How To Ask For Free Help and Support



Before Asking For Help on the Support Boards/Mailing Lists

Dada Mail is released under the GNU Public License. Among other things, it means that there isn't any official support given for the program. It's one of the compromises that you give for a program released for free. But, as a community, support for the program can be created.

If you're having problems with Dada Mail, make sure you have the latest stable version. Dada Mail distributions are hosted by Source Forge. You can see all the files that are available here:

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=13002

The latest stable version will most likely be listed on the Dada Mail download page:

http://dadamailproject.com/download/

Depending on what you use Dada Mail for, you may want to at least try out an alpha or beta version. In a production environment, it's better to stick to "stable" releases. That's not to say stable releases have any less bugs in them, it's more like it's known what the bugs (and workarounds) are.

If you're following a bug and want to know when it has been fixed, it's best to check the changelog:

http://dadamailproject.com/support/documentation-4_9_1/changes.pod.html

If a bug you're experiencing has been fixed, await the release of a stable version, or risk using a development version.

If you just upgraded and a feature that was working, isn't anymore, look at the NOTES:

http://dadamailproject.com/support/documentation-4_9_1/NOTES.pod.html

for any differences/incompatibilities, gotchas - that sort of stuff.

Other Resources to Check Before Asking For Help

The Error Faq

http://dadamailproject.com/support/documentation-4_9_1/FAQ-errors.pod.html

The Release Notes

http://dadamailproject.com/support/documentation-4_9_1/NOTES.pod.html

This will have incompatibilities, if any, between versions, as well as any "gotchas"


What Information You Should Have When Asking For Help

The Version of Dada Mail

It's very very important to know what version of the program you're using. The differences between even small version increases can be dramatic. The version of Dada Mail is stored in the $VER Config.pm variable.

What program/script is giving you the error

Dada Mail is composed of many different scripts. Most of what goes on happens in the main mail.cgi script and, if you don't install any plugins or extensions, that's all you have to worry about. It's a good idea to specifically say what script is giving you the problem.

Your Server Setup

Different servers can give you different problems. If you think this is relevent, post the relevant information. if you don't know anything about your server, try installing a script, like this one:

http://www.scriptsolutions.com/programs/free/perldiver/

To help.

What Browser You're Using

Even though Dada Mail is a server-based program, differences in browsers may cause problems in formatting. Information you should be able to view may be hidden, or various browser technologies could be malfunctioning (example: cookies) Dada Mail is mostly developed on Mac OS X using IE 5.2 and Mozilla.

What Mail Reader You're Using

If you're having problems with the format of emails you're sending, it may be the mail reader that's causing the problems. Different mail readers render complex messages differently. Dada Mail is mostly developed using Apple's Mail.app program.

Logged Errors

Before reporting errors, find out if any of the errors were logged by Dada Mail or your server. Dada Mail can set its own error log. You may find that the error message is enough of a hint to help you out. If not, it might be enough for someone else to help. Copy and Paste the relevant log snippets with any help you ask.

Finding Error Logs

  • Check your server error logs.

    It's very likely that the server you run your account on keeps track of errors from programs, like Dada Mail. It seems that these error logs are kept in a different place in every different hosting company's account setup. If you can't find it, you may want to ask them.

    If you simply cannot find the error log, set one up specifically for Dada Mail.

  • Setting up the Dada Mail Error Log.

    There's a variable in the Config.pm file called, $PROGRAM_ERROR_LOG. Setting this variable to an absolute path to a file will produce a error log at that location. Usually, the file does not have to exist beforehand, but Dada Mail must have permissions to write a file at the location you specify.

    More information:

    http://dadamailproject.com/support/documentation-4_9_1/Config.pm.html#_program_error_log


Where To Get Help

It's best not to ask the developer (meaning me) for free help right off the bat directly via email or phone.

There's better resources to receive free help -

Discussion Bulletin Boards

Dada Mail's discussion bulletin boards are located at:

http://dadamailproject.com/support/boards

Before you post to the boards, make sure you've gone through all the documentation on the Dada Mail support site, and past messages in the discussion boards. Both the Dada Mail support site and the discussion boards have a search utility. Please take advantage of it.

If you do post a message dealing with an error, please provide the following for the best chance that your post will be answered correctly and you'll be able to get the help you're looking for:

Mailing Lists

The, dadadev mailing list should be used for talk about development of Dada Mail. Talk about getting Dada Mail up and running, or a part of Dada Mail up and running is also just fine:

http://dadamailproject.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/list/dadadev/

  • The version of the program you're using

    Bugs in specific versions of the program may be know, and fixed.

    If you're not using the latest version of the program, advice will probably be to upgrade the program to the latest version and recheck the problem you're having.

    If you do not know the version you're using, try going to a URL like:

    http://example.com/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi?f=ver

    Or, look directly in the Config.pm file for the variable, $VER

  • Error Logs

    If you get a 500 Server Error, you're going to have to go and find the error logs and report them.

    If you don't, you'll be asked to go find the error logs and report them.

    If you don't, you'll be asked to go find the error logs and report them.

    If you don't, you'll be asked to go find the error logs and report them.

    This document itself contains information on how to find error logs.

  • The situation

    If you can explain what you were doing when you get an error, this will help tremendously. For example, "When using the Dada Bridge Plugin and trying to send a message with an attachment to a list where discussion lists are turned on..."

Please do not be alarmed if your question is not answered if you do not provide the above information. Only post after you've collected enough information that can be helpful. Not to sound brash, but we cannot read minds (yours, or your server's).

If this amount of looking for clues about your problem is too much, consider hiring us for consultation. We're happy to help in that respect.


Hiring Us

http://dadamailproject.com/support/regular.html


Filling Out a Bug Report

Bug Reports are very much welcome, as the resources I have to test are limited. Bug reports can be filled out here:

http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=13002&atid=113002

Please put the version of Dada Mail that you're using in the subject of the bug report, it really helps. If a bug is already reported, don't report it again, but if you can add anything to the previous report, that's just fine.


Be A Part of the Support Community

If you do see a problem posted that you know the solution to, feel free to put your two cents in!


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