Seriously Dated Interface

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Seriously Dated Interface

Solid Iron
Hi everyone,

I will prefix this by saying that this is my first time posting to this list and that I have never contributed to SquirrelMail development so feel free to ignore my question.

However I own a software development firm. We write mostly web-based business software on .NET framework with an MS-SQL backend. We have been doing this since the days of “classic” ASP in the late 1990’s. So while I haven’t contributed specifically to SquirrelMail I do nevertheless have a pretty good idea of what it takes to develop a robust modern web-based application that people use every day. I also have a good grasp of what users expect when it comes to web-based applications. Nevertheless, as I said before, feel free to ignore my question.

Has the issue of the seriously dated user experience of SquirrelMail got anyone’s attention? With the explosion of web-based email apps (Gmail, Outlook.com, Microsoft Exchange, RoundCube, etc) users expect a radically different experience then what they are getting from SquirrelMail. Any IT administrator deploying SquirrelMail today is likely to be perceived by their user base as having deployed an archaic solution.

Web-based apps in general (Office 365, Google Docs, Facebook, etc) are pushing the limits of what’s possible and redefining what users expect. Let’s ask the hard question: is SquirrelMail even close?!?? Are there any plans to get it there?

It seems to me (if the screenshots on the squirrelmail.org website are any indication) that all serious development on SquirrelMail stalled in 2002 or thereabouts.

Sorry if this sounds harsh...  Today if I was looking for an open source web-based IMAP client I would be looking at RoundCube – no question. SquirrelMail was the pioneer. Why aren’t we there?

Best,
Solid Iron

On Sun, Dec 4, 2016 at 9:10 PM, Kevin Buckley <[hidden email]> wrote:
OS              NetBSD 7.0_STABLE
Software Stack  PkgSrc
SquirrelMail    1.4.23pre14605
Apache 2        Apache/2.2.31 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.31 OpenSSL/1.0.1u DAV/2
PHP/7.0.13
PHP             7.0.135.6.28-1


Before I start, a bit of info on the SquirrelMail version, because I
was told that we are reasonably up-to-date, in that the PkgSrc commit
says:

----------------------------
revision 1.131
date: 2016-11-18 04:10:07 +1300;  author: taca;  state: Exp;  lines: +2
-3;  commitid: TckPzUpbAFssFuuz;
Update squirrelmail to 1.4.23pre14605, latest snapshot.
PHP 7.0 support should be improved, too.

   - Added new "smtp_helo_override" hook; allows plugins to override
     the HELO host sent to the SMTP server when sending messages
   - Added STARTTLS support for both IMAP and SMTP connections
   - Added PDO support for database connections, so no external
     database module needs to be installed
----------------------------

furthermore, I also note that this issue echoes that described in
this (Dec 2016) devel list posting

    - https://sourceforge.net/p/squirrelmail/mailman/message/35527151/

except that ours

1) is only using a secure (https) connection
2) exhibits the "blank page" but DOESN'T send a message.
3) is using PHP7, not the PHP5.

but here we go with the actual issue.

Our School's webservers updated to PHP7 over the weekend and one of the
issues in the wake of that has been that SquirrelMail works to a degree
(we're a Uni, but no pun intended) but no longer seems to be able to
send out mail, either when doing a "Compose" or a reply to.

The webserver logs tell us that, following a click on the "Send" button
we're falling foul of these four routines

squirrelmail/class/html.class.php
squirrelmail/class/mime/Disposition.class.php
squirrelmail/class/mime/Language.class.php
squirrelmail/class/mime/ContentType.class.php

which give error (not warning) messages akin to

PHP Deprecated:  Methods with the same name as their class will not be
  constructors in a future version of PHP;

although that might not be the whole story as some parts of SquirrelMail
clearly still work.

I tried adding in "proper" __constructor functions, in the manner of the
fix described here

    - https://cweiske.de/tagebuch/php4-constructors-php7.htm

to those four files, however that just moves the same issue down into
(or possibly across) the SquirrelMail stack, and we see some other
webserver error logs, three indicating similar "deprecated constructor"
stuff from different fucntions:

squirrelmail/functions/addressbook.php
squirrelmail/functions/abook_local_file.php
squirrelmail/functions/abook_ldap_server.php

however, two more exhibit different errors

PHP Deprecated:  Non-static method Message::parseStructure() should not
be called statically in

squirrelmail/functions/mime.php  on line 36,
squirrelmail/class/mime/Message.class.php on line 296,

both with the same referrer

referer:
https://our.host/squirrelmail/src/right_main.php?PG_SHOWALL=0&sort=0&startMessage=1&mailbox=INBOX


Reading around the interweb thing, especially this posting in the
squirrelmail-devel list

    - https://sourceforge.net/p/squirrelmail/mailman/message/35457393/

suggests that there's a snapshot version out there in which all this may
have been
fixed ?

What I'd like to know is whether there is an identifiable set of patches
that I could use, so to to patch the PkgSrc version of SquirrelMail, rather
than go straight to a /newer/the most recent/ snapshot version that will
have extra (or even reduced) functionality, which the PkgSrc folk clearly
decided wasn't the way forwards for them.

I suppose what I am asking is, did you do the PHP7 updates in an SVN branch
that I could take the top off, rather than taking the most recent branch and
extracting out only the "solution" to the "deprecated" errors ?

I also suppose that the errors we're seeing could be something else
altogether!

Either way, and it pretty much covers most "ways", any insight would be
useful,

Kevin Buckley
eScience Consultant
School of Engineering and Computer Science
Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand

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Re: Seriously Dated Interface

Paul Lesniewski


On 2017年02月02日 19:52, Solid Iron wrote:

> Hi everyone,
>
> I will prefix this by saying that this is my first time posting to this
> list and that I have never contributed to SquirrelMail development so
> feel free to ignore my question.
>
> However I own a software development firm. We write mostly web-based
> business software on .NET framework with an MS-SQL backend. We have been
> doing this since the days of “classic” ASP in the late 1990’s. So while
> I haven’t contributed specifically to SquirrelMail I do nevertheless
> have a pretty good idea of what it takes to develop a robust modern
> web-based application that people use every day. I also have a good
> grasp of what users expect when it comes to web-based applications.
> Nevertheless, as I said before, feel free to ignore my question.
>
> Has the issue of the _*seriously dated*_ user experience of SquirrelMail
> got anyone’s attention? With the explosion of web-based email apps
> (Gmail, Outlook.com, Microsoft Exchange, RoundCube, etc) users expect a
> radically different experience then what they are getting from
> SquirrelMail. Any IT administrator deploying SquirrelMail today is
> likely to be perceived by their user base as having deployed an archaic
> solution.
>
> Web-based apps in general (Office 365, Google Docs, Facebook, etc) are
> pushing the limits of what’s possible and redefining what users expect.
> Let’s ask the hard question: is SquirrelMail even close?!?? Are there
> any plans to get it there?
>
> It seems to me (if the screenshots on the squirrelmail.org
> <http://squirrelmail.org> website are any indication) that all serious
> development on SquirrelMail stalled in 2002 or thereabouts.
>
> Sorry if this sounds harsh...  Today if I was looking for an open source
> web-based IMAP client I would be looking at RoundCube – no question.
> SquirrelMail was the pioneer. Why aren’t we there?

You're welcome to use your vast experience to contribute a skin for
SquirrelMail 1.5.2 where a templating layer was added.

--
Paul Lesniewski
SquirrelMail Team
Please support Open Source Software by donating to SquirrelMail!
http://squirrelmail.org/donate_paul_lesniewski.php

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Re: Seriously Dated Interface

Solid Iron
Hi Paul,

I suspected that my email would be received in a negative spirit. That’s really not how it was intended.

I haven’t taken any serious look into SquirrelMail or its templating capabilities. But I don’t really think “templating” is what the problem is. Its more fundamental than that.

I'm not looking for a cute new "skin". I can't be the only one who sees a significant functionally disparity between SquirrelMail and Gmail or Outlook.com?

I suspect the response will be “then use Gmail if I love it so much” but that’s not really the point is it?  The question I am asking is does SM intend to compete in this space? If not then fine. But if so then what’s it doing to address the glaring gap?

This was intended as constructive critique. Or we can just put our heads in the sand and pretend everything is OK and that we can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to use anything other than Alpine anyway (oh, and BTW, I *do* use Alpine too).

Best regards,
Solid Iron

On Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 2:28 AM, Paul Lesniewski <[hidden email]> wrote:

You're welcome to use your vast experience to contribute a skin for
SquirrelMail 1.5.2 where a templating layer was added.

--
Paul Lesniewski
SquirrelMail Team
Please support Open Source Software by donating to SquirrelMail!
http://squirrelmail.org/donate_paul_lesniewski.php



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Re: Seriously Dated Interface

Paul Lesniewski

>> You're welcome to use your vast experience to contribute a skin for
>> SquirrelMail 1.5.2 where a templating layer was added.
>
> I suspected that my email would be received in a negative spirit.
> That’s really not how it was intended.

Then you could work on your delivery.

> I haven’t taken any serious look into SquirrelMail or its templating
> capabilities. But I don’t really think “templating” is what the
> problem is.

Ah, so an educated opinion, then.

> Its more fundamental than that.
>
> I'm not looking for a cute new "skin". I can't be the only one who
> sees a significant functionally disparity between SquirrelMail and
> Gmail or Outlook.com?
>
> I suspect the response will be “/then use Gmail if I love it so much/”
> but that’s not really the point is it?  The question I am asking is
> does SM *intend* to compete in this space? If not then fine.

You speak as if SM is a company with resources to "compete" and take
guidance from you.  For my part, I've had various sub-projects that
probably achieved some of what you are looking for and could see them
continuing, but you also don't seem to be aware that there are also a
number of people who appreciate SM because it isn't bloated; it's fast
and lean.  Some people have expressed appreciation for the simple and
familiar interface, and even though I agree it's dated and not always
well thought-out, those people shouldn't be ignored either.

> But if
> so then what’s it doing to address the glaring gap?

What are *you* doing beside making your opinion known?  If that's all
you've got, opinion noted.

> This was intended as constructive critique.

I don't see much construction in it.

> Or we can just put our

"our"???

> heads in the sand and pretend everything is OK and that we can’t
> imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to use anything other than Alpine
> anyway (oh, and BTW, I *do* use Alpine too).

Good for you, now everyone knows how 1337 you are.

(I try not to perpetuate the poor way of interacting on FOSS mailing
lists, but it's hard not to do that to emails like yours.  So I'll
apologize but not take any of it back.)

--
Paul Lesniewski
SquirrelMail Team
Please support Open Source Software by donating to SquirrelMail!
http://squirrelmail.org/donate_paul_lesniewski.php

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