Tailor the "What's New” section in your Stat Web Client

Why a custom “include.txt” in your Stat Web Client?

Including a custom “Include.txt” gives you the ability to personalize the content that is displayed to all of your Stat Web Client users. It's a great way to keep your team up to date on things that are happening throughout the environment.

Perhaps you need to shutdown a system early today, update the include.txt to display a message similar to “The main server is shutting down at 5:00 PM this evening. Please be sure to log off by then.

The “What’s New” section can also be used for numerous other things such as:
I. Keep the team up to date on Project Deadlines.
II. Notify End Users of Production Migration Schedules and Approval Due Dates.
III. Put in Reminders of your Processes and Procedures.

What’s New You Ask?

Within your Stat Web Client, you've probably noticed the bottom left hand side of the page that includes a section called “What's New”.
If you've never been concerned with it to date, then it probably looks like this:

 

 

Now, you don't have to do anything with this area and it will simply remain as you see it above. However, as I’ve stated in most of the blogs I've written in the past: We are the Brave! We are the Valiant! We are the Stat Administrators. Therefore, we must...

What are the keys to the “What's New” section on the Stat Web Client?

Normally, I might say “Read the Documentation!”. However, not this time... And the reason for that is? Well, frankly I've not found much in the way of
documentation on this particular subject. Given that, it makes a perfect subject to write a blog about! (Do people still say “Winning!”)

Who owns it?

Typically, the Stat Administrator will manage it, however, I've seen several locations where the Functional Team Lead, or Technical Team Lead will be responsible for it.
It really depends on your environment and the goals you want to accomplish with the 'What's New” area of the screen.

How do I customize it?

OK, now let's get “Geeky”.

What do I need to change?

There are two files that we need to modify in order to get our custom “What's New” section to work properly. The files we are looking for are located in the Stat Central Agent directory structure.

File #1: stat.properties:

The stat.properties has a section within it that tells the Stat Central Agent where to look for a retrieve the custom information we want displayed in the “What’s New” section of our Stat Web Client.
This file is located within the Stat Central Agent's directory structure under the “\config” directory. This location is also known as the “STAT_HOME” directory.

Q: How do I find it?

A: Load a DOS Command Shell on the machine where the Stat Central Agent is located.

See the example below: At the DOS Prompt type “SET STAT_HOME”. See the example below:

 

C:\>SET STAT_HOME

C:\>STAT_HOME=S:\Stat_561_Cntrl_Agnt

 

So, my STAT_HOME is equal to “S:\Stat_561_Cntrl_Agnt”. The stat.properties file is therefore located in the subdirectory “\config”.
The summation of this is that the file I need to work with is located in: S:\Stat_561_Cntrl_Agnt\config\stat.properties.

 

First and foremost, take a backup of the existing stat.properties file and relocate it to a safe place. If we load the stat.properties file into a text editor we see the following section:
Stat.properties File Contents:

...
#============================================================================================
# Client Global Properties
#
# Valid "whats.new.include" parameters: (See http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/fileurl.html)
# 1. relative to distribution (default) = ../include.txt
# 2. absolute file Windows (i.e. c:\Temp\...) = file:///c:/temp/readme.txt
# 3. web http URL = https://www.quest.com
#============================================================================================
# WRH Original: whats.new.include=../include.txt (Next Line is Location of my Custom Include.txt file.)
whats.new.include=file:///S:/Stat_561_Cntrl_Agnt/config/CustInclude.txt
...

 

Within our stat.properties file, set a pointer to where you want to place your Custom “Include.txt” file as the above shows. As you can see there are several examples provided within the stat.properties file.
In addition, you can name the file whatever you'd like.

File #2: <CustInclude.txt> File:

The second file to edit is the custom include.txt file. And this is where all the magic happens. Below is an example of one of my custom include.txt files:

 

<ul><li><i><B>Welcome!</B></i><br><B>Everyone</B><br>to your Quest Stat Demo!<br></li><P>

<li>Use This Space To Keep Your Team Up To Date On Things Happening!<br></li></P>

<P><li>This area can be updated <B>daily</B> from a<B>Text File</B>or why not

<a href="www.Quest.com"><B><i>Add Your Own Links! Or...</i></a></B><br></li></P>

<P><li>Drive Your Acct. Mgr. Crazy With 500 Automated Emails:<B>Per Day!</B></li></P>

<a href="www.Quest.com" ><B><i>Add Links to Your Internal Resource Sites/Help Desks.</i></a></B><br></li></P>
<hr/><a href="www.Quest.com"><B><i>Add Links to This & That.</i></a></B><br></li></P><hr/></ul>

 

Here’s what this will look like on our screen at runtime:

 

Let's break the above include.txt file down into its different components:

Blue = HTML formatting language.

 

Red = Text I want displayed to the user.

 

<ul><li><i><B>Welcome!</B></i><br><B>Everyone</B><br> to your Quest Stat Demo!<br></li><P>
<li>Use This Space To Keep Your Team Up To Date On Things Happening!<br></li></P>
<P><li>This area can be updated
<B>daily</B> from a <B>Text File</B> or why not
<a href="www.Quest.com" ><B><i> Add Your Own Links! Or...</i></a></B><br></li></P>
<P><li> Drive Your Acct. Mgr. Crazy With 500 Automated Emails:
<B>Per Day!</B></li></P>
<a href="www.Quest.com" ><B><i> Add Links to Your Internal Resource Sites/Help Desks. </i></a></B><br></li></P>

<hr/><a href="www.Quest.com"><B><i>Add Links to This & That.</i></a></B><br></li></P><hr/></ul>

 

Newton's 10th Law of HTML:

As Newton bravely stated: “For every action in HTML, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Yes, Newton! I’m sure of it! The point being that for every HTML opening type entered; ensure you have an associated HTML closing type to match it.
You can see in the table below that for every HTML opening type, in most cases, there is a matching HTML closing type:

 

The table below is a crash course in HTML text formatting. (We'll only concern ourselves with the most commonly used HTML items within the include.txt file.)

 

HTML Opening:

HTML Closing:

Purpose:

Example:

Results:

<ul>

</ul>

Start a Uniform List

<ul>My New List Here</ul>

New Line/New List.

<li>

</li>

List Items

<li>List Item One.</li>

<li>List Item Two.</li>

* List Item One.

* List Item Two.

<i>

</i>

Display Italic Text

<i>Welcome!</i>

Welcome!

<B>

</B>

Display Bold Text

<b>Welcome!</b>

Welcome!

<P>

</P>

Display New Paragraph

<P>New Paragraph 1</P>

New Paragraph

<a href= "www.*">

</a>

Display a Hyperlink

<a href = "www.Link.com">
My Link To Quest </a>

  1. Std. HTML Link.

My Link To Quest

<br>

The First Exception

Add Line Break - Does not need a closing type


<br>Hello Quest Stat!<br>

{...Previous line}

Hello Quest Stat!

{...Next line}

<hr/>

The Other Exception

Adds a Horizontal Rule Line

Hello Line One
<hr/>
Hello Quest Stat!
<hr/>

Hello Line One!
------------------------
Hello Quest Stat!
------------------------

 

Tips on HTML Formatting:

With HTML the actual formatting of the file is not as important as the contents of the file. In the two similar samples below, the code is exactly the same; only in Sample B we’ve broken the lines for easier reading. The HTML code is interpreted the same way by the Stat Central Agent.


Sample A:
<ul><li><i><B>Welcome!</B></i><br><B>Everyone</B><br>to your Quest Stat Demo!<br></li>
<P><li>Use This Space To Keep Your Team Up To Date On Things Happening!<br></li></P></ul>

 

Sample B:
<ul>

<li><i><B>Welcome!</B></i>

<br><B>Everyone</B>

<br>to your Quest Stat Demo!<br></li>

<P><li>Use This Space To Keep Your Team Up To Date On Things Happening!<br></li></P>

</ul>

Things such as carriage returns and line spacing have no effect on the interpretation of the HTML code. Therefore, format your custom include.txt file in the way that is most readable to you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you found it useful in your daily use of Stat. Please check out Part II of this blog which will be coming out shortly.
In Part II we will look at adding images and further enhancements to the “What's New” section of our Stat Web Client.

 

Here’s a quick peek at Part II:

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

William R. Hart

Solutions Architect

Quest Software, Inc.

About the Author
William.Hart
Promoting a positive Stat User Community and enriching the value of the Stat investment. William has worked with the Stat application for over twelve years. He specializes in the areas of PeopleSoft and...