Pegasus Mail v4.2 released

June 30 2004:  Pegasus Mail v4.21c corrects a problem where annotations could be lost when you moved a message from any folder back to the new mail folder. It also allows you to have new mail displayed in bold, and folders containing mail that has been moved recently can now be displayed in bold as well (these options are found on the Folders and Previews preference page and will initially be turned off by default for existing users). For the first time in the history of the program, v4.21c also marks the simultaneous release of both English and German versions of the program (thanks to Sven Henze for putting in a fantastic effort to get this done). Full versions of the v4.21c can be downloaded from our downloads page, and a patch file that can be used to upgrade existing v4.21a or v4.21b installations is available on our patches page - please note that the patch should only be used for English versions of the program - for the German version, please download the full archive.

June 15 2004: Pegasus Mail v4.21b updates the v4.21a release described below. It fixes a problem where distribution lists might cause crashes if they contained a reply-to address, adds more high-colour bitmaps, and fixes another problem where selecting "Use current ID" in the Forward message dialog could cause a crash. If you have previously installed WinPMail v4.21a, you can find a patch to bring you up to v4.21b by going here. (This patch is only usable if you have installed v4.21a - it cannot be used to update earlier versions of the program).

May 27 2004: Pegasus Mail v4.2 originally started out as a single-item revision, focusing on rewriting the program's support for the IMAP protocol, but it sort of blew out during the development process, and has become a significant release in its own right.

The IMAP Revision   Pegasus Mail's IMAP code was originally written in 1997, and at the time the servers that were available implemented the IMAP protocol fairly unevenly. As a result, my IMAP code tended to be very defensive, which meant that it worked with a wide range of servers, but did so quite slowly and didn't take any advantage of the clever parts of the protocol. Pegasus Mail v4.2 fixes all that. The IMAP code now caches extensively and has a wide range of performance options you can use to tune the way you connect to your server: all IMAP-related operations should be substantially faster than in previous versions, and we have timed some operations as being as much as 80 times faster than in v4.12a. You can also access IMAP profiles offline, with full access to any message for which Pegasus Mail has locally-cached data; a right-click option allows you to cache an entire folder with a single command, allowing you to work with it "on the road". You can also use internationalized characters in your IMAP folder names, and can create IMAP profiles that "subscribe" to only a few of your folders for ultra-fast connections. Finally, we've gone to considerable lengths to make the program's IMAP support as robust and reliable as we possibly can, since all the performance improvements in the world don't amount to much unless the code works reliably.

Other changes   The IMAP component of Pegasus Mail has always been just about the most complex and difficult part of the whole program, which is largely why the step from v4.12 to v4.2 has taken so long... Having said that, though, there are lots of other new things in v4.2 as well:

  •  New look user interface   Pegasus Mail now sports new high-colour bitmaps for its buttons and user interface. You'd be amazed how long it takes to do these things - many of these buttons have been through multiple designs before we settled on the set that now appears in the program. While this modification is purely cosmetic, we are continually surprised at just how much of a difference it makes to the user's experience of the program.
  • New WindowBar   The new WindowBar makes it easier to navigate between multiple open windows. It shows all the windows that are currently open, and allows you to switch between them with a single click. The buttons on the WindowBar also act as drag-and-drop targets for windows that accept drag-and-drop data. You can open and close the WindowBar using the blue arrow button at the far right of the program's status bar.
  • Filtering rule wizard   It's now easier than ever to create new mail filtering rules: just select a message you want to use as a model and click the Filtering button; Pegasus Mail's filtering rule wizard will ask you a couple of simple questions and voilą! A new rule is created for you, ready to go.
  • Attachment filtering   You can now create filtering rules based on attachments in incoming messages, and a new group of actions allow you to save attachments to files, run programs on attachments or delete attachments from the message. A new filtering rule action also allows you to add headers to messages in your new mail folder if you wish.
  • New Public (System-wide) Foldering options   Pegasus Mail has supported the idea of System-wide folders (folders available to all users) for a number of years, but it's required some tinkering to set up, and was rather limited in capability. V4.2 has completely reworked this idea: it is now easy to create up to fifteen different Public Folder trees accessible to all your users, and Public Folders are now much more flexible. A public folder can have attributes shared amongst all your users (so, if one user reads a message, it will be marked as read for everyone), or if you prefer, attributes can be private, so each user will have his own view of the folder. Public folders can also now have a hierarchical structure. We think that for many sites, this will be the most exciting single change in Pegasus Mail for a number of years, because it finally allows true, seamless multi-user access to shared folders.
  • List banding   You can now tell Pegasus Mail to display alternate items in message lists, the folder list, and addressbooks in different colours. This effect, called Banding, gives a clear visual cue when you are working in lists, and is extremely effective. Banding is turned on by default, and can be adjusted in the new List display preferences page in the Tools|Options dialog.
  • Visual feedback during drag and drop   When you are dragging and dropping items, Pegasus Mail now highlights the item in a list into which the drop will occur. This visual feedback adds certainty to the process.
  • Content Control updated and overhauled   Pegasus Mail has now inherited the improvements made to Mercury/32 v4.01 for Content Control (spam detection). The new CC engine has a number of new and powerful tests, including support for checking on excessive HTML comments, lazy HTML (remote-linked pictures), obfuscated words (like "v1agra") and more. Our experience of Content Control is that it catches 90-95% of the spam we receive with almost no false positives.

The little things:   Usually when I write these "what's new" summaries, I add an entry that says "lots of other little things were changed", but that's truer than ever in this release. I thought it might be apposite to give you just a few examples of the "little things" we've modified for v4.2, although this is just a smattering...

  • When you move a message to an open folder, it will now appear at the top of that folder's list of messages.
  • The Pegasus Mail status bar has been reworked, with new buttons that toggle between online/offline mode, stop TCP/IP connections, and toggle the new WindowBar.
  • You can now create a list of your own prefixes that Pegasus Mail should ignore at the start of the Subject line of a message during sorting. This file, called PREFIX.PM, can include anything you want the program to disregard when sorting on the subject line.
  • Date parsing (interpreting the "Date" field of incoming mail) has been totally overhauled to deal with the increasingly wide range of malformed date headers generated by spamware and other poorly-written Internet mail programs.
  • If you have a mouse with a mousewheel, the wheel now works slightly differently from previous versions: now, it will scroll whatever portion of a Window currently contains the mouse pointer, without that window needing to have input focus. This is actually one of my personal favourites in v4.2, but I may just be easily amused.
  • Right-clicking a message and choosing Start new message to sender will now open a dialog allowing you to select from the various e-mail addresses in the message if there is any ambiguity.
  • The "Run a program" filtering rule action now has a new option that forces Pegasus Mail to stop all processing until the program finishes.
  • A new message editor layout includes an identity selector on the front page - this is a Godsend if you use identities extensively. See Tools|Options|Messages and replies to select the new layout.
  • You can now right-click any message in a message list and select Message headers to see a quick raw view of the headers of that message.
  • Pressing Ctrl+Shift+S in the message editor will swap the contents of the To: and CC: fields.

... And there's lots more in there too - don't forget to spend some time looking through the menus and preference dialogs for other changes.

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