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McEs, A Hacker Life
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
 Evolution, #1

Ok, I really have to start this series. I'm not calling it "Evo Sucks" just yet because some of the issues (like the one in this post) are really funny and make for a good laugh. Here it goes:

I use the threaded view because that's how I like to read my mail. I also have selected to see deleted messages (with an overstrike) until I expunge them manually, for two reasons: 1) I'm used to this way, 2) without this option, threaded view is absolutely useless as deleting the message up in the thread makes the thread jump to a new location, depending on the date of the next message. Ouch!

But here is the funny part: the Evo toolbar has got three interesting buttons: Delete, Junk, Not Junk. Now think about it for a minute...

If you are wondering why the "Junk" and "Not Junk" buttons are not merged into a single button, and why the "Delete" button doesn't turn into "Undelete" if a deleted message is selected, you see how funny Evolution can at times be.

Update: Filed this, this, and this.

I clearly recall that at one time one of the junk buttons (can't exactly remember which) actually did disappear instead of going inactive. This was somewhere earlier in the 2.15 cycle, or 2.14.
This is when I found out about this cool gtk built-in toolbar animation that exists, where when a tool is removed from the toolbar, it slides the other buttons nicely to the left.
I believe that changing the text/action of buttons mid-stream is an a11y no-no. You'd have to double check that, though.
I was under the impression that it is optional as to whether email marked as junk would go to the junk folder or not. If it's set to stay in place, then having a junk and not-junk button side by side could still have a purpose.

This offers no explanation as to why they're not merged, just why both actions could take place one after the other without moving around.
Then of course, there's the time when someone replies to a really old conversation; and Evolution does not reorder the conversation to the current screen : hence you're left spending hours trying to locate that old conversation, because you KNOW there's an unread email in that, and you'd rather just read it in the "Unread" search folder, but then you'd rather see the email in threaded form, which was the whole point anyway...
Re last comment, very recently someone wrote a patch to make evo sort threads based on their latest mail, not the first.
clever man, I agree 100% with the doubling up on the buttons.
@Luis: yes, changing button functions on the fly can be undesirable for accessibility, but it's not disastrous, and there are sometimes ways around it depending on the situation. (E.g. in this case, if the accessible description for the button was "toggle junk status" or similar, you could change its label and icon without having to tell screenreader users that its function had changed.)
Hi Behdad. This is probably obvious, but please file bug reports about this stuff if you haven't already. I'm trying to pick off as many of these stupid UI glitches as I can before Evolution 2.8 / GNOME 2.16 / Fedora Core 6.
All of Evo seemed completely bizarre to me, until I took a job where I had to use MS Outlook. Suddenly, it all made sense.

If you haven't used Outlook: Evo (at some point -- 1.0, maybe) was virtually identical to it. Why one button for delete? Probably because that's what Outlook does.

Thankfully, Evo has been moving from "clone" towards the direction of "good design". And based on Matthew's comment above, it looks like if you call them on it, they'll actually try to make it better. So rant on. :-)
Another observation is that you can't drag and drop messages to either Junk or Trash in the folder tree. The reason I've been given for this is that they're not really folders. But yet they present themselves as, if not folders, then virtual locations for you to click on. To me the abstraction is no different than dragging and dropping documents to the Wastebasket on your desktop. So that's another UI glitch I'm determined to get working.
I have that problem with spam marking/unmarking. Some times you do the wrong key combination (Ctrl+K for marking msgs as readed its very close to Ctrl+J for marking them as SPAM) and find yourself navigating the SPAM folder searching for the deleted mails.

At least the recovery is easy. The messages recovered from the SPAM mailbox return to the right folder they were before marking them as SPAM.

Perhaps one option would be to just mark-them (perhaps indicating that will be moved to Spam folder when you change the folder), or adding another list-pane with the "marked spam in this folder".

Another big problem I usually find with SPAM in evolution is that messages remain in the folder, just marked as spam and hidden. The Spam folder is just a virtual folder that searched them. So you can't use your mbox files to train any spam filter, as they will contain all messages, spams and not spams.

The only way of separating them is to create a folder, move all the spams to that folder and expunge all folders. Ugly.

-- bisho
Im a evolution hacker.To answer all the comments.

- I implemented the moving a oldthread with newmessage to up. It is part of Evolution 2.8


I actually merged the junk/not junk button in early 2.14 cycle and
It has been marked as HIG violation .
There was some proposal to implement Learn as HAM (not a spam), for which, to a message, both JUNK and NOT JUNK has to be enabled, so that u can tell that a mail from foo@baa is never a SPAM, but unfortunately no progress went in that.
we fixing a lot of thread issues. Please file this thread jumping in delete in thread view and we 'll try and fix it.
Delete is a reported bug, which has to be fixed. But changing that to Undelete will be another HIG violation IIRC

I am also using the threaded view and am anoyed by the jumping messages on delete.
But unfortunately I can't find the setting which enables to mark a message as deleted without moving it.

Could you please post how this is done!

Thanks a lot, Fabian
Fabian, it's the "Hide Deleted Messages" in the "View" menu.
In response to Srinivasa Ragavan:

There was some proposal to implement Learn as HAM (not a spam), for which, to a message, both JUNK and NOT JUNK has to be enabled, so that u can tell that a mail from foo@baa is never a SPAM, but unfortunately no progress went in that.
we fixing a lot of thread issues. Please file this thread jumping in delete in thread view and we 'll try and fix it.

Perhaps you could add a "Add this emails to Whitelist" button next to the sender address when displaying mail.

- bisho
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