Robomail tutorial

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Ŀ Ŀ Ŀ Ŀ Ŀ Ŀ (tm) Ĵ The Ultimate QWK Mail Management System Version 1 Tutorial for New Users Copyright (c) 1993, Parsons Consulting All Rights Reserved _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 1 A TUTORIAL FOR NEW USERS Imagine for a moment how great it would be if every time you started using a new software program you could have the program's author sitting right by your side, ready to help keep you pointed in the right direction. Well, here I am! Thanks to the miracle of perfect digital duplication, I've decided to stop by and personally show you RoboMail's stuff. Please print me out and put me down right next to your keyboard. I'm Dan Parsons, the author of RoboMail, and I want to do what I can to make sure that you learn to use the program quickly, while also becoming familiar with some of its unique features and philosophical fine points. RoboMail certainly isn't a "complex" program by today's standards, but it does have more depth than some mail readers you may have used in the past. If you'll give me some time now to help get you started on the right foot, I'm sure you will end up getting more out of the program much more quickly. I realize that tutorials of this type are usually painfully dull, and I also realize that you may well be a hotshot computer jock who normally dives right into new programs with no problems at all. But please humor me. I think we'll both have some fun! N> If you've used the configuration screens to change your O> configured directory for incoming mail, please take a moment T> to copy the TUTORIAL.QWK packet out of your ROBOMAIL\IN E> directory and into your configured incoming mail directory. Lesson 1 -- Getting Help ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RoboMail has extensive context sensitive online ķ help and documentation which covers many functions, options and commands not discussed in this document. You can call up the help system at any time while the program is waiting for keyboard input by pressing the F1 key. Whenever you arrive at a screen you haven't seen before, please take a few ͼ moments to explore all the options available to you. You'll be glad you did! Lesson 2 -- Checking Some Configuration Items ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The ZIP file archive manipulation utilities are the only configuration items which are essential to the success of our tutorial, so let's check to make sure the default values will work for you. Press F2 at control panel and select "RoboMail Settings." Press [PgDn] one time to access the "Utilities" configuration screen. By _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 2 default, RoboMail is configured to use the shareware programs PKZIP and PKUNZIP from PKWARE, Inc. for access to ZIP format mail packets. To continue our tutorial, we need to make sure that PKZIP and PKUNZIP are available to RoboMail. To do this, press RoboMail's DOS Shell hot key, [F7], to access the DOS prompt in your RoboMail home directory. Next, type PKUNZIP and press Enter. You should see the PKUNZIP help screen and ShareWare notice. Repeat the procedure for PKZIP. If both utilities were found, we are ready to continue. If not, you will need to do one of the following to remedy the situation. If you know that you have PKZIP.EXE and PKUNZIP.EXE on your system, copy the files into your RoboMail directory or into any directory specified in the PATH statement of your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Specify alternate zip and unzip utilities in the spaces provided on RoboMail's "Utilities" configuration screen. Check the help screen for detailed information on how to do this. If you plan on using either of the other archive methods supported by RoboMail, LZH or ARJ, convert the tutorial.qwk packet to your desired format, place the converted packet in the configured incoming mail directory ("IN" by default) and verify that the archive utilities shown on the configuration screen can be accessed by RoboMail. When you're ready to continue, type EXIT and press [<] to return to the "Control Panel" screen. Lesson 3 -- Importing a Mail Packet ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Whenever you run RoboMail in interactive mode, you will start from the "Control Panel" screen, which gives you a quick overview and one-click access to all the message data in your system. Right now the screen probably looks a little barren, so let's jump right into things and "import" a mail packet. The importing process extracts message and other data from the incoming mail packet and translates it into RoboMail's internal (and much more useful) format. Take a look at the words with highlighted letters on the title bars of the control panel screen. To jump to any of the columns on the screen, Hold down the [Alt] key any press the indicated letter. Press [Alt-I] now to make sure the cursor is position in the Incoming Mail window. Use the cursor keys to highlight the TUTORIAL.QWK mail packet and press the [<] (Enter) key to start the import process. Here's _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 3 what happens while the import progresses: RoboMail shells to DOS and calls the appropriate unarchiving utility to extract the files in the mail packet. After returning from the shell, RoboMail will begin scanning the control information in the packet. If the packet is from a mail system that RoboMail has never seen before (which in the case of our tutorial.qwk should be true), RoboMail will stop to display the "Mail System Settings" screen for the new system. This screen is a "dialog box." In addition to standard mouse clicks, you can use the following keys on this and all other data entry screens to do your work: Key Purpose F1 Context Sensitive Help  /  Move to next / previous item SpaceBar Push, Check, or Select item Tab / Sh-Tab Next / previous data element < Move to next element or push button Ctrl < Accept/Save data and continue Esc Abort data entry and back up Keys For Text Fields Purpose Ins Toggle INSert status Del Delete character on cursor BackSpace Delete character to the left Ctrl-Backspace Delete Word Left Ctrl-Y Delete to end of field Home / End Beginning / End of field Ctrl <-/-> Previous / Next Word F10 Display pick-list (if available) ͻ STOP Ŀ ͼ Please take a moment now to press F1 and review the help screens for Mail System Settings. By default, RoboMail will assign "Age 7 Days" as the "Conf Default" archiving action for messages from this system. That's a pretty good starting point, so let's leave those settings the way they are for now. As you can see from the fields on this screen, RoboMail correctly identified the fact that the TUTORIAL.QWK packet came from a TomCat door on a Wildcat! system, so all of the options on the _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 4 screen are already set correctly for you! Save the Mail Door Settings screen by pressing [Ctrl <] so that RoboMail can continue importing the mail packet. During the next phase of the importing process, RoboMail will scan the conferences available on the mail system. The default values you set on the "Mail System Settings" screen are used to initialize a separate settings screen for each conference on the mail system. ͻ TIP Ŀ ͼ Use [Ctrl <] as a shortcut to save and continue on all data entry screens. At this point, the mail system's welcome screen and a bar graph will appear on the screen. The bar graph indicates RoboMail's process as it imports the new messages, bulletins and file attachments from the mail system into its own internal database format. After RoboMail has finished importing the packet, a new row will appear in the top "System" window of the control panel. This row summarizes the data on file from the TUTORIAL mail system. Lesson 4 -- Viewing Imported Data ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Press [Alt-S] or [Tab] to access the system window and begin viewing the newly imported data. In addition to messages, the TUTORIAL.QWK also contains a welcome screen, a news file, a goodbye screen, a file listing and some bulletins. The screens and file listing should be indicated with green bullet points in the N, W, G and F columns of the display. the new bulletins are indicated by a green number in the "Bltn" column. Take a look at the new information screens and bulletins by moving the highlight bar to a cell in the System window and pressing <. For now, though, stay away from the "Recent" column. Notice that after you finish viewing an item, the bullet point will turn red. That's RoboMail's signal that there's no longer any information that is new to you on the screen. Lesson 5 - Reading Recent Mail ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The "Recent" column in the control panel's "System" window shows you the number of messages that are waiting to be read and archived. The number is shown as a fraction, with the number of unread _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 5 messages shown over the total number of messages available. Let's start reading messages now, so highlight the "recent" cell for the TUTORIAL system and press [<]. At this point, RoboMail will display a directory of all the conferences on the tutorial system which have recently imported messages. Now select the "Basic Training" conference by highlighting the conference number "0000" and pressing [<]. RoboMail will now display the first available message in the conference. But wait... What's this? ... Yet another configuration screen? Yes! RoboMail recognizes that this is the first time you are entering this message conference and presents the conference configuration screen automatically, so you can review the default settings it has assigned, based upon your settings from the Mail System Setup screen we saw earlier. There are quite a few special options here, so (you guessed it)... ͻ STOP Ŀ ͼ Please take a moment now to press F1 and review the Conference Settings help screens. Leave the conference settings the way they are for now, and press [Ctrl <] to save the setting screen. Nirvana! At long last, you are using RoboMail to view a message. At this point your guided tour continues on RoboMail's main message viewing screen, so start reading there and have fun. I'll see you back here in a bit.... Lesson 6 - Bulk Processing ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Welcome back to the Control Panel. I hope you found the message guided part of the tutorial informative. If you followed the instructions for archive assignment in the tutorial messages properly, you should now see a "0/8" in the "Recent" column of the TUTORIAL system. This means that there are 11 messages that have been read, but not yet "processed" into the trash or archive message categories. Depending upon the speed of your system, you may elect to wait and do all the message processing in one step, rather than a conference at a time as we did while reading the tutorial messages. To do this, you highlight the system you want to process and press the _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 6 processing hot key, [F5]. Try that now. When the menu comes up, select "Recent TUTORIAL messages." After processing, there will still be some previously read messages showing in the recent column. Why do we still have these recent messages laying around? As you may recall, we didn't assign any archive actions to the 6 messages in the advanced features conference. RoboMail makes it easy to correct these sort of situations with the [F4] bulk marking key. To see an example of this, place the cursor in the Recent messages column and press [F4] to display the Bulk Action Assignment dialog box. The dialog box defaults to assigning the Conference Default archiving action to all Recent messages that do not already have an action assigned. That's what we want to do, so press [Ctrl <] to start the process. If you want to assign a specific action to all recent messages, including those that you have already assigned an action to, make sure to enable the "Replace Existing Assignments" check box. Now that all the recent messages have an action assigned to them, use the [F5] key to "process" them into the archive or trash. Your Recent messages column should now show a zero. Lesson 7 - Managing Outgoing Mail ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RoboMail's OutBox holds all outgoing messages until they are "exported" (to a .REP packet) for upload to the mail service. During an earlier part of the tutorial, you should have created at least on outgoing message. If your TUTORIAL system outbox does not have at least one message indicated in its outbox, press [C] to compose a new outgoing message. You can review outgoing messages simply by highlighting the outbox column on the control panel and pressing [<]. Do that now. When an OutBox message appears, look up at the right side of the message header. Use the [Y] key to make sure that the "CopyChron" checkbox is selected. If you wanted to keep the message from being exported during subsequent export procedures on this BBS, you would toggle the "Hold" check box on by pressing [H]. If you want to discard the message, press [D] to toggle the "Discard" check box on. Any message that has this check box set will be thrown away (not exported) during the next export operation for the system. You can also re-edit an OutBox message by pressing [E]. To edit _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 7 the address information only, press the [Alt-E] key. The [X] key is used to export the OutBox mail from a single system to a REPly packet. Try pressing [X] now to export your outbox message(s). Once the packet is exported, RoboMail will display an "R" in the outbox column to let you know that a REP packet for the system exists in your configured outgoing mail directory. It's no problem if a reply packet already exists and you decide you want to export more messages. Just hit the [X] key and RoboMail will open up the existing reply packet and add more messages to it. If you want to see messages already out in a REPly packet, you can recall the messages to the OutBox by highlighting an OutBox column containing an "R" and pressing the [R] key. As an exercise, try using [C] to compose a new outgoing message for the tutorial system. Once you've saved it, use the [X] key to export the new outgoing message, and then use the [R] key to bring all messages in the REP packet back into the outbox. Lesson 8 - Chron File Usage ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You may have noticed that your "Chron" file now contains copies of the messages that you have previously exported. Whenever you save a message, the "Copy to Chron" check box is available for you to specify that you want the export process to place a copy of the message into your Chron File. If you would like to re-submit a chron file message to your OutBox, simply press [O] while viewing the message. Try it now if you like. The archiving action for all messages placed into the chron file is controlled by the current status of the "Chron Action" setting on the Mail System Settings screen (highlight the system ID and press [<], or press [F2] and select "System Settings" to see them). Lesson 9 - Viewing Folder Messages ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To clean up your system and get it ready for "real" mail, highlight the TUTORIAL System ID and press the DELete key. RoboMail will ask for a couple of confirmations before deleting all traces of the tutorial system from your RoboMail installation. Note that the "RoboMail Tips" folder you created remains behind since it contains a copy of the message you placed into it, rather than the (now deleted) message itself. You can view messages in file folders by highlighting the Folder Name and pressing [<]. Use the [Tab] or [Alt-L] keys to access the "Folders" window. _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 8 Folder messages always get "Keep" status and they stay where they are until you mark them with Discard status. When you view the messages, everything works exactly like it did when you were viewing regular mail, except there is no way to assign "Age" status to a message, and the origin system and conference is also displayed in the message header. You can still reply to a folder message, and RoboMail will use the origin System ID and Conference for addressing the message. Lesson 10 - Mail Packet Archiving ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RoboMail's "Mail Importing" configuration screen contains an option which controls the number of previously imported mail packets that RoboMail will archive. It is set to one by default. When RoboMail archives a mail packet, the first character of the extension is changed to an exclamation point. For example, your TUTORIAL.QWK packet is currently located in your incoming mail directory under the name TUTORIAL.!WK. If you would like to take the tutorial over again, just hit [F7] to shell to DOS and rename the file back to TUTORIAL.QWK. Type EXIT to return to RoboMail and then highlight the "." entry in the incoming mail window and press [Enter] to refresh the incoming mail directory display. Lesson 11 - Robocomm Setup ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you are currently using Robocomm to handle your mail gathering and delivery, simply start Robocomm and go to the "Data & Logs" configuration screen. Set the first option on the screen, "Path for mail packets (*.QWK)" to your RoboMail "Incoming Mail" directory. Set the second option, "Path for Reply Packets (*.REP)" to your configured outgoing mail directory. For example, If you installed RoboMail into a \ROBOMAIL directory, and Robocomm is on the same hard disk drive, you would set your Robocomm settings as follows: Path for mail packets (*.QWK): \ROBOMAIL\IN Path for reply packets (*.REP): \ROBOMAIL\OUT That's all there is to it! See the section of this document called "Running RoboMail by Command Line Switches" for time-saving tips on how to have RoboMail do most of its work database management automatically, before and after your Robocomm agendas. _______________________________________________________________________ RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 9 School's Out! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I hope you've enjoyed this brief tour of RoboMail and that it has been helpful in getting you started with the program. To learn more about the program, just dive in and start using it. Remember that online help is always a keystroke away, and the topic-oriented ROBOCOMM.DOC is available to give you overviews of the major functional areas in the program. Have fun! RoboMail 1.0 -- Tutorial for New Users Page 10

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