Weblog entry #383 for simonw

Icedove 3 rant
Posted by simonw on Mon 2 Aug 2010 at 22:21
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Mozilla devs look away now...

They changed the layout of the folders, I can't figure out how to persuade it to display how many messages I have in each folder any more.

They changed it to display "You", and contact names when I want to know which email address was used (both myself and my correspondents have more than one email address). Sure you can disable it, but they have put a menu to the right which sits on top of the email address when it is displayed in full. Bleeding over the text - talk about GUI design fail.

The menu on each message kind of makes some sense had it been laid out correctly. By default Debian is giving me a "reply" with drop-down arrow. The drop down so far has only offered me "reply", so appears to be a waste of space. I also have a "reply all" displayed on group messages, with a drop down offering "reply", but no "reply to group", so it encourages people to reply to sender and group (please no this is so ****ing annoying don't encourage it please), or sender, but not "group".

Disabling the useful "always show reply to sender" gets rid of the mostly redundant drop down "reply", and helps with the text flowing under the buttons, but actually that is a useful button. Also disabling "icons" (show text only) helps, I'm doubtful of the utility of icons in menu's, witness "icons only" gives me more space back but I'm not interested in learning what the icons correspond to, but I can "read" (literacy is a relative safe assumption for users of email clients).

Migration assistant gets me my old toolbar back, but it doesn't remove the new one, so just clutters up the display more. I assume that some plug-in controls are in the wrong menu is a plug-in author thing, but the menu on the message doesn't have any more room.... Perhaps it we reclaimed the screen estate used by "tabs" (even when only one is open) we could put the message menu in a space of its own. Tabs are only fashionable - a sensible app switcher removes the need or utility. Indeed I'm beginning to find them tiresome in Firefox these days since I switch tabs a lot and applications a lot, and the difference breaks the flow.

"Close other tabs" - silently fails if the other tab is the folder view. A misnomer perhaps?

Some new features seem a little underwhelming in presentation. "Favourite folder" seems a sensible if minor improvement although I can't see myself using it (maybe it makes more sense for news readers?), but if icons are worth having at all they should offer visual clues like which folders are marked as favourites!

Some changes seem to be inherited from Firefox code base, and have interesting features. If you view a message and then enable "auto-detect" of character sets it temporarily changes the view of the current message to a source like view. I assume a straight forward bug.

I like the faster search, there are some lovely little features in passing.

With some hacking around I can persuade it to do most of what 2.x did, but with email addresses disappearing under buttons in the pane view and no totals for mailboxes. If I used KDE at home I would have switched to Kmail already, as it is Icedove will probably get a little more use, but I fear that Mozilla has fallen victim to the fashion of fiddling with perfectly good and long established UI design ideas in order to make the product harder to use - oops I meant to say "trendy".

If the GUI folk are bored how about writing code not to offer "close other tabs" when no closeable tabs are open, or the great two greyed out options "close other tabs" + "Close tab", when neither work. And remove the "tab" when no tabs are open (especially when "open in another windows" is selected so no tabs will ever be shown).

Oh and can the "total" field in the column editor ever be populated now?



 

Comments on this Entry

Posted by Nilshar (80.14.xx.xx) on Tue 3 Aug 2010 at 08:12
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My main concern about Icedove 3, is the insane use of CPU for "Compact Folders"... and for some reason it freeze my Iceweasel until done. And it can take 10 minutes !!
Had no problem at all with that with Icedove 2...

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Posted by ajt (195.145.xx.xx) on Tue 3 Aug 2010 at 08:39
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I feel your pain...

A long time ago I use to use Eudora Pro for my email. I've never got on well with any other GUI email client since I stopped using Eudora. Mozilla Thunderbird was okay but I never really liked it and I now use KMail as the least bad GUI email client.

For non-GUI email clients I started with elm, then used Pine and I currently use Mutt. Though very different, in many ways Mutt is less hateful than most GUI email clients, e.g. Outlook.

I've never found an email client that isn't hateful, just some of them are less bad...

--
"It's Not Magic, It's Work"
Adam

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Posted by pj (82.136.xx.xx) on Tue 3 Aug 2010 at 08:58
Sylpheed(-claws) is eudora-like in lightweightedness.

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Posted by ajt (195.145.xx.xx) on Tue 3 Aug 2010 at 12:56
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Everyone keeps saying that but when ever I've tried it, I thought it was ugly and not very easy to use. I suppose there is always a learning curve with a new tool and that always gives the incumbent tool a head start. Most of the time I don't mind KMail, it integrates well with KDE and is okay. I just wish it was better!

--
"It's Not Magic, It's Work"
Adam

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