Exclusive Update: HTML Rendering removed from BES 4.1 SP5 …sort of.

Following our recent article about the possible removal of HTML and Rich Text email rendering from BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1 SP5, we received a number of emails from our faithful readers confirming the temporary demise of our colorful, picture-rich email viewing. We are depressed, once again.

However, it would appear that not all hope is lost in our quest for viewing HTML emails without the intervention of purchased applications. As mentioned, we gained confirmation from our readers that the last minute delay in the service pack availability was due to the removal of HTML email. From our timetable of events, we had the following happen during the last couple weeks:

February 21 – Webcast by Research In Motion highlighting new features in BES 4.1 SP5 and OS 4.5, including HTML email rendering
February 27 – HTML and Rich Text support removed from RIM’s "What’s New" webpage (per Google Cache)
February 29 – BES 4.1 SP5 general availability date moved from February 29 to March 11 (BlackBerry Life Cycle page)
March 1 or later – HTML references removed from Webcast page (per Google Cache, dated February 28 and February 29, the reference is still present)

Sometime between February 21 and February 27, a decision was made behind closed doors in Waterloo to remove HTML, the most anticipated feature from a marketing perspective, from the service pack.

With that said, the removal was not complete in nature. It apparently is still an available option, but can only be configured with an alteration in the database. RIM removed the ability to configure Rich Content from within BlackBerry Manager, but they made minimal efforts to remove it from the database, where it was configured to have a default option of disabled ("0") rather than enabled ("1"), as it was in the beta versions of SP5. I have compared the SQL code involved with upgrading the database and it does show the change from 1 to 0 for both the RichContentEnabled and RichContentInlineEnabled attributes.

I won’t go into the precise details on what to change or how to enable this feature, as I think this would be only for the geek BES administrators of the world. Regardless, I will point you to a RIM KB article that should help assist with finding the option and enabling it manually (or by altering the SQL provided by RIM in the KB article to reflect the correct column name). You will need to change the values in the ServerConfig and UserConfig tables. As a disclaimer, if you choose to enable this feature, you will obviously risk corruption to your database and BlackBerry environment.

Enjoy!

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