Thursday, August 23, 2007

Conversations between users and support

When I invoke the newly downloaded and installed OpenContacts I get the message:

"Can not find working directory. Please specify one."

Then it goes to the "Located Working Directory" panel which gives three options with radio buttons. I leave it to the default which is "Located Working Directory" and then click on "Proceed".

I then locate the working directory and a panel comes up saying:

"The working directory of Open Contacts is X:\home\pavneet\share\OpenContacts"

When I click on OK I get the error:

"EZSQLException--Requested database driver was not found while connecting to db server X:\home\pavneet\share\OpenContacts\DEFAULT.GDB"

Is it possible that the older GDB doesn't work with the new Open Contacts?

Many thanks.

Support wrote:
Open Contacts works on a working directory generally indicated by the shortcut. Please refer to the Installation manual for details.
The latest version is v4.1.7.

I guess drive X is a network mapped drive. If so, embedded Firebird does not support accessing database in network drive. Though db engine like MS Access can access network drive, however, accessing network shared database file is never a reliable solution. If you desire to share the database across local area network, you should refer to the Networking charter of the user manual.

I find a little bug in open contacts version and oldest versions. I am french and so use accentued characters and special like this ç.

The bug is with some of search functions.

In fact, with action search (F2), there is no problem, if i type any accentued characters in case name, the result give whole items with this characters. It is very well. With action quick search any field, there is no problem too, if i type one accentued character in the two first letters of query, i obtain whole fields with this two letters. It is very well. (nota : i have observed that quick search any field mind quick searh any field except contact name).

But with the two other search functions is no good.

Quick search by contact name. I have recorded in data base one person with name who have one accentued character like initial. When i type in quick search by contact name window this accentued character, none name is proposed (the list is blank). When i type this accentued character and the second letter of the name, the list is update with the good person. On windows i can read the name with the accentued character. I have recorded in data base persons with given name françois. When i type in quick search by contact name window the character ç, none name is proposed (the list is blank). When i type this character and the second letter of the given name (the o), the list is update with the good persons with françois as given name. When i type in quick search by contact name window the letter before the character ç (the letter n), the list is update with persons who have character n as name's initial. When i type this character n and just after the character ç, the list is update with the good persons with françois as given name. In fact quick search by name function seem unable to read only one accentued character or special character.
In the quick search windows, it is by design that you need to input the second character to get result. The search is not to search the initial characters only, but the entire string.

In predefined sections, for predefined fields with action person (F9) or org (F9) when i use for person or company a name with accentuated character, the action person (f9) or org (f9) don't find something in the database. If the name of person or company is writted without accentued or special character, the action (f9) find the good item in the database.


This was a newly introduced bug, and was just fixed. Please download v4.1.5 on Friday.
I have 2 bugs to report:
1. If I'm trying to sent an email to more than 100 people, I get an error message "too_many_recipients" (see also attached OpenContacts-error-too_many_recipients.JPG). I'm using the latest version of Thunderbird - version (20070728).
As the message is from MAPI of Windows, apparently there is limitation of mapi for sending Email, say, not more than 100? recipients. I think this has nothing to do with Thunderbird or any other Email client. MAPI is a Windows standard way of communication between caller like Open Contacts and any Email program conforming MAPI. I think this might be a Microsoft way of limiting spam mails.

To work around, you may set Options -> Applications -> Default Email -> Email Launcher. When sending Email, select Thunderbird.
2. I have also problem with diacritic marks in "Quick View" window. My native language is Czech and of course lots of people are having names with diacritic marks. Everything is shown properly in "Edit Person" window as well as in "People" list, but the diacritic is bad in "Quick View" window (see attached OpenContacts-error-bad_diacritic_marks.jpg).
Right click on the Quick View window, select Encoding -> UTF8. After refreshing, things will be displayed well. You need to do this only once generally.

Because I like your program I can offer you translation to Czech for free.
Thanks, that's very kind of you.

Please refer to this first

When you are ready, please give me a yo and I will send you the most recent PO file.
To Fonlow Support: Another added feature that you may want to consider is the ability to use an external third party report writer. I have used Crystal Reports in several Federal Government projects here in Canada and it saved me a great deal of time since I did not need to write the actual code, just the background query. The ability to select a group of contacts from Open Contacts and then to click on a "Custom Report" button would greatly enhance the utility of Open Contacts. I have browsed the Source Forge website for report writers and got numerous hits, not all suitable for use with Open Contacts but there were several that showed promise. By implementing this interface to an Open Source product you would add functionality without needing to actual program the report writer.
Using CSV or Excel files exported is a common way of using 3rd party report writers. While the example illustrated in the user manual is Avery Design Pro which is free, you may use similar programs supporting CSV or Excel. I am pretty sure you can figure out how to use, and likely, I hope you would share your experiences with fellows.
To Fonlow Support: I am continuing to use Open Contacts for a few different volunteer projects and have encouraged others to use it as well. There are 2 features that would be quite useful to me and others.
1. When printing a standard report allow the use of standard letter paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches) in addition to A4 size. In Canada, even though we are metric, our paper comes from the U.S.A. which is not metric and A4 paper is extremely difficult to find.
2. The ability to have nested categories is a valuable feature but it would be good to be able to show only the highest level categories in the Categories window as a default at start up.

Thanks, Ed Philpott

Both are already there.

For printing on different paper sizes and formats, check user manual -> Print -> Use 3rd party label printing program. It is common to delegate this kind of jobs to dedicated label printing programs.

If you want to show all at startup (with highest level category), in options window, make sure "Remember Category" unchecked (by default).
> Hello,
> I expected by pressing an empty new section 'personal' as
> the section 'work' is completely empty.
> I get like in the screenshot everytime in the first 4 lines prefilled
> informations I do not want.

I just analyze your database file. Though I know how to remove some garbages using database tools, however, it might be easier for you to do the following steps:
1. Using OC v4.1.2, run Search, select Both People and Companies, select all of them.
2. run Export to XML with Options, check these: Categories, Links to other contacts, Settings. And save them to an XML file.
3. Get a fresh copy of default.gdb. A lazy way is just to install OC again and overwrite default.gdb.
4. Import the XML file.


We are running Open Contacts (v.3.9.5) and would like to duplicate the entire database (i.e. everything on it) so that we have two versions with the same information running. The reason we would like to do this is that we would like to try reorganizing our categories on one version to see if we can make it more efficient, but still need the old version running for day-to-day business.

I have referred to the user manual -> Multiple databases.

I do not understand how to copy an existing personal folder to a specific folder as a new personal folder. I know where the “start-in” folder and “target” folder are but do not know what the personal folder is nor what is meant by copying ALL files to it. What then is the “data folder” in the “personal folder” and how do I need to change the “main.INI” ?

How then do I launch the two different versions? Unfortunately we do not have a system administrator so I do not know about LUA concepts.

The latest version is v4.1 and the user manual got update. Please refer to it. By the way, a local admin, full time, part time or contract is good for the health of local computer networks.

Foremost I need to tell you I find your program really great. Exactly what I was looking for.

I’d like to use OC for my company and share the contact database on our UNIX host. However, according to our network engineer, your program admits only Firebird in its Windows version. What should I do to use OC on Windows clients from a database host on UNIX?

We don't have an UNIX server for testing. However, according to general client/server SQL engine, the client should not be aware of the OS of the host machine. All the client care about is network protocol. The latest version uses firebird 2.0 protocol. Please make sure you have Firebird 2.0 server running on the host machine regardless of the OS. Please check relevant newsgroup for further support of how to install and use firebird.

By the way, the latest version is v4.1.1.498 Beta.
I installed Open contacts version 4.0 on Windows Vista.
Immediately after the installation, the program open normally. After I closed the program and have tried to reopen the program, it haven't worked.
I can open the program. I have always received the same error message:

EZSQL Exception -- SQL Error: operating system directive CreateFileMapping failed Access is denied. Error Code -- 902. Unsuccesfull execution caused by a system error that precludes successful execution od subsequent statements while connecting to db server.

Though the file DEfault.GDB is at the good place.

I checked the securiy, but I saw nothing who can interfere with your program.

Do you have a solution.

This is related to a bug in Firebird Embedded v.20.1 for handling
stricter access control of Vista with CreateFileMapping call. The
solution is to replace v2.0.1.12855 with v2.0.0.12748, until Firdbird
has come up with a bug fixing release in the future.

Please download Open Contacts v4.1.1.498, with firebird embedded driver
v2.0.0.12748. This should be working well in Vista.


I am investigating to use OC for our prayers-members in the Netherlands and perhaps abroad.

Your program seems to suite very well.

To complete other fields in an existing record: do we have to indicate the field(s) to be
filled-in, since the Edit-screen "only" shows fields that were filled before?
You can add fields to any sections later.

Or is there an option to display always a "full section" (with all fields), even some fields
(for that moment) are NULL / EMPTY ?
There are also ways of add multiple fields to a section. For example, the first time you input phone number to section Personal, thus you have only one field in the section after saving the record. Later, you might want to input fax, email and address etc., you may just add section Personal, fields of the section will all be added.
I am a very happy user of Open Contacts and use it for a number of purposes - not just to store contacts!

Recently, I also downloaded QuickSearch - but have not been able to use it.

I am using OC as a 'portable app' on my USB hard-disk. The database [ DEFAULT.GDB] is in a directory 'data' within the OC directory (so the main.ini file has been edited to reflect this).
But on using the QuickSearch box, I get the following sequence of error windows:

The Quick Search program communicate with Open Contacts through COM (Common Object Model), which require local registry. Generally OC is an out-of-process COM server, however, when running as portable application, by default, it becomes not a COM server as this is a basic requirement of pure portable.

If you really desire to use, you may change, and make DisableCOM=0. Then OC will write something to the registry to remember the last database it used.

I am using the "Demo Data" part of Open Contacts to set up a second separate database. Are there any limitations on using this? Any limit on record numbers, sections, fields, note lengths etc? I do not want to put half of my database in and then hit a roadblock.
Demo Data is only for new users to evaluate features with some data. It is not recommended to use the Demo data link as a secondary address book, and actually you may disable this link in Options. Please also refer to the charter of Multiple address books in the manual.
Apparently, the current version of open contacts is not compatible with either firebird 1.5.3 or 1.5.4, i have tried both. It gives the following error trying to connect to the server machine:
"EZSQLException--SQL Error: unsupported on-disk structure for file c:\mydatabases\oc\default.gdb; found 32779.10, support 1242556.2097152. Error Code: -820, wrong or obsolete version while connecting to db server\mydatabases\oc\default.gdb"
same error with either the ip address or machine name of the server. udfoc.dll is resident in the firebird udf folder, main.ini is edited for the above database location. Same error running open contact on the server, or on a different machine connecting to the server.
XP SP2 currently patched. Some services are disabled, but none that should affect firebird.
Any idea what's wrong?
What you found is right. Please use firebird 2.0 or above.
Im trying to export a contact to vcard file. The problem is that only the name of the contact is exported when i open the vard file. How do i do to get the adress and all the other information to the vcard file?

While OC support flexible data field management, it is good to keep consistent practices of using section names and field names, in order to exchange info with other system, in this case, vCard. As you might guess, there's should be a mapping between OC fields and vCard fields. Such mapping is defined in ExportVCard.xml in the templates folder close to your address book database. You may use any text editor to modify the mapping. I have to assume you have some basic knowledges of XML and vCard.

I love OpenContacts! It has worked very well since I started using it several months ago. However last night I had a major failure of my database that occurred in a matter of minutes. All of my precious data has been lost, and (much to my embarrassment) the last time I did a backup was April 19th.

My question then: Is anyone there willing to attempt a recovery of my database? I can't tell you how devastated I will be if I've lost four weeks worth of work. The error message I get pops up after 95% of the "loading graph" has displayed, which says:

Object: TRmMain--EAccessViolation~Access violation at address 00711E36 in module 'OpenContacts.exe'. Read of address 000000C

I'm not sure how the database became corrupted, but I closed the database and tried to reopen it minutes later without success. I'm a programmer of 35 years, so I know there MAY be some way to peel back the source code to know exactly what is happening, unfortunately I don't have the time or resources to do that right now. If anyone is willing to help me, I'd be happy to send (what's left) of the database as an eMail attachment. The database is currently 2,552Kb in size.

Eagerly (and desperately) hoping to hear from you,

You may try GFIX, which come from the Firebird SQL package. Gfix.exe is located in the bin folder. You may download either the embedded firebird or the normal one from It is a commandline program, and running "gfix.exe /?" you will get hints of parameters.
thank you very much for your excellent program. I'm still undecided on using it, but am considering strongly.

I found that the quick view window does not display some special characters correctly, for example, german umlauts (ü, ö, ä, etc.)

Thank you for considering this.

Right click on the quick view, and select encoding utf8. This is an one off operation.
I look in your XSL and try change it. I can get age from birthday. I read more about XSL and can change XSL for my. But I get error, when I try work with CSS. Because I like do simply your XSL and format color via CSS.
From web I read, that this will be make. But not in your XML stream and XSL template.

Though we provide open architectures for customizing Open Contacts, we don't do technical support to technical questions of XSL and XML etc. I hope you find this is reasonable. You might be able to get advices from some XML/XSL gurus through wrapping and postings your questions to appropriate news groups.

I download Open Contacts today and I have a question about relationships.
When you link two people under "Contacts" tab, you can specify non-working relationship. For example "Linda Lee is Spouse of Andy Will".
When you link two people under "Associated" tab, you can specify working relationship. For example "Linda Lee is Boss of Carla Fieldhouse".

First question: I'm right?

If the answer is yes, Why an "Associated" A-B in A's card, is shown as "Contacts" association in B's card?

I hope my english was good enough to transmit my dudes.

Yes, these are designed features. The Associated tab is the other way of view upon the Contacts tab.