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Sat, Jun 08 2002

Yesterday I started work on the SMTP part of PostMan - the biggest problem? Getting the To, CC, BCC address completion working exactly the way I wanted :p So I finally ended up writing a custom component to do the job and actually got it to work ... sort of. The final result was an edit box where as you start typing the component drops down a list of suggestions from your address book. However, to select an item, you had to press the down arrow key and there was no auto-completion and I just didn't like it like that. So today I started work on an enhanced version of my original component, this time to have both auto-suggestion and auto-completion. I did succeed (partially - since I didn't add the ability to add more than one address with auto-suggestion and auto-complete still intact) but then I realized there were certain annoying quirks the very first time the control is used on a form. So I'm trying to find the bugs and squish them today. If do get that done, the rest of the stuff in getting the mail composition and the SMTP client part working should be pretty simple ...

I got a bug report and a feature request for Blog that I added to the latest code yesterday. The bug was that if you have the same FTP host with two different user names (a situation that I didn't think would occur but did <g>) Blog will not disconnect and reconnect with the new user information. I have fixed that now. The feature request was to add a confirmation dialog for the delete button and I've made that an optional feature that you can turn on or turn off. I still haven't had the time to update the documentation so that I can do a proper beta release and so I'm almost coming to the conclusion that I should just do an informal beta release and then get the proper release out when I can. Since I will have to do a write up explaining the new features for even an informal beta release, it will have to wait till I am not distracted by coding - so perhaps tomorrow ...
posted at 11:09:21 AM  link  comment

Fri, Jun 07 2002

I've had no time at all to work on a beta release of Blog since I've been devoting all of my time to working on PostMan - the e-mail client that I've been writing. It's progressing pretty fast since so far I've got basic POP access working great! It'll check multiple e-mail accounts, display both text and HTML messages and process attachments. I don't have support for different mailboxes at the moment and so everything goes into the "In" box and there is no filtering capability yet but other than that, it works pretty well as a POP client. Since I use a different HTML engine than IE's, there is no fear of scripted viruses (scripting is not supported by the HTML engine I use) and since the mail client can be configured to fetch either the whole e-mail or just the headers, you don't even have to download huge e-mails full of spam - instead you can just look at the header, figure out if it is necessary or not and then delete what you don't need off the server itself and download the rest.

So what doesn't work? The SMTP client :p I spent the last few days on perfecting the POP client and have just started working on the SMTP client bit and so far am having problems with getting the address completion to work for e-mail addresses in the address book. Once I get that part done, the rest should be fairly straightforward. I intend to add the option for direct SMTP so that you don't need an SMTP server at this end as long as you know the IP of your DNS server - PostMan will discover the mail server for the destination address and send it directly there. This is something that I've wanted for a long time and I even intended to write a separate SMTP server component for just this purpose but bundling it into the e-mail client makes much better sense since then you can have two profiles - one for local SMTP and one ofr direct SMTP since I intend to make the feature, a per-profile one.

Once all that gets done, I will have a basic e-mail client but without all the frills like being able to create extra folders, filters or to import the addresses and e-mails from a different client. Oh yeah, and the ability to set PostMan as the default e-mail client. I guess I can work on those after I get the basic functionality working. I already want this client since I don't have the problem of getting random "=20" insertions in the middle of my e-mails as I do with Eudora but I don't know whether I'll start using this without the ability to import my older e-mails. Guess I'll have to complete work on PostMan and then see how things turn out ...
posted at 06:35:22 AM  link  comment

Tue, Jun 04 2002

It looks as if the planned public beta release of the next version of Blog is going to be slightly delayed since I've already started work on that mail client I was talking about :p I'm calling it PostMan (yeah, I know ... extremely unimaginative <vbg>) and it's already fetching the headers, displaying the unread mail count next to the mail box, displays the header information on a grid and even fetches the message body when requested but cannot display the message body yet since I haven't done that part. I like how it's turning out but might drop the project half-way through if certain things don't fall in to place :p Incidentally, I'm making PostMan fetch only the header information (with an optional setting to fetch even the body ...) so that if you get a lot of junk mail, you can simply look at the header info, delete the mails that you don't want and then download the bodies for the ones that you do want to read. So far it seems to work OK but we'll see how things turn out.

A reader of of this page and a user of some of my apps, Brant, suggested that I should maybe work on an existing open source project instead of working on a new mail client. For one, I don't really believe in the open source projects - I believe in freeware but not in open source for a variety of historical reasons ... I think I've ranted/talked about it before and so I won't go in to it. For another, if I'd joined the Mozilla project for instance, I would have had to work within an existing framework and to a schedule set by others instead of having the freedom to do what I want, when I want and how I want :p The biggest user of my software is myself - I basically code the app for myself but distribute it for free in case others might find it useful too. Of course, I provide support and add features that users suggest (provided I think it's useful and won't add bloat to the code ...) because I like helping others but first and foremost, the apps are coded for myself and as Bing Crosby used to sing, I'd like to say that I did it my way <vbg>

Oh yes, I heard from another user who found the nag message on the start of Blog irritating :p I do have a FAQ entry about it but for those who don't know (and haven't looked at the Blog FAQ), the nag message is not thrown up by Blog but rather by one of the shareware components that I was forced to use to provide the functionality that I don't see the point in paying for a component that goes in to a freeware app and so, I have not purchased it. If anybody is actually bothered by the nag message, feel free to purchase the component for me :p
posted at 06:04:26 AM  link  comment

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