As well as a stand-alone application, 4D Mail is now included as part of the 4D WebSTAR V Server Suite – consisting of a combining Web server, FTP server and a mail server – that use a common administration tool and interface. This review will concentrate solely on the mail component.
4D Mail is a Mail Transmission Agent, or mail server, meaning that it acts as a gateway through which email applications such as Microsoft Entourage, Qualcomm Eudora, and Apple Mail can send and receive emails.
The beauty of 4D Mail is the ease of set-up. With it, you can be serving and receiving mails within a matter of minutes – although if you’re upgrading from a previous version, you need to be careful not to overwrite your existing configuration.
You can set up multiple virtual servers (or Post Offices, as 4D Mail calls them), and configure multiple domains so that you manage mail for a number of organizations or domain names. You then add users to determine who can send mail through the gateway. Generally, you’d have one post office per domain, but you can map more than one domain to a post office so that a user receives all the emails sent to both [email protected] and [email protected], for example
The WebSTAR Admin Client is where all these things are configured. The Mailbox Server, SMTP Server, and Post Office are all managed with simple dialog boxes. Unless you really know what you are doing, or have very specific requirements, accepting the default setting is generally fine.
Two neat features of 4D Mail are support for virus-checking and spam-filtering. Although the WebSTAR suite doesn’t come with the anti-virus software McAfee Virex, if it’s installed on the server machine, it can be activated through the Admin Client to automatically check any messages and attachments for viruses.
With Mac OS X built upon Unix foundations, you’ll already have sitting on your machine a Web-server application (Apache) and an email server (Sendmail). While it’s relatively simple to get Apache up and running, configuring Sendmail is a dark art known only to Unix beardies. While WebSTAR might not measure up so well against Apache, the stunning ease of implementation of 4D Mail make it well worth a look.