Today, I dramatically improved my email experience.
Gmail Offline is a Chrome “app” that stores some of your inbox in localstorage so you can access some of your mail without a connection. It uses (roughly) the same UI as the iPad app:
After going through my unread messages with this new interface, I realized I actually preferred it to the standard gmail webapp. Not only was it simpler, cleaner, and mail-only, I noticed the page also had significantly better load speeds (roughly instant rather than a couple seconds). As an added bonus, it zooms in more smoothly, which is nice on my high-res 11” Air. Best of all, my beloved keyboard shortcuts (j, k, x, I, U, *n) still work beautifully.
I was hooked, but I didn’t want to have to click the app button on the new tab page to access the inbox: I usually prefer to keep my fingers on the keyboard and [cmd]-L my way around the web. I couldn’t find a way to set my default interface to the offline, tablet-optimized look, so it didn’t look like gmail.com was going to be redirecting where I wanted it to.
To get around the issue, I went to Chrome’s custom search engines (settings > search > manage search engines) and created a new one. Since it has to have a search component, I did some snooping: https://mail.google.com/mail/mu/mp/637/?mui=ca#tl/priority/^u takes you to unread mail, https://mail.google.com/mail/mu/mp/637/?mui=ca#tl/priority/^i takes you to the raw inbox. So, I put the %s for search after the carat, and can take myself to inbox or unread with a simple “i” or “u”.
This is how my settings look:
and this is how it looks like when I type “off” and hit [tab] in the address bar:
which would take me to the main inbox.
The biggest downside I’ve discovered so far is that the top message in your inbox will *always* be marked as “read”. Since I use my unread box as a to-do list, this means I have to take care when I visit that view, since the top item will be effectively marked as “done” if I’m not careful (ie; hit U before leaving the page). This could also be a nice kick in the pants to get something done, but time will tell.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this; comment below, on hackernews, or by reaching out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi, I’m Alex:
Seattleite through and through.
Class of ‘14 at the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton).
Working on Emerald (formerly EssaySafe), an application that allows students to take closed-note exams in class on their laptops. (co-founder, CEO, primary developer)
Projects I am or have been involved with include:
- PennCycle, a bike share for the University of Pennsylvania. (Advisor. Formerly: co-founder, Director of Operations, developer)
- DecisionCandy, a web application improving feedback for the fashion design process. Currently dormant. (co-founder, developer)
- A live-tweeting Musical Toilet that was written about in PandoDaily, Penn’s 34st Magazine, and the PennApps blog.
- An informal, high-level guide on how to teach yourself to build web applications.
- Histography, an interactive, annotated graph of world history.
- Coursegrapher, an interactive visualization of courses at Penn.
- DecisionCandy HackPack, a mashup of useful technologies to help jumpstart web development at hackathons.
- 10-G, an interactive visualization of companies using information on their 10-Q’s. Currently offline, but it was pretty cool.
- Acvte, a blogging platform that uses Google Docs as an editor. Acvte powers DocBlogger, which powers this site.
- The Backwoods, an independent high school newspaper I founded and ran my Senior year at Shorewood High School near Seattle.
- Several others
This is what I look like: