Using Outlook synchronization

The first step in using Outlook synchronization is to establish the association between a con­tact list or calendar in BSCW and the corresponding contact folder or calendar in Outlook on your local computer.

      Open the contact list or calendar which you want to synchronize with a local Outlook folder.

      Select  File    Synchronize  in the top menu or click on  in the action shortcut bar to start the synchronization applet.

      After start-up, the applet will show a separate window in which you may select an Out­look folder to associate with the current contact list or calendar for synchronization purposes. You may either select an existing Outlook folder or create a new empty one. You create a new folder by first selecting an existing folder as parent folder, then en­tering the name of the new folder and finally hitting [Create Folder].

The folder selection window will only come up when there is no Outlook folder associated with the current BSCW contact list or calendar. This is the case when Outlook synchroniza­tion is first started for a contact list or calendar or when the associated Outlook folder is not accessible, e.g. has been deleted meanwhile.

The association between a BSCW contact list or calendar and an Outlook folder is valid for the lifetime of the associated objects, i.e. until the BSCW object or the Outlook folder is de­stroyed (in Outlook: deleted from the Deleted Items folder).

Note: Although it is possible to associate two BSCW contact lists or calendars with the same Outlook folder, we strongly discourage you to do this. Subsequent synchronization will lead to two different BSCW contact lists or calendars with the same contents which might be dis­turb­ing and may lead to unnecessary conflicts.

During the initial synchronization, contacts and appointments of the BSCW contact list or calendar will be downloaded to the associated Outlook folder, while the contacts or appoint­ments of the Outlook folder, if any, are uploaded to the corresponding BSCW object. The corresponding actions are indicated in the main window of the synchronization applet (see the figure below). As a result, the associated objects on both sides contain the same contacts or appointments.

Figure 35: Main window of the Outlook synchronization applet

Important: You should consider the following points when synchronizing appointments:

Set your personal time zone via  Options    Profile    Change  in the ‘More Information’ sec­tion. This ensures that “floating” appointments, i.e. BSCW appointments with no time zone set (the default), are transferred correctly to your associated Outlook calendar.

Outlook supports less sophisticated recurrence rules for appointments than does BSCW. Con­sequently, only BSCW appointments with one recurrence rule and no ex­cep­tion rules can be transferred to Outlook during synchronization. There are further re­strictions on the recurrence rules that may be transferred to Outlook; you will be ad­vised via according error messages. To be on the safe side, have a look at the recur­rence patterns that are pos­sible in Outlook.

Modifications of individual appoint­ments belonging to a whole series of recurring ap­point­ments cannot be transferred from one side to another during synchronization.

 

Further kinds of actions may become necessary during the synchronizations following the initial one: contacts or appointments may have been modified or deleted and more contacts or appoint­ments may have been added on one side or both. Consequently, contacts or appoint­ments may need to be updated, deleted or created on one side or the other. The necessary syn­chronization actions are listed in the main window of the synchronization applet as shown in the figure above.

The synchronization actions are distinguished using specific icons.

new object in BSCW  A new contact or appointment has been created in Outlook; a corresponding object is to be created in BSCW via transfer of the object from Outlook to BSCW.

update in BSCW  An existing contact or appointment has been modified in Outlook; the corre­spon­d­ing object in BSCW is to be updated via transfer of the object from Outlook to BSCW.

new object in Outlook  A new contact or appointment has been created in BSCW; a corresponding ob­ject is to be created in Outlook via transfer of the object from BSCW to Outlook.

update in Outlook  An existing contact or appointment has been modified in BSCW; the corre­spond­ing object in Outlook is to be updated via transfer of the object from BSCW to Out­look.

delete in Outlook    An existing contact or appointment has been deleted in Outlook; the corresponding ob­ject in BSCW is also to be deleted.

delete in BSCW    An existing contact or appointment has been deleted in BSCW; the corresponding ob­ject in Outlook is also to be deleted. Note that concurrent deletion of two corre­spond­ing contacts or appointments is not specifically indicated because no synchro­nizing action is necessary in this situation.

conflict  An existing contact or appointment has been modified in both BSCW and Out­look; the resulting conflict is to be resolved manually by giving priority to one of the modi­fications.

transfer problem  An appointment cannot be transferred from one side to the other. The reason for the transfer problem is displayed in the lower part of the applet window when the speci­fic item is clicked on. In most cases, transfer problems are caused by complex re­cur­rence rules of BSCW appointments or changes in individual appointments belong­ing to a series of recurring appointments, both of which is not supported by the syn­chro­nization process.

Transfer problems have to be handled manually outside the synchronization process, e.g. by simplifying a complex BSCW recurrence rule or by undoing a modification of an individual appointment belonging to a series of recurring appointments in Outlook.

The other situation that cannot be handled automatically during synchronization is the con­flict. Concurrent modifications of two corresponding contacts or appointments since the last synchronization constitute a conflict. The nature of the modifications is not taken into ac­count, only the point in time when the modifications were carried out. Also, modification of an object on the one side and deletion of the corresponding object on the other side is re­garded as a conflict. Consequently, conflicts may not be resolved by deleting the object con­cerned on one side or the other. Also, undoing the modification on one side or the other will not work because this would be regarded as an additional modification again. Conflicts may only be resolved by giving priority to one of the modifications and having the object on the other side updated accordingly. Of course, no one will force you to resolve a conflict or to remove a transfer problem, you will only be remembered that there are problems, every time you do an Outlook synchronization.

You have several possibilities to control the synchronization process:

      In the upper part of the applet window, you may select certain groups of synchroniza­tion actions for display in the main list by checking or unchecking the respective check boxes. Actions that are not displayed in the main list will not be executed during synchronization. This way, e.g., you may forbid the deletion of contacts in your Out­look folder.

      You may individually determine the synchronization action to be taken for the items in the main list of the applet window. Clicking on the action icon of an item will dis­play a drop-down menu with the actions possible, from which you may select the ac­tion to be executed for this item. This is particular useful for the manual resolution of con­flicts or the exemption of individual items from the synchronization by selecting the null action for these items, which is symbolized by the no action icon.

      You may also set the synchronization action for a whole group of items that you have selected manually in the main list by clicking on the items. After selection of the items, a right-mouse click will display a pop-up menu with the actions possible for all items in the group. This is particular useful for resolving a whole group of conflicts in the same manner. Attention: If your selection of items is too heterogeneous, the null action (no action) may be the only action permissible for all items in the selection.

After you have decided which objects to synchronize and how, you finally start the actual synchronization by hitting the [OK] button in the synchronization applet window. The pro­gress bar in the lower part of the applet part will inform you about the progress of the syn­chronization process.

Attention: If the synchronization process comes to an in-between halt, the reason may be that you are asked in a separate pop-up dialog to allow the access to Outlook’s email ad­dresses by the synchronization applet. This is a built-in security check against virus attacks. To continue the synchronization process you have to allow the access for the applet. There is a freeware pro­gram available that will do this automatically on your behalf.       
(http://www.contextmagic.com/express-clickyes/)