2.1.3 Discussion Points


I have some comments about balsa 2.1.3 that I would like to discuss with you folks. I deploy balsa for several novice users for use in their homes as their primary email interface.


1. Handling of attachments is awkward for novice users. For example, I have a messages that has the following listed under the "Message parts" tab:

mixed parts
	alternative parts
	biketran.txt (text/plain)

I have found that users have trouble with this interface. Switching between the "Content" and "Message parts" tabs seems to confuse people.

An alternative would be to replace the "Message parts" tab with a combo-box. Rather than display MIME types (text/plain), I think we should display the associated icon for each type. Something like this might be a simpler way to display the information above (imagine this as a combo-box):

View email as HTML [ envelope icon ]
View email as text [ envelope icon ]
View biketran.txt  [ text icon]

Choosing a combo-box option would instantly update the email window. There would be no switching between tabs.


2. Many of the menus seem unnecessarily complicated. For example, the following options had me confused:

Mailbox->Empty Trash
Mailbox->Commit Current
Mailbox->Commit All

Message->Move to Trash

When using IMAP, "Move to Trash" does not move a message, it marks it to be deleted. "Empty Trash" does not have any affect on IMAP mailboxes, "Commit .*" must be used. Can't we come up with some type of policy requires only a "Move to Trash" action or otherwise simplifies things?

Also, Message->View Source could be removed and wrapped up in the combo-box idea above.

Several other menu items could probably be removed or moved into the preferences dialog (threading options, etc.).


3. The address book interface could use some improvements.

Dnotify or a similar (platform-independent) mechanism could be used to replace the "Re-Import" button on the balsa address book (at least for local address books like gnome-pim). I have a patch vs. 2.1.0 that does this. I would be happy to clean it up and port it to 2.1.3 if anyone is interested.

As an alternative, we could tear out balsa's address book code entirely and instead rely on gnome-pim. I've never really felt comfortable with balsa/gnome-pim's interaction. There seems to be something redundant/ confusing about it.


4. The remote content within HTML emails is not displayed. This includes <IMG src=...>, etc. I could imagine security and privacy reasons for this, but the bottom line is that it breaks a lot of users' ability to read email that they receive from legitimate sources. I think this policy needs to be discussed.


5. Balsa 2.1.3 does not support SSL. Is there plans on implementing this?



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