PHP Applications: Pt 4 – SquirrelMail

Squirrelmail is one of the old guard, starting life out in 1999 already. Written to HTML 4 specs, SqM tries to be as compatible as possible with the widest range of browsers. This also alludes to the fact that SqM is bare-bones at the core, with standard email functionality and not much more. The idea is to be fast, lean and efficient. That’s not to say you’re limited, as a plugin architecture allows SqM to be extended indefinitely.

Requirements include a web server, smtp mta and IMAP server ( a number of which are supported with specific optimisations ). Installation involves copying the dist files to your web server, setting appropriate permissions and running the configure script to setup the environment and options. And that’s all there is to it.

In use, SqM is light and quick with all the main email controls ( reply, forward, etc. ) falling easily to hand. Viewing of messages defaults to a non-html, non-image mode. 2 link options ‘view as HTML’ and ‘view unsafe images’ are available to enable these functions on a per email basis. Sending of email includes standard controls like cc/bcc, signatures, draft save, attachments and read/delivery receipts.

Email folders are kept in the left-hand pane and supports creation of folder hierarchies through the options system. Preferences include fonts, text size, templating, message filters, SPAM filters and much more. You can also change your password on-line ( as long as the requisite back-end config has been completed ).

Plugins available include a calendar, spell check, spam checks, fortune notice, fetch from 3rd party email box and many more.

It may not be pretty but SqM is functional and fast – still one of the best web-mail clients around.

Robby Pedrica

Robby Pedrica is a storage and security specialist providing IT and ITSM consulting services in Southern Africa to SME and Enterprise clients. With 20 years of experience, and numerous certifications, Robby excels in niche areas such as systems monitoring, load balancing, advanced storage functions like virtualisation, backup and replication, virtual security appliances, and FOSS software infrastructure such as web, email and application servers. He also runs 'Robby Pedrica's Tech Blog' expounding the mantra of security, security, security.

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