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Last update: 2004-01-12

End: 2003-01

Mail::Box phase 2, third progress report

software for e-mail handling in Perl

October 1, 2003, Mark Overmeer.

Report on the progress of the Mail::Box phase 2 project in the previous 10 weeks.


The following tasks where described in the project plan. For each task, the current status is described.

User support
This still consumes a lot of time, especially while debugging border situations with complex e-mail messages. The activity on the mailinglist (listed below) tells the story: often an intensive interaction between the developer and the problem reporter.
Replacing old modules
In the past two months, there has been made a major step towards connection with older modules. When one line in an existing script, (before running with an often used old e-mail library) is changed, the whole old program runs with the new software. The code is in alpha release, and needs testing.
In an effort to produce more examples/replacements for existing code, a new module was created to demonstrate a procmail-like application written with Mail::Box. This module is waiting for name-space registration, and will probably be called Mail::Box::Procmail.
The documentation is still growing in size, but the main improvements where made in a previous period.
IMAP4 support
No progress has been made in this area.
Outlook support
Reading Outlook DBX files was implemented in a previous period, and works without complaints.
Database folders
The idea on what this documentation should become has shaped, but the text has not been written yet.
Unicode support
Most parts are ready, but some better integration with other parts of the library is required to make it into a success.
Mailinglist construction
Completed in the previous period. Other authors have already extended it with patches, so there apparently was a need for this feature.
Browser support
A new module (named HTML::FromMail) implements a template system which connects to Mail::Box. Via templates, even the most complex web-mail clients can be built.
The development of the module took more time than the three scheduled days, mainly caused by extended debates with the author of the template module on how his system should be extended to fulfil my needs. The module is waiting for name-space registration, and the next release of the template system's software.


version 2.050: Tue Sep 30 18:27:11 CEST 2003
version 2.049: Mon Sep 29 13:32:47 CEST 2003
version 2.048: Tue Aug 26 19:50:06 CEST 2003
version 2.047: Thu Aug  7 23:59:53 CEST 2003
version 2.046: Thu Jul 31 12:25:47 CEST 2003
version 2.045: Tue Jul 29 20:23:30 CEST 2003
version 2.044: Tue Jul 29 13:52:32 CEST 2003

Releases 2.044 till 2.047 and 2.050 were mainly bugfix releases. The last four weeks saw mainly developments in the related modules, not in the main code.

36 different people contributed to the main Mail::Box code during the seven listed releases.

OODoc (documentation spin-off)
version 0.09: Tue Sep 30 09:59:06 CEST 2003
version 0.08: Mon Sep  8 17:12:02 CEST 2003
version 0.07: Tue Jul 29 14:06:38 CEST 2003
User::Identity (general user descriptions, spin-off)
version 0.07: Mon Sep 29 13:34:47 CEST 2003
version 0.06: Wed Aug  6 10:41:23 CEST 2003
version 0.05: Mon Jul 28 18:34:49 CEST 2003
Object::Realize::Later (support module)
version 0.14: Tue Jul 29 2003
version 0.13: Tue Jul 29 16:11:18 CEST 2003
MIME::Types (support module)
version 1.07: Mon Jul 28 18:38:59 CEST 2003
Mail::Box::Parser::C (support module)
version 3.003: Thu Aug 28 08:30:26 CEST 2003
version 3.002: Wed Aug 27 15:09:46 CEST 2003
version 3.001: Aug 6, 2003
HTML::FromMail (extension/application module)
to be released
Mail::Box::Procmail (extension/application module)
to be released
MailTools (supported old e-mail modules)
version 1.60: Wed Sep 24 09:20:30 CEST 2003
version 1.59: Wed Aug 13 08:13:00 CEST 2003

The main MailBox software (Mail::Box, User::Identity, ORL, MIME::Types) together show the following statistics:

Number of manual pages: 127
Real number of modules: 117
documented subroutines: 923
documented diagnostics: 162
shown examples: 225

Their documentation in HTML form is visible as one integrated website at

All modules (with docs) together count for

number of files: 372
number of lines: 75768
number of bytes: 2,094,124


There was no spare time to develop more promotional activities. In general, the three conferences took too much of the total available time already. This is a pity, because there are some open chances.


After a slow "holiday season", the mailinglist became busier.

September: 34
August: 45
July: 68
(June: 22 )

A larger part of the communication is NOT going via the list, simply to avoid boring people too much. Since July 14t the last evaluation (in 55 days), nearly 400 messages (7.3 per working day) were collected in my personal Mail::Box folder.

Plans for the near future

In the last part of this project, I plan to finish the remaining tasks of the plan. The schedule is tight, and it may be hard to complete all tasks on time, within the given time.

Some modules are being built on Mail::Box, like "Perlwebmail", which is available from Furthermore, Mail::Box is published as debian package. For the final stage of the project, it is useful to make a larger inventory on the created end products.

Project Mail::Box

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