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Beantin Beta Blog

Experiments, investigations, and tests of web things
March 9, 2011

Retrieving mobile numbers via Lotus Connections API

I’ve been baffled for several months as to why you couldn’t get at the mobile number via the Lotus Connections ATOM API – only the “work” telephone number.

In the summer I noticed that not all telephone numbers were visible in the XML returned via the ATOM API for Lotus Connections 2.5. Everywhere I checked behaved the same, including the Lotus Greenhouse. I’d studied the documentation, and there didn’t seem to be any way to get any more data out.

I even had a dialogue with IBM, as well as few Lotus people via Twitter, but it just didn’t appear possible. There was definitely a bug with vCards, and there seemed to be one with the API too.

I was on the verge of pushing for an alternative API to be quickly developed (rather than waiting another half a year for a fix-patch) when Jan Fjärnström discovered that there was a mistake in the Lotus Connections documentation.

On the Searching Profiles page, it says:

Specifies whether you want a full profile or partial profile to be returned. Options are lite or full. The default value is full.

In reality the default value is infact lite.

So, if we’d have tested putting: &format=full at the end of API requests, it would have worked. Amazingly, I’d tested: &format=lite (the incorrectly stated “non default” value), but as full was default, I hadn’t tested to specifically add &format=full.

A more complete example would be:


Lesson? Never stop being curious! test everything…

Update, 2011-04-04

The documentation has been corrected for Lotus Connections 3.0 and as Michelle says in the comments below, a technote has been created highlighting the problem with the Connections 2.5 documentation.

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  • Michelle Miller

    Hi James,
    I am a writer on the Lotus Connections team. I am sorry this documentation error caused you so much trouble. We have review processes in place to catch this sort of thing, but sometimes an error slips through. Now that the product documentation is hosted on a wiki, experts from inside and outside IBM can help improve the quality of the doc by adding a comment to point out an error or even by fixing it themselves. Feel free to participate; your fellow programmers will thank you for it. (And so will I.)

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for the comment. Being able to update the documentation (for Lotus Connections 3) faster is clearly a welcome and sensible move. As I wrote above, I’m actually most surprised at myself (and those I directly talked to) for not testing and realising this much earlier.

      Make sure someone lets me know when the 2.5 documentation is updated and I’ll edit my blog post accordingly.

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