C-Command Software Forum

More feature requests about mail

I think EagleFiler is a great tool for archiving of mail. Here are a few suggestions to make it even better (well, better for me :wink: ) (I did a quick search and could not find if these were already proposed.)

On the displaying of email:

  • Could it be possible to have threading? Threads like mutt does would be amazingly great, but even simple grouping like Mail.app would be useful.
  • When viewing a mailbox, could it be possible to automatically change the columns in the records pane? I never use the “From” and “To” columns when viewing other records, but I’d like to when switching to viewing a mailbox.

On attachments:

  • I think I proposed this already, but inline viewing of attachments would be very useful, at least for the types EF understands.
  • It would also be great if searching also looked inside attachments. I tried it, and it seems like the attachments are not indexed. (Mail.app also does not include attachments in its search, which is very unfortunate, but DevonThink Pro Office does index attachments, according to their FAQ.)

Thanks a lot.

This is on my to-do list.

I’ll have to think about how the user interface for that should work.

That’s on the to-do list.

EagleFiler does index text file attachments. I’m planning to extend this to other types.

Great, thanks a lot. (And this must be quite a big to-do list :wink: .)

I love threading, especially for newsgroups (which I try to store in EF). I consider Apple Mail’s approach completely useless.

When retrieving mail I usually look for a specific piece of information. Full-text search is the perfect way.

I rarely have the urge to follow whole discussions. But doing this would be impossible with a current EF if the Subject: changes midway.

A whole thread (what an EF archive would contain) can have hundreds of messages nested tens of levels deep. Adding threading would increase the memory requirements of “Merge Mailboxes”.

More importantly: how do you display such a tree? Most packages fail if you don’t allow them to filter out read messages. GyazMail for example simply lets the indentation create columns bigger than your monitor. Requiring the user to click outline triangle after triangle effectively prevents overview. “Hoisting” like OmniOutliner doesn’t fit EF’s current window and sidebar notions.


I’ll have to think about how the user interface for that should work.[/QUOTE]

iTunes has a switch to save all view preferences (mostly columns) either globally or per folder.

What do you suggest instead?

I have yet to see a hierarchical threading display that I like. However, as a first pass I think it would help to allow sorting by title to detect subject changes. (Right now it handles changes like “Re” and “Fwd” but doesn’t actually track the message IDs.)

I don’t see why. It would increase the memory requirements for display, though.

Yes, but it’s more complicated than that for EagleFiler, since it supports multiple selected sources, as well as different view settings for different windows. Personally, the “global or per-folder” choice doesn’t seem satisfactory to me, because I inevitably set it to per-folder to make one folder an exception and then have to go back and change all the others individually. So I want to do something better, but I’m not sure what, exactly.

(this forum quote code is way to much work)

> What do you suggest instead?

Since posters always reply to one message threading is inherently hierarchical. There is no way to adequatly represent it other than some kind of tree (which need not at all look like the Finder).

The only advantage Apple Mail’s grouping has (if it would use message ids) over simple subject sorting (ignoring : prefixes) is to catch subject changes.

My favourite thread display is found in knews (X11, predates KDE) where a single window displays first a list of groups, after double-clicking one a list of threads, and after choosing one of those a graphical tree at top and the seleced message below. The tree cannot be collapsed and is panned with the mouse. I’ll try to post screenshots this week.

> So I want to do something better, but I’m not sure what, exactly.

Do you know OmniFocus’ Perspectives?

OK, so you really want to see the hierarchy, and collapsing is not key. That’s what I wanted to know.

Yes. It seems rather explicit.

Something on thread display http://justool.blogspot.com/2008/02/representing-news.html

Oooh, shiny. I’d like this!

> Oooh, shiny.

Where? Both applications are rather dated and severly lacking in several ways.

> I’d like this!

What? I loved knews but could never use MacSOUP.

A future EF might have a toolbar switch to toggle the list between regular and mail mode. The latter would have its own column settings and show threads instead of individual messages. Selecting one would show all messages of that thread linearly in the record viewer (like in a digest or forum). An optional floating panel would contain the graphical tree map and allow jump-scrolling in the record viewer.

I find the “knews” approach very nice. (Ugly of course, but nice.)

I think I remember a nice looking version of this in some mailer, but I’d have to dig it up. The best thread implementation I’ve used is mutt (I insist on the “I’ve used”). This is why I find nice something that approaches it.

What I would in fact prefer is having threading information and navigation separated from the display order (i.e. still be able to see messages in date order and have threading information). I’ve spent a while searching for an example for this that I remember seeing, but could not find it so I’ll try to describe it. I once saw a screenshot where the threading information was in the margins, in the form of color coded dependency graph (the color would specify the thread). It was a bit similar to the MacSoup interface with a huge difference: the threading information would be in the left margin, aligned with the message list, so one could see the threading information and read the meta data about the messages at the same time.

If you mean http://www.mutt.org/screenshots/index.gif this might have problems with very deep threads. As I wrote: GyazMail just lets the subject column indent out the window.

The only weird display I rememer is http://www.research.ibm.com/remail/

Color coding would break down for very big mailboxes. There are only so many colours you can easily distinguish, and what use is it when two related messages have the same colour but are separated by a hundred others that where posted in the time between?

You can try this with Apple Mail: enable thread display, show colors from the Format menu, select each collapsed thread and assign it a color. Then disable threads and sort by date.

I’ve used Mutt for a long time, and I’ve had this issue. Yet I’d rather have indenting pushing the subject out of the window (IIRC mutt still displayed it in the first message of the thread that was visible) compared to what Mail does,

The IBM link looks a lot like the thing I’ve seen and may also be an improvement.

But in any case, I’d be happy in EagleFiler with Mail-like threading, and happier with more involved solutions.

If thread display is part of the subject column it can only convey information about levels that fit the column. In active threads you’d completely loose threading after 3 days because by then all new posts are 10 times removed from the starting message and therefore look identical. The obvious solution is to hide read mails, but that does not apply for an archive tool.

I mentioned that I’ve not yet missed threading in EF (maybe once I get sentimental about old flame wars :wink: but if it’s added I don’t think the Apple Mail approach would be worthwhile.

From that standpoint it’d be relevant how many potential EF buyers have big threads in their mailboxes. After all a lot of mailing list activity has been replaced by web forums you can’t archive locally :frowning: