Pitch: include XMPP in planned mail client



  • You know, SMTP has served us well over the years, but I think it's time to move on. The multi-part MIME system is kind of a mess, as are file transfers (inline or attachment? why do I need to care?). It's not very extensible and the mail formatting is hit and miss across clients. The indentation of text with ">" to mark quotes a hack at best. Spam is so epidemic that we've stopped complaining. XMPP can do anything that SMTP can, and then some. The "some" being presence notification (so you know before, if the person is actually there), for example, or the spam reduction through DNS checks and a roster to white-list contacts. Then there's more elaborate stuff like group chat instead of awkward mailing lists or emails with lots of people in CC. yikes So my suggestion is to include XMPP as a protocol in the mail client, but implementing in a way that closely resembles email usage as to keep with long established conventions. So not like they did in Thunderbird, where the chat is pretty much just a tagged on instant messenger - another program inside a program basically. No, I'd handle it like discussions very much like emails: like threads of replies (think Gmail or [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/gmail-conversation-view/]TB Conversations add-on[/url]). Once one person logs off (or enough time passes without replys) the conversation is closed, and a new one starts. That's to keep finished discussions apart to serve as a history feature. The Opera mail client was already half way there. At least consider it during development, so that it could be added later on without it requiring a complete rewrite of the application. Thoughts? I could go on, but it's already late. :)


  • Moderator

    Yes, it's already late - as in the client is already 95% written. They've been working on it for a year and a half.



  • I guessed so, but it makes total sense IMHO. I mean, do we really need another "me too" email client? We already have Thunderbird on Windows, and plenty others on Linux. Apple users very rarely use 3rd party mail programs in my experience, because "Mail" is so tightly integrated into the OS.

    To elaborate on the "discussions": instead of individual replies (like with emails), the list view would show threads of discussions for brevity's sake, because longer threads of discussions between multiple contacts is a real mess with emails. Clicking on a thread would then display the string of messages in a continuous manner.


  • Moderator

    @DanMan:

    I guessed so, but it makes total sense IMHO. I mean, do we really need another "me too" email client? We already have Thunderbird on Windows, and plenty others on Linux. Apple users very rarely use 3rd party mail programs in my experience, because "Mail" is so tightly integrated into the OS.

    To elaborate on the "discussions": instead of individual replies (like with emails), the list view would show threads of discussions for brevity's sake, because longer threads of discussions between multiple contacts is a real mess with emails. Clicking on a thread would then display the string of messages in a continuous manner.

    For my part, the feature that will make M3 a critical resource for me has nothing to do with features or protocols, really. It has only to do with, a) does it work reasonably well and b) it is incorporated into the browser so that I can see it at the same time I see the web, in the same window, and thereby optimize my workflow as I had done for more than a decade in OldeOpera. So, in that sense, we absolutely need another "me too" mail client, so long as it is incorporated into the browser UI. And due to the fact that I must have local copies of everything permanently stored for my work, a mail client is essential. Web mail, for my purposes, does not cut it.



  • XMPP failed to get traction. XMPP services are closing left and right (ironically even ICQ is still around and will survive it). My hosting ISP with over 2 million customer accounts killed his XMPP servers, because it had few hundred actual users.

    I think it's a bit late for this proposal.



  • @Ayespy: I don't see why it has to be part of the browser when just running another program does the same thing, but you're entitled to your opinion, of course. :)

    @jtsn: That doesn't make it a bad tech. Many of the big players actually use it under the hood, like the chat in Playstation or EA's Origin. There are probably libraries out there by now that make it much easier to implement, too.

    Hell, with XMPP transports you could even implement email support on top of XMPP. How crazy is that? :woohoo:

    Vivaldi could run their own XMPP servers that users can register on, further strengthening the communal spirit. They already provide https://mail.vivaldi.net/ so that mail address could be your XMPP address.



  • @DanMan:

    @jtsn: That doesn't make it a bad tech.

    XMPP failed in the market, because it's overcomplicated and incompatible with push technologies. Also a XML protocol has no place in a mobile environment, where every byte saved counts. I think, we can close this chapter, the 2000s are over.

    mail address could be your XMPP address.

    In 2016 nobody cares for some "XMPP address" anymore. The standard chat communication tokens are mobile phone numbers and real names now.


  • Moderator

    @DanMan: "@Ayespy: I don't see why it has to be part of the browser when just running another program does the same thing, but you're entitled to your opinion, of course."

    What I'm actually entitled to is the fruit of my experience. There is no opinion involved. People who do not understand the mechanics of my work flow are fond of saying completely inapt things like "another program does the same thing" and "Seamonkey has an integrated email client you could use," neither of which are remotely true. Rather than explain in painstaking detail why these are factual remarks, I'll just ask you to accept that the reason you don't get why these are true for me is that you don't have a clue how I work and that your experience does not qualify you to reduce my experience to "opinion." It's true. You "don't see why it has to be part of the browser." I'll warrant you also don't see why I put my shoes under the edge of my bed on their sides with the soles facing outward, either, when "any other position would do just as well." But then, you have no knowledge of how my profession or my life work, do you? Sorry to get snippy. Sometimes I get impatient with the idea that because a person has not lived something, then no one has.



  • To expand on a couple of the points already brought up:

    A "me too" mail client: I think anyone who used Opera's M2 as their default client would agree with me that it was anything BUT just another client. Being forced to use Outlook at work reminds me daily just what a piece of bloated, useless garbage that is. My wife switched to Thunderbird after a couple of buggy releases of Opera messed up her mail database and I'm afraid my experience with that is nothing to shout about either. So if M3 is even close to M2 in functionality and workflow (hopefully it will even improve on it) then there is every reason to want it! And that's even before the fact Ayespy touched on that "internetting" just works so much better when it's integrated in the browser…

    XMPP: shame that Google did a Microsoft on it, but I don't think it's dead yet. At work, they recently got us using Cisco Jabber - which I presume is still the same protocol at it's core.

    Edit: and to go back to the start of this conversation - this seems to be yet another one where we're supposed to believe that e-mail is dead. It was wrong when I first heard it and it's still wrong now. Compare chat and mail to phone and post: one is immediate but disposable; the other is slow but permanent... You NEED snail mail and e-mail to make sure certain items are delivered and to keep records for future reference.



  • @jtsn: a) How does a market matter when you're talking about tech? Even if it was complicated, there are probably libraries out there by now that handle the ground work for you, like I already said. How did this suddenly become about mobile?

    b) That was kinda my point. You just sign up for your Vivaldi "email" address, and it just works.

    @Ayespy: You've presented your POV / use case, and that's fine. Let's just leave it at that.



  • @mossman: I liked Opera Mail, too. I just don't subscribe to the notion of "lets put all-things-internet into one program", that's all. I adhere more to the Unix principle of doing one thing really well. Considering XMPP, I see so many parallels to email that it just makes sense to me to put it the mail client, too.

    If anything is dead, then the tech behind email, not the concept of email, which is basically just sending formatted text messages to others. I heard about how this site called Twitter is all the rage with kids these days. ;)

    What I'm saying is that XMPP - as a tech - could easily supersede email, because it can do all the same stuff, and then some. I've already given you examples in my first post, which nobody has actually addressed thus far.
    If I had to do a Venn diagram, the email circle would be contained inside the XMPP circle. Stop thinking about it in terms of chat. See it as "email 2.0", if you want. ;)

    After all, I don't see why you're all so negative. All I've been asking is adding XMPP as another protocol. I never asked for removal of SMTP. I'm not crazy - I know how many people rely on it on a daily basis, my boss being one of them.

    Basically, I think XMPP has never been put to use in the right way. That's why I proposed this. Vivaldi is about innovation, right? New ways of doing things, right? So let's go one step further, shall we?



  • @DanMan:

    I just don't subscribe to the notion of "lets put all-things-internet into one program", that's all.

    ^This x1000

    But if I wanted XMPP (I don't) I'd use a chat client for it. So why should my browser have the extra bloat I'll never use and probably can't remove? Shouldn't that be what Extensions are for?



  • Twitter is exactly the wrong thing to replace mail… a constant stream of garbage that is impossible to index nicely when you need to refer back to who said what, what action points were decided, what's the expected goal and timeline of a certain project etc. etc.

    But on the topic of XMPP in addition to POP/SMTP/IMAP - sure! After all, once upon a time Opera had an IRC chat client in there too... wonder how many people remember that...?! :)

    I also expect RSS/atom to be in the client, like it was with Opera as well.

    And as regards bloat - Opera managed to add all these extra little functionalities with just tens to hundreds of KB... precisely because it was integrated.



  • @mossman:

    But on the topic of XMPP in addition to POP/SMTP/IMAP - sure! After all, once upon a time Opera had an IRC chat client in there too… wonder how many people remember that...?! :)

    Opera 12.18 released this year still has one. Unlike Jabber, IRC was in actual use by about ten million people, it's declining though.



  • @jtsn:

    @mossman:

    But on the topic of XMPP in addition to POP/SMTP/IMAP - sure! After all, once upon a time Opera had an IRC chat client in there too… wonder how many people remember that...?! :)

    Opera 12.18 released this year still has one. Unlike Jabber, IRC was in actual use by about ten million people, it's declining though.

    Silly me - yes, sorry, they introduced IRC quite a bit later… I was actually thinking of the ICQ client in Opera 5 (yes, really!)



  • @hekel: Not your browser - your mail client. Which is meant for communication, so it fits the bill, right? I have my doubts that XMPP could be integrated as deeply as I envision it via an extension. But I'd gladly be proven wrong on that account. Hell, I'd even do it myself, if it will be actually, fully possible.
    But again, I wouldn't want it implemented like a typical chat client, but more similar to the email workflow. Only improved where XMPP allows.

    @mossman: You're putting words in my mouth regarding Twitter. I merely stated that the concept of "sending text messages" is alive and kicking.


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