When a technology falls out of fashion

… it stops getting attention of developers.

E-mail is one such technology.

She was the darling of early days of internet – and is still the workhorse (or “work-mare”) of the corporate world.

When web applications boomed, innovations in E-mail clients severely lagged those in the browsers.

Even the cross-pollination of ideas from browsers to e-mail clients have stopped.

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Take for example the concept of history. [I think history is handled very crudely even in browsers. However, that is a different matter.] Why can’t a mail client also have  a history? With dozens of folders and Outlook-breaking number of rules, I forget when I filed a particular mail that I read a week before.

Unfortunately, e-mail clients are stuck in 1990’s where you can either have folders or history but not both.

Then the question arises, should history be maintained by the (disk-loaded) servers or the (thin, probably mobile) client? Both have tradeoffs. I’d leave it to designers to solve.

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Closely related to the concept of the history is the “back” and “forward” buttons. There are “up” and “down” buttons in an e-mail client that bank on the current sorting order of mails but nothing in the client remembers the past of “mail-browsing history”.

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Once we talk of back and forward,  we may also want to talk about multi-tabbed mail browsing and the “Oops!” button 🙂

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Another such example is favorites. There are flags in e-mail clients but favorites are missing.

Why can’t the mail client learn my favorite folders and keep them handy for moving mails? In some clients, there is a favorite area where I can move my favorite folder but the interface to it is so unintuitive!

Also, why can’t the client itself run the statistics and decide which folders are the most favorite?

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And did you feel the need of that “stop” button of the browser in a mail client? I have!

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And what happened to those “downloads”?

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The only one button I don’t think we need is “refresh”.

 

Can someone make these ideas a reality?

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