The Forgotten Contact Us Button

Introduction

The bigger and more colorful Email icon stands out on the UAG Portal Home Page and quickly catches the eye of the UAG Administrator.   The less noticeable ‘Contact Us’ link is thus often untouched and forgotten.  My blog post today was defends the lonely Contact Us link and brings it forth to its rightful place on the UAG Portal Home Page.   The also included advanced section which will challenge your thinking on how to use the links.

Before we begin our quest, let’s first take a look at the Email icon link and see how it’s configured.

Configuring the UAG Portal Home Page – Email Icon

The Email Icon is a 32×32 graphic that lives in the following directory:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway\von\PortalHomePage\images\Toolbar\mailAdmin.gif

It can be changed if you wanted to add more flare to its current appearance.  Configure the mailto: link (left blank by default) as follows:

1)       Copy the “web.sitemap” file from “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway\von\PortalHomePage\Data\SiteMap\ToolBar\” to “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway\von\PortalHomePage\Data\SiteMap\ToolBar\CustomUpdate”

2)      Open the copied file  using a text editor such as notepad.

3)      Look for the following code toward the end of the file and append an email address after mailto: as shown below:

<siteMapNode url=”mailto:email@domain.com
title=”$Resources:Resource, 113″
description=”$Resources:Resource, 113″
imageUrl=”~/images/ToolBar/mailAdmin.gif”
DisplayMode=”OnlyImage”
target=”_blank” />

4)       Activate to save your changes.

UAG Portal Home Page – The Forgotten Contact Us Link

The Contact Us link is located on the bottom of the UAG page (in the Footer).  It is a simple text link.  Configuring an email address for the Email Toolbar Icon does not change this link which many UAG administrators find troublesome.  In my post, I will show you how to configure it and describe some advanced techniques.

1)      Copy the “LeftFooter.sitemap” file from “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway\von\PortalHomePage\Data\SiteMap\Footer” to “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway\von\PortalHomePage\Data\SiteMap\Footer\CustomUpdate”

2)      Open the copied file using a text editor such as notepad.

3)      Look for the following code toward the beginning of the file and append an email address after where it says mailto: as shown below:

 <siteMapNode url=”mailto:
title=”$Resources:Resource, 182″                     
description=”$Resources:Resource, 182″
imageUrl=””
displayMode=”OnlyText”
target=”_blank” />

             4)      Activate to save your changes.

Please continue reading


Advanced Changes – Adding Flare

Many of my customers note that they found the email links on the portal page unhelpful.   Given that the Mailto: link assumes you are on a workstation that has an email client installed and configured, it’s a valid point.  If you are publishing Outlook Anywhere or have an external email configured, then it works fine.  However, most customers are on home computers setup with their ISP|personal email address.   Can you imagine your IT Staff being sent an email by CFO John Doe who’s using a home computer he shares with his daughter?  All of a sudden your IT Staff gets an email from ILoveJustinBeiber@domain.com with a description of his UAG problems.

I hope my post here will help you challenge the default UAG placeholder which many of us accepted to be a Mailto.  Microsoft provided ‘mailto:’, so we just add the email address and we are done configuring our UAG server.  Some of us rarely stop to think on how we can better utilize this link.

Customizing the Mailto Links:

The mailto link is URL scheme that is registered with the IANA and defines the scheme of SMTP, POP and IMAP email addresses.   By knowing these schemes you can do more customization, like adding a predefined subject, add additional email address, CC and even BCC.

                Add additional Email address:

                          mailto:helpdesk@domain.edu;itsupport@domain.EDU

                Add Predefined Subject Link:

                          mailto:ithelpdesk1@domain.edu?Subject=UAG Portal Page Help

You can learn more about mailto schemes and customizations by visiting:
http://www.ianr.unl.edu/internet/mailto.html

Eliminating the Mailto Format:

I described the issue of using a Mailto link through a corporate SSL VPN Gateway which is meant to be used by company employees and affiliates.   Many of us simply follow the template and don’t think about the consequences.   Here is some food for thought, instead of using the mailto link you can do the following:

               Corporate Contact Us Form:  

Many companies already have a public website where you can submit your helpdesk information by using a form.   Instead of using the ‘MailTo:’, enter in the URL of your contact us form.  For example, if I was setting this up for Celestix Networks, I would use the following link instead of mailto: 

http://www.celestix.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68&Itemid=59&lang=en

               Published OWA Link:  

Published OWA Link:   You may already have UAG configured to use OWA, so use it!!!  Instead of using ‘mailto:’, enter in the URL of your UAG OWA Link:  For example:  https://mail.domain.com/owa

If your company uses cloud based email such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google Email Apps then you can simply link users there.  For Example:  https://home.microsoftonline.com/

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this posting helpful in configuring the Email icon/Contact Us link, and that you learned other simple techniques for these placeholders.

Thank you again,
Dennis Lee
Celestix Networks

References:
http://www.ianr.unl.edu/internet/mailto.html

RFC 2368
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2368

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This entry was posted in UAG 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Forgotten Contact Us Button

  1. Andrew says:

    Great article. Going through the process of restoring a UAG appliance and this was a big help. I made sure to bookmark your blog too 🙂

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