EMail User Agents

David Roode (ROODE@BIONET-20.ARPA)
Sun 13 Sep 87 16:17:14-PDT

mkhaw@teknowledge cites several specifics of Unix MM-32
which I agree are points which could stand improvement
or clarification. Many mail programs seem to keep mail in
their own format so this concern is common.

I wasn't alluding to incompatibility with Unix or similarity
to TOPS-20 as the basis for suggesting taking a look at MM-32.
Specifically, the features in MM-32 that I think recommend
it as an improvement over other Unix mail agents are:

        a) a ? feature for all commands and command options

        The user need not know the options in advance to select
        them; nor need he depart from command interaction
        to consult separate help text for the command.

        b) a distinct top level; i.e. the individual mail commands are
        not merged in with the Unix shell commands. I think this is a
        plus for user understanding.

        c) a mode change between the top level of the mail program and
        the level under which a particular message is being processed.
        Again, I think clarity is enhanced when distinctions are made
        as to context of user interaction.

        d) profile capability including the ability to suppress
        display of selected headers when they appear in messages

        e) flexible specification of message sequences, i.e. to
        perform an action on sequences specified by compound
        conditions such as 'from joe' and 'since 15 May 1987'; the
        mere ability to identify messages to include in a sequence by
        one attribute of the messages intended let alone ability to
        compound them

        f) capability to search with messages with a certain text
        string in the message body

Characteristics which I would find highly valuable
but which MM-32 does not have are as follows:

        A mode when reading messages to allow display
        of only the first n lines of message body. At that
        point a one keystroke selection should allow for
        continuation; otherwise all other message disposition
        options ought to be valid.

        Ability to specify automatic disposition with optional
        confirmation, i.e. "when reading messages addressed to
        'SPECIAL-COMMITTEE' by default save them in file
        'SPECIAL-COMMITTEE.FILE'"; "when reading messages from Joe, by
        default place them in file Joe.mail but confirm first"; when
        reading messages addressed to 'announcements' delete them
        after reading; when reading all other messages not addressed
        directly to myself, place them in file 'LIST.MAIL'"

I think the last set of mail processing capabilities is very
simple yet provide a very powerful tool for managing a history
of online EMAIL.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 09 2000 - 14:39:15 GMT