Quarantine Web Interface

Richard Siddall richard.siddall at ELIRION.NET
Mon Dec 2 14:29:33 GMT 2002

Gavin Nelms Crocker wrote:
> I'm not sure how hard this would be but i would be interested in
> sponsoring the development of this..!
> One solution i am using at the moment to get round this is to forward
> the mail to a spam account that can be viewed via webmail this is fine
> if only a few people
> Gavin

You have to be very careful when adding user interfaces to systems like
Mailscanner.  People tend to regard the user interface as an integral
part of the system, when in fact it's an optional add-on.  Mailscanner
has been working fine for some time with no user interface.

Plus, how should the UI behave?  A UI that plugs into a Cobalt RaQ 4's
administrative server would look different to one that plugs into a
RaQ 550's control panel, which would look different to one that plugs
into Openwebmail, which would again be different to one that plugs into
Neomail, SquirrelMail, etc.  Or you could have a standalone UI that
behaves differently to all the other UI's you have to train your users

Not only does the appearance differ, the means for users to authenticate
themselves differs.  A webmail plug-in could use the webmail system's
authentication, whereas the RaQs use HTTP authentication, etc.

I'm not saying a user interface to simplify retrieving messages from
quarantine is not a good idea.  I'm saying that a single user interface
is not going to suit everyone.  What you need to do is abstract the
user interface from the back-end code to manipulate the quarantine
directories.  One way of doing this would be to write a Perl module
(ISP::MailScanner::Quarantine?) that handles things like:
- Getting a list of quarantined messages for a user
- Providing (internationalized) help text
- Routing quarantined messages back into the sendmail/exim/etc. system
for delivery.
If the Perl module is correctly designed, it should be trivial to
build a CGI/ModPerl/Mason/Apache::ASP/FastCGI user interface on top of
it that preserves your system's native look and feel.

Of course, if your system's UI is PHP based, you'd need to provide
an equivalent layer of abstraction in PHP.


        Richard Siddall

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