Wednesday, 17 March 2010

From Entourage to Mail.app and iCal

I've recently made the jump from Leopard to Snow Leopard and, with it, have been able to move from Microsoft Entourage to Mail.app / iCal (Snow Leopard provides better Exchange support, which means iCal should now allow things like viewing other people's schedules). After the initial jubilation, it turns out that things aren't quite that rosy after all. So I thought I'd capture what the down points are in case anyone is considering a similar move.

I've actually found Mail and iCal to be a bit clunky.

- Messages that have been sent have still been saved in draft, and sometimes didn't appear in the sent folder. This led to me sending messages a second time, causing confusion. Sometimes these messages were incomplete, because the draft had been saved before the message was completed.
- There's been at least one occasion where I sent a (very important) message but all evidence of it has disappeared, even when I use Webmail to look directly on the server.
- Sometimes i've tried to delete a message from drafts but Mail.app wouldn't let me, claiming that it couldn't connect to the server. Yet I was able to carry on sending and receiving other emails with no problems. The only way to remove it was to send it!
- In iCal, when changing a meeting, it seems to struggle when looking for certain invitees using auto-complete, even when the recipients are all on the same domain
- Entourage used to give frequent recipients in my address book priority over those I never email (who just happen to be in my domain). Annoying because for Stephen Waller (with whom I share a project), I have to type "Stephen Wal", because there is something else in the org whose name starts with "Stephen Wad".
- When changing / removing an event in iCal, you have to inform all participants / the meeting organiser - you don't have an option not to send a message. Annoying as I sometimes want to remove or change something in my calendar without sending the organiser an email.

These are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. There are others.

Anyway, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm seriously considering moving back to E-Rage - sorry, Entourage. Not cool.

7 comments:

Iain said...

I've been noticing some issues with Snow Leopard in other areas. It does feel a little less polished than Leopard.

xalen said...

Sounds more like problems to do with Exchange rather than Mail and iCal. How would Entourage fair with Openchange?

Phil Whitehouse said...

There are a few problems which appear to be problems with the way Mail.app / iCal talk with Exchange, and others where it's definitely the applications' fault. Why do I *have* to send an email when I remove an event from *my* calendar? Very unlike Apple - and I'm inclined to criticise Apple for shipping software which, ultimately, delivers a much worse experience than Entourage. It's a good seven months since it was released, and this was one of the main features they promoted.

WashResistantFinn said...

Do you think these problems are based on using Exchange or just based on Mail? I have been thinking moving From E to Mail as well, the main reason of synchronizing with the cellphone and Plaxo.

Phil Whitehouse said...

Most of the problems are with Mail.app rather than Exchange. In fact it really doesn't work very well keeping Mail, Address Book and Calendar separate - for instance, when I get a meeting invite in Mail.app, it doesn't tell me whether I'm already busy (much less tell me what the conflicting booking is). It clearly hasn't had the same level of user experience design love that most of the rest of Apple's product line has received.

That says, it seems to do no harm switching for a short time to see if it works for you. I finally lost patience with Mail.app yesterday, switched back to Entourage, and it's as though I never left. So there's little to lose from giving it a go!

Hope this helps.

Christine said...

I think I tried the E to iCal/Mail experiment for a total of ONE day! Or make it two days: yesterday and today!

I was online searching for discussioins on the iCal/Mail vs Entourage because I wanted to convince myself to stay with iCal/Mail and work out the issues- and I happened upon this page. It sounds like I wrote this. Like you, I had much jubilation when I tried iCal/Mail all day yesterday. I really like having both open on my deskop. The goober in me was looking forward to going full Apple. I also have a convoluted setup that goes from Exchange/Entourage all the way down to this iPhone app I really want to use for my cal/tasks, so I was excited about ... huh, don't know why I really was that excited. Something new, maybe??

But then some small things stated irritating me: the mail preview would show empty emails, so I'd have to close down and open up again and the email preview would finally show the email content - it was annoying.

There were some other issues, which I could go into but thinking about typing all the details is making my head spin.

I'm back to E now and like you said, it's like I never left.

Phil Whitehouse said...

I've also rolled back to Leopard from Snow Leopard. Still got a few problems, but definitely more reliable.