Back at the end of 2006, the UW was awarded one of the first annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration for the institution’s work on developing and releasing the IMAP mail server and the PINE email client. The $100,000 award was to be used to further the organization’s engagement with open source development, within a one-year time horizon.
While Pine had always been one of the most usable email clients in the old character-based terminal version, the web interface known as Web Pine was definitely idiosyncratic and the source of many complaints from folks here at the University.
We decided to use the award to develop a new design for Web Pine. Since then, all of the Pine email products have been rechristened as Alpine, hence the birth of Web Alpine 2.0. We hired a talented Web developer named Michael Yee to design the interface, and a dedicated and skilled group of folks here at the UW worked with him to craft the design.
Web Alpine was released as part of the Alpine 2.0 open source software release last summer and now is now available for folks to test out here at the UW. While it’s not entirely bug-free, it mostly works. If you’ve ever used a modern web email client like Yahoo! or Windows Live, you’ll feel right at home. If you’ve used the old Web Pine interface, you’re likely to feel that this is a huge improvement.
Here are a couple of screenshots – worth a thousand words.