This page describes an old version of Decimail Webmail. It is retained for historical interest only.
The version described here pre-dates Decimail and is stable and mature. Previously I just called it "Phil's Webmail".
In 2002-2003 I went around the world, and wanted to be able to read my email as I was travelling. This is the webmail application that I developed for that trip. I continue to use it to check my email from work and elsewhere when only a web browser is available. It is simple and stable.
There are plenty of other free webmail applications out there as a search on freshmeat.net will reveal. I started with Perl Webmail from jaos.org. That script ran "out of the box", but I couldn't resist tinkering with it - and being open source I was able to. After a while what I ended up with had practically no resemblance to the original.
These features are described in more detail further down the page.
An important limitation of the script is that it functions only for one user connecting to one POP3 account. If you want to provide a webmail service for a number of users, other programs may be more suitable - though adding a multi-user capability would not be a lot of work.
Download from Here.
Here are the installation instructions for the latest version.
Of course I'd love to hear all your positive feedback - and I'll even listen to criticism if you're not too rude! Please use the forum.
One thing that I missed while I was away was the keyboard layout that I'm familiar with. You don't have to go far from home to find that the punctuation is in the wrong place, and some places (France!) have their own ideas of where the letters should be. A new feature (currently unique to this webmail system) is the ability to automatically "correct" the keyboard layout as you type your email. I call this QWAZERTY.
You're welcome to use the QWAZERTY code in your own web applications. And if your users are likely to be struggling with unfamiliar keyboards, they'll thank you for it!
QWAZERTY even includes the Dvorak keyboard layout.
You'll notice that the message list has a link at the top left labelled "Address Book". This script doesn't actually maintain an address book for you. The link exists so that any HTML address book that you can create by whatever other means can be used from webmail. Within the address books you can link to a message composition window from an email address using code like the following:
Furthermore, you can make it possible to compose emails to multiple addresses in the address book; use a form with one checkbox per address:
<form action="webmail.cgi" method="GET"> <input type="hidden" name="action" value="createmessage"> <input type="submit" value="Compose to selected addresses"> ... <input type="checkbox" name="to" value="email@example.com"> ... <input type="checkbox" name="to" value="firstname.lastname@example.org"> ... <input type="checkbox" name="to" value="email@example.com"> ... </form>
This program lets you set which From: address appears in each outgoing message. You get a text entry into which you can enter any address you choose, and also a menu. Choosing an address from the menu should just copy that value into the text entry [I await confirmation whether this works in Internet Explorer, someone please tell me!].
The addresses that appear in the menu include a fixed list of addresses stored by the script, which you can use if you have different addresses for "home" and "work", for example.
When you are replying to a message the menu of From: addresses will include the address that the original message was sent to. So if, for example, you run a mailing list and someone sends a mail to you at firstname.lastname@example.org, when you reply the From: address menu will include email@example.com.
The From: address menu can also supply other address suggestions. I use this as an anti-spam tactic.
Email addressed to anything within my domain comes to me. When I subscribe to a mailing list, give an email address on a web form, or give out an email address by some other means, I choose a new address. If that address subsequently gets on a spammer's list, I just discard all email sent to that address. This seems to work well.
Webmail has two built-in address generating functions that it will try to use to generate anti-spam From: addresses. First, if you are replying to a message, it will supply an address based on the domain name that the original message came from. So if you get a message from blobs.com your reply can come from spam_from_blos@MY-DOMAIN. Second, it can generate an entirely random address. currently it generates a string of five random characters, and fits this into a template that you supply.
This can all be customised by setting various configuration variables. See the installation instructions and the comments in webmail.cgi for details.
Decimail is written by Phil Endecott. I live in Cambridge, England, and have a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Manchester. I've worked at various high-tech places including the now-sadly-defunct AT&T Labs, writing software and designing hardware. You can find out more about me - mostly pictures of me on various mountains - on my personal web page, http://chezphil.org/.
Here are some screenshots. Click on the image to see it full size.
The main window, with the message list above and the selected message shown below:
This one has an attached image:
Composing a message, and demonstrating QWAZERTY keyboard mapping: