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Tracking comments/notes via eMail as if it were a blog section...
Would love to be able to track comments or notes by simply replying to an eMail thread that was initially sent out by a link in a project on TeamDesk. Then have the ability to reply and have the messages automatically tracked in that section of the project. Kind of like a blog if you will, being able to track messages, to-do lists, files, and text documents to to TeamDesk just by sending an email responce to a "key" initial eMail. I have examples of programs that can do this, but I am sure you allready know of them.
ID
531
Category
Other
Author

TORE Prop Admin
Date Created
7/3/2012 8:01:32 PM
Date Updated
9/10/2012 1:55:47 PM
Status
New Idea
Score
70
Related articles
Promoted By
Gii Systemsmartin oliverBaret Kouyoumdjian
Ettore DragonePhilipp MatuschkaNatalie Mutchnick
TORE Prop Admin
Comments
Philipp Matuschka 7/4/2012 5:24:29 PM
Creating an outlook plugin from which you can file incoming and outgoing emails straight to teamDesk would be fantastic. Salesforce.com have something like this
Kirill Bondar  Staff  7/5/2012 3:57:16 AM
Once we tried to write a tool to scan POP3 mailbox and push emails into TeamDesk app via the API - this tools was supposed to be a prototype for TeamDesk email integration. Everything looks relatively straightforward as long as you put email body to the database as the whole.

But then some additional requirements arose: capture some field values from the body, strip quoted text off the reply message, strip company signature (sometimes quite long) etc. Parsing the text might be quite complicated task. We used regular expression language to define the rules but the language is definitely not for non-programmers.
Philipp Matuschka 7/5/2012 4:11:17 AM
The approach of Salesforce when I used it (over 5 years ago) was (in the below already adapted for TD use):
- when reading an incoming email, ability to press a button called say TDFile. Then a screen comes up with the most important data available. This screen is in fact a TD form, so already connected to the TD database. In this screen the user could amend any of the data before pressing save.
-
Philipp Matuschka 7/5/2012 4:13:51 AM
- When sending an outgoing email, ability to press a button called say TDSend. The email is sent immediately, but the user is presented gain with a TD Form similar to the above.
The key is that the integration is at the desktop/outlook level and not at the server level.

Parameters to the TD Call could be
- database number
- table number
- assumed from address
- assumed to address
- body text
- etc
Philipp Matuschka 7/5/2012 4:17:37 AM
I specified this once for our specific use. I never went ahead as the proposed cost was not justified for us. You may be able to pick some nuggets from the spec.

We use Outlook as our general email programme. We have also developed our own Investment / Property / Case management system in TeamDesk (www.teamdesk.net). We use a mix of Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 across the organisation. 7 of our users use the English version, 3 use the German version.

Currently emails written or received are transferred to TeamDesk by cut/paste. As you can imagine this is neither efficient nor does it have much acceptance with the staff. There is also the possibility to send emails directly from TeamDesk, but with limited functionality.

I am looking for an Outlook plug-in to be written with the following features/functionality

Phase 1

- when sending an email, have an additional button called say TDSend. This would parse the email for the text just written (i.e in reply emails don’t include all the previous stuff), the senders email address, the recipients email address, any cc email addresses, the subject line. Based on this it would call the NEW JOURNAL entry screen from TeamDesk, pre-populate the fields as best possible and then leave it up to the user to fill any remaining fields and press SAVE. This assumes that the user is logged in. Where a call to TD is made without a user being logged in I think (not sure) that TeamDesk will present the login screen and then continue with the specific call made. Regardless of the senders email detected, the sender is the logged in user. However the logged in user can have multiple identities within our TeamDesk application and if possible a match should be made.

- having previously written an email and then wanting to file it to TD from the Outlook sent items folder, have an additional button called TDFile. Same general functionality as above

- having received an email, have an additional button called TDFile. Same general functionality as above. In this case regardless of the recipients email address detected, the recipient is the logged in user. However the logged in user can have multiple identities within our TeamDesk application and if possible a match should be made.

Phase 2
- JOURNAL entries have a 1:m relationship to Documents. It would be a strong nice to have if any attachments to the emails in all cases above, were transferred to Documents attaching to the JOURNAL entry. However this functionality may be complex and if this is the case should be deferred to a phase 2.

- JOURNAL entries in TeamDesk have parent records. At the moment these are OBJEKT (german for property), MIETVERTRAG (German for Lease) and FALL (german for Case). Each of these has a unique reference number. It would be useful if a system could be developed whereby these fields could also be pre-populated.

Note: TeamDesk Table and Fieldnames may change in the future and it should be possible to easily amend the Plugin to accommodate this.

Ettore Dragone 7/5/2012 8:11:00 AM
Love the idea of an outlook integration piece. We use a product called ConnectWise to manage our service tickets and it does almost exactly what Phillip is describing.

But for now, I would be happy with a integrated collaboration tool function. This was the one main feature that almost had me signing up with Basecamp. GoogleGroups uses this feature as well. Instead of having to log in to Google apps each time a comment is made, you simply reply to the eMail thread and it tracks the conversation in GoogleGroups.
Baret Kouyoumdjian 9/4/2012 9:02:01 AM
I have spent over $1000 with various gimmicks trying to integrate outlook to my previous applications. Now I think its time to do it finally with Teamdesk, so yes please, we need such an integration.
Rick Cogley 9/9/2012 11:31:25 PM
We have this working, posting to Teamdesk via series of systems that include a self-hosted script that puts the data where we want it. Then we do some data splitting and validation once it is in, to make decisions on what to do with it in workflows.

The above posters who said it is complicated are right. Email has so many variations that make it a real challenge to do including text encodings and MIME types, as well as multi-language variants of these (we do this for Japanese).
Rick Cogley 9/9/2012 11:44:04 PM
And more to the point, personally I disagree with an Outlook plugin, because it will be expensive for the TD folks to implement, and will have to be maintained for every new version of Outlook. I prefer TD remain agnostic and standards based, as much as possible. We have managed to get email-to-TD working, as I mentioned above, so I would rather either continue to do our own development or, that such a generic use-with-any-email-system solution could be added.
Scott Miller 9/10/2012 12:53:17 PM
I think the work that Kirill alluded to was actually completed for our application 'Utopia'. This bespoke app scans a POP3 Mailbox and then inserts new records into TD. The app picks up the user from the email address and populates time, date, description (email body), etc. The pre requisite being that you have to fire the email at the designated mailbox (we use an email address termed 'addnote@xyz.com' which is cc'd). We use this to add entries to Support Incidents and Projects as email forms part of the communication cycle. It took some fine tuning as Kirill has mentioned but it works well for us. Kirill I hope I haven't lumbered you with more work but you did a great job :-)
Kirill Bondar  Staff  9/10/2012 1:55:47 PM
@Scott: thanks :) Once you mentioned Utopia I think I can share some technical details.

Loading e-mail messages is not a problem - we have it functioning in BUGtrack and CRMdesk for a long time. Suppose we have addresses, subject and the body parsed and decoded - but what to do then? How the application administrator should define the rules?

In Utopia we utilized regular expressions to get valuable data off the message. Below are some examples - what do they do?

1. (?'caseid'(?i:(CS|PJ)ID)-\d{5,})
2. (?imsnx)\A(?'body'.*?)(^\s*(\>|(From:)|(Business\s+Systems)))

First one is easy: it captures record identifier in form of CSID-NNNNN or PJID-NNNNN
Second one is more complicated: it captures the text off the body until it finds the string starting with ">" (common quote format) or "From:" (Outlook-style citation) or "Business Systems..." (legal disclaimer at the end of the message).

---

TeamDesk formula functions are not powerful enough to perform more or less complex text parsing - and will never be, as it is not needed for typical database applications. Regular expressions, while powerful, have horrible syntax; unfortunately there are no other alternatives at the moment.
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