Just need a push

Michael Loftis mloftis at wgops.com
Wed Dec 14 14:45:29 EST 2005

--On December 14, 2005 8:57:01 AM -0500 "John P. Speno" <jpspeno at gmail.com> 

> Hi, my name is John, and I'm a former unix sys admin but I gave it up  to
> be a programmer (yay python!). Now I'm back in the sys admin game  for a
> small family business that needs to scale its order management  system
> better and I think cyrus and IMAP is just the thing, but I  just wanted
> to get a little feedback.
> All orders a now tracked in an Apple Mail.app POP account so there's
> thousands of locally stored folders containing mail messages on one
> machine (backed up nightly of course).
> I need to share that among several machines now so many people can
> process the inbox and arrange the folders as needed. That's basically
> IMAP, right?
> Beyond that, my concerns are performance and backups. Since the IMAP
> server will be out on the net, I assume Mail.app's local caching will
> make searching the mail as fast as it is now. Any clue?
> But what about backups? Supposing I lost the server and it's mail.  Would
> I be able to reconstruct it from the locally cached copy in  Mail.app?

This screams ticketing system or 'in need of better solution.'  Take a 
quick look at RT (Request Tracker) or some web order system....That said, 
yes, mail.app does index IMAP accounts atleast in 10.4 (Mac newb relatively 
speaking, I started with 10.4) it does.  I don't know how well or if it 
indexes bodies and such but the metadata it does.  The problem I had with 
it was that for me there's just too many old/archived messages (I don't 
tend to delete inbox messages...) and it looked like it'd take too long to 
index.  That said I'm probably going to have to use it anyway since 
Cyrusoft (nothing to do with Cyrus nor with this project!) went belly up 
(makers of my current client).

Also IMAP has native searching, most of your header fields are pre-indexed, 
and you can index the body (in a non-immediate fashion) with squat aka 
squatter.  This makes IMAP searches fast on any good client.  There aren't 
many IMAP clients out there though.  'But netscape, thunderbird, outlook, 
etc...' NO.  Not IMAP clients.  POP or NNTP clients taught to parrot IMAP. 
They can't do anything until they've downloaded all the headers at the 
least, some fetch headers and message structure of every message.

Now in addition tl all of that, I dont' know how Mail.app behaves sharing 
folders.  We had problems with interoperation on shared folders with as 
little as 3-4 people, because one or more of the clients would reset global 
flags (deleted and replied are the ones that caused us problems, I'd 
imagine they all get tiddled) causing us to lose track of things that had 
been replied/etc.  Noone used/uses mail.app at the office, it may be fine 
(i hope it is) but atleast one of Thunderbird/Moz, Outlook, or Eudora blow 
away flags.  Not Cyrus' fault at all, it's just doing as told by broken 
clients.  And we're not even talking race conditions here.  Just caching 
and enforcing cached state on the remote store as far as I could tell.

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