Some hints for usability improvements

First of all forgive me for the blasphemy of using Sylpheed to post to Balsa's mailing list. I'm using an old computer with very limited memory right now and I prefer to use Sylpheed here because of the lighter memory footprint. Also, the latest Balsa compiled on this oldie, but crashes on startup (I'll investigate this some other day).

Although I still prefer Balsa 2.3 over Sylpheed 2.2 or Sylpeed Claws 2.0, here are some little things from Sylpheed that would (in my opinion) improve the usability of Balsa:

1) Balsa's message editor could use an undo history. For now there's a single level of undo and it works oddly, the cursor is moved out of place when doing an undo. Contrast this with the configurable number of undo steps in Sylpheed. (Ok, ok, maybe we don't need a preference for this, but 50 levels of undo/redo should be enough for anyone, especially if everything works right).

2) Replying to a mail with several levels of replies breaks the paragrafs lines in crude ways. Granted, you may reflow manually by selecting the affected paragraphs and reflowing them manually with Control-R or the corresponding menu entry. But the logic of doing it automatically is not so complex. Sylpheed seems to get it right (and I think it's not the only MUA to do so).

3) Balsa's spell checker is primitive. I rarely use it because it's hard for me to follow it as it checks through the text. There seems to be no indication to what word is being questioned and you have to guess a lot. (Disclaimer: This message is not spell checked, but at work I've tried Sylpheed Claws with spell checking and it evens checks the spelling as you write).

4) Balsa, please be nice and ask me before sending a mail with an empty Subject header... And also ask me about automatically re-encoding to UTF-8 if my mail contains characters not present in the default encoding.

5) As someone that usually reads only the new mails on several folders and subfolders in an IMAP hierarchy I frequently navigate from one new message to another using the Ctrl-N shortcut. When there are no new messages in the current folder I have to manually switch to a folder with some new mails to continue reading them. Sylpheed does what I mean and asks me if it should change automatically to the next new mail in the next subfolder in my IMAP hierarchy. True also for other MUA's.

6) In both Sylpheed MUA's it's possible to set up the folder pane to only show the folders and the number of new mails in parantheses along side the folder's name. No need to display the whole list of statistics just to see how many new mails you have in a specific IMAP sub-folder. As a side note, I got to distrust the new status of IMAP subfolders in Balsa especially with some (maybe broken) IMAP servers like Exchange.

7) Sylpheed Claws manages to briliantly organize the multitude of options from Sylpheed preferences in a window with chapters and subchapters on the left side (no more sub-tabs in a tab of the Preferences window).

I'm sure I forgot some other issues, but it's late and I'm getting tired. I'll save them for some other time. And please take everything with a grain of salt, I wrote about options and shortcuts without actually checking them one by one so I may be wrong in some cases. It may be also that Balsa has some (unknown to me) ways of dealing with the above issues. If so, please let me know of any workarounds, they will probably help others too.

After using also Mozilla Mail, Thunderbird, Evolution and Mutt I think all mailers suck. But for me Balsa sucks less, that's why I'm still using it on two other computers daily. I really like it's elegance and hope for even more refinements.



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