For about a year, Birdhouse has offered users an experimental installation of the Ajax-based Roundcube webmail client. In addition to its super-clean appearance, Roundcube takes the unusual approach of applying desktop application UI conventions to a web application.
On the web, a single click activates links (e.g. opens email messages), while on the desktop, it usually takes a double-click. Roundcube also requires a double-click to open email messages. Pain in the neck? Kind of, but the pay-off is that you can select a group of messages just like you would on the desktop, by Shift-clicking a range of messages, and drag them into a folder, batch-delete, etc. A trade-off. Other than the UI differences, Roundcube is still a bit short on the more advanced features, though it definitely feels less like 1995 than ye olde Squirrel (though I confess to a huge soft spot for the Squirrel).
As more and more apps move online, this single-click vs. double-click question is going to get stickier. Ironically, Microsoft tried making the single-click-to-open-anything convention a desktop standard a very long time ago (was it Windows 98?) — a move that failed miserably. Windows ME/2000/XP all returned to double-click launching by default.
Anyway, we’ve been running Roundcube outside of cPanel, but recently found a tutorial on integrating Roundcube directly into the cPanel webmail screen, alongside the already offered Squirrel and Horde options. Now if the folks at cPanel would get off their keisters and make it part of the official distribution, so I wouldn’t have to maintain it manually…