Threaded webOS email app in the works, open sourced | webOS Nation

Threaded webOS email app in the works, open sourced 8

by Derek Kessler Fri, 12 Oct 2012 3:14 pm EDT

Threaded webOS email app in the works, open sourced

Way back in January one of our wish list items called for something we've seen plenty of on competing platforms: threaded email. We admit to being Gmail addicts, and the threaded email system employed by Gmail to keep our conversations neatly aligned is a major factor in that addiction (along with labels). So you can imagine our disappointment when HP open sourced practically unchanged Enyo 1.0 core apps from webOS 3.0.5 as the core apps for Open webOS 1.0. The email app in 3.0.5 on the TouchPad is fine, but that's it. It's not great, fantastic, or even "hey, that's pretty good" anymore. And the lack of threaded email plays a big part in the "meh" reaction (overall speed and performance is another matter).

Today, on the Open webOS Project Forums, Roy Sutton of Developer Relations revealed that there is a threaded email app for Open webOS. It's been developed by Jason Lai (of HP/Gram), and while not yet complete, has been released to open source. As Sutton notes, it's still in need of "the final polish to be 'production ready'."

Lai chimed in with a reply, noting that "threaded email has been a long-requested feature of the webOS email app" (darn right it is) and that it "takes a lot of effort to get right." The codes and algorithms to manage the threading and reported as being "in a very basic state" with this release, "particularly with regards to thread grouping and reply text detection". Even though the code is described as being in alpha stages, they've still released it to open source to solicit feedback on the interface, find and crush bugs, and get help from novice and experienced coders in fleshing out the threading mechanisms (it needs, for instance, the ability to thread across folders, e.g. including emails from the Sent folder - kind of useful for threading to make sense).

As with everything else Open webOS, the code is all available under the Apache 2.0 license on GitHub, though this threaded email app in particular is hosted under the Unstable branch. Lai also went through the effort of seriously cleaning up the email app's code, organizing it in a more logical and clearly segmented structure to make these sort of improvements easier to apply, and the app as a whole easier to understand.


This is an encouraging development.

The existing email app on the Touchpad isn't "fine" -- it has never successfully worked with my email provider. It can retrieve the folder names via IMAP, but it can't pull mail.

That same email provider works fine with my iPhone, my wife's iPad, various Android apps, and any number of desktop IMAP clients I have used over the years.

I hope this app works better.

Hurrah! I too had the exact same problem with the mail app, and resorted to having my IMAP mail provider forward copies of everything it receives to iCloud's mailbox, which my Pre 2 can synch just fine...

So if this can be made ready for primetime on an openWebOS port on modern hardware w/virtual gesture support, then life will be sweet...
Hold your breath now! :)

That sounds encouraging. Will it be possible for someone to port it to WebOS?

Threaded email... meh.  The existing mail client is fine. :P

I'm probably more dependant on Threading than I'll acknowledge here, but the reason for my Gmail dependence is solely Labels. webOS' IMAP functionality worked well enough for a kludge, but now that I've gotten used to the Android Gmail app's labeling ability it'd be tough to go back.

This is really great to see. If I'm not mistaken, it's the first new feature we've heard of since 3.0.5 was released. The open sourcing can't really be called a feature, although I'm not belittling its importance or the amount of work that went into it. I'm just glad to get confirmation that there are improvements in the works that will hopefully help webOS catch up to the competition in terms of features and functionality.

Im over webOS. Nothing's been updated for ages. Sick of using old technology.

this is great news as I know many people have asked for this. and I am all for it, like with all of these "features", as long as there is a way to turn it off. I despise threaded email. :-)