Evolution / Express

We need an 'express' version of Evolution, to make it more usable for people particularly on netbooks.

The code

  • evolution from the 'express2' branch
  • evolution-data-server from the 'gnome-2-30' branch.
  • dbus version >= 1.2.22

How to test

Create a new user account; 'test' and drop two scripts: first:

(Xephyr -ac -screen 1024x600 :1.0 &)
usleep 500000 ; export DISPLAY=:1.0
sudo -u test dbus-launch --auto-syntax /bin/bash -l /home/test/evo

And then for ~test/evo you want:

export DISPLAY=:1.0
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/'''your-prefix'''/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH"
export EVO_EXPRESS=1
export EVO_MEEGO="session-type=small-screen"
(metacity &)
(/usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gnome-settings-daemon >& /dev/null &)
sleep 1
(gnome-terminal &)

Run the first script; it should precipitate you into a netbook-like environment where you can play. Of course, ideally you should have the moblin netbook gtk+ theme as well [ lots and lots of padding for bad netbook touchpads ].

The work plan

Below are listed some changes being worked on to add an 'express' mode to Evolution. Do jump into #evolution and poke someone if you want to help out. Initial changes are in the git branch: 'express' on git.gnome.org. Items that are struck out, have been completed already; where items are in progress we put a name and progress percentage

  • Initial code-drop in MeeGo package repository, March 19th

  • string freeze for MeeGo / up-stream GNOME translators freeze too

  • Feature complete code-drop to MeeGo repository March 29th

  • Incremental bug fix release subsequently ...

Interactivity improvements

  • IMAP-X - ( 15 man days ) ( Done chen )

    • stops UI blocking on long message downloads and other slow operations

    • allows live updates / views of the folder

    • substantial performance improvements

  • EDBus migration & blocking fixes ( 5 man days ) ( Done michael )

  • fsync frenzy redux (0.5 man days ) ( Done michael )

Account setup

  • Autoconfig for popular mail services (gmail, yahoo etc.) [port from anjal / re-use capplet] Saashwat

    • Needs to behave like this

  • Separate out the advanced options from account preferences (esp. receiving options) making window smaller in size [2 man days]

Mail UI simplification

  • Move the message specific tool-bar menu items to message renderer (Deferred, we need the verticalspace. michael/nick)

  • Simplified main toolbar, added 'Addressbook' item michael

  • Re-arrage the default vertical view columns - [0.5md] - (done federico)

  • Move the search menu aside tool-bar menu items like firefox - [0.5md] - (done mbarnes)

  • Add tab support for view messages/folders - [4 md]
  • Collapse quoted text to make it easier to follow long mail threads on small screens bgo#322321

General UI simplification

  • Customize defaults for netbook screens - [3 md] ( in progress michael )

    • column widths in mail view
    • side-bar dimensions & layout. (done - federico)

    • new contact page fixing (done - michael)

  • split out calendar into a separate application - [3md] (done - michael - a separate .desktop file for Evo and view mode)

    • work in module 'annum' requires polish.

    • fix calendar minimum height / layout [0.5md]

  • remove window-manager decoration, to save vspace [1md] (done - michael)

MeeGo integration

Known issues

  • Icons / Artwork - (Hylke)

    • missing an avatar icon in 'New Contact'
    • New Meeting / Task editing dialog
      • another icon looks like a 'close' button
  • Mailer
    • bin IMAP, only show IMAP-x in the account configuration
    • Compose dialog - too big and clunky - bgo#617002 - (federico)

    • popup / mail reading dialog should be full-screen - (federico)

    • size - four lines of a mail folder, the rest preview - (federico)

  • Contacts
    • fix right-hand contact details pane sizing
    • collapse the left-hand pane if only one addressbook source
    • show less-detail in the middle pane, it is on the right.
    • libsocial integration ...
  • Calendar - ( Srini )

    • ensure the default sizing of the left-hand date navigator pane shows this nicely (done Srini)

    • default to week view in the calendar (done Srini)

    • make it easier to create new calendars (done (like annum) Srini)

  • SSL certificate pre-population issues
  • toolbar/menu re-ordering

Fixed issues

  • Icons / Artwork - (Hylke)

    • fix the theme padding for combo-entries

    • missing Junk / non-Junk icons in mailer toolbar

    • missing some mail / side-bar folder icons

    • Attachment icon is like an alien

    • Calendar toolbar icons need love

  • General
    • Search entry moved to toolbar (done mbarnes)

  • Contacts
    • Contacts - new contact dialog too large still (done michael)

    • hide send/recv (done mbarnes)

    • disable print icon (done michael)

    • drop the 'show: any category' entry (done mbarnes)

    • turn off status bar completely (done michael)

  • Calendar
    • hide send/recv (done mbarnes)

    • item right click: drop Move to, Copy to, Fwd as iCal, Print (done michael)

    • appt' right click: drop Task, Current View, Select Today, Select Date, go to date - 3x 'New' items left) (done michael)

    • .desktop files need tweaking, changing to 'Calendar' (done michael)

    • turn off status bar completely (done michael)

    • Enable alarm notifications (done michael)

    • install pattern needs 'dates' removing from it

  • Calendar - edit appointment dialog
    • Command line appointment editing integration for MyZone - (done Sashwat )

    • bin toolbar print icon - (done michael)

    • move 'close' to the right right of the toolbar - (done michael)

    • drop the whole menu in Express mode - (done michael)

    • full-screen the dialog - (done michael)

    • move the "all day" toolbar button to an "[x] all day" check-box to the left of the 1st element in the time range area. - (done Sashwat)

    • crop to screensize when expanding "Show attachments" dialog - (done Sashwat)

  • Mailer
    • HTML mail on by default (done mbarnes)

    • default: threaded mail view should be on - (done michael)

    • .desktop file needs patching to read 'E-mail Express' - (done michael)

    • missing string titles in mail headers (most odd) - (done michael)

  • Preferences dialog bloated - (done federico)

  • Capplet
    • need to ask for password too - (done Srini)

    • need to get proxy settings right - (done Michael)

    • need to debug yahoo problem - (done Srini - they turned off Pop)

    • first-start capplet doesn't setup calendar - (done Srini)

  • Meego Theme matching
    • Meego detection (done michael)

Future work (a plan)

  • Tasks
    • provide a simple, easy to use task editing GUI to replace 'tasks'
  • Mail
    • IMAP-x
      • per folder connection, to further accelerate
    • Tabbed mail reading & composing

    • Use webkit to render
      • requires webkit / printing support
    • Conversation view for threaded mails ported from Anjal
    • always-on-everything-synchronisation to remove the "go off-line" status bar widget
    • on-demand status bar ... (and/or transparent / floating etc.)
    • Composer
      • graphical view of To/CC/etc. in horizontal layout with avatars
      • larger avatars and names in contact completion drop-down.
      • Attachments
        • attach file, attach recent docs, attach E-mail (thread) ...
    • Facebook mail backend - IMAP-alike look at folders
  • Calendar
    • Simpler appointment dialog / merge with meeting dlg.
    • last-fm & facebook calendars

  • Contacts
    • better presence flagging: "are they awake" ?
    • Integration with cheesy avatar harvesting app(?)
  • de-menu-isation - fewer, clearer menus
  • Auto-configuration
    • move hard-coded gmail / yahoo pieces to clean XML
    • updated XML configuration pieces
  • shell-less mail daemon
    • new mail summaries
  • IM integration
    • presence in the addressbook
    • presence & "click to talk" in the Mail client and/or calendar (chat room for app'ts ?)

Competitive analysis

Meeting Minutes

Mar 3rd 2010

Status report

  • UI much simpler
    • generic XML work done for this
  • Integrated Anjal's capplet
    • first-time startup wizard capplet
  • EDBus merged -> blocking problems

    • more work needed there.
  • up-stream communication
    • l10n freeze, release team prepped etc.
  • IMAP-X
    • stabilisation fixes
    • parallel attachment / mail fetch
    • off-line bug fixes
  • separate calendar building
    • testing ongoing vs. Groupwise & GMail

  • internal testing packages being created.

improved Plan of work is needed

  • aim for first drop by the 19th
  • size each piece
    • estimates of man-days for completion
    • rough percentage of completion.

UI discussion / decisions with Nick

  • toolbar buttons:
    • remove redundant 'cancel button' cf. status bar versions (done michael)

    • tagging not required in the toolar
    • No "Junk" filtering / buttons required for web-mail at all ...
      • can remove the buttons in this case
    • Addressbook button required (done michael)

      • creates a new window that behaves like a new app: new zone etc.
      • replace 'contacts' with this
    • Defaults / settings
      • imapx needs to be the default from the account setup wizard - (done Saashwat)

      • audit & transition Anjal defaults decisions across:

        • eg. default to off-line synchronisation everywhere
        • eg. check BDB is on and working by default
      • get rid of default / local mailbox (Saashwat)

        • at a minimum: re-order mailboxes; IMAP first (Saashwat: done)

          • collapse local mailboxes at the bottom (Saashwat: done)

          • collapse vfolders at the bottom too (Saashwat: done)

        • preferably:
          • add annotation to locate 'Sent' folders on the server for each provider
          • remove local mailbox entirely
      • keep filters & search folders in the UI

    • UI tweaks
      • v-space a big issue for mail reading.
        • don't try to split the toolbar yet.
        • disable preview pane by default ...
        • prefer tabs for separate mails.
      • preferences dialog needs to fit 1024x600
        • remove SpamAssassin from the UI, just bogofilter (some conditional compilation ?)

    • test / review ConnMan integration (michael: done)

Mar 17th 2010

Status report

  • mailer
    • added 'Addressbook' button
    • cleaned out toolbars further.
    • cleaned lots of junk from menus & 'New' menu

    • fixed calendar lifecycle nasties
    • fixed middle-click / new-window launch.
    • off-line account setup for popular E-mail
      • gmail, yahoo, aol, msn
  • IMAP-X - [ to 90% ]
    • bug fixes
      • for Courier imap namespace handling
      • folder operations
  • QA vs. Intel internal server is looking fairly good
    • authentication type issues
    • misc. fixes committed, re-report next week.
  • everything merged into Master
    • translations need update


  • run intltool-update to get translators up and running. - (done)

  • add 'ovi' store / setup to cached / off-line account bits
  • IMAP-X
    • folder renaming - last pending option
  • Annum polish (done)

  • dialog and UI sizing pieces
  • ConnMan integration

    • listen via D-BUS cf. Mojito - done ( michael )

UI feedback

  • pre-populate certificate database with google, etc. - ( federico )

  • title should be "E-mail" not Evolution
    • try to identify small subset of visible strings to change
  • .desktop file
    • needs to show up in the "Internet" category not "Office" (for MeeGo)

    • title needs tweaking as above: 'MeeVo' ?

  • magic widget names needed for theme integration (Nick to send)
  • needs re-testing with latest MeeGo theme

  • gmail account creation needs to setup Calendar too - ( federico )

  • File->New->Contact - dialog sizing broken

  • switch Send/Recv and 'New mail' in the toolbar --) (hard: and makes no Fitts sense, Send/Recv a crutch anyway)

  • --( Annum ( done Saashwat )

    • needs Calman work / UI pieces merging ?

    • needs merging back into Evolution ? --component calendar --express ?

Mar 24 2010

Status report

  • Mailer
    • Fixed ridiculously small initial width of folder tree
    • packaging / submission
      • include wizards, so we get the nice first-start experience
    • off-line account setup
    • IMAP-X folder renaming done: complete
  • ConnMan integration

  • translations synched and building ...
  • Calendar integration and merge done
  • Adding tabs blocking on feedback from Claire

Bugs / feedback

  • only the 'search' box should go in the toolbar
    • with no legend (in MeeGo)

  • UI elements to mbarnes for reference.
  • rest of bugs tracked above to reduce confusion

Mar 26 2010

Tab bits

  • only the 'search' should move to the toolbar (without a label)
    • drop all the other 'in' and 'show' entries
  • search should update the current tab's folder view
  • double-click on side-bar to open in a new tab
    • or switch to an existing tab for that folder


  • many smaller / short-term bugs enumerated above in 'bugs'
  • Distinction between 'New Appointment' and 'New Meeting' is lame
    • should use tabs instead of sub-dialogs 'Alarms', 'Recurrence' etc.
  • Tasks: punt re-using that until the next release.

Apr 14


  • preferences dialog shrink ongoing
  • meego detection complete and included
  • using stock gnome-2-30 e-d-s (whoot!)
  • auto-detection XML files mirrored to api.gnome.org
    • should allow 'sent' detection
  • misc. bug fixing


  • misc. bugs merged into section above.

Other comments

Note that Requests can be filed at http://live.gnome.org/GnomeArt/ArtRequests -- AndreKlapper

Apps/Evolution/Art (last edited 2013-08-08 22:50:07 by WilliamJonMcCann)