My latest project around here, in between all the other urgent projects, has been to deploy a new version of our webmail service. Frequent users will be relieved to know that we are not switching platforms, our webmail is still based on the horde system, so the usual features everyone enjoys will be present, but now, there will be some new ones.
The biggest difference between the old software, and this one, is that the old software is just for email. The new version is what is commonly called groupware. it has a lot of the features of MS Exchange or IBM Lotus Notes; the already known address book, but also notes, calendars, appointments, and the ability to share any of these with other users. Their is also a new spam reporting feature, which will tie in with an adaptive filter on the mail servers, and hopefully make our spam tagging much more accurate.
Of course, this is a work in progress, in between all the other more urgent issues I tend to deal with regularly, and as such, is guaranteed to be broken in more ways than one. Just a few:
- Report as spam does nothing at this time, pretty sure you’ll get a bounce notice if you try to use it.
- Address Books have not been migrated from the old database to the new one, I’m kind of dreading this step. I am also regularly blowing away the address book data in the new database, as I test, and retest, and retest, while I try to build a migration script for existing data. So, expect your address book to disappear from the new software quite regularly until I determine I am “done” with this part. No, this won’t hurt your current address book, once I have a migration solution ready, I will mirror the old data into the new software. *UPDATE* The solution for this issue was far easier than I could have dreamed, currently address books from 2008-03-21 are mirrored from the old webmail, and I will re-mirror them at least one more time.
- Filter Rules have all the same issues I just said about address books, hence, I am also fearing migrating existing filters. The process is about the same, so when I finish one, the other should follow close behind.
- Mail Folders are stored in a slightly different place in the new software, which causes it to break all the sent-items folder settings for just about everybody. I’m trying to shoehorn that back into the old spot, so this issue will just go away.
- You might notice that the main page is a customizable portal, with many potential add-ons, one of which is a program called ‘fortune.’ Fortune is a fun program that basically generates odd little quips not unlike a fortune cookie. Some of them are quite hilarious. There is an option to display potentially offensive fortunes, as well as the tamer variety. Please don’t add the offensive ones to your portal if you are offended by just about anything, most of them make a wardrobe malfunction look minor.
- No, I don’t know why there is an ‘@’ symbol next to the user name box on the main login screen. I really want it to go away, but I can’t figure out where in the code it is created. It doesn’t hurt anything, so this is the last issue I will probably take care of, unless I find it while looking for something else.
- And I guarantee, there is much, much more.
So, that being said, if you want to tinker around, with all those issues tucked away in the front of your mind, feel free. The new webmail site is located at, new-webmail.amplex.net. The one thing that shouldn’t be effected is your actual stored email. Letters are stored on the mail servers, the webmail software resides on the web server, which simply accesses your mailboxes. It is the one thing that just works, everything else….. not so much.