It must be a bug

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^DooM^
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It must be a bug

Post by ^DooM^ » 2009-04-16 18:42

Why is it over the past few weeks people have been having the same issues that people normally have on here and offer up absolutely no information to back up their problem and insist it must be a bug with hMail. While yes i acknowledge there may be bugs in hMail but statistically from the 5425 (at last count) posts I have made on here 99% of problems turned out to be user or other software's error. Why lately has everyone jumped on the it must be a bug bandwagon? /rant
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martin
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by martin » 2009-04-16 19:29

Well, there definitively are bugs, there are in all software. :)

There are more users downloading the software than before. I'm guessing a lot of these know less about email servers than the "real" enthusiasts. (Hey, I want to run an email server but I'm not sure what it does, how it does it or why it does it but I heard from a friend it would be good. How do I get started?). Hence, more basic questions. Only solution is to make software easier to use, or make it harder completely preventing "noobs" from using it. ;-) Maybe adding some questions to the installation dialog to confirm that the users have basic knowledge of email servers. ;-)

And regarding it must be a bug. If a person is sure of something which he cannot know for sure, it just shows that he hasn't completely analyzed the problem yet. This is why often when people writes "it must be a bug", it turns out to be some simple user mistake/misunderstanding - they haven't thought it through. That applies to me as well. Whenever I write something like "It can't be related to the hMailServer configuration", I'm pretty sure I will be proven wrong. :)

Seriously speaking, a lot of people find the interface to hard to use which probably means it needs to be improved. I've promised myself not to make any interface changes in hMailServer Administrator without more validation of user-input and the latest 5.1.1 contains a few changes in this area. For example, the TCP/IP port page contains a suggestion that the server needs to be restarted if the settings are changed. When the user press Save, he gets a question on whether he wants to restart the server. If I add enough such small things, users will probably find the interface easier to understand.. lets see in a few years from now. ;)

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by ^DooM^ » 2009-04-16 19:38

Aye, I acknowledge there are bugs in all software but the point i was really getting at is until it is proven there is a bug one should not automatically assume that it's a bug :)

I suppose a new user to email servers may find some things a bit confusing but seriously hMail is THE easiest mailserver to use and figure out on the planet. Hell my 5 year old daughter could figure it out, she already has her own laptop and is surfing the (extremely locked down) internet already, it wont be long till she finds hMail and takes over the world with it... ... or something ;)

Just needed a rant, been ages since i last had one!

Ignore me, nothing to see here, move along! :shock: :mrgreen:
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by martin » 2009-04-16 19:59

> Just needed a rant, been ages since i last had one!

I know the feeling. :) And I understand the purpose of your post, but since I find it to be interesting I'm still replying ;-)

What is required from the user interface for beginners to understand it quickly? I can't really merge the entire documentation into the user interface - and even if I did, the people who ignore the docs today would probably ignore the hints there as well.

One idea I had was to create more "step-by-step" documentation. "Setting up hMailServer to do spam protection in front of Exchange", "Setting up hMailServer in two separate offices" and so on. At least then we could point the users to this documentation.

I've also thought about adding some self-tests to hMailServer, to the status section. You would select the domain you were having problems with and then hMailServer would check the MX records for this domain. hMailServer could connect to mail.hmailserver.com:25 to confirm that this is possible. Also, it could connect to a PHP script on hMailServer.com, which would connect back to the hMailServer instance. This way hMailServer could confirm that both incoming and outgoing ports were open.

Another thing is an "Test"-button next to every place where you enter a hostname:port setting. This would allow the user to confirm that it's at least possible to connect to the host without sending an email message. In the external account settings the "Test" button could confirm that it was possible to log on using the entered credentials.

In your opinion, which is the most frequent user problem?

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by ^DooM^ » 2009-04-16 21:34

I like all of those ideas especially the MX testing. In my opinion the most issues on here we get is people unable to send and receive email be it down to firewall, antivirus, router, DNS, Spam protection or misconfiguration of hMail like setting SMTP Relay to 127.0.0.1. There should be ( again in my opinion ) some tools to help verify what the problem is. Can it connect on port 25 to an outside domain, if not then bring up an error like you suggested.

Perhaps a new sub section in hMail called Diagnostics. This will allow hMail to run common tests, print out a report in notepad that users can cut and paste in the forum instead of us having to say, enable XXX logging, send an email, post results. I think that idea alone would be the biggest time saver out there and as more issues are identified, more tests could be added to the diagnostics tools.

Food for thought as they say :)
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by pepsi » 2009-04-17 14:32

the brain dump of ^DooM^ in this forum would be a great idea for helping other's to make it both way's faster and better to help.



PS the 1 % you left out must be Murphy :lol:

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by ^DooM^ » 2009-04-17 15:23

Damn that murphy and his law..!! :lol:
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by mattg » 2009-04-17 16:39

^DooM^ wrote:Perhaps a new sub section in hMail called Diagnostics. This will allow hMail to run common tests, print out a report in notepad that users can cut and paste in the forum instead of us having to say, enable XXX logging, send an email, post results. I think that idea alone would be the biggest time saver out there and as more issues are identified, more tests could be added to the diagnostics tools.
I like this concept.
How hard would this be to implement?

I also like all of these...
martin wrote:One idea I had was to create more "step-by-step" documentation.

I've also thought about adding some self-tests to hMailServer, to the status section. You would select the domain you were having problems with and then hMailServer would check the MX records for this domain. hMailServer could connect to mail.hmailserver.com:25 to confirm that this is possible. Also, it could connect to a PHP script on hMailServer.com, which would connect back to the hMailServer instance. This way hMailServer could confirm that both incoming and outgoing ports were open.

Another thing is an "Test"-button next to every place where you enter a hostname:port setting. This would allow the user to confirm that it's at least possible to connect to the host without sending an email message. In the external account settings the "Test" button could confirm that it was possible to log on using the entered credentials.
Just 'cause I link to a page and say little else doesn't mean I am not being nice.
https://www.hmailserver.com/documentation

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martin
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by martin » 2009-04-26 12:10

hMailServer 5.2 will have this basic diagnostics as a start.

It won't have the "connect back"-functionality I described in my earlier post. The test which tries to connect to itself will simply look up the MX records for the domain and try to the IP address specified in it.
diagnostics.png

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by black zero » 2009-04-26 12:51

Aw that's so sweet.

I can't wait for that version to come.

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martin
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by martin » 2009-04-26 13:05

Made the interface slightly more modern.
diagnostics.png

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by black zero » 2009-04-26 13:22

Wait...

What does that love icon for lol?

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by martin » 2009-04-26 13:25

That's a heart. As in heartbeat. As in some kind of diagnostics. ;)

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by ^DooM^ » 2009-04-26 14:53

That is brilliant!

Looking forward to that one!
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by black zero » 2009-04-27 03:49

martin wrote:That's a heart. As in heartbeat. As in some kind of diagnostics. ;)
Has it been put inside the last posted beta version?

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by sheffters » 2009-07-27 22:37

That looks pritty cool!

Just a thought - how about being able to schedule it (a bit like windows dns can self check)?

S.

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by ^DooM^ » 2009-07-28 00:11

Hows about we just give it AI and watch it take over the world? :lol:
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by sheffters » 2009-07-28 01:37

well ... would be handy if it would write my mails as well as just delivering them! :)

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martin
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Re: It must be a bug

Post by martin » 2009-07-28 17:57

It's already schedulable if you know how to write a script. :) Of course, you would have to figure out a good way to notice you in case a diagnostic test fails. Sending you an email when it fails might not be a smart action..

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by pepsi » 2009-07-29 14:30

I've seen it in practise....

sending an e-mail to 800 users that the mailserver where they are on is down :lol:

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by sheffters » 2009-07-31 00:55

lol .. I got 3 the other day at work ...

1 to say it was down
1 to say they'd phoned BT as the line was down
1 to say it was back

top stuff! :)

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Re: It must be a bug

Post by pepsi » 2009-07-31 19:44

it must have been today.... international sysadmin day, then it would be joke :twisted:

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