[guispeak] Potential Problems ahead for Earthlink Webmail Users

  • From: "Christopher McMillan" <chrismcmillan@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 5 Mar 2005 19:30:01 -0500

Earthlink Enhanced Webmail 
ARTICLE DATE:  03.03.05
This Flash-based WebMail client avoids many of the pitfalls of typical
Web-based mail offerings, but we'll have to wait for the final version to
see if it delivers on its promise. 

Interface that's virtually indistinguishable from a desktop e-mail client. 

You'll need to run Macromedia Flash to use it.

EarthLink Inc.

By  HYPERLINK "http://www.pcmag.com/author_bio/0,1772,a=184,00.asp"Neil J.

Hard on the heels of AOL's Web mail update announcement, EarthLink has
revealed its plans for EarthLink Enhanced WebMail (EEW). Where AOL's updated
software is based on DHTML, EarthLink's is built entirely using Flash. The
new software will be released to EarthLink members in May. PC Magazine
previewed a functional prerelease version.

The typical Web mail experience is a bit too much like surfing the Web. Just
about any action requires a full refresh of the page, and it's easy to
accidentally navigate away without completing a message. AOL's new Web mail
system improves on this by using DHTML and dynamic behaviors; Google's Gmail
also uses DHTML. EarthLink took a different direction, building EEW as a
complete Rich Internet Application in Macromedia Flash using tools from
Laszlo Systems. The result is a Web mail application that's almost
indistinguishable from a stand-alone e-mail client. Once the app is loaded,
you never see a page refresh. You can write messages, resize panels or
switch views all without leaving the application.

EEW pre-fetches new mail in the background, so messages are already
downloaded by the time you click them. When you send a message, even one
with a large attachment, there's no waiting—sending also happens in the
background. The user interface strongly resembles that of a standalone
client. You can drag and drop messages into folders, double-click items to
open them, resize columns, and click on column headings to sort. It takes
advantage of Flash animation, too. An error like omitting the recipient's
address gets a slide-out warning right in the application rather than a
popup error message. When you tab between fields, a quartet of markers
visibly zoom into place to identify the active field. Clicking an Add
Contact button slides open a page in the Address Book, preloaded with the
sender's name and e-mail, and capable of holding full business and personal

Of course EarthLink subscribers get all the other benefits of an EarthLink
mail account. Spam and virus blocking are supplied, and the EEW client
includes a button to mark any spam that makes it into the in-box. Each
account comes with 100 MB of storage (rising to 1GB in the third quarter).
EEW works under Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris, and can be used in Internet
Explorer, Mozilla, and Opera. EarthLink users have a lot to look forward to.

 More e-mail clients:

Copyright (c) 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.  

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