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Poco Forums • View topic - Pocomail update

Pocomail update

Discussion not related specifically to one of the topics below

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Pocomail update

Postby Slaven » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:04 pm

Sadly, I believe I've run into a pretty solid wall with Pocomail and Barca development: it is now obvious to me that I can not reasonably expect to release an update to either Pocomail or Barca that I would feel comfortable charging money for.

As I wrote before, Pocomail 5 has been an elusive goal for me: a combination of ever-expanding requirements due to Pocomail's aging development environment and Microsoft's push into new technologies with Windows 7 and just announced changes to Windows 8. Pocomail 4.9 was just a little more achievable, the beta I have right now has a lot of rough edges and bringing the new HTML components to a release-ready state will be tough (releasing it as beta is a different matter). If the market for third-party email software was healthy these would be fights worth fighting for but our experience has been the exact opposite.

As our revenue has been steadily decreasing it is not even possible to invest and hire out to overcome this hurdle. I don't mind if I don't make money out of Pocomail going forward and even supporting it financially to keep the community going, but I would need to find the right people to help as my skill set is no longer optimally used for development. Pocomail platform would need to be pushed into the future, into something more modern than Delphi. I've taken on more product manager roles in side projects to keep my family solvent, and I realize that is where my strength is today. Sadly, it is hard to motivate outside programmers to modernize a project like Pocomail in the days of Gmail, app stores, tablets, etc.

I realize I cannot keep hoping that the right solution or the right partner will come along - you guys using Pocomail and Barca need to make decisions yourself, especially as Windows 8 starts coming up on the horizon. For this reason I just don't think it's fair to maintain Pocomail or Barca as a paid product beyond the end of this year. If the situation changes and I was able to find the right person to help continue Pocomail legacy I will gladly change my mind.

I will continue hosting the download and the forum, and will continue support for 6 months after we stop selling it. I will also try to get the 4.9 beta somewhat polished off and release it, but this build will likely not get released as the official version.

This is a really hard decision as I hear from you every week, and I know how you feel - having to put to rest years of work and many thousands of lines of code that still fill my head will be incredibly hard. But I realize that things are not likely to get any better in 2012 for my little email software.

The software may fade away but the friendships I made through it are real, I hope to keep in touch - you're welcome to a free license of whatever I do next.

Best,

Slaven.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby KevTech » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:03 pm

Sad to hear this but I can understand.

Is 4.9 usable now?
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby Slaven » Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:23 pm

The beta is somewhat usable but a some of the features you might be used to are still not working in it (for example the auto spell-check). Everything connected to the HTML editor and viewer had to be ditched and recreated.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby blakelyg » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:25 pm

Slaven wrote:Sadly, I believe I've run into a pretty solid wall with Pocomail and Barca development: it is now obvious to me that I can not reasonably expect to release an update to either Pocomail or Barca that I would feel comfortable charging money for.


This is a really hard decision as I hear from you every week, and I know how you feel - having to put to rest years of work and many thousands of lines of code that still fill my head will be incredibly hard. But I realize that things are not likely to get any better in 2012 for my little email software.

The software may fade away but the friendships I made through it are real, I hope to keep in touch - you're welcome to a free license of whatever I do next.

Best,

Slaven.


Thank you Slaven - as you indicate the Pocomail/Barca community is almost like a family. Sometimes I think I spend more time on the computer with Pocomail open and me checking/answering/replying to emails than I do with my wife (maybe not), so while this news is not positive - it is understandable (and actually refreshing that the dollar does not control you to the point of charging for a product that will no longer be developed).

When will the new Beta be ready for release? Do you know now if there is any intention to release the code and the program into the public domain (or is that a bit premature at this point)?

I hope that you will still chat with many of us from time to time - either here or in cyberspace on many of the social networks that we all frequent.

What type of project are you working on now? Something for the Ipad (poignant based on the sad news today of the passing of its founder Steve Jobs), or any of the other number of new technologies emerging. I found your products unique and very innovative and they still have many features that no other product has.

Thanks!

Gord

(a fellow Canadian)
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby Slaven » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:48 am

Thanks Gord!

I'm debating when to release the beta, or maybe letting it out privately to test the waters. Right now I think it's missing enough features that I would be annoying people more than helping them.

Yes, I truly hope to stay in touch - my dream is to resurrect the concept of Pocomail on a more modern platform sometime in the future but that would probably be a non-profit effort, the market has changed a lot in 12 years Poco's been around. I am actually open to the idea of open-sourcing or sharing code, but I cannot make it fully public due to some commercial modules that are used.

As far as new projects, I've realized my programming days are probably numbered. I still get great joy when working in Pocomail's development environment but the world has moved on and my Delphi skills seem somewhat irrelevant, even on Windows. I am impressed with iPad and see it as a place where I could stretch my creative UI ideas but definitely not as a programmer. So I've been working on a project as a product designer/manager which might turn into a multi platform application if successful. Yes, sad news about Steve, may he RIP.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby blakelyg » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:18 am

Slaven wrote:Thanks Gord!

I'm debating when to release the beta, or maybe letting it out privately to test the waters. Right now I think it's missing enough features that I would be annoying people more than helping them.

Yes, I truly hope to stay in touch - my dream is to resurrect the concept of Pocomail on a more modern platform sometime in the future but that would probably be a non-profit effort, the market has changed a lot in 12 years Poco's been around. I am actually open to the idea of open-sourcing or sharing code, but I cannot make it fully public due to some commercial modules that are used.

As far as new projects, I've realized my programming days are probably numbered. I still get great joy when working in Pocomail's development environment but the world has moved on and my Delphi skills seem somewhat irrelevant, even on Windows. I am impressed with iPad and see it as a place where I could stretch my creative UI ideas but definitely not as a programmer. So I've been working on a project as a product designer/manager which might turn into a multi platform application if successful. Yes, sad news about Steve, may he RIP.


True enough about release a program that is not as robust as what you feel it should be. I for one would welcome the opportunity to test the program, as I have many programs, either in a private release or a public release. As with any beta it is always user beware. It certainly would not replace my current setup. But I enjoy getting my hands wet trying to stress programs and see exactly what they can do. Takes me back to my working days. Oh and to clarify something in your previous post, Pocomail seems to behave quite nicely in the 32 bit Windows 8 environment. :)

I hope that you do continue with the product design/manager of whatever project you are currently on (which sounds intriguing I must say), as that was what attracted me to Pocomail in the first place was the design and unique features, that I had not seen anywhere else (even now).
The Ipad is a special type of device and with Ios5 just recently being released there will be lots of opportunity for development on that platform as well as others. There seems to be a convergence taking place to have applications that will work on a multitude of different devices and different OS's.

I wish you well in all your endeavors and can only say that if Poco/Barca/MITG are an indication, your project design and management skills will be well suited to whatever challenges you happen to take on.

Look forward to seeing the beta - send me a PM or a message on some of the other networks we both are on.
--
Gord
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby bareges » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:29 am

Slaven,
Good to hear from you and thank you for your honesty and the obviously painful and deeply considered message. I can fully understand and appreciate your conclusions.
I'm glad,like many others to be able to say that I continue to run Poco as my mail client as the others just don't look, feel or behave the same. In the light of your decision it will obviously over time become older (like me) and more tired but it's still delivering despite the opposition.
On those occasions when I feel that I should look around it is very obvious from searches that "free" seems to be the way of the world for email clients. Quite frankly based on my experience of your products over many years now I would rather pay for a programme into which I can have some input and that has been carefully designed and developed and not thrown together like many that appear to be a mish-mash of popular features but lack cohesion.

I hope that you do write or develop further programmes but nonetheless I wish you well in whatever direction you go to achieve your aims.

It has been fun and very instructive assisting in early "betas" an opportunity for which I am very grateful.

Take care and good fortune to you and your family
Kind Regards
Charles
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby Slaven » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:12 pm

Gord, thanks for letting me know about Win8, that is actually very encouraging. There will be a bigger roadblock when it comes to ARM compatibility, Microsoft is saying Win8 will also run on ARM devices but have not spelled out any type of emulation engine to support Intel applications. If that was to happen Pocomail would not work on such hardware unless I specifically recompiled it, which would require a Delphi ARM compiler, which would require some of my component suppliers to also provide compatible binaries. I'm afraid to even contemplate this scenario :)

Also, thanks for the compliments, I'll definitely let you know what happens next so you can judge for yourself how transferrable those skills are.

Charles, thanks for your kind words - I will keep the servers running as long as necessary (right now I have no plans to shut anything down), but even in the case of server outages Pocomail was always programmed with this in mind, our licensing server is not required for your license to be valid and for the software to function.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby ente » Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:42 am

Hello Slaven,
this is very very sad news! Since, in mho, there is not so much a new version necessary, which knows about and does things also done by programs outside of email transportation. What would be needed are some (actually I think rather few) fixes for annoying errors, which would make it easier to go on using thise wonderfull working horse.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby luxor » Sat Oct 08, 2011 6:05 am

Hi Slaven

Sad to read your post but quite understand where you are coming from. :(

It's disappointing to read it of course I won't deny that, as I like many others here would have liked to see development continue for the simple fact that there is no other email program out there that compares with Pocomail. I will keep using it until it becomes absolutely impossible for me to do so and I don't think I will be alone there.
In the meantime I will hold on to the hope that maybe, just maybe the situation will change and you are able to find that right person to help you continue Pocomail legacy.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby Slaven » Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:49 am

Thanks Ente and Luxor - I hope the beta works a little better when I make it available!
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby jbuk » Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:03 am

This is a sad but by no means unexpected announcement to read. Loyal users that chose and bought Pocomail back in the good old days of Windows98 have benefited from what is still the best all round email program for all these years.
Sure, it is not perfect but still offers features that none of the others do. I use both gmail and Thunderbird for imap and backup purposes from time to time but would not want to use either as a full time client.
So despite the html rendering limitation I am going to keep on using it as it fulfils my needs better than any other. As far as ipad computing is concerned I wonder if portable devices like these are really going to be the future of computing to the extent that they are the most used devices in percentage terms.

So hang in there please Slaven as lots of us still need you.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby Slaven » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:21 am

jbuk wrote:This is a sad but by no means unexpected announcement to read. Loyal users that chose and bought Pocomail back in the good old days of Windows98 have benefited from what is still the best all round email program for all these years.
Sure, it is not perfect but still offers features that none of the others do. I use both gmail and Thunderbird for imap and backup purposes from time to time but would not want to use either as a full time client.
So despite the html rendering limitation I am going to keep on using it as it fulfils my needs better than any other. As far as ipad computing is concerned I wonder if portable devices like these are really going to be the future of computing to the extent that they are the most used devices in percentage terms.

So hang in there please Slaven as lots of us still need you.


Thanks :)

It will be interesting what happens in the future with devices like iPad - for example, right now Apple is not allowing just plain email clients since they have a system-level email client on the device already. I imagine this will change in the future, either through change of policies or as the abilities of HTML5 evolve so that you don't need Apple's permission to deploy a web app directly to the device.
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby djgtram » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:43 am

Slaven, what would your opinion be about moving to C# and .NET? It would certainly need rewriting many parts nearly from scratch but on the other hand, the much more sophisticated runtime libraries would help the effort tremendously. Not to mention that many things you mention (HTML, spell check, Unicode, scripting engines, whatnot) are already written and beg to be used. And that platform will stay for some time to come. I'd seriously consider participating. I still have your e-mail address lying around somewhere if you think it's worth a couple of letters...

Bye,
Gábor
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Re: Pocomail update

Postby SMessier » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:05 am

Hi Slaven,

That's really unfortunate news -- I don't quite remember how long I've been using Poco/Barca and while it's not quite as long as many here, it has been many years. I've looked at other clients during that time, but nothing ever came close to Poco. When the faster search was introduced it really managed to incorporate everything I wanted/needed. Even now I'm not sure I see anything else out there that I'd rather use.

I know I'd be keen on another round of beta for 4.9 if the day comes, and wish you and your family best of luck for the future. And thanks again for a great email/calendar client.

Seb
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