We all know the annoyance of (web) applications not doing what we expect them to do and staring at the tumbling “Loading…” icons has become a part of our daily routine. The more digital tools we use, the more sensitive we become for good user experience. UX is the big buzzword and Roundcube Next is not only about faster development but also very much dedicated to significantly improve the way we interact with our webmail application of choice.
While Roundcube One originates from a private fun project with email – and only email – in mind, we have learned our lessons and are committed to do Roundcube Next right from the ground up. In the year 2015, communication combines a variety of tools we need to connect to each others. And that’s exactly what we aim to cover with the architectural design of Roundcube Next. It shall become a solid and open foundation for building communication apps on top of it. Email will certainly remain a key component as it still is the most important means of communication today. But there’s more and therefore we want to make Roundcube Next the WordPress of communication if you will.
PGP encryption is one of the most frequently requested features for Roundcube and for good reasons more and more people start caring about end-to-end encryption in their everyday communication. But unfortunately webmail applications currently can’t fully participate in this game and doing PGP encryption right in web-based applications isn’t a simple task. Although there are ways and even some basic implementations, all of them have their pros and cons. And yet the ultimate solution is still missing.
Roundcube indeed became a huge success story with tens of thousands of installations worldwide. Something I never expected back in 2005 when I started the project as a fresh alternative to the well established but already aged free webmail packages like SquirrelMail or Horde IMP. And now, some 9 years later, we find ourselves in a similar position as the ones we previously wanted to replace. Although we managed to adapt the Roundcube codebase to the ongoing technological innovations, the core architecture is still ruled by the concepts which seemed to be right back when we started. And we’re talking about building a web app for IE 5 and Netscape 6 when browsers weren’t as capable and performant as they are today and when the term AJAX has not yet been known nor did we have nifty libraries such a jQuery or Backbone.js at hand. Continue reading
Today I’d like to share a success story of a picture perfect project collaboration as it only happens in the open source world without any commercial, political or geographical borders. It all started back in 2009 after a short interview about Roundcube was published on a techworld.com blog. Short time after we got an email from Georg Greve, founder of the FSFE and member of the Kolab Groupware project. At that time, Kolab already made its name as a free competitor to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook and they were just about to found a new company to push Kolab to the next level. One thing Kolab definitely needed was a better web client to access all the groupware data from anywhere. And this is where Roundcube seemed to fit in perfectly. Although Roundcube was “just” an email client, the Kolab guys saw great potential in our codebase and the vital community around it. And now, more than three years after, we can all witness the great success of this decision.