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Roadmap for 2021
Question asked by kevind - 7/27/2020 at 12:34 PM
Answered
Starting a new thread since this one is marked as answered: https://portal.smartertools.com/community/a93327/v17_1.aspx 

Every year at its Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple lays out its roadmap for the next releases of its operating systems. They never promise ship dates, so not much to lose.

Wondering if SmarterTools could do the same now that MAPI is done. Would help us plan for the future and give us something to look forward to. Could also help keep our customers happy and not give them any reason to look at other mail systems.

Thanks,
Kevin

24 Replies

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echoDreamz Replied
I thought SM was going away from version numbers and just having "SmarterMail" as a rolling release of features etc. No more 1 major new build a year type stuff.
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Christopher Hiatt Replied
I wish they would go back to using generic version numbers. Makes it easy to keep mental snapshots of what's going on. I'm not sure I want to keep up with licenses this way either 

If I have a license for V17, that is easy to track.

But if I have a license that covers version 7245 through 7501 or whatever, this seems like a pain in the rear to track.
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echoDreamz Replied
I personally prefer this. Just have your product... SmarterMail. Continuously work on it and roll out features etc. No need to wait for a new big fancy number for new features, just roll it out. As long as you have a valid license with maintenance, you just keep on installing new builds. If your maintenance ends, no new builds can be installed. We also keep our maintenance agreement paid each year, so the version tracking isnt a big deal for us. Their installer should be updated though to do checks to make sure your license is valid for the build you are trying to install and warn you if it's not.
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kevind Replied
I really don't care what it's called, you can debate that here:

But it would be nice to have some features on the agenda so we know what's in the design studio and under development for the next release of SmarterMail.

This is important so we can justify renewals of the maintenance agreement. Plus we can talk with customers about the future and keep them engaged so they don't start looking at alternatives.

Thanks.
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kevind Replied
We have customers asking what new features are in the works. Some customers are still on v15 and want more reasons to upgrade (no need for MAPI as they don't use Outlook).

So I'm bumping this thread to see what the developers are working on. I can provide some ideas if you need them. :)  Thanks.
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kevind Replied
Saw the blog post that Microsoft might be eliminating IMAP or MAPI from Outlook.  So thought it would be good to discuss a plan going forward.

Maybe put more features into webmail so that you don't need Outlook? Example:
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Speednet Replied
> I asked for mailto link support for the Webmail as this is part of the HTML standard 

If the SmarterMail webmail interface were coded as a PWA (Progressive Web App), then people could "Install" webmail as an app on their computer or phone, and perhaps that would enable mailtto links.  It depends if PWA apps can be designated as a default app.
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Speednet Replied
But that would only affect mailto links in a web browser.  It would not handle various apps on a computer or phone to use a web app as the default e-mail handler.  That's why I mentioned the PWA thing.  Besides, SmarterMail really SHOULD be setup as a PWA app.  It would provide notification support, installation, offline capabilities, etc.
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Speednet Replied
So you're saying that by injecting that JavaScript code and having someone click the link, I can take over the default actions for e-mail on someone's computer and have them come to the SmarterMail web interface from anywhere in their OS, even on a phone?  Seems unlikely.
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Speednet Replied
Or, the SmarterMail web interface can be enhanced by making it an installable PWA.  Sounds more sensible to me -- and more forward-thinking.  This is a "roadmap" thread after all.  Let's talk sensible roadmap stuff.
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kevind Replied
Happy New Year!  Just following up on this post to see what's on the agenda for 2021. Here are a few of our customers' requests for enhancements:

As you can see, all of these have separate threads for voting and tracking. Many are already under consideration. Would just like to know if they are on the list to get done so we can keep our customers from looking at alternatives. Thanks!
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kevind Replied
Feb update -- I see that the first bullet above was completed. Great!  Just checking to see what other enhancements are on the list for 2021.

Unfortunately we lost a few customers in Jan. who moved to other mail platforms. Hope to keep others from cancelling by telling them the features they want are coming soon.

Thanks.
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kevind Replied
March bump.  Any new features planned for 2021? Would be willing to sign NDA. These 2 would be really nice:
With all the uncertainty regarding Outlook, suggest improving webmail so people like using it as much as Outlook. Thanks.
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Ron Raley Replied
Bug Tracker for All Products
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echoDreamz Replied
Agreed, a valid-license-holder-only accessible bug tracker would be awesome. We use a few products that have this and it is a big help for determining issues are known or not.
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Sébastien Riccio Replied
+1000 on the private/licensed users only bug tracker
Sébastien Riccio
System & Network Admin

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FrankyBoy Replied
+1000 on the private/licensed users only bug tracker too
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Thomas Lange Replied
foir the Roadmap / our wish-list:

+support/implementation for Server-Side Rules (storing/syncing and executing/running on server/automatically) like MS Exchange can do for ages! - we need this for MAPI and EWS-protocol - a "must have" so that SmarterMail can be the "real Exchange alternative".

+email color-tag support (IMAP custom color-tags were declined, but what about email-color-tags using EWS and MAPI-protocol? - there is more than just Outlook and Webmail-users.
Our employees really want to use color-tags to organize their emails - we have over 100 users with eMClient and using EWS-protocol - and around 20 MS Office (2019 VLSC) MAPI-protocol-users. Currently the tags set by eMClient/EWS are totally lost on complete resync/resetup of the mailaccount (no possibility yet to be stored on SmarterMail server).
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Montague WebWorks Replied
Major issues for me I'd like to see:
  • When in the Trouble-shooting / View Logs, really need fully integrated log analysis, combining all logs into a cohesive life-span view of emails passing through the system, both in and out, and combining any third-party command-line spool reviewers (possibly even working with those vendors, ie Declude and Hijack), to on-board via admin web interface, ala Cyren, etc. I cannot tell you the number of times I get a call from a customer asking why they didn't get an email from so and so, and so I launch into an hour-long multiple text file open documents RDP saga comparing timestamps on card-shuffled-like log lines dispersed among other emails that came through at the same time, with each log file using a different ID number to try to use my forensic out-back-tracker-like email Sherlock skills into some sort of answer as I pull my hair out and yell at the stress ball on my desk. IT SHOULD NOT BE THIS HARD.
  • If you could include DMARC analysis in the above, I would fly out to your offices and kiss your collective shoes. Line 'em up.
  • If an email address is entered, have the top-level report provide a table of from, to, and date within the time span, which we can click on to view the logs for that event, instead of dumping the logs themself for all log lines within that time span. Segregate log files, too, ie; smtp, delivery, etc., as the email passes through the system.
  • Please also provide a Cancel button if a search result takes too long.
  • When in the Reports section, if I pick start and end dates, please remember that time span when I switch to other reports.
  • When looking at email, ability to reprogram key strokes, ie; Ctrl-E, or Ctrl-R when reading, replying and sending emails.
  • But mostly the first three bullets.
Thanks.
Mik MullerMontague WebWorks
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Montague WebWorks Replied
Also, make sure Content Filters are rock-solid, as well as search.
Mik MullerMontague WebWorks
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info Replied
Implementation of ARC would be great (http://arc-spec.org/). Gmail und G-Suite, Office 365 und AOL have support for it.
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kevind Replied
@Record, yes, we are in a similar position -- v15 customers looking for reasons to upgrade.

Suggest everyone post their enhancement requests in separate threads.  Then people can vote and the ones with the most votes get implemented.
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Tim Uzzanti Replied
Employee Post Marked As Answer

All,


With regards to our roadmap, we will be providing more information in the next month or two with a blog post on our direction and plans.


Over the last six months, there have been significant number of changes that have affected the world of email and I will try to explain where we have been spending a majority of our time.


The client world is moving very rapidly with dozens of companies updating clients:


In the mobile world, Gmail and Mobile Outlook have been changing rapidly and there have been MANY issues as a result. These clients currently have bugs that affect users of Exchange, Office365 and SmarterMail, but they can’t be worked around. Microsoft will have to release fixes for them. We created a community post about Gmail awhile back and recently created a community post about known issues in Mobile Outlook and Windows Mail.


In the desktop world, em Client has introduced a Mac client and they have had some growing pains so we have been working with them on a number of issues. This hasn’t been a SmarterTools problem but EWS implementation issues on their side as well as issues with different authentication methods.


There are a number of smaller clients and companies we have been working with as well.  And we have also been adding calendaring and scheduling companies into our QC process like Calendly, Acuity, Haromizely, etc. which use different protocols but often don’t follow RFCs, etc. 


Microsoft and Google have been changing authentication methods for integration and third parties which have been extremely restrictive,  almost to the point of making them (primarily Google) utterly impossible to work with. The upshot of these changes is that it makes it harder for customers to leave those platforms. It doesn't help that Google is almost impossible to contact, which is very frustrating and disappointing, so we are working on alternative methods for migration from these services.


Many of these changes have required us to implement the latest EAS and EWS versions, which has been a three month project. However, we are nearly done. These changes will help us overcome some of the bugs in various clients that didn’t focus on backwards compatibility when the newer protocols were implemented. This has caused a lot of confusion for our customers.


TLS has been a huge problem as well. As companies remove support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1, we have been seeing more and more TLS failures. But we are also seeing more and more failures to negotiate valid connections with TLS 1.2 and higher. In our forthcoming update, we have included timeouts in these cases but we are still working to see why some destination servers, more than others, can’t negotiate TLS (randomly). This has less to do with SmarterMail and more to do with how some destination servers and environments are configured. In addition, customers who have neglected to update their Windows Server versions (moving off 2008, for example) have been needing to update to more recent versions of Windows Server and SmarterMail as the overall internet continues to evolve.


DKIM issues have spiked as companies continue to lockdown their environments with new firewalls and IDS systems. We believe this is also contributing to TLS issues. We are finding that 9 out of 10 support issues relating to DKIM are the result of networking equipment modifying packets or seeing packets as suspect. That means that when the mail server gets the message it has been changed, which is causing those messages to fail DKIM.


In the last few months, we have had many, many issues with customers with max message size in SmarterMail set to "unlimited". This has caused a number of customers' servers to have serious issues. SmarterTools will be imposing 500mb MAX size on messages moving forward, which matches the max message size in Microsoft Exchange. We are also modifying SmarterMail to allow more than 2 GBs per day of email per folder! We never thought this would be a real limitation since we offer File Storage for linking large (or any sized files) as opposed to sending them as attachments. Regardless, these issues have required some underlying architecture changes and will also be available in the next release.


As SmarterTools products become more and more popular around the world we have spent the last six months working on different encoding issues supporting ALL languages. This was a big undertaking and requires us developing many different environments in-house and needed to be added into our QC process. In addition, we have been cleaning up all languages across all products and working with professional translators. Much of this has been released but we have about 25% more work before we can call it done and make it all part of our process moving forward.


Lastly, we have now transitioned into our monthly full release schedules for all our products which means we can also provide customers with hot fixes for just their issues.


So, this is just some of what we have been working on in addition to the frequent releases. We are hoping to finalize a lot of this “behind the scenes work” and focus on features and functionality our customers and your customers see and use on a daily basis.  


Wanted to provide an update for now with more info to come.

Tim Uzzanti
CEO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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echoDreamz Replied
Thank you Tim for the comments! Love seeing ST this open about everything.

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