Did you know Microsoft Outlook has supported type-ahead since Outlook 2003?
I didn’t. I upgrade my home PC to Outlook 2007 a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised to find type-ahead working. I fired up the old copy of Outlook 2003 and type-ahead worked in that version too. I am pretty sure it didn’t work in versions prior to 2003.
Type-ahead is great for using with the Move to Folder or Copy to Folder features. If you use Outlook to get your Gmail via IMAP, you’ll appreciate the type-ahead feature since you need to move messages a lot.
To see type-ahead working, in the Move Items dialog box (with a message selected, press CTRL+SHIFT+V), type the first few letters of any folder name. The current folder selection will move to the folder that matches what you type.
Gmail IMAP has been available for more than a month now. It’s been working great for me. I have read that some users are having trouble reading HTML messages on their Windows Mobile devices, but for some odd reason, I can see HTML messages (in HTML, not rendered) just fine on my i730 Windows Mobile phone.
Here are some tips to help you make the most out of Gmail IMAP. If you have not used Gmail IMAP, you can set it up by following the instructions from Google here. I personally use Gmail IMAP on my Windows Mobile 2003 phone, Outlook 2007, and Windows Mail in Windows Vista. However, these tips should work on any standard IMAP client.
1 – Be Familiar with Gmail IMAP Folders
Gmail IMAP has the following special folders:
[Gmail]/All Mail – This folder contains all of your Gmail messages.
[Gmail]/Drafts – Your drafts.
[Gmail]/Sent Mail – Messages you sent to other people.
[Gmail]/Spam – Messages marked as spam.
[Gmail]/Starred – Starred messages.
[Gmail]/Trash – Messages deleted from Gmail.
Each of your custom labels also becomes an IMAP folder. Messages that have more than one labels will be in multiple IMAP folders.
Your email client may create its own special folders such as "Drafts", "Sent Items", "Deleted Items". These folders only have special meaning to your email client and not Gmail. These special folders can be seen in the web Gmail client as "[Imap]/Drafts", "[Imap]/Deleted Items". To Gmail, these are just additional labels with no special meaning.
If you use Outlook 2007, you can configure it to use Gmail’s Sent Mail folder instead of its own "Sent Items" folder:
Note that you can create more than 1 level of folders. You can have folders within folders:
2- To Archive, Move the Message Out of the Inbox Folder
To archive a message, you can do one of the following:
Move the message to the [Gmail]/All Mail folder.
Move the message to one of your label folders.
Use your email client’s Delete Message feature. This won’t actually delete your message, but move it to a folder named [Imap]/Deleted Items. You just have to know messages in that folder are not really meant to be deleted.
Since I sometimes use the Delete button for its intended purpose (see section 3 below), I do not use it to archive.
Applying Multiple Labels (Updated Jan 23, 2008)
To apply more than one label to a message, copy the message to the respective folders. "Copy" does not actually create a new copy of the message. There’s still one message stored in Gmail. It just gets a new label.
To remove the message from a folder, move it to the special folder [Gmail]/All Mail. Don’t move the message to [Gmail]/Trash, as that will actually delete the message from all folders (it will be gone forever when you empty the trash), unless deleting is really what you want to do.
(I originally wrote incorrectly that copying will create multiple physical copies. Thanks to Hans Ref for correcting me on this).
3 – To Delete, Move to [Gmail]/Trash Folder
To delete a message, move it to the [Gmail]/Trash folder. If the message is in more than one folder, Gmail will delete those copies as well.
Using the email client’s Delete feature will likely not really delete the message, but instead move it to the [Imap]/Deleted Items folder.
Sometimes I use the email client’s Delete command anyway, because it’s faster to press the Delete key. Once in a while, I then go into the Deleted Items folder and move messages from there to [Gmail]/Trash. Same result in the end.
4 – To Report a Message as Spam, Move to [Gmail]/Spam Folder
See a pattern now? Most of what you need to do with Gmail IMAP involves moving messages around.
To report a message as spam, what else… move it to the [Gmail]/Spam folder. This is just like clicking ‘Report Spam’ in the Gmail web interface. Don’t believe me, it comes straight from Google.
Likewise, to mark that was marked as spam by Google incorrectly, move it out of the [Imap]/Spam folder.
5 – Import Old Mail
If you are like me, you have archived a ton of old email messages from years past. With Gmail IMAP, it’s easy to import them into Gmail so you can have all of your email messages from all time in one place, all searchable.
Just use the copy feature of your email client to copy those old messages into one of the Gmail IMAP folders. Google advices that you should copy the messages in small group because "uploading an excessive number of messages to your Gmail account via IMAP may lead to being temporarily locked out of your account." Anyone knows what the limit is?
There you have it, my 5 tips to get the most out of Gmail IMAP. For more information on how to use Gmail IMAP, see Google Help Center for IMAP.
I am still eagerly waiting for the upcoming release of the .NET Framework source code (ScottGu). The immediate reason is that I want to create a class like List<T> but allowing only unique items and having a Contains method that "approaches an O(1) operation" like Dictionary<T>.ContainsKey().
Software and Tools
SgmlReader is an XmlReader API over any SGML document including HTML and OFX for example. HTML is an SGML grammar, so you can use this tool to convert HTML into well-formed XML. I started to use this for my current project last week and it’s been working great so far.
One of the most annoying application behavior is stealing current focus. Jeff Atwood (Coding Horror) wrote on why stealing focus is never acceptable.
What’s Ailing ASP.NET Web Forms, by Rick Strahl, is a good article about some of the major problems/issues with ASP.NET web forms. Good read.
Software and Tools
XPathMania, by Don Demsak is a nice Visual Studio add-in to check XPath statements against the current XML document. Matches are listed in the XPathMania tool window as well as highlighted in the actual XML document. Double click on a match to move to it.
Picasa (from Google) is my current photo album/manager tool. It’s fast and fun to use. With Picasa Web Albums, it’s a very nice combination.
And Now, Something Different
For Richmonders, if you feel like driving around one night in December to look at all the nice Christmas lighting sites in town, check out InRich.com’s Richmond’s Tacky Christmas Lights map. I have done a company sponsored Richmond Christmas lights bus tour in the past and I found it to be entertaining. With the InRich.com map, you can do your own personal tour.
Here’s my apprentice programmer Dat Do at 14 months old. I try to teach him C# but his code doesn’t quite compile yet. Maybe I should start him on QBASIC instead?
Too busy with real work to read up on the soon to be released Visual Studio 2008 (by end of November)? Daniel Moth has put together a summary the top 10 things to know about VS 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 here.
For Oracle developers, check out Gojko Adzic’s article on the new function result caching feature in Oracle 11.
At my work it was announced that we will be switching to "Outlook" from Lotus Notes. We are currently on Notes 6 and it’s the most atrocious of a program I have had the pleasure of using on a daily basis. Some of the most basic features like Search does not even work. Argg! I had to create my own Notes index by periodically exporting all messages to text files so that Windows Search will index them. I can’t wait to get back to Outlook/Exchange.
Have you wondered why Windows Explorer doesn’t show the size of a folder? Here are the reasons (Raymond Chen via blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing).
And Now, Something Different
I’ve always been skeptical whenever I hear people say or write that we only use 10% of our brain. Well, it looks like there is no scientific evidence to suggest that. Read more here.