Discussion:
Potential use for Blat
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gcematthews
2004-09-20 01:07:36 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

I just came across Blat after I saw it used in a Firefox extension.
Blat, in combination with the Teleflip service can send text messages
from the browser==> http://extensions.roachfiend.com/index.php

In any event, it sounds pretty cool (Blat -- not necessarily the
Firefox extension) and I'm now thinking of trying out Blat at work. I
handle our e-business, but I'm on the business side not I.T. This
makes me somewhat dangerous :)

Unlike many on the business side, before posting, I read through lots
of messages on this board and have spent some time on the Blat
website. I just want to double check the following is feasible:

--Sales Reports are created Monday morning and saved to a directory.
--Create a batch file with the appropriate Blat lingo in order to
email the report(s) to the intended report recipients.
--Create a scheduled task to run the batch file on Monday mid-morning.

A couple of twists I was thinking about:

Twist 1
Is there a way to decide who the email recipient should be based on
the report's name? For example, we could include the recipient's
email name (not including the companyxyz.com part) as the beginning of
the report name. Somehow get Blat to go to a specified directory and
look for all attachments named *report.xls, where * is the appropriate
user's 8 character email name.

I'm essentially looking to avoid hardcoding who gets what report.
That way there would be a single solution for the following scenario:

week 1
Sales Person A gets 3 reports
Sales Person B gets 1 report

week 2
Sales Person A gets 2 reports
Sales Person B gets 0 reports (and has a job in jeopardy!)

Or, could we have Blat send all documents within a directory as
attachments to a user? If there were no documents in the directory,
Blat wouldn't send.

Twist 2
I'd like to create a couple of top line reports (e.g. a few lines of
key info) and have them emailed as the message body. No problem for
Blat there, I would just have the reports created in text format.

However, is it possible to have a second text file included in the
message body. The second text file would act as an intro or other
greeting e.g. "Below is your key info delivered to your fingertips, so
you no longer have to think".

I suspect there are a number of ways to accomplish the above 'twists',
perhaps not all within Blat.

Any suggestions, tips or inspiration are appreciated.

Regards,

--GCE




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Rick Nakroshis
2004-09-20 03:50:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by gcematthews
Unlike many on the business side, before posting, I read through lots
of messages on this board and have spent some time on the Blat
(Deleted for brevity.)
Post by gcematthews
Any suggestions, tips or inspiration are appreciated.
While Blat can only handle the sending of the reports, what you'd like to
do should not be that hard at all. The trick will be to combine a variety
of ideas, tools and techniques to accomplish what you'd like to do.

Solving business challenges like these can actually be rather enjoyable, as
I find they challenge my creativity and make the time pass much more
quickly. ;-) Start small, and then build up gradually. Trying to
re-engineer the whole report delivery process as the initial task will just
frustrate and discourage you.

Regarding your 'twist 1', a feature of Blat that will be useful is the
ability to send a message and/or file attachment to a group of addresses
that have been stored in a text file with the "-tf" command.

For example, if there are six different reports that go out to ten
different people, build a list of who gets what:

Report 1 goes to Person A, E and F.
Report 2 goes to Person A, B, and J.
Report 3 goes to Person B and D.
and so on.

Then each different combination of users (A/E/F, A/B/J, B/D) get their
email addresses put into separate text files that will be used with the -tf
command to send the reports.

That's something to get you started on. Let us know how things are
going. Check the Blat website to make sure you're using the latest and
greatest version, too.


Rick Nakroshis

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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Tim Musson
2004-09-20 12:17:52 UTC
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Hey gcematthews,

On Sunday, September 19, 2004 at 9:07:36 PM you wrote

====8<---------------- snip

g> and I'm now thinking of trying out Blat at work.

====8<---------------- snip

g> Unlike many on the business side, before posting, I read through
g> lots of messages on this board and have spent some time on the Blat
g> website.

Much appreciated :-)

g> I just want to double check the following is feasible:

g> --Sales Reports are created Monday morning and saved to a directory.
g> --Create a batch file with the appropriate Blat lingo in order to
g> email the report(s) to the intended report recipients.
g> --Create a scheduled task to run the batch file on Monday mid-morning.

g> A couple of twists I was thinking about:

g> Twist 1
g> Is there a way to decide who the email recipient should be based on
g> the report's name? For example, we could include the recipient's
g> email name (not including the companyxyz.com part) as the beginning of
g> the report name. Somehow get Blat to go to a specified directory and
g> look for all attachments named *report.xls, where * is the appropriate
g> user's 8 character email name.

I would use Perl to extract the eMail address...

Another option is to have a directory for each eMail (or list). In the
folder put the reports and a text file with the addresses. Then use
the -tf <text file of addresses> to send. If you write your sending
batch file correctly, one instance of Blat would be able to do each
folder...

Lots of options here, the best one depends on many things (including
how the reports are created).

g> Twist 2
g> I'd like to create a couple of top line reports (e.g. a few lines of
g> key info) and have them emailed as the message body. No problem for
g> Blat there, I would just have the reports created in text format.

g> However, is it possible to have a second text file included in the
g> message body. The second text file would act as an intro or other
g> greeting e.g. "Below is your key info delivered to your fingertips, so
g> you no longer have to think".

There is a 'trick' in formatting your To: address that lets you add a
salutation. You might be able to expand on that... Look here
http://www.blat.net/syntax/to.html

g> I suspect there are a number of ways to accomplish the above 'twists',
g> perhaps not all within Blat.

If you look at Blat as just sending the eMail you will be fairly
accurate.

For example, T1 - deciding what goes to who - is outside of Blat's
scope.

Where T2 (adding a bit of text to the message) *could* be in Blats
scope. Other things you can look at is Blat will allow you to get a
signature or tag line from a file.
--
Tim Musson
Flying with The Bat! eMail v2.12.00
So many cats, so few recipes.
Blat Manager, current version is 2.2.2, see www.blat.net



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gcematthews
2004-09-21 00:20:21 UTC
Permalink
Hello Rick and Tim,

Very much appreciate the feedback and tips.

This will be a fun project for me and I'll keep you posted as to my
progress. My partners in I.T. will be so happy I'm tinkering with
this kind of stuff :) Like they didn't have enough problems already.
Post by Tim Musson
I would use Perl to extract the eMail address...
Perl, is quite beyond my ken right now. I'm just a wannabe coder!
So, I think I'll keep this project simple to start and not worry too
much about automating it to the nth degree.

Once I've successfully gotten something running, I'll hand it over to
I.T. so they can clean up my mess. yay!

Regards,

GCE





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loosegroove2000
2004-09-21 03:37:59 UTC
Permalink
Hello! I'm glad you are taking on this project. I am in a similar
position at my job where I am not in the I.T. department but I am a
Systems Analyst.

I use blat everyday to send reports to 70+ people. There are many
different reports and I send multiple emails using blat and it's rock
solid.

I mostly use Microsoft Access databases to generate the reports and
then generate PDF files. Because the recipients can change anytime, I
dynamically build the batch files to include the email addresses from
a master table. Once you get the hang of it, it's really quite easy
to generate the batch files on the fly.

Good luck on your project and feel free to ask any questions.



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gcematthews
2004-09-21 15:28:38 UTC
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Ok,

I'm in the earliest stages on my path to Blathood and wanted to
verify the following:

How do I determine what the name of my company's SMTP server is?

We use Exchange.

I went into the bowels of my Outlook client and found what I think I
should use. It is in the format


[exchange server name].[domain].[company].com

Does this look like what I should use for <server addr>?

I have a meeting (unrelated) with one of my I.T. colleagues later on
and can ask them, but I hate to set off alarms so soon into the
project.

In reading through the messages, I also think I might need to use
the -pw and -u functions.

All very exciting!!

Regards,

--GCE



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Tim Musson
2004-09-21 15:41:26 UTC
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Hey gcematthews,

On Tuesday, September 21, 2004 at 11:28:38 AM you wrote

g> How do I determine what the name of my company's SMTP server is?

Try running
telnet smtp.server.name 25

It should come back with something like this if it is correct...

220 server.name.here Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service, Version: 5.0.219
5.6713 ready at Tue, 21 Sep 2004 11:40:21 -0400

Then you can type "quit" and it will give you back your command
prompt.
--
Tim Musson
Flying with The Bat! eMail v2.12.00
Cannot open file "include <std/disclaimer>;"
Blat Manager, current version is 2.2.2, see www.blat.net



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loosegroove2000
2004-09-21 15:43:19 UTC
Permalink
It sounds like that may be the server. One good test is to send
yourself an email through blat using that server.

If you don't do a Blat -install then you will most definitely need to
supply both -u and -pwd. By doing an install you can bypass most of
these settings because they are saved in the registry.

Good luck.
Post by gcematthews
Ok,
I'm in the earliest stages on my path to Blathood and wanted to
How do I determine what the name of my company's SMTP server is?
We use Exchange.
I went into the bowels of my Outlook client and found what I think I
should use. It is in the format
[exchange server name].[domain].[company].com
Does this look like what I should use for <server addr>?
I have a meeting (unrelated) with one of my I.T. colleagues later on
and can ask them, but I hate to set off alarms so soon into the
project.
In reading through the messages, I also think I might need to use
the -pw and -u functions.
All very exciting!!
Regards,
--GCE
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