After test-driving the Mail application in Mac OS X, I have to give it mixed marks. Overall, it’s very well done, though it has one major flaw.
On the bright side, it’s a gorgeous application, as you might expect. It’s also easy, intuitive, and very customizable.
Take the toolbars — they provide quick access to frequently used commands. You can choose which of the items appear in the toolbar and how they’re arranged. You can also configure the Mail Viewer, Compose, and Message toolbars separately, if you wish. To show or hide a toolbar, you simply click the button in the upper right-hand corner of the window.
I also like the methods for setting up rules to deal with incoming messages. Though several rules are preset, you can have Mail automatically file, forward, or highlight a message based on the message’s sender, subject, content, or recipients. You can also perform other actions based on these criteria, as well.
There are other nice features in Mail. Type in a word it doesn’t recognize, and it underlines it. Control-click on the questionable word and a pop-up menu appears offering you correct (or at least alternate) spellings to choose from.
You can drop attachments directly into your messages. Just drag a sound file, image or movie to the body of your correspondence, and your enclosure is ready for sending. And if you start typing in a recipient’s name, Mail will offer any matching addresses from Address Book.
These are the things I like. But I don’t like the importing features of Mail — or lack of them. The app supposedly lets you import mailboxes from Netscape 4.0 or higher, Eudora, Outlook Express, and Emailer. When I began the process of importing info from Outlook Express, the steps went smoothly until I was asked to “browse” for the data I wanted to import. Try as I might, I could never get Mail to recognize the Outlook Express info and bring it in. And I really need to do so before I can use Mail regularly.
A couple of users have reported that, when trying to import mail folders, accounts and rules from another mail client, the mail client goes crazy after a single import and won’t work right. I haven’t experienced this problem myself, but you’ve been warned.
Apple has released
a set of import scripts
that includes Microsoft Entourage, as well as the above mentioned programs. I will try these next, but still the built-in functions didn’t work as I had hoped.
On another topic, in Thursday’s
Diary, we reported that some Mac users want to see the folks at Zend/PHP develop Mac OS X versions of their development suite for the PHP programming language. However, there are people who have successfully compiled PHP for Mac OS X. They’re
“We’ve been running it on OS X Server 1.x for about 12 months now, very successfully,” said Brian Blood, senior technical partner. “We’ve set up a site for using PHP on the Mac.