Monday, August 31, 2009

Push Email Service now supports GMX

We deployed new code was today that includes a fix to support the popular free Email service GMX. There have been quite a few users attempting to use GMX with push email free trial accounts and it wasn't until I tried GMX myself that we discovered there was an incompatibility with their IMAP service. Fortunately the problem was easy to fix.

In testing with GMX we've noticed that message read/un-read changes are pushed (unlike GMail) but message delete events are sometimes delayed by up to a minute.

Correct push email configuration on our web site for GMX looks like this:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Premium Service Free Trial Now Available

New today on the web site we now offer the chance to try Premium Service before you buy. A new free trial account can be created here.
Existing users can can be begin the three day trial period by any free service user by clicking "click here to begin" on this page, then click yes on the confirmation page.

Free trial users get all the Premium Service features including Push Email, but they'll continue to use the same server facilities as other free users. Free trial accounts can be upgraded to permanent Premium status at any time during the trial.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Push AOL Mail to the iPhone

Since our push email service works with any IMAP compatible mailbox, there are quite a few services besides GMail that can use it, including AOL Mail. Today we released a service update that gives better support for AOL Mail, including quick configuration on the web site. We did find one AOL-related iPhone quirk so I thought it would be useful to write up complete configuration instructions for an AOL account using NuevaSync account aoltest1:

If you're using a NuevaSync account with an or registered e-mail address then service configuration is much easier because the web site notices you may be trying to use AOL Mail and presents a quick setup screen. You only need to enter your AOL password, click yes and you're done:

For folks who like to do things the hard way, here's the full configuration screen filled out for an AOL account:

After verifying that there's a green light in the status display, we can proceed to device configuration. Here's where we need to work around a small issue with the iPhone. Normally we'd enter the AOL email address here:

However, if you do supply an address, the iPhone will go into a never-ending spin trying to fetch auto-configuration information from an AOL server (it says "Verifying Exchange account information" but really it's trying to get the server name from the server "", which of course doesn't have that information to give):

This is similar to the GMail case where the phone tries to fetch config from a Google server and gets an SSL certificate validation error. However in the AOL case it just spins and spins and spins. Other devices such as Windows Mobile allow the user to disable auto-configuration, but the iPhone doesn't. We've found two ways to work around this. The first is to put the phone in flight mode during the account configuration process. This works just fine but it means you lose the chance to confirm the setup is ok because the phone can't test it. The second method is to first enter an e-mail address that doesn't end with It can be anything you like. In this case I simply replaced "" with "":

This will get you to the next screen without the death-spin syndrome. You can then edit the e-mail address back to the correct address and enter the server name

Clicking next on the screen above should check the username and password and connectivity to the server. Lastly turn calendar and contact sync off unless you're using those since sync performance will be a little faster with them off:

For reference, the resulting setup looks like this. SSL is on, the user's AOL e-mail address is configured, their NuevaSync account, their NuevaSync Password and server name:

And that's it. Open the mail app on the phone and you should see your AOL inbox, and new messages pushed. A bonus vs. GMail is that AOL's IMAP implementation is complete, so message read/unread status is pushed in real time. We did find one potential pitfall with AOL Mail: their SMTP server checks the sender address on messages. GMail's simply replaces the sender address with your account's e-mail address if the device happens to present a different one. In the case of AOL, if the e-mail address configured on the phone does not match the AOL account, then message sending fails. We don't yet have a test for this in the web site, so beware that if you find after configuring that you can't send messages, then probably your e-mail address was mis-typed. It's easy to open the sync account settings page on the phone and change it though.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New feature: GMail message 'archive' support

New in today's premium service update is a feature that many GMail users have requested: messages deleted on the device can now be 'archived' instead of the traditional move to the trash folder. An archived message desn't have the inbox label and hence will no longer appear in the inbox, but will show up in GMail search results and will retain any other labels the user or filters have applied. This is slightly different to the normal IMAP treatment of deleted messages where they'd appear with the 'trash' label and would not appear in regular search results.
The 'Delete-means-archive' feature needs to be turned on in the e-mail advanced settings page. Log into our web site then click the 'setup' link next to Email to display the regular settings page, then click 'Advanced settings'. Check the box at the bottom of the form and click save:

There's no need to do anything else (except perhaps wait a minute or two for the configuration change to propagate to the sync service). All your deletes will now magically 'archive' the messages at GMail.