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Updates from the Evolution/WebKit front

The newest member of the Evolution Team at Red Hat, Dan Vrátil, has been making exciting progress in transitioning Evolution from our aging HTML renderer, GtkHTML, to the more modern and full-featured WebKit/GTK+. He's still trying to get his blog added to Planet GNOME so I wanted to highlight a couple of his recent posts:

Evolution meets WebKit

Evolution gets a new e-mail formatter

You can already try out the new WebKit integration in Evolution 3.5.

It currently uses WebKit/GTK+ to render received emails for display and printing, but not yet to compose emails for sending. That's a whole nother barrel of monkeys. But that's next on Dan's list, and then we can finally retire GtkHTML!


Thanks for sharing, really looking forward to this. GtkHTML can display most of the HTML mail I get in a legible manner, but using WebKit to do it would be even better. It would be good to see some more people blogging about Evolution on Planet GNOME because it's an application which is quite central to my everyday work.

Could you also tell us what is going on with the user interface redesign of Evolution? I mean, I see on the long term planning [1] that the Evolution team intends to do something with the designs for a thread-conversation view [2]. But there are also designs for the Mail application [3], which seems like an entirely new application distinct from Evolution? And there was also work done on the Evolution Express for netbooks and MeeGo [4, 5], but what happened with that since the netbook fad is over and MeeGo got canned? How do all these three things compare?

Also, I was told [6] the IMAP+ backend is eventually going to replace the IMAP backend in Evolution, but I don't read anything about that on the planning for 3.6 [7] or the long-term planning [1]?

[1] https://live.gnome.org/Evolution/PlanningFuture
[2] http://afaikblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/evolution-re-evolved/
[3] https://live.gnome.org/Design/Apps/Mail
[4] https://live.gnome.org/Evolution/Art
[5] http://people.gnome.org/~michael/blog/evolution-express-for-meego.html
[6] https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=666325
[7] https://live.gnome.org/Evolution/Planning36
Yeah, GtkHTML is still kinda living in the HTML3 era. It can handle plain HTML fairly well but it completely falls apart if there's any embedded CSS in the mail. That's been a sore point for years, and is one of the main things the move to WebKit addresses. WebKit should also enable us to eventually add a conversation view to the mailer, which I didn't even want to attempt with GtkHTML.

IMAP+ replacing IMAP is still the plan. But since we'll have to move old IMAP accounts over, the transition was blocked on my finishing up the account management overhaul, which just landed. Also the IMAP+ backend is still missing a few nice-to-have features from the older IMAP backend like quota support, so IMAP+ needs to catch up there before we toss out the old backend. But after that's done we won't have any excuses left. Whether it happens in time for 3.6 remains to be seen.

As for the user interface redesign effort, well... there isn't one. The mockups you saw were just mockups, thrown over the wall at us without any real engagement with the developers. They're not official. The truth is the Evolution Team is very short handed right now, so we'd rather focus our limited resources on real problems instead of chasing the latest UX fad. That's not to say incremental improvements to the existing interface will stop. Dan's recent work is proof of that. The new apps being designed for GNOME3 are basically new Evolution-Data-Server front-ends with a different audience in mind, so my focus has been on enabling those new apps by beefing up Evolution-Data-Server's capabilities and reliability. Evolution itself obviously benefits as well.

Evolution Express was an experiment for MeeGo, and I don't really have a plan for it as yet other than to subsume some of its improvements into the "full" Evolution - like the redesigned appointment editor.



I am looking forward for the webKit solution for the email composer for Evolution. I was talking with Dan Vratil and according to him this might be part of the 3.8 release. I am very happy that the reader is fixed now and i can see the mails properly and in right format as sent from outlook as they not distorted. Its only when I try to reply, the responses gets messed up and the receiver gets email in Times New Roman font. I see there is another small bug in calendar using EWS that the time zone is not properly handled if the organizer is from another time zone. For example, EET organizer calender show as EET in my calendar ( I am in CET) so if organizer organizes as 12 their time, it shows as 12 my time as well (should be 11 my time).

Thank you so far for your efforts in making Linux more and more usable in day to day. I have "dumped" M$ more or less in everyday work and use opensuse with gnome 3.6.2 at work.




June 2012

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