In the beginning, there was Claris Emailer. Mac users came to know and love the application. When Apple banished Emailer saying ‘you can no longer be developed‘, users cried in anguish. Fleeing the land of the banished, Emailer’s developers took their ideas and moved to the land of Microsoft.
To understand Entourage’s history, you have to go back to its roots in Claris Emailer. Emailer began it’s life when developer, Jud Spencer worked for Fog City Software. Emailer was purchased by Claris in May 1996. Jud packed his bags and moved from Texas to California to continue work on what was to become one of the best Email applications for Mac to date.
Emailer 1.0 was released by Claris in June 1996. There was never a version released by Fog City. Fog City Software continued as a virtual company most noteably known for Letterrip Pro (mailing list server for Macintosh). Be sure to check out the Fog City gang in the early years.
Emailer’s main developers left after Apple killed development and went to work on Outlook Express. Their ideas are what made Outlook Express and later Entourage great email applications. Even though they would continue to hear “Why can’t you do this like Emailer?” there were many new features that users came to love in Outlook Express. Personally, I thought that as soon as beta testing was over for Outlook Express, I would go back to my beloved Emailer, but when I did Emailer just seemed a bit faded around the edges. There were features available in Emailer that never were ported over to Outlook Express, but overall Outlook Express went on to become a favorite for many users.
When Microsoft decided to add email to Office:mac, Outlook Express was renamed Entourage. I understand that choosing the name was difficult as all of the really good names were copyrighted. For the longest time, I thought Entourage was a weird name for an email client, but now Entourage is email. At least, we weren’t stuck with another version with Outlook as part of the name.
Entourage was designed for home users, but due to popular demand, exchange support was added. See Why did Microsoft replace Outlook for Mac with Entourage? for the story behind exchange support for Entourage.
FWIW, I still have my Claris Emailer box with floppies. My experience with email couldn’t have had a better start. Not only was it a great application, but the Claris Emailer community was one that added to my experience using my Mac.
This same community can still be found on the Entourage-talk list that’s hosted by Jud Spencer the chief developer of Claris Emailer, Outlook Express and Entourage. I guess you could call Jud the “father of Entourage”. Over the years the developers have actively participated in the talk list. This close interaction with regular users shows their commitment to making this a great application. Jud has moved on to work on Windows Live (unreleased) for Microsoft, but he still continues to host the list. The last feature Jud gave us before leaving MacBU was Sync Services. See The last major feature that I wrote for Entourage has shipped
- Emailer 1.0 released by Claris in June 1996. There was never a version released by Fog City.
- Claris Emailer for Windows was currently scheduled to ship later in 1997 (it was never released and no actual development was started)
- Emailer influence was shown in announcements like this: PowerMail was the runner-up of the 1998 Apple Design Awards in the category “Best Apple technology adoption”, and Mac Central called it “a viable Emailer replacement”.
- Outlook Express development started in May 1997. It was a follow-on to Internet Mail & News. Development was led by Dick Craddock, who is now in charge of development for Windows Live Hotmail.
- The first beta of Entourage was called “alpaca”.
- The first release of Entourage was in June, 2000.
- Although Entourage has many features of Outlook for Windows, its
implementation “under the hood” is completely different, and is all-Mac.
- Developers that came from Emailer are: Jud Spencer, Dan Crevier (was originally the AppleScript implementer for Emailer), Dave Cortright and Dave Marandino. Jud and Dan are now working on an unreleased Windows Live product. Dave C. has moved on to Yahoo Messenger. Dave M. is test engineer at Apple, working on Keynote.
- USENET Macintosh Programming Awards 1996 Outstanding Programming for a Commercial Product: Jud Spencer for Claris Emailer
- MacWorld Magazine Announces Winners of 1997 Eddy Awards Best Internet – Client Software Claris Emailer 2.0
- 1996 Desktop Critic Interface Awards
- The Mac’s brightest stars. (1998 Editors’ Choice Awards)
Despite the popularity of Claris Emailer and numerous awards, Apple Computer killed development of Emailer. The entire development team either left Apple or was assigned to new projects. Who can explain the logic of this?
I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey down memory lane. Please share your memories…