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Agent 5.0 Release Notes

Nested Folders

  • Organize your Folders Pane into the hierarchies that fit your requirements.
  • Continue to use your current desks.  Nested folders mesh seamlessly with Agent’s desks.
  • Drag and drop folders where you want them.
  • Find your target folder quickly using auto-complete.
  • Move/copy/import/route messages to any folder in the hierarchy
  • "Roll up" unread counts to the top-level folder when this folder is collapsed. 

Tabbed Windows

  • Each open window in Agent displays a tab so you can easily navigate among various tasks in Agent.  Use tabs to display open browser windows, the Task Manager, Composition Window, Usenet Filters window and Email Filters window.  Tabs are labeled for easy navigation.
  • Use your mouse or your keyboard to move among windows.
  • Tabs makes it much easier to use Agent's multiple browser window feature.  Each window can focus on a different newsgroup or folder, with it's own zoom state and view filters.  You'll never lose your place as you work in several groups at the same time.
  • Don't want to use tabs?  Of course they're optional.  Turn them on or off using the Show Window Tabs checkbox on the Options dialog, Main Window panel.

Restore the State of Open Windows When Restarting Agent

To take full advantage of tabbed windows, Agent now gives you the option of restoring all windows which were open when you last closed Agent. Here is how Agent restores various window types:

  • All browser windows re-open in the same tab position and pane layout (organization of panes and margin positions), positioned on the last selected message.
  • The Task Log window always opens empty. In other words, Agent does not store log entries when it closes.
  • The Active Task pane (Task Manager window) always opens empty.
  • The Email Filter and Usenet Filter windows remember the last selected item.
  • The Composition window is restored only if you saved (as a draft) the message you were composing previously.  In other words, if you open a brand-new composition window, and do nothing or choose not to save your edits when you close Agent, the window will not get restored.

If you don't want this new behavior, check the option Open a single browser window in the Main Window panel.  Agent will then behave as in previous releases.

The Main Window panel option Remember default window positions tells Agent to remember the most recent position and size of each type of window (browser, filters, task log, task manager, and composition window), for opening new windows.  When you open a new window of a given type, Agent will position the window as the last instance of that window was positioned.  For example, if you always like your composition windows positioned at a particular spot on the screen, Agent will always place them there.  Agent records each window type's position and size whenever you close a window of that type.

Filter Usenet Message by Message-ID

You can now filter Usenet messages by message-id.  This can be a great spam-fighting feature.  Some posters may be clever in how they mix up the subject and author fields of spam messages, but often the messages they send have a common factor in each message-id.

You can use any or all characters in the message-id for filtering.  For example, if you see a a message-id like you can paste this entire id into the filter window, or just parts that you think can identify a particular poster.  You may need to experiment with this, so you may not want to delete messages by filtering until you are sure your filtering is doing what you want.

Of course, you can combine message-id's with other filtering techniques using Agent's expression language. For example:

  • To ignore or watch posts from Google Groups: message-id: google
  • To ignore or watch Agent posts: message-id:

Faster Sample-by-Date

Today's Usenet service providers offer groups with literally millions of messages.  Agent's sampling features are designed to let you try the newsgroup without downloading a large number of headers.  In previous versions, if you wanted to sample by date, i.e. specify how many days back you want to sample the group, this could be a very slow process because Agent downloaded all available headers to determine which ones were within the desired date range.  The alternative was to sample by the number of headers, which is much faster.  The problem with this approach is, you really have no idea how far back you might go.  You may have to try several times to get what you want.

Agent 5.0, uses a different process for performing sample by date (it uses a binary search to zero in on the starting message) and will in almost all cases be much faster.

This feature is per-server and is optional, but is turned on by default for all your news servers.  If for some reason a particular news server has problems with this approach, you can turn it off for that server.  Open the news server panel for that server (Tools menu, Servers and Accounts dialog), click the Advanced Settings button and uncheck the box Use binary search to sample headers by date.

Date Filtering in Message Views

Message views are a quick and powerful way to determine what messages you see in the Message List pane .  You can view all unread messages (or all read messages), messages that are marked keep, or watch, or ... any combination of various message properties.  Agent 5.0 adds the ability to view only messages with dates in a specified range.  

Open the Manage Views dialog, on the View menu, Custom Message View flyout.  (You can also click the binoculars at the top of the Message List pane, then click the Manage Views button.)

You specify an earliest date and a latest date.  The filter selects those messages that fall within the specified times.  If you don't specify an earliest date then Agent will select all messages from the very earliest in the folder up to the latest date.  If you don't specify a latest date then Agent selects all messages from the earliest date to the present.   (Of course if you select neither, Agent selects all messages, subject to other filters you may have defined.)

Simple View:

Check the box in front of the filter you want to enable, then specify the number of days or weeks prior to the current day as the value for the filter.  Agent will tell you what the actual date will be so you can verify this is the value you want.

Advanced View:

A date expression is defined with the form: , i.e. the expression is two numbers (the number of days) enclosed in angle brackets, separated by a comma.

The filter selects those messages with dates that fall within the specified range of days.  For example, the expression <1,1> selects messages from yesterday (one day ago).  The wildcard "*" may be used to specify no limit for one of the values.  For example, <*,10> selects all messages from the beginning of time through 10 days ago.  And, <10,*> selects all messages from 10 days ago through the present.

For new installations we added the pre-defined filter "Messages Posted in Last 7 Days", which has the expression "<7,*>".

Note: When implementing date filters we also added line filtering to the Simple View tab.  Previously it was available only on the Advanced View tab.

Other Features

When viewing messages it's easy to hit the wrong key on your keyboard, and some keys have immediate consequences.  For example, when viewing a message, if you hit "H", all header fields for messages will be displayed.  If you find yourself doing this frequently, you can disable certain single-key accelerators using the Disable view menu keyboard accelerators for Mom checkbox on the Options dialog, Main Window panel.

Note: This option has been added to assist the mother of the Agent programmer. (Hence the name.)  But it will also help prevent errors caused when your cat walks across your keyboard.

Startup Problems Fixed

We fixed several issues that caused Agent to crash when starting.  Not only will the program now start correctly but in many cases you will receive a warning letting you know that Agent has identified and will repair the problem.

Other Problems Fixed

Closing the Manage Bookmarks dialog if no bookmarks were assigned to the menu would cause Agent to crash.

Searching in the address book would at times come up with some "interesting" results.  For example, for the contact name Yogi Bear and email address, the search string "ry" would match this record (last letter of the name, first letter of the address).

Newsgroup folders with a leading "0" (zero) in their names were created with empty Usenet access plans.  

Related to this, sometimes adding one of these "0" groups would cause Agent to crash.

Agent's Usenet subject abbreviation feature failed on some "interesting" subject names, causing Agent to crash.

HTML messages with a null byte characters caused attachments not to be displayed.

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Go here for All Release Notes.