- An attractive user interface
Messenger uses an attractive graphical user
interface, which complies with the guidelines set out for good RISC OS
application design as documented in the Acorn RISC OS Style Guide.
- MIME support
Messenger has full support for MIME encoded
messages, decomposing multipart messages into their constituent parts, and
automatically decoding any which are encoded using base64 or the
quoted-printable encoding. Messenger will
then offer to display any textual parts, and present the remainder as
attachments which may be saved out. Messenger
can also be used to send MIME format messages, with proper labelling and
encoding of their content.
- PGP support
Messenger interacts with the command line
based PGP program to automatically recognise encrypted messages and decrypt
them. It also allows encrypted messages to be originated from Messenger, as well as offering support for sending
and verifying signed messages. A convenient keyring management system is
also included, which allows all key management functions to be performed from
New to Messenger Pro V2.50 is the full graphical representation of threads.
In addition to the existing indentation technique of showing replies
to messages, v2.50 also draws in lines linking messages to their parents, making the relationships much
easier to visualise. Navigation of threads is also enhanced by provision
of a menu listing siblings of the current message and by the inclusion of
a menu option which allows direct access to the current message's parent.
Other improvements to the threading code also mean that threading is even
more reliable than before.
- Enhanced Keyboard Navigation
Messenger Pro V2.50 has improved keyboard support for those users who prefer not to use the mouse when reading mail and news. The space bar can now be used for most reading tasks, advancing to the next unread message or next group as appropriate, automatically closing and opening windows where necessary. In addition, window scrolling and part selection in multipart messages can now be accomplished entirely from the keyboard.
- URL Launching
Much enhanced in v2.50 is Messenger Pro's
handling of URLs, e-mail addresses and message IDs highlighted in message
windows. Clicking on a message ID now allows that message to be
displayed, to be requested on the next download or to be retrieved from
Deja.com. All URL launches may be deferred such that they're remembered
until the next time the user goes online, thus allowing interesting sites
referenced in mail or news to be looked at when next convenient.
- Group Displays
Building on its already comprehensive set of configuration options for the
display of groups, Messenger Pro V2.50 allows full control over which
fields are displayed for each group, how wide each field is and where
it appears in the display. All of this is configured easily using a fully
drag and drop interface. Also, drag selections now auto scroll the window,
allowing rapid selection of multiple messages.
- Message Sending
The new message send window allows signatures to be selected at send time and altered during message composition by selection from a menu. It also now includes a request receipt option to allow confirmation messages to be generated by the recipient when the e-mail has been successfully delivered. Messages may now also be saved unfinished and completed during another session. Finally, interoperability with PC users has been improved by recognising PC file typed files and preserving DOS naming conventions.
A number of changes have been made to improve the quality of the search
facilities. It is now possible to abort a long search rather than be forced to wait for it to complete, and to recall the last search made and edit it before resubmitting. It is also now much easier to specify multiple groups to search by simply selecting each one from a menu.
- New Arrivals
A new arrivals window has been added which lists all groups which have received new messages during the current session. If you have a large number of groups receiving new messages and have trouble recognising where your messages have gone to, then you will find this new facility invaluable.
- Proper newsgroup and mailing list threading
Unlike some other newsreaders, Messenger
uses the references headers of articles to perform threading, rather than
just the subject. This has the advantage in keeping a thread together when
the subject changes, and also allows easy access from a menu to any replies
to a particular article, or any of the articles that preceded it. Messenger's threads display shows one item per
thread, but allows the expansion of threads to list the messages they
contain, suitably indented to indicate the thread structure. As messages are
read, Messenger automatically opens the thread
containing the current message, scrolls it into view, highlights it and
closes the thread afterwards. Buttons to move between threads, optionally
marking all the skipped articles as read, are also provided.
- Message colouring of headers, signatures, attributions
and quoted text
Messenger will colour headers, signatures,
attributions and quoted text in different colours, to make it easier to
distinguish between them. This is particularly beneficial with quoted text,
as it allows the user to make out who said what, which is made even easier
with attribution colouring, since the colour of the text can be matched to
the colour of the attribution containing the name of the person who wrote it.
- URL highlighting and launching
Messenger can recognise URLs and WWW/FTP
sites in messages and highlight them, so that clicking on them launches them
using your web browser, terminal emulator, FTP client, etc. E-mail
addresses are also highlighted, and full support is provided for handling
mailto: and news: URLs launched from other applications.
Messenger supports both the ANT and Acorn URI
- Drag and drop message filing
Messenger's group and folder displays
support drag and drop of the messages they contain, so copying messages is a
simple matter of dragging them from one window to the other. Moving messages
is also possible by dragging with Shift held down, just like using the RISC
- An easy to use attachments interface
Attachments in received messages, encoded in either uucode or using MIME,
are automatically recognised and appear as files in the lower part of the
message display, ready for saving out to a file or application. In doing so,
Messenger hides the raw encoding of the
attachments so you only see the readable parts of the message. Attachments
can easily be specified when sending mail, by dragging them from the filer
into the send window.
- Multiple mailbox support
Newsbase has no limitations on the number of mailboxes you can have, and
so neither does Messenger. This is useful if
you have more than one account and want to keep mail from different accounts
separate. Messenger allows you to configure
whether a click on its icon will take you to your main mailbox, or to a
window containing all your mailboxes, thus allowing easy access to all your
- Multiple user support
Newsbase also allows the creation of more than one user, so everybody
who uses mail and news on your machine can have a separate, optionally
password protected, account. This not only means that private messages
aren't read by anybody else, but also that each user can have his/her own
- Address book
Messenger contains an address book which
allows you to store commonly used e-mail addresses, and thus allowing you to
choose them from a menu when you want to send mail.
Messenger also allows you to associate an
alias with each address, which acts as a form of shorthand for that address
and which Messenger will expand automatically.
Groups of addresses may also be set up allowing you to send to multiple
addresses with a single alias. Distribution lists are also supported, which
allow the sending of mail to a list of addresses held in a separate file.
- Support for header only downloads
Messages in newsgroups which are configured for header only download in
your news transport, are recognised as such and displayed accordingly. A
fetch body option is then available, which will request that the full article
is fetched on your next download.
- Outline and bitmap font support
Messenger's message display window can show
messages using any RISC OS outline font, or any of the bitmap fonts used by
- Flexible saving and printing facilities
Messages may be saved or printed either as they are, or with any necessary
decoding (PGP or MIME) performed first. Headers may optionally be included.
- Flagging of replied messages
Messenger marks any messages to which you
reply as being replied, and indicates these differently in folder and group
displays. This flag may also be cleared or set manually.
- Search facilities
Messenger integrates with NewsFind allowing
Messenger to invoke a search, and
automatically display the results when it has finished. NewsFind has
flexible facilities for finding text in whole messages, or just a particular
header. It also supports wildcards to enable searching across more than one
group, or a wildcarded search string.
- Mailing list support
Newsbase can be configured to filter mail from mailing lists into a
folder, and then Messenger can be told to
treat that folder as a mailing list. This means that the list will appear in
the newsreader window, and also that separate reply and followup options are
provided that allow replies to be sent to the sender of a particular message,
or to the list. In addition, posting a new message to the list is made
easier since Messenger will recall the list
submission address and specify this for you when sending your message.
- Configurable and flexible sorting options
Messages may be sorted simply by clicking on the desired column heading
which allows sorting by subject, sender, date and by whether the message has
been read or not. The sort setting has a memory, so that the current sort
will sort matching messages according to the setting of the previous sort,
thus allowing more than one sort key. Sort settings may also be saved on a
- Support for virtual memory
Messenger uses a dynamic area for memory
storage, and automatically enables virtual memory when Clares' Virtualise is
in use, thus removing any memory constraints.
- Faster Processing
Messenger Pro features a new offline
database manager which offers a speed advantage over Newsbase in all
areas, but particularly during debatch and expire operations.
In addition, much of the processing that takes place when viewing
messages is now performed in memory rather than via disc, hence making
overall usage appear much faster.
- Easier to Configure
Messenger Pro is designed to be easier to
configure than any existing mail and news software. The installation process
will ask for a bare minimum of details and will then configure itself,
obtaining information from your existing software. Those users who have
been intimidated by Newsbase's user interface in the past will find
Messenger Pro's own database considerably easier to use.
Much effort has also been made to retain Messenger's multi-user support whilst
at the same time removing some of the complexity of multi-user
configuration. Messenger Pro defaults to a single user installation where
the user installing it is given full system administration privileges
without having to create the user himself. The user is then automatically
subscribed to all groups, removing the need to subscribe once for the news
feed and again for himself, as was the case in previous versions.
- IMAP/NNTP Support
Support is provided for reading mail and news online via a connection
to a separate mail and news server, thus removing the requirement to store
all mail and news locally. The standard IMAP mail and NNTP news protocols
are used to do this.
Messenger Pro can be configured for offline or online use and maintains
separate configurations for each, allowing easy switching between them.
- Voyager Support
For the first time, Messenger now supports the Voyager Internet Suite,
the software used by the majority of Argonet users. This is by means of a
dedicated Voyager transport which enables the two pieces of software to
- More Powerful and Faster Search Facilities
The freeware version of Messenger uses a third party application,
NewsFind, to perform message searches. Messenger Pro removes this
dependency and performs all searches itself, utilising direct access
to the database to considerably speed up the process.
Messenger Pro also offers more flexible search criteria to be specified,
searching on up to four headers or in the body, together with size and
date specifications. Attachments may also be easily found.
In addition, local searches for text in displayed messages may also be
- Reduced Disc Usage
Messenger Pro uses a more efficient
technique of storing messages which considerably reduces the amount of
disc space wasted, and hence the overall amount of space used. In
addition, all messages are held in compressed form and only decompressed
- Better Attachment Support
Messenger already has comprehensive support for attachments, but Messenger Pro extends this to enable identification of those messages with attachments
from the group viewer, removing the need to open each message first.
A strip attachments option has also been added which allows attachments
to be deleted; useful if you want to archive your mail but don't want to
keep lots of large files around.
When forwarding messages, attachments are now automatically copied
across to the new message, removing the need to do this manually.
Attachments are also now supported in news postings, although warnings are
given for those groups where this would be deemed inappropriate.
- Queue Editing
Messenger Pro features full queue editing facilities; a task that was
previously delegated to the third party QEdit application. This means
that the outgoing mail and news queues can be treated just like another
group, using the same user interface for displaying and manipulating
queued messages. Messages are then edited using the existing editing
facilities with which the user will already be familiar.
- Editing of Stored Messages
Messages may now be edited and saved back to the database, allowing you
to make permanent changes to the headers or the body, e.g. to correct
a mislabelled Subject header, or to annotate messages.
Messages may also be used as the basis of an outgoing edit session,
which is useful for correcting misaddressed mail or for sending another
copy of a message which didn't get through the first time.
- Compliance with the Good Net-Keeping Seal of Approval
Messenger Pro is one of a very small number of newsreaders on any platform to conform to the Good Net-Keeping Seal of Approval. This is a tough set of
guidelines which requires that news posting software generate articles
that properly adhere to Internet standards, and provide adequate
protection for the user so that his postings don't annoy other users
by exhibiting common mistakes made by beginners.
Messenger Pro also complies with the latest draft of the USEFOR
working group, who are currently defining the new standard for the
format of news messages.
- Provides More Information
Messenger now displays
more header information in its message windows so you can easily see
who else received a particular message, and where replies/follow ups
will go to.
- Safer Deletes
Deletions are now deferred, which means that messages are marked
for deletion and only removed when the user closes or refreshes the
current group window. This also allows the user to change his mind and
undelete them before this happens.
Messenger Pro also has full support for a per-user waste basket, which
automatically catches all deleted messages in the event that they may be
required later or were deleted by accident. Messages are then
automatically deleted from the waste basket after a configurable period of time.
- A Tidier User Interface
Messenger's user interface has been redesigned with new sprites giving
it a fresher and more professional appearance. The separate mailer,
newsreader and folder windows of the original have been replaced with two
windows which can display any type of group: one for the groups the user
will use every day, and another for archiving or for groups that aren't
accessed very often. These groups are now sorted to ensure that more
focussed groups, and hence those that are more important, appear at the
top of the display for easier access.
Extra buttons have also been added to make commonly used operations such
as folder filing much easier.
- Improved Reply Tracking
Owing to bugs in Newsbase, Messenger's reply tracking often didn't work
very well. Now, when used with the new database engine, a thread can be
followed right back to the root message, by choosing earlier messages
from a menu. Thus with two mouse clicks you can read the message that
triggered the reply you're currently reading, and step back through the
discussion one message or many messages at a time, regardless of where
those messages are stored.
- Better Handling of Important Messages
Important messages can now be marked as requiring attention, which will
highlight them in group viewers and ensure that Messenger won't let you
forget that they exist.
- More Flexible Arrival Notification
Messenger now allows you to assign a sample to a person that will be
played when mail from that person is received, or you may instead have
the names of people who send you mail read out as you receive them (if
you have the speech software). Notification of new mail via the chime
can also be enabled on a per-group basis.
In addition, Messenger's group list windows will now indicate which groups
have had new arrivals since you last opened them.
- Improved Keyboard Support
Messenger now has more keyboard shortcuts and tries harder to keep
the input focus when it closes its windows, thus making it much easier
to control via the keyboard.
- More Reliable
Messenger Pro employs better error recovery procedures, so in the event
of a corrupt overview or configuration file, the file is automatically
repaired or copied from a backup. All critical configuration files are
backed up as a matter of course.
- RISC OS 4 Compatible
Messenger Pro is fully RISC OS 4 compatible.