Email clients, with an eye toward Forward and Redirect

(Adam Engst) #1

I’m betting you were a Eudora user. :slight_smile:

Only Eudora really made a distinction between Forward and Redirect. But when you’re at the email account level, forward is the term of art, and it works the way Eudora redirects did.

Redirect for email
(Neil Laubenthal) #2

Guilty as charged.

(Jeffrey Jones) #3

Apple Mail has two different commands – in the Message menu – for Forward and Redirect.

(Adam Engst) #4

So it does! You can tell I don’t use Mail. :slight_smile: But I’m glad to see that Apple copied that feature from Eudora.

(frederico) #5

I can’t think of a Mac client I’ve ever used or seen that didn’t have both forward and redirect; Eudora, Claris (from waaaaaaaay back), Entourage cum Outlook, et al.

Adam, what client have you seen without it?

(Adam Engst) #6

Perhaps I’m just misremembering, but no Web client that I can think of supports redirect, nor do the modern apps like Spark and Astro. Honestly, it was a throwaway comment, and if I’m wrong, so be it!

(frederico) #7

Yes, I’m with you on web clients, which I generally hate in the first place. I know gmail is powerful and highly favored, but even though I can pilot it like a pro, I just don’t like the way it feels.

I’m only asking after lacking clients so I can be sure to avoid them. If it lacks redirect, it probably lacks other vital things.

Honestly, as a long time Claris, Entourage and Eudora user from way back, I just don’t get why Mail gets such a bad rap. yes, it needs plugins and addons to make it fly, but apart from a few obnoxious UI and accessibility bugs/“features”, it’s fast and stable with massive mail data bases and multiple accounts. Yes, I miss the direct integration Entourage had with calendars and contacts, but with data detectors, Spotlight, and the rudimentary integration Apple gives with its disparate apps, third party utilities and homegrown apps are a pretty effective replacement.

The thing I miss most is being able to pull a contact card and immediately have direct access to email and calendar histories. I’ve replaced it with scripting, but it is an awkward workaround.

But I do not miss monolithic, proprietary databases, and frequently rebuilding them and panicking over possibly lost items or scrambled data; and being forced to archive out giant chunks of MBOX files to prevent instability; and dragging those MBOXs back in when you’re desperately looking for ancient data.

(Simon) #8

I wonder about that myself.

I’m not happy with its search (a general issue with how picky in terms of spelling Spotlight searches are, plus lack of support for *), but otherwise I can use it very efficiently and it mostly ends up doing what I expect and want. It’s fairly snappy and solid and its UI is rather simple and clear IMHO. I have to admit though I do use the traditional 2-pane view (not the iOS inspired one) and open emails to their own windows instead of displaying them inline. I have lots of folders and like that I can display them at all time, see much of their content listed, and drag email to and from folders easily at any time.

Now that I write this I realize that maybe one thing I like about it, is that despite all the new stuff that’s been added over time, essentially I can still use it the exact same way I did when OS X came out back in 2001. 17 years! :+1:

Now if only I knew a way to get Mail to hide certain IMAP folders from view without requiring any server-side intervention… :wink:

(James R Cutler) #9

I didn’t switch from Eudora to Mail until it was mostly broken (OS X 10.3?) and then never looked back. I had also used the 2-pane view for years with Outlook on Windows. I try not to do that anymore.

Note to developers: Some of us sort lists more effectively if the fields are in columns, not interspersed as inspired by iOS. And, the presented information in the 2-pane view density is greater which is helpful on screens which continually become “shorter, lower, wider”. Apple needs to remember that some of actually to “think different”.

RE: hiding mailboxes - I just hide all the mailboxes and put the most important/used in the favorites bar with short names and no icons. Command-Digit shortcuts become useful here, but should not limit the number of favorites shown.

(Adam Engst) #10

To judge from the many complaints we field about Mail, stability and reliability are what it lacks for many people. And Mail treats the add-ons as essentially hostile, such that they need constant updates to stay compatible, which means that many of them fall by the wayside because they need too much development compared to how much they make.

There’s a reason that Take Control of Apple Mail was such a popular book for us for years—people had tons of problems and confusions. And it wasn’t updated for a while because Joe went from being a huge fan of Mail to being really weary of all the problems for which there was no actual solution. Nonetheless, we were super happy to see that he updated it a few months ago to provide what advice he could and bring it up to date with all the changes.

But personally, I just don’t like its UI, search, performance, etc. Never have… Your mileage may vary.

(frederico) #11

Perhaps it’s because I transitioned from Entourage and Outlook while using Mail casually in parallel (and keeping knowledgeable to support others), that the constant nightmares of dealing with Microsoft (despite the joyful workflows when it was working properly) made Mail and its travails seem palatable in comparison.

May I ask what you are using? From your earlier comments I suspect it’s web-based, which has very little appeal to me, since I manage numerous email accounts and a high volume of mail I really prefer to be wrapped into one client. But if there’s a better solution out there, I’m definitely interested; Perhaps I just got myself into a rut of tolerance and my investment in my own scripting and macros with Keyboard Maestro have just made this a bad habit.

Every once in a while I’ve looked at other clients that creep up in articles, but most have black one feature or another that make anything good about them insufficient; and I think a couple of those have since gone under, so I’m glad I didn’t try to invest in them.


(gastropod) #12

frederico wrote: “I suspect it’s web-based, which has very little appeal to me, since I manage numerous email accounts and a high volume of mail I really prefer to be wrapped into one client.”

I love Fastmail. I have the ‘standard’ account, $50 / year (25GB mail + 25 GB file space), which allows domains, and I also collect the mail from several pop accounts to gather it all together in one place. They allow fetching (via pop) up to 50 accounts, 500 ‘identities’, 100 domains, and 600 aliases.

The company is a group of independent developers in Australia (they once sold it Opera, but bought it back when Opera wanted to be bought). They provide a huge number of features, including on server filters, CalDAV and CardDAV, Webdav, and even light duty static web sites and photo galleries. I keep one copy of running on my server to run spamsieve, do some filtering, archive older mail, and let MailTags add some metadata (it doesn’t show up in fastmail, but is useful if I have to search archived mail).

The fastmail web interface is so responsive compared to Mail, even on my slow connection, that I now hate having to use Mail at all. For one thing, I can set it plain text only, so now I never have to move the body of a message to bbedit so that I can actually read it. For another, I never have to wait 30 seconds for a message to open, which is more common than not with Mail.

There’s a 30 day demo with no payment info up front:

Alas, if they have a genuine redirect, I didn’t find it…

(frederico) #13

I frequently recommend fast mail to clients and friends when it’s appropriate; but, alas, its fetch features do not work with my many IMAP accounts. I need a monolithic client that is compatible with IMAP accounts from multiple providers. And I’ve been desperately avoiding 2FA, but it’s being shoved down our throats more and more. Mail is one of a few select clients that can adapt to the ever-growing security nightmare.

I have huge data bases of mail going back decades; I imported almost all of my mail from Entourage/Outlook, into which I had imported all of my Claris and AOL (blush!) email, as well as my Eudora. I do an awful lot of search, and yes sometimes the limitations do present themselves, so I move over to Houdaspot to compensate.

Every once in a great while, slows down and becomes a bit sluggish in loading new items, especially if it is HTML or Rich text or includes embedded images, and I am forced to actually log out of my account (Sierra) and log back in to clear whatever memory jams are happening (I have 64GB on my 8-core Mac Pro, so I’m never out of physical RAM), and then it speeds right back up again, without needing to reboot.

But I honestly can’t remember the last time mail crashed. I don’t think it’s happened for many years. SpamSieve, on the other hand, crashes often.

(Adam Engst) #14

At the moment, I’m mostly testing Spark and (less so) Astro. For many years now, however, I’ve been using Gmail via its Web interface in Mailplane. I wrote about it long ago:

The reason I’m trying other clients right now is that Gmail started to change in ways that didn’t work for me, and in general, the performance seemed to be slipping. Spark is far from perfect, but it has some interesting approaches and a good UI.

My experience is that email is one of those things that’s highly personal, and it’s easy for a client to be “wrong” in some basic way that might not bother someone else (or might even be a plus).

For instance, I’ve learned over the years that keeping messages unread is the only way I won’t lose track of them, so it’s very important to me that any client be able to display just unread messages and make it super easy to mark them as unread if I can’t deal with them right away. Someone who uses flags or files messages a lot wouldn’t care about those features, just as I don’t care about ease of filing, since I do almost no manual filing.

(Adam Engst) #15

I’ve been meaning to say that I think the entire concept of Redirect in email clients is on its way out, since it essentially requires that the message be forged so that it looks like it came from the original sender. That almost certainly runs afoul of DMARC.

(Simon) #16

Thanks to James’ comment I tried playing around with favorites and the favorites bar which I so far had always hidden. It seems to be an especially effective tool (using only very little screen space) if you don’t constantly rely on a large number of folders. The latter is why I always have the Mailboxes pain open and interact with it basically constantly.

Anyway, while I was playing around with that, I discovered the tab bar which I didn’t even know existed in Mail. But I must be missing something because I don’t really see what that’s good for. I just couldn’t figure out how to open a second tab. No menu item, no right-click option on folders, etc. Does it only work in the “non-classic” layout? I suppose I must have missed something since a tab bar with only one tab at a time strikes me as rather useless. :confused:

(James R Cutler) #17

The Tab Bar is (apparently) useful only in full screen mode when composing a new message where ⌘-n results in an addiitional new message form in a new Tab.

(Simon) #18

Thanks, James. That makes sense. I totally missed that since I admittedly forgot to consider you could run Mail in full screen mode. (In fact I hardly ever run anything that way.)

(frederico) #19

I abhor Fullscreen mode, as I have six displays and it is not engineered to merely take an app Fullscreen on a single display; I get furious when I accidentally enter it and it takes time to respond, animate the disappearance of my other apps/Desktop, slide the other displays into darkness, and finally animate my foreground app to full screen, and then sluggishly reverse the entire mess when I hit Escape – which doesn’t always work in every app so I have to mouse around to click the button. Maddening.

It also irritates me that apps display a confusing offering of Tab modes that, as you’ve seeminly discovered, don’t work at all until you stumble into Fullscreen mode. No explanations; no tooltips or popup hints; hard to find documentation (try searching Mail Help for Tabs); just a feature that appears not to work.

That said, @james.cutler @Simon, try opening two or more Viewer windows (Command-Option-N), then use Windows -> Merge Windows; you can then take advantage of leaving each viewer tab/window in a different view, and use keystrokes to choose a particular tab/window. You may wish to customize these keystrokes for more-dextrous options in System prefs -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts, or even use Keyboard Maestro or the like to make opening a particular tab a one-key action.



(Alan Forkosh) #20

Are you sure about the multi-display issue? There is a checkbox in the Mission Control Systems Preference for ‘Displays have separate Spaces’. If checked, and you request a window be displayed fullscreen, that window will be added as a new space on the current display. In 2 display situations, slide show applications like KeyNote and Powerpoint work fine in Presenter mode with the 2nd display showing a full-screen presentation. The only time I have needed to turn it off has been when using Aperture in multi-display mode. The checkbox has been there ever since Spaces was replaced by Mission Control. The one nasty thing about it is that one must log out and log in for a toggle of it to take effect.