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From Anne S <hyperfl...@gmail.com>
Subject Google Summer Of Code - Interfaces
Date Thu, 02 Jun 2005 04:10:50 GMT
Well, it looks like I've been beaten to the punch. Two people have
already posted comments on the Summer of Code!

I have filed an application with Google (presumably soon to be routed
to the James developers) to work on the James email server. I would
like to work on making the James server more user friendly, by
creating GUI interfaces to James' config.xml and the Remote Manager
Service. My full application is below, skip down if you'd like to read
my proposed plan.

The summary is simple: Create a web based Java Servlets interface to
the Remote Manager Service. Such an interface would allow quick, easy
changes to the James Server (setting forwarding, adding/removing
users, etc). Secondly, create a GUI based interface to config.xml (A
Java application, keeping with the theme of 100% Java purity in
James).

I've lurked in the James mailing lists long enough (since 2003, see
http://www.mail-archive.com/server-user@james.apache.org/msg00781.html,
I was compwiz24) to know that many, if not most problems, can be
solved through intelligent use of the config.xml file. The problem is,
of course, configuring config.xml properly. I'd like to try and
address that problem, by simplifying common tasks/requests into a
wizard based walkthrough, that would configure config.xml properly.

A Java Servlets web interface to the Remote Manager Service greatly
simplifies basic server administration as well. Such an interface
would help James compete with more established email solutions, that
already have GUI interfaces for the simple, day to day changes to the
server.

This is my way of returning the help the James community has given to
me. I would appreciate any comments you may have.


Start application:

Name:
Anne S

Email:
hyperflame@gmail.com

A James Admin GUI and Web Remote Interface

Synopsis:
This project will build a GUI for administrators to manipulate the
James configuration settings (config.xml). In addition, a Java
Servlets based web interface will allow users and administrators to
control the James email server via the Remote Manager Service.

Benefits to the Apache Community:
This project will greatly simplify and lessen the learning curve for
novice James administrators, decreasing the amount of help requests in
the James community. The web interface to the Remote Manager Service
will allow administrators and users to quickly and easily handle
routine jobs, such as changing passwords, setting forwarding, etc.

Deliverables:
- A Java Servlets web interface to control James through the Remote
Manager Service.
- A Java application to manipulate James configuration settings (config.xml).

Project Description:

This project is actually two subprojects, as noted in the Deliverables section.



One subproject will be a Java Servlets based web interface, to control
James via the Remote Manager Service. This part is badly needed in the
James community, as noted at
http://wiki.apache.org/james/JamesDocumentationNotes. The second
question from the top reads:

	Is there a web-based or GUI based interface to the James admin system?

	No, but there is an rmi-interface in the proposals directory that
could be used as the basis of one.

The fact that someone has taken the time to include that in such a
prominent position indicates that this is an often asked question.
People transitioning from a Windows environment find a CLI - based
Remote Manager difficult to stomach. That is why a web interface to
the Remote Manager would be wildly successful among users.
Administrators could easily add or delete users, change forwarding
settings, check on the server, etc. Think of this subproject as
phpMyAdmin meets the James email server (using Java Servlets instead
of PHP, of course).



The second subproject would be a Java application to manipulate the
James configuration file (config.xml). As you know, the James server
must be stopped to make changes to the configuration files, which is
why this is not a part of the web interface described above.

Many novice administrators are surprised by the fact that James
requires one to manually edit configuration files (hence, the question
quoted above). This surprise is quickly transformed into annoyance and
a large amount of pleas for help in the James mailing lists. Even
experienced administrators may feel uncomfortable in directly editing
the configuration files. It would be much easier for administrators to
have a GUI based approach to configuring James. Instead of having
experienced people try to help novice administrators with long winded
directions, it would be easier for everybody if the administrators
could simply open up an application, and have a wizard walk through
the process of configuring a POP3, SMTP, and NNTP servers.

As a direct consequence of this project, the experienced people of the
James mailing list would be freed up to deal with more complex issues,
and concentrate on more additions to the James server.



I am a firm believer in user-friendliness, not just for the average
"Joe Sixpack", but for administrators as well. These two enhancements
will greatly simplify James administration, and decrease errors,
allowing the James server to be used by far more people. These two
enhancements will also permit James to compete better against other
email servers, even commercial ones, that have had GUI based
interfaces for quite some time.

I would welcome any change requests or input the James community can
offer. Please feel free to email me at the address provided above.

Project Schedule:
If accepted, I would begin work immediately. Depending on when this
project is accepted, I expect the web interface to the Remote Manager
to be completed in early/late July. I expect the GUI for the James
configuration settings to take slightly longer, perhaps until late
August. Time permitting, I would work on any change requests the James
community may have.

Bio:
I'm just another idealistic college student trying to make the world a
better place. I like to concentrate on the users and user
friendliness. There is nothing that I love more than a program that is
simple, easy to use, and relatively powerful.

I would be the best student to work on this project because I like to
concentrate on the users. This project is nothing if not catering to
user accessibility. Also, I am part of the James community. This
project would benefit me as much as it would benefit others, as I use
James as my email server. This project would not be abandoned at the
end of Google's Summer of Code. It would be kept up to date, new
features frequently added, and generally made as useful as possible.


Thanks for your time. Any comments, questions, requests, etc would be
greatly appreciated. Please send them to hyperflame@gmail.com. Thank
you again.

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