So i'm playing with the latest "alpha" of thebat! email client (found here
on betanews; ritlabs doesn't like to post their betas on their homepage), and wanted to post some observations.
It doesn't seem or look much different from version 3. When ritlabs moved from version 2 to version 3 there was a LOT of complaining from users that they just hiked up the version number to be able to charge for an upgrade and it happend so soon after the change from version 1 to version 2.
It seems to me that on one hand this is a bit like an arbitrary version change rather than a major change, BUT in all fairness it has been a long time since version 2 came out and version 4 hasn't been released yet. And i give them credit for the non-stop constant improvement of the program in small increments, which has to be worth something.
The alpha still is a tiny bit buggy, but quite usable (it is after all really just an improved version 3 not a major rewrite), and i didn't find any showstoppers.
What compelled me to post though was 2 things:
The first thing is that I am a longtime user and fan of thebat and after a couple years of suffering with this bug where the program occasionally loses its connection with a mail server and enters a hung state which requires program restart, it looks like they have FINALLY fixed it! This fix has been so long in coming and they should be ashamed it took them so long to fix it. But i am thrilled it is fixed. It was the one thing i hated and it's fantastic that it finally seems fixed.
The second thing is a double edged sword. The backup and restore functionality, which ritlabs has obviously put a lot of work into, and which seems wonderfully powerful, FAILED to properly work for me. It backs up fine, but gives an unintelligible error during the restore process, making it unusable. Thankfully this issue is not very servere because one of the nicer things about thebat is that it saves all mail in a file directory in a way that can be simply copied or moved between machines. This is actually one of my favorite features about thebat, that i can see all of the files and manage and backup my mail data manually, and it doesn't mind being moved around. But this is a warning -- do NOT assume that just because the backup function worked that the restore function will.
There you have it, some early observations. For me, I remain a fan of the program and am happy to keep using it.ps. you can read my original review of thebat here; take the comparison with other programs with a grain of salt of course, since the review is over 2 years old and i'm sure some of the other programs (Thunderbird in particular) has grown a lot since then.