HERMES Mail/W: a roadmap for the future
milestone 8.0: "Kensington"
In this, our inaugural release, our over-arching goal was to bring the original, 2004-vintage QUALCOMM code into compliance with modern-day technologies. Accordingly, feature improvements can be construed as exceedingly conservative and in line with the expectations of established Eudora users:
- Replacement of Microsoft's deprecated Trident viewer (also known as MSHTML, after the name of its primary DLL file) with something more modern. Possibilities mooted were EdgeHTML (its anointed successor), WebKit, Gecko, and Blink. After consideration of several factors (including the fact that EdgeHTML would soon be deprecated as well, in favour of Blink), the decision was taken to use the latter.
- Proper Unicode handling. This is essential for foreign-language users, especially bilingual ones, who don't want to faff about with multiple character sets when just the one (UTF-8) will do.
- Up-to-date security. Advancements in client-server authentication (especially post-Heartbleed) meant that eMail servers wouldn't connect to Eudora. The "fix" for this was either SSL tunnelling or no security at all. We provided a good-faith pro-tem solution to the Eudora community in the form of updated SSL dynamic-link libraries.
- A better spelling checker. Eudora used an old version of Wintertree's proprietary Sentry spellchecking library. Continuing to use this would be unacceptable, and using a newer version would be cost-prohibitive. Hunspell was a better option, and we therefore transitioned to that.
Manpower considerations obstructed all efforts to transition to any alternative toolkit. WxWidgets and MFC were both tried; MFC proved viable, though development progressed too slowly.
milestone 8.5: "Brentford"
Our target for "Brentford" is to produce a best-of-breed eMail client for power users on Windows, which means beating, or at the very least drawing level with, some big names (you know who you are). Our planned features are:
- A toggle for hiding read messages.
- A toggle for disabling images (but not other HTML)
- A toggle for disabling read trackers (often used by junk mail senders)
- Heuristic unsubscribe detection
- Heuristic detection of addresses, phone numbers, package numbers, etc.
- A configurable attachment size warning
- Last-attached files menu (perhaps Message -> Re-Use Attachment)
- Attachment search
- ALT/Click to select whole thread
- Indexed search (possibly with the assistance of Copernic Inc.)
- An easier way of entering international characters (hold key)
- Pre-written templates for business communication
- Fields for mail merge
- Configurable self-expanding abbreviations
- HTML source view
milestone 9.0: "Hounslow"
We don't as yet have a crystal ball, but the minute we do, you'll be the first to know. Watch this space!