This document describes the changes made in the latest version of Merlinia OutBack
Merlinia OutBack 4.0 notes
These notes document the significant things changed in OutBack from version 3.3 to 4.0.
The entire calendar integration has been totally revised. The former MCS (Merlinia Collaboration Server) module has been discarded and replaced by a program called the OutBack Information Repository (OIR) that runs as part of the OutBack Server service. In other words, there is one less Windows service needed on the OutBack Server machine. Furthermore, the previous Domino Extractor and Exchange Extractor programs have been combined into one program called the OutBack Calendar Connector.
Each of the three discarded programs was accompanied by its own administration program, and these have also been discarded. The Merlinia Administrator program, which was introduced with the new SMS Gateway program together with OutBack version 3.3, now has additional tabs for the new programs. This means that the Merlinia Administrator program now consolidates the administrative functions of almost all of the OutBack components, the remaining major exception being the OutBack Server itself.
Regarding the internal technologies involved, OutBack no longer contains any "COM objects". COM, or Component Object Model, is a Microsoft technology from the early 1990s, and is perhaps best known for the need to "register" DLLs that implement COM objects.
All of these changes should make OutBack easier to install and administer, and make the calendar integration more reliable. If problems do occur, then the new Merlinia Administrator program will make trouble-shooting easier.
Alternative to installing Outlook on the server running Calendar Connector
In order to connect to a Microsoft Exchange Server it was previously necessary to have Microsoft Outlook installed on the server that the OutBack Calendar Connector (formerly the OutBack Exchange Extractor) ran on. There is now an alternative: Install the "Microsoft Exchange Server MAPI Client and Collaboration Data Objects 1.2.1" support instead. This Microsoft package can be downloaded here:
A completely new system using an XML license file that is digitally signed replaces the previous system based on registration numbers. The License.xml file that you receive from Merlinia or your dealer should be placed in the Program Files folder where OBServer.exe resides. The Registration tab in the OutBack Administrator program has been removed, and is replaced by a License tab in the Merlinia Administrator program.
Merlinia OutBack 3.3 notes
These notes document the significant things changed in OutBack from version 3.2 to 3.3.
The calendar integration with Microsoft Exchange has been completely revised to use Exchange's native protocol, Extended MAPI. This gives both reliability and performance advantages, and makes it unnecessary to install the calendar integration module on the same physical server as the Exchange Server program is running on.
Telephone system support
OutBack now supports Samsung OfficeServ systems, in addition to Alcatel OmniPCX Office and OmniPCX Enterprise and Avaya IPOffice systems.
OutBack Client improvements
The interface to the local Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes program has been revised, making it more reliable. Support for Polish has been added, so OutBack Client now supports Danish, English, German, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish and Swedish.
The SMS Gateway program provided with OutBack is a completely new program with support for many more GSM devices, and the possible use of Bluetooth mobile telephones instead of a GSM device. This is the same SMS Gateway program provided with the Merlinia Assistance product, and if both Assistance and OutBack are purchased they can share one SMS Gateway.
The SMS Gateway "Forward" command has been extended so an SMS user can now reprogram any telephone to forward calls to a specified number.
The folder structure for installation of the OutBack Client modules has been "flattened": there is no longer a "\Plug-ins" folder.
Merlinia OutBack 3.2 notes
These notes document the significant things changed in OutBack from version 3.1 to 3.2.
Calendar appointments and free/busy information is now fetched directly from the Microsoft Exchange server or the Lotus Domino server. This is more reliable than fetching the information via an Outlook or Notes client program, as was previously done. It is also more flexible, in that OutBack can be configured to fetch information from several Exchange or Domino servers, or a mixture of Exchange and Domino servers.
Telephone system support
OutBack now supports Avaya IP Office systems, in addition to Alcatel OmniPCX Office and OmniPCX Enterprise systems.
For OutBack systems integrated with a TAPI-based telephone system it is now possible to select a telephone number on the screen and call that number.
OutBack Client look-and-feel
The user interface has been modernized somewhat, and the icons that show a user's presence (online, offline, busy, etc.) have been revised to show more information. More languages have been added, so OutBack Client now supports Danish, English, German, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish.
OutBack Administrator program
The Administrator program has been completely revised, making it easier to configure OutBack one step at a time, with integrated help information being shown along the way.
OutBack Client startup time
This has been reduced drastically for large installations.