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New email editor in MessengerPro 3

By Chris Williams. Published: 28th Apr 2005, 21:13:06 | Permalink | Printable

StrongEd and Zap call their Union

MessengerPro 3.21Email and news reading client MessengerPro 3.21 has been released to end users and boasts several updates in the user interface department. According to publisher R-Comp, the commercial application, now stewarded by Colin Granville, includes a new integrated message editor. If that's not your cup of tea, punters can instead choose to use the old system of using an external text editor to edit your digital letters.

The new editor includes 'check as you type' spell checking, promises to fix badly formatted emails that get sent to you, and urges users to not top post. It also supports different colours for different quoting levels, sensible text wrapping, a signature editor, search'n'replace and other features you'd expect.

In what might be a pre-emptive strike against claims of reinventing the wheel and fixing what isn't broken, R-Comp's Andrew Rawnsley gushed: "This has been something we have been looking at for Messenger Pro for a long time, but given the power of external editors such as Zap and StrongEd, we were conscious that we needed something special, if it was to be worth doing. I believe that's what we've got".

Our man Mark Stephens, a lucky Messenger Pro user, commented: "Colin continues to add new features, all of which can be disabled if you prefer the traditional way of doing things. The latest version adds a rather nice new internal editor - no more fiddling with !StrongEd or !Zap if you don't want to - and spell-checker.

"As usual, Colin has been active on the mailing list, answering queries, explaining misconceptions and waiting for bug reports."


Messenger Pro 3 website Thanks to Mark for the screenshot

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Yay, the inlusion of an internal editor is a great move. RISC OS has just been too much of a fiddle to do email in the past. Messenger, Newsbase, Pop, Newshound, Zap. Sure, it's flexible but it's a PITA to set up the first time. Just what would scare a newbie back to Windows. Sure, they have email viruses but installing an email scanner is easier than selecting a stable version of !Zap :P -- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 29/4/05 4:10PM
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The thing that frustrated new users in the past was the "save your text file (where???) and close the window (argh, my data!)" procedure required by the OLE system. Back in the 90s, OLE was (I think) better understood, but it is no longer a buzzword and isn't something people felt comfortable with. I'm pleased that we now have something that is more accessible and arcane :)

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 29/4/05 8:22PM
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less arcane even. cough.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 29/4/05 8:23PM
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I welcome it as a feature, but will not be using it myself. I much prefer the system of using an external editor (probably because I'm used to it), but this is likly to encourage/make it easier for new users.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 30/4/05 12:31AM
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RO is our main home internet/email interface, and having witnessed the struggles of my wife (who, like most people, learned her computing on Windows machines) when first grappling with MPro, I think the new version (and Firefox when it arrives) will undoubtedly make RO more accessible to new users. If you're used to an integrated system the previous MPro setup is not at all intuitive. And of course Marcel was integrated...


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 30/4/05 11:07AM
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Erm, having studied the screenshot above, and visited the MPro3 site and looked at the screenshots there, the latter look quite different (in fact remarkably similar to the existing setup with separate editor). ??


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 30/4/05 11:15AM
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Gah, lost the reply I'd typed. Sigh. To clarify George's point, Marcel had no integration with editor - its only integration was that it was joined at the hip with the ANT dialer/connection bit. Contrary to the main article, internet access on RISC OS has not been that complicated for some time (even back to the ANT/Voyager days you could say). *If* people choose to go the R-Comp route, DialUp for modem or NetFetch for broadband, plus Mpro, plus browser(s) gives an even friendlier setup than ANT did.

Unfortunately, because we have chosen to make our internet apps available separately, as well as a suite, people tend to miss this (which is quite understandable). Various places still put out the old pd software - newsbase, popstar etc which has the side effect of making things seem more complex to new users.

Sadly the big stumbling block is that all this does come at a price. We can't offer the free-internet-software in the way that Windows does. Commercial prices are a necessary evil of full-time tech support and development.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 30/4/05 11:22AM
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Yup George, I'm working on the website at the moment, but its a big job. Right now the Mpro3 page on the website is just the Mpro 2 page, with one updated screenshot and new prices. Hopefully it'll be more up to date by wakefield, although I'm prioritising on the RISCube pages which are in desparate need of revision.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 30/4/05 11:25AM
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The new editor isn't an internal editor though. It is an external program EmailEdit and uses OLE so you can still lose your message if it ends up detached or dies.

It is great news for anyone how just wants to get on with sending e-mail without having to set up an editor and configure it. It is a 'runs out of the box' package and if it keeps people from using Edit for writing e-mail, it can only be a good thing.

 is a RISC OS Userxyzzy on 30/4/05 12:04PM
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May I remind people that Pluto the main commercial rival to Mpro, has had a fully integrated text editor since day one this is of course as well as the option to use the text editor of your choice.

I think that Mpro catching up with it's rival in this matter is a significant event and I may again explore wether it is now time for me to move over to Mpro 3 as my email reader of chioce as the Mpro option seems to be being far more activley developed than the still excellent Pluto.

 is a RISC OS Uservshears on 30/4/05 12:44PM
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So, just to check, do we still have to go through the same old save procedure to send the edited email back to MPro? I really hope not. -- Sprite

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 30/4/05 2:25PM
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The send button both saves and sends so the 'save and pray' process arawnsley refers to above is hidden.

If you want to keep what you have done so far, you have to defer or Send/ctrl-F3. If you do so without any recipients, it will remind you of this fact, prompt you to continue but save its progress in the relevant file in the OLEfiles and Messenger bits of !Scrap.

It might be an idea if you could set some kind of autosave (especially since EmailEdit supports undo/redo). If your machine/MPro crashed for some reason, it would be helpful if when you restarted MPro could say 'You were editing/writing some messages - would you like to continue with them?'

I haven't used StrongED for a long time now, but ISTR it told you about files you had been working on last time. Vi(m) certainly does/can do this.

I still think the new Email Editor is great for (new/not so new) users to get started easily with sending their e-mail messages without having to get bogged down in editor wars, moaned at for mis-spelling StrongED or configuring their chosen editor.

It also handles quite a lot of the niggly netiquette issues that new users tend to get shouted at for.

 is a RISC OS Userxyzzy on 30/4/05 2:50PM
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EmailEdit does offer an Export option allowing you to save your email to a place of your choosing - something I find useful when working on press releases. I hadn't considered the issue of crashing as I've never seen emailedit do anything odd, but it does sound something that might be a useful addition (to any app!) so thanks for the feedback :)

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 30/4/05 8:38PM
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To clarify, the distinction between Messenger and EmailEdit is seemless to the user - the only separation is internal to simplify development.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 30/4/05 8:46PM
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I'm currently just using Oregano2 and a web email service ( e.g. = @mail.com ) and I do not yet have Pluto or Mpro.

Does the new email editor mean that I could also access & edit the Inbox messages in my mail.com , or is that a browser issue?

By this I mean I would like to access Inbox mail and print "selected" text instead of the whole message or the whole page. (Printing "selected" text is something I'm hoping FireFox may do)

I have not used and don't fully understand how Mpro really works with what I have, so I hope my question makes sense?

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 30/4/05 9:29PM
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@Sawadee: If your webmail service offers POP3 or IMAP access to your inbox, you could use Mpro to handle your emails. You could still access them through the web-interface as well, but apart from that Mpro has nothing to do with the web-interface. I suggest you talk to RComp about the possibility of a trial-period, to get the full picture of what advantages it has. It would certainly let you print selected text only, wich is just one of its many printing options.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 30/4/05 10:15PM
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