Modern webmail client

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Modern webmail client

Alex Regan
Hi, we have fedora25 set up with apache and dovecot and have been
using squirrelmail. We're looking to replace squirrelmail with
something more modern and "responsive" on mobile.

Before I start installing and testing roundcube, rainloop, and the
others, I thought I would ask this list if they have a preference for
users on mobile?

I've searched for an updated review of all the main players these
days, but the most recent appears to be from 2015.

Thanks,
Alex
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Re: Modern webmail client

Samuel Sieb
On 06/06/2017 11:42 AM, Alex wrote:
> Hi, we have fedora25 set up with apache and dovecot and have been
> using squirrelmail. We're looking to replace squirrelmail with
> something more modern and "responsive" on mobile.
>
> Before I start installing and testing roundcube, rainloop, and the
> others, I thought I would ask this list if they have a preference for
> users on mobile?
>
Why wouldn't you just use an IMAP client on the phone?
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Re: Modern webmail client

Alex Regan
Hi,

>> Hi, we have fedora25 set up with apache and dovecot and have been
>> using squirrelmail. We're looking to replace squirrelmail with
>> something more modern and "responsive" on mobile.
>>
>> Before I start installing and testing roundcube, rainloop, and the
>> others, I thought I would ask this list if they have a preference for
>> users on mobile?
>>
> Why wouldn't you just use an IMAP client on the phone?

Yes, I agree, and that's what I've asked them to do, but they still
prefer the webmail client.
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Re: Modern webmail client

Gordon Messmer-2
In reply to this post by Alex Regan
On 06/06/2017 11:42 AM, Alex wrote:
> Before I start installing and testing roundcube, rainloop, and the
> others, I thought I would ask this list if they have a preference for
> users on mobile?


I've gotten to be pretty impressed with SOGo.

They maintain a yum repo for customers.  If you want to build your own
using mock, you might need to make a couple of minor changes.  These
make it easier:

https://github.com/gordonmessmer/build-sogo/
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Re: Modern webmail client

Tom Horsley-5
In reply to this post by Alex Regan
On Tue, 6 Jun 2017 15:27:51 -0400
Alex wrote:

> > Why wouldn't you just use an IMAP client on the phone?  
>
> Yes, I agree, and that's what I've asked them to do, but they still
> prefer the webmail client.

Then that means they prefer squirrelmail, right? So you might
as well keep using it or they'll hate the replacement just
as irrationally :-).
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Re: Modern webmail client

Samuel Sieb
On 06/06/2017 12:36 PM, Tom Horsley wrote:

> On Tue, 6 Jun 2017 15:27:51 -0400
> Alex wrote:
>
>>> Why wouldn't you just use an IMAP client on the phone?
>>
>> Yes, I agree, and that's what I've asked them to do, but they still
>> prefer the webmail client.
>
> Then that means they prefer squirrelmail, right? So you might
> as well keep using it or they'll hate the replacement just
> as irrationally :-).

I would second this.  Someone that prefers webmail *on a phone* over a
native app is likely to complain about any changes to the webmail
system.  Besides, if the webmail is bad enough on the phone, maybe
eventually they will overcome the inertia to switch to a real email
client. ;-)
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Re: Modern webmail client

Andy Blanchard
On 6 June 2017 at 20:53, Samuel Sieb <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Then that means they prefer squirrelmail, right? So you might
>> as well keep using it or they'll hate the replacement just
>> as irrationally :-).
>
>
> I would second this.  Someone that prefers webmail *on a phone* over a
> native app is likely to complain about any changes to the webmail system.
> Besides, if the webmail is bad enough on the phone, maybe eventually they
> will overcome the inertia to switch to a real email client. ;-)

Then perhaps the solution you are looking for is actually throttling
SquirrelMail's connection speed?

"No, it's just you...  The IMAP client is perfectly fine, here, look!"

*evil grin*

--
Andy

The only person to have all his work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe
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Re: Modern webmail client

Samuel Sieb
In reply to this post by Alex Regan
On 06/06/2017 12:27 PM, Alex wrote:
> Yes, I agree, and that's what I've asked them to do, but they still
> prefer the webmail client.

Maybe you could point out to them that all the major webmail (and forum)
providers don't expect you to use the web interface on your phone.  They
provide alternate access, usually with a native app (or standard
protocol) of some sort.
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Re: Modern webmail client

Joe Zeff-2
In reply to this post by Andy Blanchard
On 06/06/2017 01:01 PM, Andy Blanchard wrote:
> "No, it's just you...  The IMAP client is perfectly fine, here, look!"
>
> *evil grin*

Have you been taking lessons from Simon the BOFH?
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Re: Modern webmail client

Rick Stevens-4
In reply to this post by Alex Regan
On 06/06/2017 11:42 AM, Alex wrote:
> Hi, we have fedora25 set up with apache and dovecot and have been
> using squirrelmail. We're looking to replace squirrelmail with
> something more modern and "responsive" on mobile.

Just to clarify for others reading this thread, Squirrelmail is a
web-based mail _server_, not a client. It pulls mail off an MTA (mail
transport agent like sendmail) by either behaving like an MDA (mail
delivery agent) or by using a real MDA such as dovecot.

Users then use their web browser as an MUA (mail user agent) to pick
up their mail from the server rather than a traditional MUA such as
mutt, pine, elm or graphical clients such as Thunderbird, Geary,
Sylpheed or (gasp!) Outlook (yes, I actually said the "O" word! Don't
hit me!)

> Before I start installing and testing roundcube, rainloop, and the
> others, I thought I would ask this list if they have a preference for
> users on mobile?

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that mobile users will suffer from
bandwidth limitations, connectivity issues and the like. The "busier"
the web pages are, the more likely you're going to have mobile users
whine about latency, disconnects, buffering and other issues inherent
in mobile access. That's the nature of the beast.

Try to ensure that the web server portion of the system queries the
browser to find out what it is so the server can adjust its presentation
(via .css stylesheets and other mechanisms) to minimize bandwidth and
screen real estate for mobile users. You often see this with websites
that have "handheld-friendly" versions.

That being said, unless you're going to offer calendars, whiteboards,
contact lists, chat rooms, etc., etc. for your users (essentially a
virtual office), the best thing is to wean them off webmail to more
classic mail clients. Virtually all mobile OSes (well, iOS and
Android--can't speak to Winblows mobile) have pretty good mail clients
built in. At least they're consistent with the user interface used by
the device.
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Re: Modern webmail client

Alex Regan
Hi,

On Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 5:01 PM, Rick Stevens <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 06/06/2017 11:42 AM, Alex wrote:
>> Hi, we have fedora25 set up with apache and dovecot and have been
>> using squirrelmail. We're looking to replace squirrelmail with
>> something more modern and "responsive" on mobile.
>
> Just to clarify for others reading this thread, Squirrelmail is a
> web-based mail _server_, not a client. It pulls mail off an MTA (mail
> transport agent like sendmail) by either behaving like an MDA (mail
> delivery agent) or by using a real MDA such as dovecot.

Yes, I'm sorry I didn't make that more clear, thanks.

> Whatever you choose, keep in mind that mobile users will suffer from
> bandwidth limitations, connectivity issues and the like. The "busier"
> the web pages are, the more likely you're going to have mobile users
> whine about latency, disconnects, buffering and other issues inherent
> in mobile access. That's the nature of the beast.

Another great point.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. Mobile seems to drive everything
these days. I'll push back again about a mobile webmail client (as
it's referred to by those using it).

Can I expand my question to more generally ask about the best
squirrelmail replacement these days? Roundcube? Rainloop?
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Re: Modern webmail client

Samuel Sieb
In reply to this post by Rick Stevens-4
On 06/06/2017 02:01 PM, Rick Stevens wrote:

> Just to clarify for others reading this thread, Squirrelmail is a
> web-based mail _server_, not a client. It pulls mail off an MTA (mail
> transport agent like sendmail) by either behaving like an MDA (mail
> delivery agent) or by using a real MDA such as dovecot.
>
> Users then use their web browser as an MUA (mail user agent) to pick
> up their mail from the server rather than a traditional MUA such as
> mutt, pine, elm or graphical clients such as Thunderbird, Geary,
> Sylpheed or (gasp!) Outlook (yes, I actually said the "O" word! Don't
> hit me!)
>
Assuming I'm understanding what you're saying correctly, this isn't
correct.  Squirrelmail is a PHP-based MUA that talks IMAP and SMTP to
the appropriate servers.  It generates an HTML gui for the web browser
to interact with.
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Re: Modern webmail client

Rick Stevens-4
In reply to this post by Alex Regan
On 06/06/2017 02:14 PM, Alex wrote:

> Hi,
>
> On Tue, Jun 6, 2017 at 5:01 PM, Rick Stevens <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On 06/06/2017 11:42 AM, Alex wrote:
>>> Hi, we have fedora25 set up with apache and dovecot and have been
>>> using squirrelmail. We're looking to replace squirrelmail with
>>> something more modern and "responsive" on mobile.
>>
>> Just to clarify for others reading this thread, Squirrelmail is a
>> web-based mail _server_, not a client. It pulls mail off an MTA (mail
>> transport agent like sendmail) by either behaving like an MDA (mail
>> delivery agent) or by using a real MDA such as dovecot.
>
> Yes, I'm sorry I didn't make that more clear, thanks.

No worries, but missives on this list get quoted a lot on other lists
and archives. Just wanted to make sure folk understood what was going
on.
>
>> Whatever you choose, keep in mind that mobile users will suffer from
>> bandwidth limitations, connectivity issues and the like. The "busier"
>> the web pages are, the more likely you're going to have mobile users
>> whine about latency, disconnects, buffering and other issues inherent
>> in mobile access. That's the nature of the beast.
>
> Another great point.

I deal with streaming a LOT. You can't believe the number of people who
want to do live HD streaming from handheld devices and wonder why the
quality often, well, sucks or why they keep getting disconnected.

> Thanks everyone for your feedback. Mobile seems to drive everything
> these days. I'll push back again about a mobile webmail client (as
> it's referred to by those using it).

Again, the webmail client is just a web browser like Firefox, Chrome,
Opera, Safari, Epiphany and the like. You're dealing with the server.
You may have to bugger the way the server deals with various browsers
(working around gotchas, dealing with presentation issues such as
fonts, SSL ciphers, etc.).

> Can I expand my question to more generally ask about the best
> squirrelmail replacement these days? Roundcube? Rainloop?

I haven't used any of them. Back in the day I set up and used Gnu/Hurd
and its underlings. The primary two items (webmail and calendars) got
sucked into Squirrelmail and my career changed direction so I've lost
touch with that whole end of the ISP world. I'm sure others here are
much more in tune with that arena and will offer sage advice.
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Re: Modern webmail client

Rick Stevens-4
In reply to this post by Samuel Sieb
On 06/06/2017 02:17 PM, Samuel Sieb wrote:

> On 06/06/2017 02:01 PM, Rick Stevens wrote:
>> Just to clarify for others reading this thread, Squirrelmail is a
>> web-based mail _server_, not a client. It pulls mail off an MTA (mail
>> transport agent like sendmail) by either behaving like an MDA (mail
>> delivery agent) or by using a real MDA such as dovecot.
>>
>> Users then use their web browser as an MUA (mail user agent) to pick
>> up their mail from the server rather than a traditional MUA such as
>> mutt, pine, elm or graphical clients such as Thunderbird, Geary,
>> Sylpheed or (gasp!) Outlook (yes, I actually said the "O" word! Don't
>> hit me!)
>>
> Assuming I'm understanding what you're saying correctly, this isn't
> correct.  Squirrelmail is a PHP-based MUA that talks IMAP and SMTP to
> the appropriate servers.  It generates an HTML gui for the web browser
> to interact with.

In the classic sense, a MUA lived on your local machine, extracted
messages from an MDA via POP3 or IMAP (or even wacky things like MAPI)
and deposited them on the local machine. Most modern MUAs now default to
working with messages left on the MDA but offer the option to download
messages from the MDA to "local folders". Those messages can be either
erased at the MDA or left on the MDA with the option of marking them as
"read".

I think of Squirrelmail as a remote MUA or an MUA proxy. The MUA
functionality remains on the Squirrelmail server--not on the client as
in a classic MUA. It simply uses the browser to do the GUI part of the
job. You have to explicitly request downloading of messages as they
ordinarily stay on the MDA. Ancillary things like contact lists,
calendars and whatnot are stored in databases on the Squirrelmail server
(or whatever its backing store is). Unless told otherwise, nothing stays
on the client. POP3 and IMAP are not involved between the Squirrelmail
server and the client accessing it. Only http(s).

As with any client/server mechanism, sometimes the functionality lines
are blurred but that's how I view it. Now, things may have changed since
I last futzed with Squirrelmail, but that's the way it used to work. As
I said in another posting, it's been a long time since I was active in
webmailish things.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Re: Modern webmail client

Samuel Sieb
On 06/06/2017 03:04 PM, Rick Stevens wrote:

> I think of Squirrelmail as a remote MUA or an MUA proxy. The MUA
> functionality remains on the Squirrelmail server--not on the client as
> in a classic MUA. It simply uses the browser to do the GUI part of the
> job. You have to explicitly request downloading of messages as they
> ordinarily stay on the MDA. Ancillary things like contact lists,
> calendars and whatnot are stored in databases on the Squirrelmail server
> (or whatever its backing store is). Unless told otherwise, nothing stays
> on the client. POP3 and IMAP are not involved between the Squirrelmail
> server and the client accessing it. Only http(s).
>
Now that is a great description that I agree with.  Maybe it was just
how you worded it the first time that was confusing.
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Re: Modern webmail client

Rick Stevens-4
On 06/06/2017 03:19 PM, Samuel Sieb wrote:

> On 06/06/2017 03:04 PM, Rick Stevens wrote:
>> I think of Squirrelmail as a remote MUA or an MUA proxy. The MUA
>> functionality remains on the Squirrelmail server--not on the client as
>> in a classic MUA. It simply uses the browser to do the GUI part of the
>> job. You have to explicitly request downloading of messages as they
>> ordinarily stay on the MDA. Ancillary things like contact lists,
>> calendars and whatnot are stored in databases on the Squirrelmail server
>> (or whatever its backing store is). Unless told otherwise, nothing stays
>> on the client. POP3 and IMAP are not involved between the Squirrelmail
>> server and the client accessing it. Only http(s).
>>
> Now that is a great description that I agree with.  Maybe it was just
> how you worded it the first time that was confusing.

Quite possibly. "Caution: Ensure brain is engaged before typing."
I probably didn't bother with the first bit. Sorry for the confusion.
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RE: Modern webmail client

J.Witvliet
In reply to this post by Alex Regan
Some {free) WIFI-providers block much else besides 80 & 443.
That’s the only sensible reason for using webnail.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Horsley [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: dinsdag 6 juni 2017 21:37
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: Modern webmail client

On Tue, 6 Jun 2017 15:27:51 -0400
Alex wrote:

> > Why wouldn't you just use an IMAP client on the phone?
>
> Yes, I agree, and that's what I've asked them to do, but they still
> prefer the webmail client.

Then that means they prefer squirrelmail, right? So you might as well keep using it or they'll hate the replacement just as irrationally :-).
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Re: Modern webmail client

Tim-163
In reply to this post by Samuel Sieb
Allegedly, on or about 06 June 2017, Samuel Sieb sent:
> Maybe you could point out to them that all the major webmail (and
> forum) providers don't expect you to use the web interface on your
> phone.  They provide alternate access, usually with a native app (or
> standard protocol) of some sort.

Or, if the phone is like someone's Android tablet I had a play with.
It's supplied mail app uses *their* (device's manufacturer's) server to
connect to yours via standard protocols.  It was the only way to use it.
And a lovely security hole.

You would have to install some other mail app to do it any other way, or
use webmail.

If you're implementing a service as your job, I think you'd need to find
out whether any of the users are stuck with hard limits about how they
can access mail.

--
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Linux 3.9.10-100.fc17.x86_64 #1 SMP Sun Jul 14 01:31:27 UTC 2013 x86_64
(always current details of the computer that I'm writing this email on)

Boilerplate:  All mail to my mailbox is automatically deleted, there is
no point trying to privately email me, I only get to see the messages
posted to the mailing list.

Next time your service provider asks you to reboot your equipment, ask
them to reboot theirs, first.


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