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Post Road Mailer v3.0- by Richard R. Klemmer

InnoVal System Solutions is a company at the forefront of the Java explosion, developing one of the first 100% pure Java e-mail programs with J Street Mailer (see JSM's review in this issue). However, InnoVal got its start developing for OS/2 with Post Road Mailer, and hasn't forgotten its roots. At the end of 1997, InnoVal released the third major version of this time-tested program.

Installation and Support

Installing PRM for the first time is very easy. Just unzip the file into an empty directory and run the enclosed Install.cmd program. This will create a program object on your desktop.

If you are upgrading from a previous version, you must quit PRM if it is running, unzip the file into your existing directory overwriting all files, then reboot your system if it hasn't been rebooted since the last time you ran the previous version of Post Road Mailer.

The help files and on-line user's guide that come with Post Road Mailer are fairly extensive, helpful, and laid out better in version 3.0 then in previous versions.

You can also receive support for PRM by e-mail or fax. I've had some good experiences in the past with their e-mail support. They've been responsive and helpful. In fact, I've usually received at least an initial reply on the same day I sent the message.


When you start PRM, the default Inbox (GIF, 14K) is displayed. The original version of PRM's display had two lines and large icons. As of version 2.0, they came out with an alternate display with one line which allows you to see more messages in the space provided. With version 3.0 they've added a toolbar, which replaces the action pad at the bottom of the display. This gives even more space, as well as extra functionality. You no longer need to search through menus for many of the functions. This is probably the most noticeable addition to the 3.0 upgrade.

The new toolbar allows you to do various things, including sending, retrieving and previewing your mail, composing, replying to and forwarding notes, and viewing of your address book, folders and messages waiting to be sent. You can also right-click on any note in the Inbox to bring up a pop-up menu with access to many of these functions, as well as letting you file your notes into folders. Another new addition to 3.0 is the ability to file a note into the most recent folder you were in. This saves you the duplicate effort of searching through subfolders, which, if you have as many as I do, can be a bit time consuming.

The messages in the Inbox have default icons depending on if they are unopened, have attachments, or sticky notes associated with them. PRM also has what they call Mood Icons, which are OS/2 icon files that can replace the default icons for messages you send to other PRM users, or messages you have set up a filter to attach a Mood Icon to. This is useful if you want to distinguish certain messages when you receive them.

All of these functions and more are available with the menu bar at the top of the display. One of the things I've always liked about PRM is the flexibility. There is always more than one way to do things, so that whether you prefer a toolbar, pop-up menu, or regular menu, you can get the job done in the way most comfortable for you.

Composing and sending notes

When you compose a note it brings up separate header and text windows, with the header (GIF, 8K) active and all the standard header options. You can left click on the book icon to bring up the address book (GIF, 6K), or right click on it to bring up a list of the last 15 addresses you've sent messages to. This is extremely useful and saves a great deal of time. Additionally, you can type a subject, modify your default From and Reply-to Address, select a signature or mood icon, or attach a file. If your message has a file attached, PRM will ask you if you wish to send the attachment MIME or UUEncoded. If you have multiple attachments, PRM will automatically use MIME.

In addition to the built-in message editor, you also have the option of using the external editor defined in your settings. If you have Spellguard for PostRoad Mailer, you can also check the spelling of either the entire message or selected text before it is sent. This is configurable to ignore quoted text, FTP & HTTP file references, e-mail addresses, HTML and IPF tags. This is a fairly decent spell checker, although it requires the purchase of additional software. However, according to InnoVal, this will likely be built into the next non-maintenance release. All of these features are available when you reply and forward mail as well.


PRM lets you create multiple address books, with up to five e-mail addresses associated with each nickname. This is very useful for me, since most of the people I converse with have multiple addresses.

PRM's filters are powerful and useful tools for processing your mail before it reaches your inbox. It has all the standard capabilities, such as delete notes, move and copy notes to folders, send out automatic replies, forward the message, etc. Also, it allows you to attach a mood icon, so that the message will be more noticeable in your Inbox among the spam that didn't get filtered out. If you wish, you can also run REXX scripts against any of the messages that were retrieved.

Currently the filters are rather limited on what you can search for. At this time you cannot use regular expressions, nor can you combine any of the searchable areas (header elements, message body etc.). However, InnoVal has promised these abilities for future releases of PRM, and claim they're among the highest priorities.

Double-clicking on a URL in the body of a message will send the address to your browser (starting it if it isn't already running). Plus you can double click on a FTP link and download the file with the built-in FTP capabilities.

PRM lets you attach a sticky note to a message with comments or reminders. This can be attached to any note in the Inbox or other folders. You can also indicate that you wish to follow up on this note, then later you can search by date for notes with a follow-up indicator.

Search for Notes and Search for URL

PRM has a powerful and flexible search function (GIF, 7K) with the ability to scan your Inbox and any or all of your folders. PRM will then display the found messages in a "virtual folder", carrying all the standard forward, reply and delete functions.

You can also search for a URL, similar to searching for a note, but in the list of notes that are found you have a "View a URL" option. When you double click on the note, Post Road launches your default browser and takes you to that location. This can come in handy when you remember a site listed in a message from some time ago, but can't remember which one.

Preview Mail

The Preview Mail (GIF, 6K) feature lets you see what messages are on your server so that you may selectively retrieve or delete them without having to download the whole note. You can see the Subject, Date, and Size, and new in version 3.0, you can also see the To: address of the message.

Select-a-file Dialog

One feature I especially like is PRM's Select a file dialog. Whenever you need to select a file for import, select or save an attachment, or specify a file for any other purpose, PRM brings up its custom dialog box, instead of the standard (and limited) OS/2 'open/save as' dialog. With PRM's dialog you can specify speed lists so that you can jump to specific directories with a single click, file options such as copy, move, delete, create directory, etc., and edit or view the selected file with the editor specified in your PRM settings. This gives you capabilities similar to the program X-File, which makes life much easier.

Other new features in version 3.0

InnoVal has made some other key additions to version 3.0 that I find useful. They've added the route function to let you forward one or more messages without going into the compose window first. Now you can also resend a note without going to the compose window. This way you can resend multiple notes at once, which is much quicker.

One last addition that I like is the option to file sent notes into a Current Month folder that is automatically created by PRM. This is similar to the way PINE files sent notes, and makes it easier for maintaining.


The inability to send multiple UUEncoded attachments in one message is a bit of an annoyance, but most e-mail programs handle MIME these days, so it's a minor one. The fact that you have to purchase and install a separate program for spell checking is inconvenient too.

One last drawback is that the mail messages are stored in plain ASCII text. Even though you can password protect your Inbox, anyone can view your messages by looking at the files in your directory. InnoVal says that they will likely fix this for J Street Mailer and possibly port the capability to PRM, but they haven't received much interest in this from PRM customers.


Post Road Mailer is definitely worthy of some consideration if you are looking for a native OS/2 e-mail program. Although I suspect that upgrades to InnoVal software will come out for their Java products first, they are still committed to their OS/2 products as well.

* * *

Post Road Mailer v3.0

by InnoVal
download from the InnoVal home page (ZIP, 1.8 megs)
Registration: US$25

Richard R. Klemmer has been an OS/2 user since January of 1995. He is a computer programmer for the Department of Agriculture during the day, and a partner with WebTrek L.L.C., a Internet Consultant and Web provider, during the rest of his waking moments, and some of his sleeping ones.


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