Weblog entry #227 for Steve

So I've been writing a mail-client
Posted by Steve on Fri 10 May 2013 at 11:27
Tags: none.

Yeah, I could hardly believe it either.

It is modal, it uses Lua for scripting/configuration. It is not yet complete, due to missing features. But as a read-only mail-viewer it works perfectly.

 

Comments on this Entry

Posted by dkg (108.58.xx.xx) on Wed 15 May 2013 at 00:31
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You're a madman, Steve. But i like it :)

Have you considered using notmuch as a message indexing backend and using lua to craft the frontend? The notmuch folks have done a lot of good work on sorting out the backend and already there are several active frontends (the most widely-used of which is implemented inside of emacs, in elisp). The contributors tend to be happy to see more frontends that suit people's preferred workflows, and the backend is still flexible enough that it can been tuned to meet the demands of novel frontend workflows if you explain what you need that it doesn't provide.

They've also made some similar decisions to what you've made about working only with maildirs, and leaving imap/pop/whatever to dedicated mail transfer utilities.

The community on the notmuch mailing list is active and friendly, code quality is high, and insightful feedback and savvy collaborators are available.

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Posted by Steve (90.193.xx.xx) on Mon 20 May 2013 at 18:34
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I thought I'd replied to this, but clearly hadn't. Oops.

Sadly both notmuch and sup crash on the sheer size of my mail archive. I've got a long way with teh new client now, and although it isn't as pretty as notmuch/sup I'm enjoying the modal nature and real scripting support.

I'm sure I'll never have a popular client, but I think there is room for more mail clients and this will suit my needs perfectly.

Steve

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Posted by Anonymous (216.254.xx.xx) on Mon 20 May 2013 at 18:43
out of curiosity, how large is your mail archive? I'm happy to see more mail user agents available, i didn't mean you should stop work of course :)

there's a lot to be said for itch scratching.

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Posted by Steve (90.193.xx.xx) on Mon 20 May 2013 at 18:44
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Smaller than I remembered actually:

steve@steve ~/Maildir $ du . --total --human | tail -n 4
4.0K    ./.debian.packages.calcoo/new
28K     ./.debian.packages.calcoo
8.5G    .
8.5G    total

Steve

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Posted by drgraefy (198.129.xx.xx) on Sun 8 Sep 2013 at 01:40
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Ha, well, I guess /someone/ already did suggest notmuch as a luamail backend :)

But really your mail store made notmuch *crash*? That's hard to believe. Crash, or just take a really long time to index? The notmuch db ends up being something like 50% the size of the original mail store, so you also need the extra space.

But if that's really true that notmuch *crashed* I know the notmuch developers would be interested to hear about it. They are quite responsive, and would certainly appreciate a bug report or any feedback you could provide.

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Posted by drgraefy (198.129.xx.xx) on Sun 8 Sep 2013 at 01:43
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And actually, it looks like my mailstore is about 10G, and notmuch is working fine for me. And I know for sure that other notmuch developers have mail stores much bigger than mine...

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Posted by Steve (2.120.xx.xx) on Sun 8 Sep 2013 at 09:19
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I'll reply back tomorrow, when the import is done.

shelob ~ $ notmuch new
Found 489202 total files (that's not much mail).
Note: Ignoring non-mail file: /home/skx/Maildir//.Drafts/dovecot-uidlist
Note: Ignoring non-mail file: /home/skx/Maildir//.Drafts/dovecot.index.log
Note: Ignoring non-mail file: /home/skx/Maildir//.Emacs-FAQ/dovecot-uidlist
...

The estimate for the initial import jumps between 40 minutes and 10 hours. I remember it took a long time last time round (I'm pretty sure sup failed to successfully import my archive too.)

Steve

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Posted by drgraefy (66.191.xx.xx) on Sun 8 Sep 2013 at 15:59
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Yeah, initial imports can take a long time for large stores. However, once you've built the index updates are very fast.

One of the cool things about notmuch is that it's a library. So the reason I mention it is that you could consider using it as a backend for searching and retreiving mail, while still using the front end that you've developed.

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