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Re: Last Call: draft-ietf-imapext-sort (INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - SORT AND THREAD EXTENSIONS) to Proposed Standard

2008-03-03 09:15:44
On Mon Mar  3 15:03:20 2008, Cyrus Daboo wrote:
--On March 2, 2008 11:07:50 PM -0800 Dan Karp <dkarp(_at_)zimbra(_dot_)com>  

The purpose of sorting in mail clients is so that users can find
messages they're looking for.

Actually you need to look at your use cases in more detail because  
a lot of times searching is a much better solution than sorting.  
e.g. the case of trying to find email from a particular person - a  
search is much better. Yes you do have to do a little more work to  
setup the search (type something in) rather than the single click  
sorting requires, but on large mailboxes you will usually see what  
you want immediately without having to scroll through the sorted  
list looking for what you want.

I don't think Dan's saying that using SORT for searching is a good  
idea, but it's certainly what people do based on my observations,  
too. (In some clients, the sorted list is scrolled to whichever  
message was previously selected, so it's a fast way of finding other  
messages by the same person).

For the most part I question why anyone would really want to sort  
on any of the text fields. The only sort I have found useful is  
sort by size - and then only to help in culling large messages when  
my quota-limited mailboxes get full.

My client does no sorting at all, so I'm hard pressed to give any  
alternative use-cases. Generally, people seem to like sorting by date  
fields, though again not a text field. I've also seen people who like  
to sort by subject, essentially as a grouping thing - better done  
with threading, but still.

View filtering can often be done with a single click (e.g.  
option-click on the from address of a message currently in view  
causes the view to show only those messages with that address).  
This is far superior to sorting.

My client does the same (albeit with different clicks involved), and  
I too find it very useful. I'm not sure I'd say "far superior to  
sorting", since I don't see them as related, but I get your drift.

Still, though, the presence of useless SORT keys would only be a  
significant problem if they were especially difficult to implement,  
and the large deployments of SORT indicate that they're not. Even if  
it's only PINE, that's still a pretty vast number of users who may be  
relying on this behaviour.

When I last brought this up, I got the impression that it was  
considered by the vast majority that it was simply too late to change  
FROM to be useful.

Dave Cridland - mailto:dave(_at_)cridland(_dot_)net - 
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