Web 2.0 !!!

A few days ago I got this reply on one of my blog posts:


Your post — and your work — miss the point entirely. Nobody cares how email works, they just want it to work.

Gmail (and most other webmail applications) makes everything else obsolete. I can’t imagine why Evolution is even shipped with Gnome anymore.

Web-based email clients are the standard.


I just finished the E-mail client the guy wants. Here it is!

using GLib;
using Gtk;
using WebKit;

class Web20EmailClient : Window {
	WebView view;
	construct {
		view = new WebView ();
		view.open ("http://gmail.com");
		view.set_size_request (640, 480);
		add (view);
	static void main (string[] args) {
		Gtk.init (ref args);
		var win = new Web20EmailClient ();
		win.show_all ();
		Gtk.main ();

15 thoughts on “Web 2.0 !!!”

  1. How short-sighted of that guy. I can’t live without the integration Evolution has with my desktop, and I certainly wouldn’t give up the security of having all my e-mail saved locally just for the convenience of being able to access it anywhere.

    Anyway, nice solution to his problem. ;-)

  2. I don’t like Evolution at all, but I can’t think of using gmail (I actually still use Mutt, waiting for something better). Apart from the problem of not having real control of my mail (where is it physically stored, what happens if this burns down, … I have two backup of my mail in physically different places).

    Moreover it is a real pain not being able to access e-mail when not having internet access, for instance when working on the train, or on business travel. Finally, although Google works a lot on integrating web to mobile devices, It will be hard to get the same usability with gmail on these than with a specially-crafted mail user agent.

    Anyway, this guy is a troll.

  3. Ah! Great! I’m not the only Philip who gets deluded maniacs commenting on his blog posts! This makes me feel a little bit better about the “Web2.0” world where everyone likes to comment on everyone.

    We all know that /real/ email is still alive of course. IMAP and graphical (let alone “Web2.0”) clients entirely optionial.

    I still feel we should take down the WWW and rethink it before redeploying it intelligently. I fear I am in a very small minority with that opinion, however…

  4. To each his own. But I pretty much agree with Anon. Odds are better that I’m somewhere geographically with a net connection then that I’m somewhere with my computer and a cached copy of my emails. And to me that’s more important then privacy.

  5. I somewhat agree with Anon too. Most people couldn’t care less where their e-mail is stored or how it’s accessed, as long as it can always be accessed. And the most convenient way to do that right now is GMail or some other webmail. No configuring of IMAP/POP/SMTP needed, just do the sign-up dance and you have mail. The web is a well known interface to them.

    I used to be a long time Mutt user and liked that control, but I never had the delusion that my hosts were keeping the data more safe (in a data integrity way) than Google’s farms.

    The privacy issue is real though and is something that worries me.

  6. You know, I actually had to write a stupid app like that once.
    Just because the users didn’t feel safe reading mail in the browser
    (and because they like to minimize their e-mail client to the tray).

    So all I did was host the site in a desktop application and added it to the tray.

    I think there’s also a huge difference between the home user and the business user.
    The average home user just wants to check his or her e-mail and doesn’t have any
    other requirements, while the business user might want to “manage” his or her e-mail
    and have it available for off-line viewing etc….

    Stating that either solution is obsolete simply indicates a lack of understanding.

    I use GMail because it’s as good as place as any to store my mails.
    E-mails from my other domains end up in GMail as well.

    I have a few desktops in my office and each of them has an e-mail client installed.
    Since I’m using IMAP I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to read e-mails,
    I just do. And whenever I feel like it or have the need to I’ll use the web based interface.

    I just want my mail to be accessible at all times and I prefer to have a “local cache”
    of my e-mails in case I get disconnected or on the road without wireless or hsdpa.

    I like Evolution because of its extensibility. It doesn’t look fancy, but it’s so damn
    easy to go ahead and build your own software on top of it.

    I use Outlook because some customers want me to build software for it.
    (Such as google services integration)

    I use iMail because I love working on the Mac.

    It all depends who you are, how much you understand of what you’re doing
    and what you want to do.

  7. I agree with TimothyP. There are situations where lots of different email user agents become favored. But for those saying they need to use local clients because they want local copies for their mail as a reason to avoid gmail…just pop your mail from gmail, and use the gmail setting where popped mail is archived by gmail. This gives you the best of both worlds. You have a local copy when you are offline or if you prefer the UI of the desktop client, and you can access your mail from a browser when away from the machine having the local copy. Personally I funnel all my mail through gmail because of its superb spam filtering. But I do like a local copy of mail.

  8. Or you could use Evolution with GMail, which is what I do with Google Apps (Couldn’t keep up with maintaining my spam filter, etc etc).

    I use actual email clients for the integration, speed, and ease of use. I use Evolution on my PCs and Modest on my handheld ;) Gmail web is a nice backup (at work, etc) but does not replace a decent client.

    You can also pull in backups using IMAP (imap archive or some other similar program will do the trick).

  9. Can someone please tell me what language this example is in? I don’t recognise the “construct” keyword. Thanks.

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