywhere, anytime.

Tay Kratzer is author of Novell's GroupWise 6 Administrator's Guide and co-author of the GroupWise WebAccess & Wireless User's Guide (Site License Version), and GroupWise 6 Upgrade Guide. All three books are available at http://www.caledonia.net/.

Editing Post-Office Links

After you install GroupWise WebAccess, GroupWise 6 users should automatically be able to access their Universal Inbox from a web browser. Occasionally, however, you may need to edit the post-office link. To edit this link, you use ConsoleOne to complete the following tasks:

  1. Edit the GroupWise WebAccess Agent object.

  2. Go to the Post Office Links property page.

  3. Highlight a post office, and confirm or configure the information displayed about the link from GroupWise WebAccess to that post office.

* Originally published in Novell Connection Magazine


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The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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