[notmuch] notmuch 'index' mode.

Keith Packard keithp at keithp.com
Sun Nov 22 23:18:33 PST 2009

On Mon, 23 Nov 2009 07:06:06 +0100, Carl Worth <cworth at cworth.org> wrote:
> On Fri, 20 Nov 2009 23:35:29 -0800, Keith Packard <keithp at keithp.com> wrote:
> > I posted a patch adding an 'index' mode to notmuch and though I'd
> > explain my idea. Most mail systems provide a 'folder view' mode which
> > displays the set of folders and a count of messages in each folder. I
> > used this myself as the first sort of which messages I want to read.
> I've just pushed this set of patches out now.
> I like it quite a bit. Here are some thoughts:
>   * The mode documentation really needs to walk the user through how to
>     setup a custom set of folders.

You can use the standard emacs customization interface, although it's
not exactly well documented there. Additional docs are clearly

>   * It's not opening my "to-me" folder for some reason. (I thought it
>     was the '-' at first, but "xorg-board" is working fine). I can debug
>     this later.

It shouldn't work on xorg-board either -- it just skips forward one
'word' and assumes it's gotten the folder name. Lame programming, I
know. Should be easy to fix.

>   * The presentation is impressively spartan[*]. :-)

What more do you need? Pretty fonts? Icons? A pony?

> If we spruce this up a bit, I think we'll want to make this the default
> view of "M-x notmuch".

Let's figure out what we want it to look like then. I suggest that we
use some font tricks (bold/regular) to highlight folders with
un-archived mail. I'd also like to be able to create a hierarchy.

> Oh, and instead of just documenting how to set a variable in .emacs we
> should just provide commands to add/remove folders.

That seems doable; it really only takes two text fields after all.

> I think the number of threads matching the search is the only
> interesting number actually. Otherwise, you just end up printing a bunch
> of big numbers that the user doesn't need for anything.

Threads or messages? Threads are more expensive to compute, and when the
number is zero, it means the same thing. But, it is surprising to see a
huge number in the folder view and then get only a handful of threads in
the search view. Perhaps if the count is small enough we can go through
and actually figure out how many threads are involved.

> So maybe the user configures a search template to use for each automatic
> tag or so?

Ack! I suggest that the simpler approach of just duplicating the search
field will work fine in practice. Otherwise, you're talking miles of UI
goo, and constantly confused users. Really, you can use emacs to edit
these things if you get too many.

> It's only when I get my search results down below a particular
> threshold that I decide I want to read everything linearly.

I have started doing this sometimes too. But, I still skim things like
the mesa list and only read a few by clicking through and 'x'ing back.

keith.packard at intel.com
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