OfficeStatus 5 supports the updating of user statuses via email. This feature allows users to send quick status updates to OfficeStatus from any device that supports the ability to send email messages.
To enable and configure this capability, navigate to Administration >> Status >> Email Status Updates.
How it Works
Email Status Updates work through the use of standard email protocols. Users will send status update messages to a dedicated OfficeStatus email account (via SMTP) using their preferred mail client, and OfficeStatus Server picks them up and processes them using the IMAP protocol.
When OfficeStatus Server collects status update emails via IMAP, it attempts to match the “from” address of each message to an OfficeStatus user account. If a match is found and the email subject line can be parsed correctly, the user’s status is changed accordingly. If a matching user is found but the email message subject cannot be parsed, OfficeStatus will send the user an error notification email.
Requirements and Preparations
Preparing to use OfficeStatus Email Status Updates feature involves the following steps:
1. Create a dedicated email account for use by OfficeStatus for the purpose of supporting Email Status Updates. You can create this email account on your corporate mail server, on GMail, etc. Ensure that IMAP support is enabled for the account.
2. Ensure that each OfficeStatus user has an email address assigned to their account profile. These email addresses will be used to match inbound status update email messages, so please double-check them for correctness.
3. Configure the OfficeStatus Email Status Updates feature (details below).
4. Test the feature by sending a correctly formatted email (details below) to the email account you created in step 1.
The following Email Status Update configuration fields are available.
- Enable Status Updates via Email – By default, this feature is disabled, so you’ll first need to enable it here.
- IMAP Server Address – The fully qualified host name or IP address of your IMAP server (i.e. imap.gmail.com).
- Use SSL – When enabled, connections to the above IMAP server address will be made securely (using SSL/TLS). Many modern mail servers (including GMail) require the use of secure IMAP connections.
- Username – Enter the username of the email account to which status update email messages will be sent. In many cases, this username will be the same as the account’s email address. As noted above, this account must be used exclusively by OfficeStatus in support of the Email Status Updates feature.
- Password – The password associated with the above IMAP account.
- Move Processed Messages To – When specified, processed status update email messages will be moved into this IMAP folder after being processed (successfully or otherwise). Use of this field is not required, but is strongly recommended.
Once you’ve configured the above fields, use the Test Connection button to ensure proper connectivity to your IMAP account.
Important: When collecting email messages via IMAP, OfficeStatus Server will only process unseen messages in the account’s inbox. However, as an added safeguard we strongly recommend the use of the “Move Processed Messages To” option to limit inbox growth. For example, a common strategy is to move processed messages directly to the Trash (i.e. [IMAP]/Trash) folder.
Composing and Formatting Status Update Emails
In order to be processed correctly by OfficeStatus, status update emails must follow a simple set of formatting rules.
Firstly, the email must be sent to the dedicated OfficeStatus Email Status Updates email account created in Step 1 of the “Requirements and Preparations” section above.
Secondly, the email message’s subject line must include the user’s desired target status, and may also optionally include a due back and status comment information. The email subject format is as follows:
[Status Name] [Due Back Date/Time] [Status Comments]
Of the above, only the Status Name is required – the due back and comment information is optional. Now let’s look at each of these parts more closely.
- Status Name – This must precisely match either the full name of an existing status, or it’s alias.
- Due Back Date/Time – This value can either be relative (i.e. “1 day”) or absolute (i.e. “2pm”). Relative times can be specified as X min/minute/minutes/m, X hr/hour/hours/h, or X day/days/d.
- Status Comments – Any data that can’t be parsed as a status or due back date/time will be used as a status comment.
OfficeStatus uses a very flexible parser to extract due back date/time information. For example, all of the following accomplish the same result:
Ex 1: “Out 30m”
Ex 2: “Out 30 min”
Ex 3: “Out 30minutes”
Ex 4: “O 30m”
Note that in example 4 above, it is that “O” is specified as the alias for the “Out” status. You can specify aliases for statuses via the Status Editor.
Here are another set of examples, all of which indicate that the user will return tomorrow at 9am with a comment of “call my cell”:
Ex 1: “Out 1d 9am call my cell”
Ex 2: “O 1 day 9:00 call my cell”
Ex 3: “Out 8/16/2014 9:00am call my cell”
Note that if even if the user composed a due back date/time that was somehow invalid, the portions of the subject line that could not be interpreted would simply become part of the user’s current status comment.
If the due back/date time refers to a date/time that occurs in the past (ex: a user sends “Out 9am” at 3pm in the afternoon), the due back date will automatically be shifted to the following day.
Important: OfficeStatus will parse only the subject line of inbound status updates. Other message parts (such as the message body) will be ignored.