[Evolution] Some more ideas.

These are some snipets from a mail I sent to the Evolution hackers at
Helix Code recently:


                You guys know what this is.

                Even if we have vFolders now, they are still hard to
                define and use.  I realize this is my fault, as I told
                Michael "Lets begin by using the Outlook interface".
                It needs some polishing, but I still feel like this
                interface goes trough a too lengthy process.

                We need to think a lot about this, and make these
                vFolders accessible everywhere, and we have to make
                sure that after a day or a week of Evolution use,
                people are actually using vFolders.  

                We do not want vFolders to be some obscure feature
                nobody understands.  Lets think about innovative ways
                of creating vFolders on the flight.  A few ideas

                        1. A menu item that says `Display all messages
                           from...'.  An input box would then create
                           the vFolder.

                        2. Maybe a graphical "template" system in
                           which the user is presented with a set of
                           choices that he just needs to fill in.

                        3. A search dialog box that creates the
                           vFolder on the flight.  User fills the
                           dialog with values, clicks ok, creates a
                           new vFolder.


        Default set of vFolders.

                We need to ship with a set of "useful" default
                vFolders in the system that people can start using
                right away without having to define any rule or
                anything like that.  They should just be quick

        Model/View split.

                As far as I know, it seems like we are about the only
                communications system that uses a model/view split for
                most of its data (mail being the major exception, and
                smart approaches for handling this are always

                This split is particularly useful for having multiple
                "viewers" of the same data: A GNOME interface, a web
                interface and a Pilot interface.

                Not only this, but it also fits nicely into Helix's
                long term business model of providing services to
                people (more about this on Nat's updated business
                plan mail).


                This feature is present in Gnus and various other
                mailers.  Lets make this feature graphical, lets make
                this user intuitive, easy to use.  

                Like the Tivo.

                The Tivo has two buttons: thumbs up and thumbs down.
                we can have a similar mechanism that is simple to
                grasp and can be used to read your mail.

                Using scoring plus ETable grouping, and ETable sorting
                would allow us to quickly see relevant mail.  This
                plus a vFolder can be used to provide a "Day at a
                Glance" display on the "Executive Summary" of the day

                We can make Evolution more and more inteligent and
                adapt to the needs of people more and more. 


                Everyone is very impressed with the results of
                Evolution's scalability.  I am not sure anyone was
                expecting Evolution to be able to load the kind of
                mailboxes people have thrown at it.

                Even yet, I have seen Jacob use Evolution a few times
                just to grep for important mail on his own Inbox
                because searching is so fast.  

                I believe he is the first real user of Evolution I
                have seen.

                Kudos go to Dan and Michael who have made this

        User Interface.

                One of our goals with Evolution is raising the bar for
                Unix GUI applications.  It should become the
                in Unix.

                I agree, many ideas right now are taken from Outlook,
                and this will slowly change as the product matures.

                Right now we are far from a usable system.  Lets get
                the system up and running and usable, and I will not
                have any objections for playing with the user
                interface, and changing it and morphing it as much as
                you guys want until it fills your hearths with a warm

                Lets just get this application up and running for
                people first, and get the foundation up.  

        Ease of use.

                As I mentioned last night, I am now convinced that we
                need to have and acknowledge a "user level" setting in

                This would enable some features to be hidden, or made
                simpler, or simpler dialogs to be shown when the user
                level is low, and more advanced features to be made
                available to the user when the user level is set to

                I believe we can achieve a beautiful desktop
                integration by using GConf (and of course, we will
                sync with the Eazel people and the GNOME hackers to
                use the same setting for all the apps on GNOME).


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