Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Vista Friendly Local Mail Server Solution

A while back I found Free STMP, an easy to use SMTP server for Windows XP. This seemed like an ideal solution for PHP and Java development. But, I think I've found one that's even better, and it's Vista compatiable too:SMTP Server Emulator.

You download, install it and it runs as service. The app does what it promises - to the PHP and Java, it looks like a SMTP server, but mail is never actually sent anywhere. It just gets stored locally and is easily viewable in Notepad.

This approach to mail handling has some major advantages:

  • You don't need to worry about spam traps and delays when sending yourself e-mail. Trying to convince your gmail account that it should accept mail from some random laptop running a basic SMTP sever can be a real pain.
  • No mail is ever sent - so you can't accidentally mail folks when testing the application
  • Every mail message sent by the application can be audited, even those that don't have the developer in the To: field.
  • The totally local setup allows you to do development that involves e-mail even when not connected to the Internet. Like, say, when you're programming in the car (while your spouse is driving).
  • You can instantly inspect e-mails that were sent rather than waiting for them to arrive in your inbox.

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