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.