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Use Plusnet Webmail? Great, as it's about to get even better ...

December 1st, 2011 at 17:00 by Bob Pullen

beta_webmail_thumbnail_large

If you use Plusnet’s Webmail service then we’ve got some good news for you.

We’ve a brand new Webmail platform and it’s available for you to use right now.  Just make sure to let us know what your first impressions are over on our Community Site discussion forums.

http://betawebmail.plus.net

The new platform is based on a piece of software called ‘Roundcube‘ and will eventually replace the current solution which was built using the popular open source Webmail software ‘SquirrelMail‘.

Whilst SquirrelMail has served us well, it’s no secret that it hasn’t got the prettiest of user interfaces. And you’ve noticed. As our Webmail offering is probably one of the biggest areas that you’ve given us feedback on, and made suggestions for improvement.

RoundCube offers relatively basic functionality compared to some other Webmail solutions, it has a clean interface, works well and does all that we (and hopefully you’ll) need it to.

It also doesn’t have some of the annoyances that our SquirrelMail install has. We’ve been running a closed trial of the software for a while now and feedback has been really positive.

Why switch to Roundcube?

With Roundcube, you’ll be able to use a lot of new and improved features including:

Rich email composition

Composing emails in HTML is now a cinch due to Roundcube’s built in WYSIWYG editor.

rc_rich_text

Inline image display

If you’ve used the old Webmail service then you’ll have probably been greeted from time to time with an ugly error message telling you that certain images have been ‘removed for security reasons’.

sm_image_blocked
Roundcube has an option that will allow you to automatically display images inline which is far less frustrating (remember to treat messages from unknown senders with caution).

rc_images

Right-click context menus

The new Webmail platform supports right-clicking. This feature provides a myriad of shortcuts to the most-used features.

rc_context

‘Drag and drop’ support

You can drag and drop emails from one folder to another, just like you would when using a standalone email application on your desktop.

rc_drag_drop

Spam training

Roundcube allows you to mark junk emails as spam if they manage to get past our new anti-spam platform. You’ll find this button when viewing the contents of all folders with the exception of the ‘Junk’ folder. When marking an email as spam, the message is automatically moved to the ‘Junk’ folder and a copy forwarded to our email security partners (Cloudmark) for the purpose of training our spam filters. The more ‘false-negatives’ you reliably report as spam, the stronger your reputation becomes and the quicker the anti-spam filters will adapt to treat the message differently.

rc_spam
If you receive a genuine email and our system identifies it as spam then you can report that to us too. If an email has been identified as spam and you mark it as genuine then it will be moved from the Junk folder to the Inbox and a copy forwarded to Cloudmark. Please note that the ‘This message is not spam’ button is only visible when viewing messages in the Junk folder. If you want to report ‘false-positives’ that reside in other folders then you will first need to move the message to the ‘Junk’ folder.

rc_ham

What next?

We’ll be looking to make Roundcube the default Webmail application over the coming weeks, although you’ll still be able to access SquirrelMail for the time being.

If you spot any bugs, or have any other feedback or suggestions for improvement, then please head over to our Community Site forums or leave a comment below.

We hope you like it!

bobpullen

This entry was posted by Bob Pullen on Thursday, December 1st, 2011 at 5:00 pm and is tagged with and is posted in the category Plusnet News, WWW Front Page. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


51 comments on "Use Plusnet Webmail? Great, as it's about to get even better ..."

Why not switch to Google Apps like some other ISPs do? I don't think anything beats Gmail's interface and features.

bobpullen

Hi Adam, we looked at Google a while back, the main blocker was the fact that it was pretty tricky to fit to the architecture of our mail platform.

Dan the Van

Can you add the option to remember your login server? Not everyone is PlusNet.

It is a lot slicker than the current offering, I use the current offering to check and delete any emails. I very rarely compose from the web based offering. I find the current system is very clunky and quite often logs you out when trying to delete emails. its a thumbs up from me.

bobpullen

Thanks for the feedback Chris. We did look at a sticky server drop-down Dan but it wasn't simple without some minor 'hacking' and we're a little adverse to go down that route.

glloyd

How on earth do you delete a message, I can't see the option?

mikeflan

Well...what a dissappointment in plusnet...left BT because of their webmail problems...blow me down if plusnet webmails do not work either....seems that plusnet admit they have mail problems too.....I hope this is not the way it's going to go... I am still having to use other bodies web mail bases to keep contact with people......

chandu

I had a little play with Beta Roundcube version. It looks and feels good. At least better than Squirrelmail. However, it would help if the screen is catered for users, with poor eyesight, who need to use the display with 800 x 600 pixels (which does not show the scroll bars). One needs to set the dispay to atleast 1152 x 864 pixels to see the scoll bars, which makes it hard for people with poor eye sight.

Like some users, I use it to delete the unwanted emails so that my hard drive does not get filled with unwanted emails and saves me the bother of clearing them. When away from home I do need to respond to some urgent emails and squirrel is not ideal for this purpose.

kmilburn

This is a great improvement over squirrelmail.

I second the request for a sticky server selection.

There is a hacky workaround at the moment, add @_host= to the URL.
e.g. https://betawebmail.plus.net/?_host=imap.force9.net

glloyd, to delete mail, select the message then press the delete key or click the "move message to 'deleted items'" button at the top (or on the context menu)

drj

"How on earth do you delete a message, I can't see the option?" - red circle with diagonal cross - a bit like the "national speed limit" sign

drj

Interestingly I've just posted a message and it's showing "Your comment must be checked by a human to make sure it isn't spam. Nothing personal, we check all comments from users who are not logged in. It should be approved within 24 hours." - despite the fact it's also showing "Logged in as drj."

jojopillo

It's the red circle icon with the diagonal line through it :)

mikeflan

well....it would be nice to even be able to access it....as a new user it seems that plusnet cannot configure for me...I have to wait for 3 days until they can find a technician....and I thought plusnet was going to be good.

bobpullen

Have you got a support ticket reference Mike so I can take a look and see if there's anything I can do to help?

knorrie

Just the inline image option is enough to get the thumbs up from me! The interface not only looks good but you can get things done so much quicker than before. Massive improvement all round!

bobpullen

@chandu, I can see the scroll bars using that resolution although some of the horizontal menu buttons overlap with the search box etc on the right of the main message pane. I'm pretty sure the client works to a satisfactory standard at a resolution of 1024x768?

chandu

@ Bob Pullen,

Does this mean that you do not wish to provide for clients with sight issues?

Or do you want them to magnify the characters in 1024x768 screens?

bobpullen

@chandu, not at all - like I said it's functional for me at 800x600. Although I'd imagine using a magnifier under a minimal 1024x resolution would be preferable? There's a plethora of alternatives available too if it doesn't suit, from local clients to alternative Webmail solutions like Mail2Web and Gmail. Do you use any other Webmail solutions that you think cater well for those with limited sight? (our SquirrelMail install excepted)?

chandu

@Bob Pullen, yes. I suggest you have a look at Maizone used by Ontel.net. Infact, I had suggested this some 12 months a go when first joined PN's BB service and found the SquirrelMail unbareable!

chandu

@Bob Pullen, I just tried it again at 800x600. I suppose I can live with it.

Oh, before I forget, I need to ask you a question, but not on the public forum. Can I send you a PM?

IKnowNothing

3 points I noticed that seem to be downsides as far as I can tell from a quick look..

1. Seems to treat smilies as image attachments rather than text characters.
2. Doesn't stick on the HTML text formatting options you pick and defaults back to plain text for each new message you want to compose.
3. No ability to filter incoming messages into folders according to sender.

All things I take for granted with Yahoo mail.

bobpullen

@chandu, I'm presuming you mean 'Mailzone'? Must admit I've never heard of it. I've done a spot of Googling but information seems sparse? I'm not even sure if it's a white label product rather than an in-house solution built by One-Tel, perhaps you can advise? Feel free to drop me a PM, I've a few to get through but will attend to it as soon as I can.

@I Know Nothing, thanks for the feedback.

1. Do you mean smilies that have been inserted via the toolbar button on an outgoing message? If so then they show as an inline image for me at the other end. I guess it depends how the receiving email client is configured. You could always 'type' the smiley rather than use the toolbar button if this isn't desired behaviour.

2. There's a few options under Personal Settings > Composing Messages > Compose HTML messages that should sort that out.

3. Noted, although the current Webmail platform doesn't support this functionality either.

IKnowNothing

@Bob

1. Yes. Ok, probably Yahoo's fault then, does seem to be behaving a bit quirkily for me lately.

2. Found that option now thanks. Still doesn't stick on your last font choice though as far as I can see. I like to write all my emails in big bold green 'cos it makes people think I'm crazy.

bobpullen

"I like to write all my emails in big bold green 'cos it makes people think I'm crazy."

Please tell me that's not in Comic Sans too!? ;)

chandu

@Bob Pullen, Yes, I meant Mailzone. Sorry, it was a typo. I have used it with OneTel. I do not know if it is an in-house development. I have no idea if it is a white label product. Sorry, Bob, I can't help in this matter.

Will send you a PM soon. Thanks.

Gus

Trying it as I was trying to whitelist 2 emails I received today which the current webmail client is failing to do. So I have 2 emails that have been marked as spam which aren't and they are not in the Junk folder by default, so its failing to move them when auto marked by the system

Laser

The Squirrel Mail service was never very fast and there was talk of a new server or something. This new system may be prettier, but is even slower. Are we going to see the general responsiveness improve at all?

Great improvement, much faster and easier to use. Squirrel mail was always slow but this is an excellent upgrade!

chandu

Just Tried betawebmail.plus.net. Found the following Issues:
1) Very slow to login;
2) Gives a blank page - totally white blank background;
3) My wife tried to login - exactly the same result.

So, what is going on here?

jojopillo

Hi chandu,

Not heard of this happening before, can you try a different browser/clear your cache.

Jojo :)

chandu

@ Jojo, Hello there.

Things seem to have resolved themselves. Works okay now. Must be gremlins!!!!

However, I need to know if in 800 x 600 screen mode, is there a work round the overlap by filter + Search boxes which Bob had mentioned earlier? See, I need to use this mode due to my sight issue.

Will the switchover be done automatically or do I have to sign up for it? Can I do it now? Will it have a spell checker on the new system? david

jojopillo

@chandu, I can only go by what Bob said in his last post about that.

@David, yes, it will be automatic and it does have a spellchecker.

Jojo :)

chalbury

Is it possible to import addresses from my Mac Address book? otherwise 'lookin good'.

Generally I like it - but sometimes I write the same e mail to several people which was easy with Squirrel Mail as I just ticked the box in the address book for the relevant ones. I can't find a way of doing this now without copying and pasting the addresses. If I click on a second e mail address in the address book, the first one, and the e mail, is lost. Am I missing something ?

Anotherone

@Kate
Start at your address book, select each of the recipients using select, then use the "Compose mail to" button above the Contacts list. If you want to Bcc them, open the Bcc box, then in the Recipient box - Select all, then Cut and then Paste in the Bcc box. This latter step not very elegant but it works!
If you want a mix of To:, Cc: & Bcc: then you'll need to do a bit more cutting and pasting of addresses, at least you can open the Address Book in a separate Tab which helps with that. This is the only major short-coming that I've so-far found with Roundcube.

WRT previous comments about Mailzone (Onetel) it's similar to Squirrel in functionality and just as ugly in it's own way! although it does have an in-built spell checker. Also if PN ever goto Gmail for webmail I'll go elsewhere - They snoop in your mail for targeted advertising!

rrowen

Is the new webmail secure. Using Google Chrome I am flagged the following::The site uses SSL, but Google Chrome has detected either high-risk insecure content on the page or problems with the site’s certificate. Don’t enter sensitive information on this page. Invalid certificate or other serious https issues could indicate that someone is attempting to tamper with your connection to the site.

@Anotherone
Many thanks. With a bit more trial and error, I had sort of worked it out, but you have added some useful tips which are much appreciated.

Anon

Tis great email, just doesn't work and no announcements about it!

Great to see Roundcube is to take over from SquirrelMail. We've been running Roundcube webmail for student email at the University of Sussex for a couple of years now. It's very easy to use and we get very few problems or complaints.

Why is it so slow to load?
There are not enough hours in a day to use this?

yes i like the layout but cant access it right now as you still have webmail problems do to your power outage on monday the old squirrelmail i can log in but takes 2 mins to get through 1 email and then logs you out any updates on this please im stacking up emails

jojopillo

HI Terry,

If you go to address book you'll see the option to import contacts there.

Jojo :)

jojopillo

HI Kate,

When composing a new message then if you just type the first letter of the contacts name in the 'to' box you'll be given a list of addresses to add.

Alternatively, go to your address book and select multiple recipients by holding down Ctrl while you click and then compose the email.

Hope that helps.

Jojo :)

Thanks Jojo
I had worked out the method using Ctrl key for multiple selection in the address book, but not the other method, which is very helpful. Obvious really, when you know how !

chandu

Is it possible to with-hold the display of email recepient/s?

bobpullen

@rrowen, we're aware of the Google Chrome warning, if you Google it you'll find that it affects other websites too. The ads we use on the login page are taken from Google. Google has a policy to push SSL everywhere, which is why Chrome complains when any part of a web page is not consistent with a single https delivery system. This is slightly ironic though because Google's ad system does not have an option to deliver ads over HTTPS. It's this contradiction that's creating the problem you're observing. If we want to continue serving ads then we either accept that Chrome will complain about Google's ads if HTTPS is used, or deliver completely over HTTP. We took the decision to deliver over HTTPS and accept that Google's ads would create this issue. The platform *is* secure though.

@Anon @Jim Taylor @spencer smith, apologies for the problems accessing the service. IT was related to this - http://usertools.plus.net/status/archive/1325698619.htm

@chandu, are you talking about recipients you're sending mail to? If so then you can use the 'Add Bcc' link in the message composition window.

The new Roundcube seems to be significantly slower than the current Squirrelmail interface. At the moment I'd rather take the speed over the possibly useful pretty features.

Tim

Would be nice to have some stability on our email systems.
They are changing too often and are frequently worse than the previous version.
Don't like the new system. Older one faster & easier to use.
By the way - I was only able to retrieve my emails by using a link in kmilburns comment of 3rd December!

is there only me that really liked the old squirrel?

simple clean interface and very easy to use

Ah well never mind

I really can't believe that anyone here genuinely believes that the ancient, very slow and highly restricted in functionality Squirremail is better than this Roundcube offering. Clearly some people of a certain age will oppose almost all change just because it means them learning something new even if it is worth the effort (as it is here) because it is far better than the product it replaces.

I have found the Roundcube system much faster and to also handle matters such as reading images in emails far better (with the boring Net Nanny being able to be turne off so that Plusnet webmail interface is actually useable).

However unless its just me the spell checker facility in the Roundcube product as configured by Plusnet in this Beta test seems to have massive issues and if turned on by default makes it impossible to send an email without dealing with its numerous false warnings and when I used the one off spell checker button just now and then came to send the email it offered me a confusing option saying did I want to discard the message as it had now been sent.

I thought it meant did I just want to discard the compose page as there was now a copy of the email in Sent Items but when I went there it did not have a copy of my email. This message should not be given to customers as it is very confusing and I note one also does not get this message when sending an email that has not been spell checked.

Lastly I absolutely hate the Red Cross instead of a normal clear Delete symbol and accompanying words with a passion and I also find that if I use the Delete key on my computer keyboard to delete an email that it frquently does not work unless I have already read the email in the Preview window for a certain number of seconds.

Also confusing is that when you are in Personal Settings and Preferences the systems lets you move between different Preferences pages without prompting you to save any changes you have made when you change page or alternatively remembering all the changes you have made to Preferences in that session and changing them all at the end of the process.

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