Announcing ‘Anjal’- the new mail for netbooks

What is Anjal?

Anjal is a new mail UI created on top of Evolution. It would have a very interesting UI & features, that would make it the very suitable for low memory/processor/resolution devices.  It is Evolution & EDS at the back of Anjal. We have broken down Evolution mail library to a smaller component and made a reusable shared library to be used by Evolution.

Anjal would be using WebKit for mail rendering and composing. It features a nice multi-line message list, with unquoted text-preview of the latest  messages in the thread.  Its configurable to make it even more lighter, by choosing a sqlite-cursor-based tree view, which would have the visible window of the message list on memory, very suitable for mobile environments. It supports tabbed browsing, a small preference window & new account setup. The project is ~20 days old and would go more changes as it grows, wrt features and UI, to make it a good mail-client for GNOME on Netbooks.

Message list

Message list

It would feature a nice conversation view, where you can open/view threads on the conversation view. Yeah, you would ideally see your messages also part of the thread.

I have some more screenshots at here.

The code is hosted in git://git.gnome.org/anjal You can check out, try use it  and ofcourse contribute to it. You probably have to patch EDS, Evolution and Webkit which adds some new apis. The patches are part of the source repository. We don’t have a bugzilla yet, but we are working hard for  a 0.1 pretty soon. Pour your feedback to me.

Update:

Andre asked me to explain the name for ‘Anjal’ :-) . Anjal means ‘Mail’ in Tamil

45 Comments

  1. Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Oh thank God! Evolution is a wonderful back-end, but everything about its front-end makes me want to tear my eyes out and eject them from the nearest air lock. Can’t wait to run this on my desktop.

    Now, smart mailing list support (automatically file them) and I will never go back :)
    (Especially when someone follows up with similar calendar / tasks software).

    …And is that THREADING I see? Like, good threading? Gmail-esque threading?

    The list is getting pretty long now, but you’re on my list of heroes. If I ever attend GUADEC I will owe beer to a lot of people…

  2. Johannes
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    That looks really great! Looks like a possible future Evolution UI to me!

  3. Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Geez, that really looks great! Can’t wait to get my hands on when I’m at home. It looks like the perfect UI for people like me who use Evo just for simple email stuff and don’t use most of its features.

  4. Simone
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    How do i pronunce Anjal? An-ee-al?
    Or does the J sounds like in Jade?

  5. Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Srini,

    I salute you! This is bloody marvelous, one question though is it just e-mail or are the other PIM functions available?

  6. Jeffrey Stedfast
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Wow, looks very nice!

  7. Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Why not use tinymail as a base instead of evolution? Phillip and crew have been working on the backend side of things a lot longer and ultimately it is all based on the same technology anyways.

  8. Andreas Simon
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    This looks like a great GUI improvement, and not only for netbooks.

  9. Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Simone: Its pronouned ‘J’ as in Jade. You stress on ‘J’ and ‘L’

    Wafaa, this is just on job thing. Mail

    Jeff Schroeder: tinymail is the frame work. And Camel has moved on from where tinymail forked it. I hope sometime, Camel & Camel-lite would merge to make a separate library.
    But the UI is something that is focussed here.

    Thanks a lot for the feedback guys.

  10. danne
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Looks great! Looking forward to testing it on my netbook!

  11. Posted March 18, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    With the tasks/calendar/contacts apps from the Pimlico suite, all sharing the e-d-s backend, this might be golden!

  12. Posted March 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Nice stuff! Can’t wait to try this out =). Be sure to drop by #webkit-gtk@FreeNode and discuss your API needs with us there. The patch looks very simple, but we may want to make those features you need available through more robust, future-proof objects.

  13. Gustavo Carneiro
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree. This looks amazing.

  14. Adde
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Looks great.

    What’s up with the tabs though? What is different between choosing a tab and choosing one of the categories on the left? I don’t understand what additional use it has from these screenshots :)

  15. Posted March 18, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Is there an addressbook or do you have to know all addresses by heart?

  16. Posted March 18, 2009 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Thank You!

  17. menko
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    First, wasn’t the plan to use tinymail as a backend for EDS sometime in the future?

    To Anjal, I think from the response (and probably long before) you knew you are awesome :)

    Seems like “Anjal” is the NEW MAIL, not just for netbooks.

    I will definitely use it, even on my 22″ screen, because of its slick interface.

    Oh, and you even got the quotation marks right, good boy ;)

  18. Posted March 19, 2009 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    This is terrific.

    Netbooks are a huge growing market. Anything we can do to make it easier for users using the open source options, the better.

    Thanks!

  19. mgunes
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    I too been looking for an EDS mail frontend to complement Pimlico, in an effort to complete the switch from Evolution as a frontend. This looks like it!

    I’ve not been able to compile it so far, though.

  20. Aidan Delaney
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Is there a bugzilla somewhere? I think Anjal is using stuff like mail-folder-cache.h which is not part of the evo public interface i.e. it’s not in the dev package on Ubuntu or devel in Fedora but is in the source for Evolution.

  21. Darren
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Looks amazing! I love that you removed as much wasted space as possible.

  22. Posted March 19, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Yep, this will be replacing evolution as soon as it is built.

  23. Posted March 19, 2009 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Gustavo Noronha: Sure, you can expect me anytime :-). I have quite a few API needs and thanks for your help.

    Adde: I didn’t understand on the categories. But, If you want to view two folders simultaneously. This is it for you.

    Sense Hofstede: It integrates with EDS for addressbooks. So you are saved. The People element on the left side, should get you some presence integration, people list. Autocompletion would be working seemlessly

    menko: Tinymail, was supposed to absort back the new camel. The onlything thatz good with tinymail is the IMAP hacks. Im working hard to find time, to finish my IMAP code Yeah, Im using it on my desktop already.

    stormy: Thanks a lot Stormy. This is very early, Im sure, by GUADEC this year, this is gonna be a complete mail solution. This would help GNOME in Netbooks (Desktops also :-)

    mgunes, Aidan Delaney: In git, I have 3 patches, eds-anjal.patch, evo-anjal.patch & webkit.patch. You need these to build now. Its not yet in the main stream. If you have it, you can build.

    Thanks a lot for the feedback guys.

  24. Posted March 19, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    First of all gr8 UI, such a vast improvement over current Evo UI, thanks!
    I just can’t wait for the Conversation View and Tabs. Btw when i saw tabs, the immediate thought that came into my mind was ‘cool, now i can easily switch back and forth between mails’ but i see its only(?) for categories/folders.
    It would be really more useful if you can open up multiple mails from inbox or any folder into separate tabs. So some option like, right click and say open in new tab, as in firefox.

  25. serola
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Should it be http://git.gnome.org/cgit/anjal/ ?

  26. shrift
    Posted March 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    How should we provide feedback? I’m having build issues.

  27. Posted March 19, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    It is nice to see a project taking advantage of the modular nature of Evolution for its mail interface – this is the first one to my knowledge.

    There is a Debian intent to package opened already http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=520342.

  28. Edder
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Hi, I like your project, because I have a eee pc which evolution is anoying for my screen, also I want to contribute.

  29. Posted March 20, 2009 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Puthali: That should be possible.

    Serola: Thatz the cgit page. That tells you how you can clone.

    Shrift: You can mail me, or catch me on #evolution. Im ‘srag’ there.

  30. Posted March 20, 2009 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Edder: sure. If you are interested in writing code or testing, ping me ‘srag’ in #evolution/GimpNet.

  31. Koyomi Mitsuhara
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Awesome!

    Evolution has always been more of an enterprise tool than a home-user program. I’d like to see something like this and the Pimlico apps eventually replace it in non-enterprise desktops.

  32. Erno
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi, this is off point but on at the bottom of the Windows page of the Evolution blog you say that you guys run a script to compile Evo for Windows: “Run this script and everything would be done. Ready to use the build.” but there is no link to the script. Could you please post the script for us? Actually on point, any chance of getting Anjal to run on Windows? :)

  33. Peter Robinson
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Very nice! Are the b.g.o bug numbers for the patches to evo/e-d-s/webkit to get them upstream that can be tracked?

  34. melwin.a3
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Valthukal……..First time i heard tamil name in the opensource world….
    —-Proud to be Tamil
    —-valga Tamil

  35. Posted March 21, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Erno: I have plans to have Anjal on windows also :-) Since the project itself is 20 days old, though I had my components built over a year, I should get to a 0.1 and then look at Windows release

    Peter: I would be upstreaming the webkit patches this week. Evo & EDS, I woud do upstream it pretty soon.

    Melwin :-)

  36. Posted March 24, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I have built Evolution-anjal for Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty. The packages are available at https://launchpad.net/~hggdh2/+archive/ppa.

    Please install *all* -anjal1 packages, for Evolution, Evolution-Data-Server, and Webkit.

  37. Posted March 25, 2009 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    My Ubuntu packages have been updated to the patches as of 2009-03-24; additionally, webkit has been upgraded to 1.1.3.

  38. Posted March 25, 2009 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    C de-Avillez: Wow, thanks a lot Hggdh. This is gonna be really helpful.

  39. Posted March 25, 2009 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    This is great stuff. Since I have to use evolution daily at office I can understand the pain related to its UI and slowness.

    Are you looking for a packager? I am willing to provide packages for Ubuntu in my PPA. I am even willing to maintain the package in Ubuntu starting with next development cycle, provided you keep doing regular releases.

  40. Posted March 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Onkar: C de-Avillez has done a part of it already. If you can join hands with him, it would be awesome. Im looking for weekly builds. Very soon a 0.1

  41. Posted March 26, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Very nice looking site. Also great post.

  42. Posted March 28, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Sarah

    http://grillsblog.com

  43. Posted April 1, 2009 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    I usually don’t leave comments!!! Trust me! But I liked your blog…especially this post! Would you mind terribly if I put up a backlink from my site to your site?

  44. Posted April 1, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Feel free to do so.

  45. Posted April 9, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    This looks amazing, and is exactly what’s needed to complement the roster of programmes (Dates, Contacts and Tasks so far) to access the very-useful EDS in a UI that does not eat people’s computers and also try and accomplish too much.

    I tried compiling this on F10 but had no luck — which versions of evolution, eds and webkit are you working against?

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