Agent 3.0 Release Notes
Forte is pleased to provide Agent 3.0, a major release with many powerful, new features. There is so much to tell you that we've provided just a hint here of what you can do with Agent 3.0. Get more details by clicking the feature description.
Multiple News Servers and Multiple Connections to News Servers: Agent 3.0 allows you to use as many news servers as you like to retrieve message headers and bodies and to post messages. For each server you can use as many connections as that server allows.
Task Management: Agent 3.0 has a new Task Manager, allowing you to view and control all your online tasks.
Folder and Message Organization: Agent 3.0 features Desks, a powerful way to organize your folders, allowing you to create multiple subscription lists. Newsgroups and email folders now share properties, and can share messages.
The Newsgroup Directory: Agent 3.0 provides a powerful way to view and search all newsgroups available on all your news servers. Use the Newsgroup Directory to view newsgroups by any combination of news servers and according to your search criteria. Use the Directory to assign newsgroups to desks.
Menu and Toolbar Changes: Agent 3.0 has redesigned its menus to enable you to use Agent's features effectively. You'll recognize commands from Agent 2.0, but we have added many new commands and combined others to make Agent even easier to use.
Sending and Receiving Messages: Agent has created special folders to handle the messages you send and retrieve. The Outbox is now a folder, and we've added special folders for storing draft messages and sent messages. And, of course, Agent provides an Inbox for receiving email.
Bookmarks: We have added a new feature that lets you move quickly to messages, folders and desks that you use often.
Help Tips: When performing common operations you'll see pop-up tips that will help you use Agent effectively.
Other Features Added / Problems Fixed from Agent 2.0: We added a number of other features and fixed several problems reported with Agent 2.0.
Multiple Servers and Connections
You can now get news messages from any number of news servers. You can:
Define your news servers in the News Server Panel in the new Servers and Accounts Dialog. For each server you can specify your online and retrieval preferences. And, you can tell Agent how many connections the server will allow, so that you can maximize retrieval efficiency. If you're not sure how many connections are allowed, Agent will figure it out for you!
Define an access plan for each newsgroup, using the new News Access Plan panel on the Folder Properties dialog. Here you can specify server priorities for retrieving messages and posting messages, so that you use your preferred servers for each activity. As with all folder properties, you can specify default behavior, and can override this behavior for specific folders.
You can manually add a newsgroup that is carried by, but not listed by, a news server.
In previous versions of Agent all tasks were placed in a single queue. You could add items to this queue, but you could not control the behavior of individual tasks that were in the queue. With Agent 3.0 you have complete control over all tasks. Using Agent's Task Manager you can:
Folder and Message Organization
If you're an experienced user, the first thing you'll notice is that the Group Pane is now the Folders pane. Within this pane, note the following:
We have removed the distinction between groups and folders. Everything is a folder. What does this mean?
Agent now features desks, which allow you to group your folders into areas of interest.
Desks generalize the notion of subscribed newsgroups, allowing you to create multiple subscription lists. For example, create a desk that contains work-related newsgroup folders, another that contains automobile-related newsgroups, and another with text newsgroups that you track. With these desks defined you can view and use your newsgroup folders in any combination. The automobile-related desk might have folders which have a large number of messages, so you only want to update these newsgroup folders periodically. However you may want to update your text folders frequently. Simply select the desk with your text folders and get headers and messages in that desk only, using the Get New Headers in
A folder can be used in more than one desk, allowing great flexibility in defining the contents of your desks. You don't have to decide on a precise organization. Rather you can let your desks "cross boundaries", containing the same folders. If a folder is updated in one desk it's updated in all of its desks -- because it's the same folder! This also provides greater flexibility than simply nesting folders. You can effectively "nest" a folder in many desks.
For a new installation, Agent 3.0 provides one desk: All Folders. This is a permanent desk, which contains, as the name implies, all the folders you create. As you create folders, they are added to this desk and to other desks that you specify.
If you are upgrading from a previous version of Agent, three desks are created:
Since Agent 3.0 has changed the Group pane to the Folders pane, where is the list of newsgroups? In the Newsgroup Directory!
From the new Tools menu open the Newsgroup Directory. The Directory has a number of useful features:
Select one or more newsgroups and add them to desks in the Folders pane. This is how you subscribe to groups in Agent 3.0. You can add groups to a single desk (call it Subscribed Groups if you like) and Agent will work as it did with Agent 2.0. But you now can have multiple subscription lists, using desks, to give you much more control over the groups you use. Newsgroups added to desks will appear in bold text in the Newsgroup Directory, so you can easily identify them. You can do this in two ways:
Menu and Toolbar Changes
To make the new features of Agent 3.0 easy to use, we have redesigned Agent's menus. Here's a summary of the important changes:
Sending and Receiving Messages
Agent 3.0 has done away with the Outbox, and creates special folders for posting Usenet messages and sending and receiving email messages. When you install and run Agent 3.0 for the first time, these folders will be created:
You can use the new Bookmark feature for an easy way to view the contents of these special folders.
If you are upgrading to Agent 3.0 from a previous version of Agent, the special folders listed above will be created for you if they do not already exist in your version of Agent. If the designated folders already exist, Agent 3.0 will assign them the corresponding special functionality. (For example, if you use Agent to receive email, you have a folder that functions as your Inbox. Agent will recognize this and make that folder your Inbox in Agent 3.0.) The Outbox folder will be created and any messages that you might have had in the Outbox in earlier versions of Agent will be moved to the Outbox folder.
In addition to doing away with the need to find drafts, queued and sent messages in a separate window (the old Outbox), you can now print these messages in whatever state you've left them. This fulfills a long-standing request from Agent users to be able to print from the Outbox, as you can print messages from any of these folders that replace the Outbox.
Bookmarks in Agent 3.0 let you define specific targets to which you can jump immediately. A bookmark can be a desk, a folder or a specific message. This is a convenient way for you to keep track of important or frequently used objects in Agent, allowing you to jump to them quickly, then jump back to where you were.
Create, jump to and manage bookmarks using the Bookmarks flyout on the View menu.
When you first attempt certain operations, Agent will display a help tip Designed to assist you as you begin to use a particular feature, these help tips can be disabled as you become comfortable using the feature.
Other Features and Problems Fixed
We've made a number of improvements to Agent's user interface:
Agent will retrieve incomplete multipart messages. Normally for a joined multi-part message Agent uses the header fields from the first section. However, if this first section is missing, Agent uses the header fields from the first available section.
Agent will no longer fail a yEnc message download, even if there are errors.
When getting new headers, if you stop the operation in process Agent will not purge the folder.
When retrieving email, if an error occurs while retrieving several messages, then on the next retrieval, Agent would get all messages again, including ones that had been successfully retrieved. Now Agent will get only those messages not yet retrieved.
You can now enter SPA (Secure Password Authentication) login information directly into Agent (on the Outbound Email Server panel and the Inbound Email Server panel). Previously Windows would prompt for this information.
In the composition window, when you opened the Pick Addresses dialog (using the Pick Addresses button) the To button was always the default button. Because of this, if you were editing, say, the Cc field and used the Pick Address dialog, it would be easy to mistakenly add an address to the To field rather than the Cc field. Now, Pick Addresses will set the default button to correspond to the field you are editing when you open the dialog, as follows:
In the message index (highlight a message and enter Ctrl+I), the "To:" and "Author:" labels were swapped. In other words, for a received message, the label said "To:" rather than "Author:", and just the opposite for a sent message. Also, the "Author:" label said "Aut".
When creating a Usenet filter or email filter in the filter window, in addition to creating a global filter that applies to all folders (something you could do in previous versions) you can select the folder to which that filter will apply. In previous versions you could create the filter for the previously highlighted folder only.
In Agent 2.0 if you didn't have Agent set to auto-disconnect or send keep-alive messages, the news server would time out but Agent wouldn't know about this. The next time you attempted an online operation Agent would report an error. Agent 3.0 detects the disconnection and reconnects before attempting the online operation.
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