An update on development (May 2020)
by Alexander Obenauer
June 14, 2020
by Alexander Obenauer
June 14, 2020

Hey crew!

I'm working on the finishing touches of a rather large update now.

(Update: It's here!)

Some background:

Originally, I planned to put search in the "More" tab, and I expected it to work like MP3's search (which runs a local search for recent messages, and defaults to IMAP search for anything further).

During initial testing last year as we were discerning exactly how this new kind of email client should work, one of the major things that kept coming up was the need for wicked fast search. It was clear that it needed to be fast to activate, fast to use, fast to run the searches, and fast to get you into the results you're looking for.

Burying search in the more tab and relying on the notoriously slow IMAP search implementation on most email servers wasn't going to cut it.

So, much of the internals of our favorite email app needed an overhaul: in order to provide a wicked fast search experience, Mail Pilot needed to do a lot of new things.

Things like caching message headers locally in a database (effectively now becoming home to a traditional disconnected client's IMAP sync engine), to gracefully handling Gmail's chaotic implementation of labels-as-folders via IMAP (and the baffling decision to make the IMAP folder "[Gmail]/All Mail" be both the archive folder and also home to a copy of every message, a decision which requires code specific to Gmail accounts in email clients that want to handle search most effectively).

There were a lot of shortcuts available to make the re-engineerings, re-factorings, and new development go faster but result in a worse user experience. True to the purpose of this new generation of Mail Pilot, I decided against each and every shortcut available.

The result: a slow and steady development of the foundation that will power a world-class search experience, as well as a handful of other major features in future versions.

Nearing the end of the development, the foundation is almost set. I will kick off testing soon with a small group of folks. The update will roll out once we have pinned down all of the details of the search experience (and of course, ironed out all the bugs hiding trying to hide from me).

Stay tuned, and I hope you all are well!

This update was initially shared in the Mail Pilot Yacht Club Slack group.

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“An ingenious new email service”
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“A joy to use”
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“Best designed email app on the App Store”
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“Mail Pilot is a superb mail client”
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