With this initial release of version 2, Forte lives up to its long-standing commitment to make the best even better. This release provides important new features while laying the groundwork for a series of follow-on releases with the features users have been asking for.
What's New In Agent 2.0
Agent 2.0 includes all 1.93 functionality. Everything you could do before you can do with Agent 2.0, and in many cases the Agent 1.93 functions have been improved. In addition, Agent 2.0 includes the following enhancements.
Agent 2.0 Structural Changes
- In preparation for the changes to come in the Agent 2.x product stream, Agent 2.0 replaces the aging Agent 1.x development platform with wxWidgets.
- Toolbars, dialogs, windows and other display elements have been updated to current design standards.
- Performance, stability and use of system resources have been improved.
- Complete data compatibility with Agent 1.93 has been maintained: just install Agent 2.0 as an upgrade and continue using Agent. Should you want to revert to Agent 1.93 for any reason, you can install Agent 1.93 again.
Improved Header Retrieval Capacity and Performance
Agent 2.0 has increased the maximum number of headers that can be retrieved at one time from 1 million (Agent 1.93) to 8 million (Agent 2.0).
We found that newsgroups with large numbers of articles and numerous gaps in the article numbers assigned by the news server could, with certain Agent settings, drastically reduce the speed of header retrieval. So, we improved the way Agent records article number ranges to improve header retrieval performance.
We also found that newsgroups with large gaps in the article numbers assigned by the news server might fill in these gaps with new messages, or might not. Agent was not always correctly reporting how many new headers were being retrieved, leading to genuine confusion on the part of many users. So, we added a new status message. First, Agent reports "Retrieving list of available headers". Then, when it knows how many headers it's actually going to retrieve, it displays the familiar "Retrieving up to " message. Note that even though there is a new status message, the total header retrieval time has not increased. Now, with our performance improvements, it should be faster.
We increased the maximum number of global search results from 8,000 to 1 million. This has been a long-standing request from Agent users, now possible because of our port to wxWidgets.
Agent 2.0 provides long-requested improvements for sorting of messages in the Message List pane.
- The message list can be sorted by status, size (lines), subject, author or date, with a single click of the Message List pane header or through a single-action menu choice. For easy reference, the sort column and order are marked by a triangular pointer.
- The Status Sort (mentioned above) is new. You can sort so that items of interest (e.g. read or watched messages) can appear at the top of the message list.
- All sorts can be viewed either threaded or unthreaded. We added a simple icon you can click to turn threading on or off.
- Sort order can be ascending or descending, again with a single click of the mouse.
- With the increased flexibility offered, Agent now offers reverse date threading, a feature high on our list of requested enhancements.
- In the Status and Date threaded sorts, the threads can be ordered by either the newest thread or the newest item in the thread.
- Default sort settings for new groups and folders can be defined.
- Behavior for each type of sort can be defined so you get exactly what you want with a single click.
Enhanced Display Control
Agent 2.0 gives you much greater control over Agent's presentation:
We added automatic column resizing for the Message List pane and the Outbox. If enabled (it's a user-selectable option) Agent will attempt to optimize the width of each column in the Message List pane or the Outbox. Agent will adjust widths dynamically as the pane is resized. You can adjust column widths manually and Agent will take this into account during resizing. Agent maintains two sets of width settings, one for zoomed mode and one for non-zoomed mode.
For manual resizing of column widths, Agent lets you resize all of the columns (including the Status column) to a very small value (but not to zero!). See General Preferences, Display, Message List Pane for full details on column resizing.
You can define the text display (font type, style and size) for all pane headers and the status bar, in addition to full control of text in browsers, message list and message panes.
You can use the full Windows palette of colors for messages, message lists, group lists and message pane headers.
We've added an "Apply" button to the Window Layout dialog, so you can get just the layout you want without having to select the dialog each time you try a layout configuration.
Agent 2.0 uses a new version of the spell checker, with many new features.
Support for international languages has broadened:
- Improved German spell checker
- New languages: Portuguese (Iberian and Brazilian), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Note: For all languages other than American English, you must download new versions of Agent's language dictionaries, as the dictionaries used for Agent 1.93 are incompatible with Agent 2.0. (The dictionary for American English will be included as part of the Agent 2.0 installation.) Follow the links from our download page (http://www.forteinc.com/agent/download-dictionary.php) to get the proper dictionary for each language.
We have added many new options so that you can control more closely how you want the spell checker to work.
- Ignore capitalized words (such as proper names)
- Ignore MixedCase words
- Do case-sensitive word matching
- Ignore words containing punctuation and hyphens.
- Report incorrectly capitalized words (i.e. report words that are not capitalized, but should be)
- Ignore URLs and email addresses
- Ignore combined words
- Suggest splitting combined words
Reorganized General Preferences, Group and Default Group Properties
We have combined all General Preferences dialogs into a single dialog to make it easier to find the settings you need. We also combined all Group and Default Group Property tabs into individual dialogs. Here are some of the advantages of this change:
- Agent now utilizes a new single-dialog, multi-panel format. Everything is in one place.
- Options are available through a "tree" presentation, so you can easily find what you need. We think you'll find this much easier to use than the older multiple-tab presentation.
- Individual settings have been more logically organized, again making it easier for you to find what you need.
- An apply button has been added so you can immediately see the effect of any changes you make.
Agent 2.0 · Build 646 provides several important bug fixes for the initial release, Agent 2.0 · Build 640.
- We added a warning to the Agent Crash Dump dialog box stating that a crash dump may contain personal information. We also added more information to the dialog's help topic about what a crash dump file contains and how Forte uses crash dumps. (This dialog is displayed when you restart Agent after a crash.)
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to display an error message if the DLL MAPI32.DLL (for MAPI support) was not installed on the computer.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to display an error message and then crash if Dial-Up Networking support was not installed on the computer (file RASAPI32.DLL), whenever you tried to go online or view the DUN panel on the options dialog.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash at seemingly random times, after you opened any of the various File Open or File Save dialogs. These crashes were more likely to occur under Windows 98 than under Windows NT or Windows XP.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash after encountering certain kinds of online errors.
- We fixed a bug that sometimes caused Agent to crash if you ran multiple copies of the program.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash in certain cases when you were navigating in the Message Body pane or Composition window.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash if no item in the Message Index dialog was selected or had the focus.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash if you deleted all items from the Message Views list and then switched between simple and advanced views.
- We fixed a bug that caused crash dumps generated under Windows 98 to be unreadable.
- We fixed a bug that caused sent messages to remember the wrong filing selection, if you had overridden the default selection by choosing "Leave in Outbox". If you subsequently edited the message to resend it, the filing selection would revert to the default choice.
- We fixed a bug that caused the various File Open dialog boxes to fail to test for the existence of the selected file.
- We fixed a bug that prevented the Message List pane text from being redrawn if the currently selected message was off-screen and you resized the window, causing the columns to adjust their widths.
- We fixed a bug that caused the sort menus to show no selection checkmark if you selected a "thread with newest message first sort" and then either clicked the column heading to toggle the sort direction or clicked the threading button to turn off threaded sorts.
- We increased the height of the Fields list on the composition window from 4 to 5 lines.
Agent 2.0 · Build 652 provides additional important bug fixes for Agent 2.0:
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash seemingly at random if the program was configured to login to an SMTP server with either "Username and Password" or "Secure Password Authentication."
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash when retrieving the body of a message containing a binary attachment with an encoded line longer than 8000 characters, if Agent was configured to automatically save binary attachments while saving bodies. (Messages are not supposed to contain lines that long, and are usually ill-formed.)
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash seemingly at random after deleting messages, especially when multiple browser windows were open.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash if you attempted to save a duplicate URL to your Favorites folder.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash under certain cases when the Spell Check dialog was closing.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash if you replied to a Usenet message that had no Newsgroups header field and was stored in a folder.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash when importing messages that contained lines that began with the word "From" and were similar in format to the "From.." line that normally begins each message in a file.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash if you closed the Print dialog box when a radio button had the focus.
- We fixed a bug that caused Agent to crash when opening the Spell Checking panel of the General Preferences dialog box, if no default spell check language was defined.
- We fixed a bug that sometimes caused Agent to crash when launching a news URL passed to Agent from another program, if Agent failed to find the specified newsgroup.
- We fixed a bug that caused other programs such as Internet Explorer to report an error after successfully sending an email or news URL to Agent.
- Agent now reads and uses the settings for the default printer the first time you open the Print dialog box.
- We fixed a formatting problem in the MIME character set query dialog box that caused the first sentence in the dialog to be clipped.
- In the filter dialog boxes, it is now possible to insert a line break in the filter expression, by pressing the keys <ctrl>+<return>.