Battletech Live

Online, Turn-Based Battletech – Development Logs

Structure of the email system.

mailfullcolor

Folders along the left and mail functions on top. The accordion panel will list messages received within specific timeframes.

Compact mail composition window.

Compact mail composition window.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few days getting the email system to be a little more refined.  Each of the mail buttons along the top of the page have a color and a monochrome version while a couple have alternate states, such as junk or not junk.  Although each button remains visible, when a particular action is not available, the button will lose it’s color, will not change to the hand cursor when the mouse is over it and loses it’s ToolTip.  For example, if a user doesn’t have an email message highlighted, most buttons will turn off because reply, forward, delete and junk can’t be performed.  One thing that is less conventional, when a user sends an email message to someone else, they can specify for the message to be private.  When this happens, the recipient of that message will not have the ability to select forward or reply to all, yet reply, delete and junk will still be available.  When selecting Search, Preferences or Help, the message reading pane will be reduced in width, with the selected component made available along the right-hand side.  Closing that panel will return the message reading pane back to it’s former width.

The last item in the folder list is Public Folders.  This will act as a window into the forums.  When a new category in the forums is created, it will appear as a new folder in Public Folders.  Members will then be able to read and reply to existing threads as well as compose new threads.  The support forums will still exist as their own separate component due to the space that the rest of the email panel takes up and the fact that guests will have partial access to the forums but no access to email.

In the upper-right corner of the page, is a size toggle.  On a full-size email panel, this won’t serve much purpose, at least for now, but it helps to enable a quck-post function.  When the player is going about their business, they’ll be able to click on a quick-post button, which will reside on the open bar for the IM panel.  This brings up a more compact version of the mail panel.  It’s actually the same window with certain options turned on and others turned off.  This can be useful if the player is busy doing other things and doesn’t want a full-size email window taking up all of the space.  When they send the email, the panel will automatically close but if they want to access the full-size panel to check on new messages or to reference existing email messages, they can click the toggle button to return it to full size.

I set up the tags that references the PHP script and over the next few days, I’ll work on writing the script necessary to retrieve new messages and populate the mail system and get it to work the way a normal mail system should.  I will also be enabling POP mail on a limited basis.  Through Preferences, users will be able to select specific users, if any, for email forwarding.  With this turned on, instead of receiving a message that new mail has been received (also user-selectable), the message will be forwarded directly to the external email address they have on file.  I may also set up alternate email addresses so that users can receive notifications at multiple addresses.

From February 28 – March 14, I will be taking a break from coding while family is here to visit and I’ll continue writing afterward.

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February 25, 2009 - Posted by | Project Development

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