This is the fourth blog I am doing for my Software Development Practices subject.

Eudora is an email client that I use to access my various email accounts via POP. It does the job admirably and I have been using it for years. Relatively recently, an update to Eudora added instant search functionality, presumably to combat all the other instant search products that have been hitting the market over the last few years. It was a good idea, as doing a normal search through your email tended to take a while.

The Eudora development team took the easy way out: they licensed a third party instant search product called X1 and integrated into Eudora. Unfortunately, this is where the good idea started to come apart. The fast search often does not find results, even though you know there are emails that would match your search parameters. This seems to happen mostly for newish messages, making me think that perhaps the X1 search engine is not having its search index updated in a timely manner. This is an annoying and misleading problem, since most users trust the output of their search request. If their result set is missing some emails, they probably won’t notice and will miss things.

I would probably blame this problem on a lack of testing. Eudora was late to the indexed-search party and perhaps the development team rushed the implementation and skimped on the testing just to get the product out of the door. Not a good move. My theory is lent credence by the fact that the Eudora team chose to integrate a third-party search solution rather than write their own, like every vendor seems to be doing currently. They needed a solution quickly, so instead of spending time writing their own, they used X1.

When specifying the requirements for the new indexed-search feature, the Eudora team probably forgot to define some clear quality requirements that should have specified the regularity at which the search index was to be updated, if indeed that is the problem. Of course, this is such a blatant problem that it really should have been picked up in the test phase. This indicates lax procedures behind the running of the software testing activities.

To fix these sorts of problems in the future, the Eudora team should be very careful and specify all quality requirements during the specification phase. This should be backed up by a more stringent test phase before the product goes live. The team should try not to rush the product out the door; in my opinion, its better late than critically broken.

Unfortunately, since Eudora is no longer being sold by Qualcomm (the company behind Eudora), this bug is probably not going to be fixed. Luckily, there is an option to turn off the indexed-search and use the old search. It may take a few seconds to return results, but at least it returns them all.