SmarterMail 16 - Pros/Cons?
Question asked by Todd Graf - October 20, 2017 at 1:43 PM
Unanswered
We are contemplating moving to SM 16, so I thought I would pop this question in here to see what people think about it that are currently using it.  How has it changed from a user/administrator perspective?  What do you like/dislike about it?  What kind of things do we need to be aware of before making the switch?  Did you inform your clients or did you just make the jump? Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
 

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2
Matthew Leyda Replied
Don't do it. You will be sorry. Wait for Version 17
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2
Paul Blank Replied
I advise staying with v15 (or lower), and carefully reviewing all feedback on v17 (when it's available) before upgrading to that.
6
John Marx Replied
This is disturbing to me on SEVERAL levels. I feel as if I am reliving Windows ME/Vista all over again. Why is ST stating that the solution to the "problem" that we created is v17. Why is it those of us who have upgraded are being punished? I can say we talked all of our clients into v16 after they wanted features and better email. We waited 6 months after and we still have fundamental core problems. Why not say SCREW v17 (for now) and FIX v16? Why create a version that should be based off of a broken product? v15 was stable and true. Dump all the EXTRAS and let's have an email system that is just email and leave the CHAT and other fancy customer service stuff in SmarterTrack? You don't see Microsoft putting chat in Exchange Server. That's what Skype is for (a separate product). Let's make SmarterMail solely for MAIL (email, calendar, notes, tasks, etc.). Keep the features 100% the same as what Outlook has, rock it, and gain customers from Office 365 rather than the current migration. 
 
And here is the solution to achieve this:
  1. Pull that stuff out as we will understand as we are all reasonable adults
    1. Add the native MAPI
  2. For those that WANT chat and those bells and whistles give a FREE first year license to SmarterTrack
  3. SmarterTools then gains more residuals going forward
  4. SmarterMail users gain a system that now is an Exchange replacement (as promised)
After ALL of the above then let's talk v17. A version number is a version number. The plumbing in v16 has been completely re-written so if you want to keep major number to major re-writes consider this part of the major re-write to make us users finally happy.
 
Okay, done with rant. We are on v16. I do see things getting better but we want a true Exchange replacement that works on-par (or better) than Exchange. 
2
Paul Blank Replied
>> Okay, done with rant. We are on v16. I do see things getting better but we want a true Exchange replacement that works on-par (or better) than Exchange. <<
 
Well said indeed. And the "basic" features - email, calendar - matter the most. But of course "we" are NOT on v16 and are not going there (OR to v17) until the UI/UX performs as well or better than it does in v15. In other words: interface, stability, speed, and reliability.
 
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Brian Tesene Replied
I agree, don't move, however, what would lead you to believe 17 will be any better than 16? My faith is seriously shaken...
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Matthew Leyda Replied
Even Microsoft sees the error of letting designers run amuck. After ME there was XP, After Vista there was 7 and after 8 there was 10. There is always hope that Management will rein them in and say fix it. Bottom line is "IF we don't make money you wont have a job".
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kevind Replied
Sure it wasn't the other way around? :)
Management said build it (Me, Vista, 8) and the developers realized they better fix it to keep their job.
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Matthew Leyda Replied
Could be... Bottom line did win in the end. Either way I'm hoping Smarter Tools comes around.
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kevind Replied
Yeah, me too.
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Todd Graf Replied
Thanks everyone for your responses.   We will be staying with 15 for the foreseeable future.
 
4
echoDreamz Replied
As everyone else has said. Stick with v15 and below. v15 was ROCK solid and had a damn near perfect interface that our customers loved. We went to v16 and immediately, calls, backlash, upset customers, our ticket load went up over 800% within 3 days of deploying v16. I wish we could time travel, I'd go back to before we upgraded and not do it. SmarterTools really needs to sit down and think about v17. As far as I am concerned, no one was asking for a new interface, we have over 20k users and not one of them was asking for a new interface, though many many other feature requests have gone unheard or simply ignored / declined by ST. We lost customers after upgrading to v16 with complaints about the interface, said SM was now confusing to them etc.
 
Even managing the spool (for example, we had a spool backup due to Cyren going down) trying to manage ~20k+ emails in spool turned my Chrome into lagged mush, v15 never did this. We've had complaints from customers about it making their browser feel slow or use tons more memory. Still get complaints till this day infact.
 
We are almost 6 months into SM v16 and still no documentation etc. on this fancy new API that v16 was pumped up for and a brand new interface that frankly is a massive leap backwards. IMO and most of our users, the only good thing about v16 is the new meetings system. I fear the API simply will not get any documentation done on it since ST is so busy with bug reports and *HOPEFULLY* a good mapi / outlook connector solution.
 
Just look at the differences in the changelogs...
 
v16 has 675 "fixes", 52 "additions", 102 "changed" and 22 "efficiency" for a total of 851 changes
v15 has 258 "fixes" 42 "additions", 20 "changed" and 5 "efficiency" for a total of 325 changes
v16 so far is more than v15, v14 and nearly v13 combined in terms of total number of "changes".
 
Of course with the new interface, it is to be expected, but we are only six months in and v16 is still getting fixes and improvements so the number will continue to climb. We will stick it out and upgrade to v17 when it comes out, as really, we cannot go backwards from where we are now!
 
Stay where you are for now Todd :)
 

Christopher

1
Paul Blank Replied
It is one thing to have so many complaints (I believe I've detected some actual howling as well), changes, and bug fixes while the product is in beta (or before), but another when it's called a production version, and is aggressively pushed upon email admins and users - especially when the previous release version was accepted so well.
 
 
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echoDreamz Replied
Look back all the previous versions of SM, none of them have the massive changelog that v16 does (and still climbing).

Christopher

1
viv burrows Replied
We upgraded to V16 and have been really happy with the results as have our 00's of customers.
The improvements have meant that customer companies with Outlook report very few problems now in comparison to 15.
I am sure there are issues that we have missed but we can only report how pleased we have been with the update.
 
2
Paul Blank Replied
It seems that folks who do not use the UI for email (for webmail and other GUI modules, that is) experience fewer issues with V16. But thousands of other users are accustomed to using SM webmail; as such it doesn't seem to be a good idea to switch to V16 just yet. 
 
So if they are using Outlook on SM V16, and have fewer problems than folks using Outlook on SM V15, email admins are between a rock and a hard place if they have users on both webmail and Outlook. Nice.
 
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echoDreamz Replied
Yep - If you dont use the interface, you are good. Unfortunately for us, it is about 50/50. We have users who live in the interface and users who live in Outlook. For us I dont think Outlook has been better or worse with v16. We still have constant complaints with email inconsistencies with ActiveSync on Outlook.

Christopher

0
John Marx Replied
We've been lucky where only about 10% of ours use the interface. We get complains every week now. Many stopped complaining and have told us they are looking for another system.
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Mark Milton Replied
I have only used V16 and only had a few issues, they were all bug related.
 
Most of my clients use outlook due to having multiple account and have had little complaint. The customers using the webmail have all been fine with good feedback compaired to the last software I used to use which wasn't responsive.

Mark Milton
Pro Tech North
Web: www.protech-north.co.uk
Email: mark.milton@protech-north.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1261 838282
Web Design & Web Hosting

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Paul Blank Replied
Sorry to sound glib, but how many issues are NOT bug-related?
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Mark Milton Replied
Some time issues are with not understanding how at part of the software works. I understand there is quite a few bugs but any I have mentioned to support or sales have always been fixed. It's hard for a company to have a completely bug free software but 90% of the time they are fixed within a few days or weeks.
Smartertools is a smaller company compared with Google, Microsoft and Apple and their software is far from perfect as well plus they take months to fix critical issues.

I have noticed you post on here lot about why not to use V16 but instead of trying to put people off using the software why not test it and advise support of issues you find? The staff at Smartertools are amazing and always ready to listen and assist.
Maybe you don't like the layout of V16 and prefer the out of date layout of V15 but that doesn't mean other feel the same as you.

Mark Milton
Pro Tech North
Web: www.protech-north.co.uk
Email: mark.milton@protech-north.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1261 838282
Web Design & Web Hosting

0
Paul Blank Replied
Believe me, I have tried v16, and am not at all happy with the responsiveness of the UI. And that's just for starters.

I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to upgrade, and then field phone calls and emails from angry users who were more than happy with a previous version, and who now can't get their work done.
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Paul Blank Replied
At present, weeks can go by without a complaint about email, and that's from several dozen users.
0
Steve Guluk Replied
I tried to install 16 but could not. The installer said it was installed but there lacked the usual Default.aspx, Login.aspx files in the MRS directory. Anyone else have the same experience?

I'm on a clean Windows 2016 Server.
 
V15 installed and I am seeing the expected files so maybe my good karma is trying to prevent the frustration of V16 :-)

When this wonderfully sorted V17 expected to be released?
0
echoDreamz Replied
The lack of default.aspx etc. is normal now. SmarterMail uses MVC now, so a default page handler is not required since IIS handles these requests through .net handlers / modules.

Christopher

5
Ronald Raley Replied
My team and I have been using the web interface.  It all comes down to the preview pane.
 
Right - This is bearable (My Current Setting)
Bottom - Wasted Space on Desktop
None - Massive Wasted Space on Desktop
 
Responsive table data would fix the user experience with SmarterMail 16.
 
I can see 31 e-mails on my screen in Gmail.  Switch over to SmarterMail and I see 11.
 
We have no complaints with mobile on SmarterMail 16!
 
Ron
0
kevind Replied
Agree with these comments about wasted space. Here are some suggestions to resolve:
https://portal.smartertools.com/community/a88803/sm16-ui-window-panes-feedback.aspx

Would like to see the web interface be powerful enough to replace Outlook.
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Paul Blank Replied
1
svr Replied
There is this old but true statement among software developers:
A bad or non-functioning application is often the result of an update to a previous version that worked just fine.
0
"Would like to see the web interface be powerful enough to replace Outlook."

Or just, yknow, at least take advantage of js/css/html standards that have been around for about a decade. :P

sigh when __Outlook__ is a benchmark to be achieved it is a sad day indeed, but i do fully agree. Still using Outlook, just can't quit it. :P
0
It didn't work just fine though, the forums were thick with demands for more functionality and specifically for v16 to be released, what may have been lost in all that noise is that the drive was for better ActiveSync (calendars/syncing etc, ie; Exchange like behaviour)/Management functions, not a replacement UI. I don't see why the UI isn't just an abstracted wrapper that can be swapped in / templated & tagged for others to easily modify. Even cPanel in their engineer-obfuscated awfulness-of-interface design managed to do that.
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echoDreamz Replied
There is no web interface in any mail server I've tried to date that would make me replace Outlook. I HATE using the browser. If there is an app for it, done :). Outlook, Facebook, Twitter etc. etc. etc. I open my browser only when absolutely required. Hell, we even wrote a Windows app to interface with WHMCS for invoices, orders, tickets etc.

Christopher

0
kevind Replied
Agree 100% if you're talking about a mobile device (smartphone). But reality is most desktop apps are moving to the browser as a base.
1
Paul Blank Replied
"...the drive was for better ActiveSync (calendars/syncing etc, ie; Exchange like behaviour)/Management functions, not a replacement UI. I don't see why the UI isn't just an abstracted wrapper that can be swapped in / templated & tagged for others to easily modify." -  Bradley Higgs
 
This is indeed the crux of the matter. Even my clients are astute enough to understand this concept (Thanks, Bradley).
 
I have been accused on here of being "negative." But it isn't just me - my own feelings don't mean much. Read what others are saying here - they don't need my encouragement. And my clients have also seen the v16 UI / functionality and are horrified. We are still weighing our options regarding what to do next.
 
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Paul Blank Replied
Svr, how true. The landscape is littered with awful programs that used to work pretty well, until some well-meaning programmers got a hold of them and jazzed up the interface, instead of leaving that design work to well-qualified UI/UX people. Instead, the tail wags the dog, and, well, you know...
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It wasn't Paul's comments that kept us on Ver15. It was updates and fixes every week. Here it is a year later from the scheduled release (that was almost 6 months late) and there are still weekly updates to fix Ver16. You tell me why I should jump in the frying pan?
Kendra Support
http://www.kendra.com
support@kendra.com
425-397-7911
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0
Simply do not upgrade. 8Dweb waited until late September for our primary mail servers. We had been running SM16 on our internal mail server since June.

The main systems have been a disaster, customers fleeing our mail services, interface issues, sluggish interface, unacceptable performance on slower cable connections all over the US.

Just do not do it, especially if you need to actually administer the system. The new Admin interface is a UX disaster.
Matthew J. Sine, General Manager8Dweb LLC"Making the Web a Happy Place"
1
echoDreamz Replied
Now we have the below change in v16, which was never an issue in v15. Clearly this interface is a resource sucking pig. Load up a few hundred emails into the grid and watch Chrome struggle.
 
  • Changed: Lowered the maximum number of viewable table grid items from 500 to 200 to increase performance and responsiveness of browser pages.
 

Christopher

0
Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
The email grid isn't like our other tables. It should be fairly quick. It's because it loads and shows the data only in the scrollable area and then a little bit extra on the top and bottom.
Matt Petty
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
0
echoDreamz Replied
It used to be :). Now, if you do 500 items, try and do a select all, watch Chrome's memory usage and CPU usage go bonkers, there is visible lag as you try and execute any actions to delete or force send etc.

Christopher

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Paul Blank Replied
Was just replying to a similar thread and the entire thread just disappeared. 
 
Not sure what's going on there. 
2
echoDreamz Replied
Well it just got worse. Updated to the December 1st update and.... SPF checks are useless, instead of checking on the email address, it is now doing random checks on things like "Microsoft Security Team" then complaining that the domain is malformed. Doing checks on the sender's name instead of their email. Greylisting has COMPLETELY stopped work. Customers are complaining that a few hours before the upgrade they could send mail with attachments, now, they cannot even do a 10KB attachment without SM saying it is over a limit.
 
It has gone from stable (ish) to what the heck is going on....

Christopher

0
Brian Tesene Replied
We found that our only way forward was to go back. We downgraded to 15.x and all of our problems evaporated.
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Steve Guluk Replied
I've moved to the latest version and am not encountering any issues. Just sent an email with attachment and it worked as expected.

Windows Server 2016. Latest version of Smartermail Enterprise
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Software Operations Replied
SmarterMail is partially ready - but we rolled back to SmarterMail 15 after numerous complaints about the unusable nature of the webmail email editor on mobile. The email header and editor toolbar take up most of the mobile display, and can't be scrolled away - leaving only about one line of text available to see at a time while editing an email with the onscreen keyboard.
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Leo Novelli Replied
Does everyone still recommend staying on 15.x or is 16.x now ready for primetime? 
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John Marx Replied
We are passed all the major issues we saw on the initial 16 builds and are using 16. Each build does appear to get better (and faster). We find it well for ourselves and our clients.
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Steve Guluk Replied
I'm still happy on version 16 though the recent complaint from Admins is not being able to change the password on accounts without knowing the prior and no way they can see to Show Password. I need investigate this further as now I have had two Admins complain about this even though I can see the Show Password as the System Administrator when Impersonating them.
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viv burrows Replied
We moved to 16 right at the beginning and have not regretted the decision, any issues have been and continue to be, dealt with quickly. For outlook users it has been a great improvement over 15. For web users the recent changes have removed any last complaints from the 15x users other than a small glitch with small format devices which temporarily crept in.
0
Michael Price Replied
The new UI is a mess. Not sure why they ditched the very good UI from v15 and before.

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