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An attempt to make a GMail like web interface


A few years ago, I started to mind my privacy on the internet. So I tried, within the realms of possibility to avoid using certain services (like Google's for example).

Since I already had the forgione.fr domain from OVH, I had automatically a free email address with 5GBs of memory, so I thought I might as well use it, and I migrated away from GMail.

We don't realize how much something is important to us until it is taken from us.

Yup, living without GMail is not easy. I already migrated from Android to Ubuntu-touch (which is not easy) and migrating away from GMail brings more problems.

Of course, none of those problems are unsolvable, but you need to work on it.

Goodbye GMail

When I was using GMail, it was pretty easy for me. On my desktop manager, I have a small icon that indicates how many unread mails I have and that triggers a notification when I receives a new mail. When this happens, I just pop a GMail tab and do what I have to do. I especially appreciated the easy way GMail allows to search in mails, the way it deals with conversations and its integration with Google Agenda, Google Drive, Google Docs, etc...

First thing I had to do was to find a new mail client. I used Mozilla Thunderbird for a while, but it's quite heavy, takes plenty of RAM, and is not really user friendly, and you have to install many plugins to customize it in order to make it usable (for agenda, for conversations, etc...).

Right now, I'm using Roundcube. Roundcube is a PHP webmail that is often hosted by mail servers (OVH hosts it and the host of my professional mail hosts it too).

It works, it's not very beautiful, it doesn't display conversations, and it's not the best mail client, but it does the job. As always, I thought "I really need to rewrite this".


So here it is, I'm tired of using Roundcube, and I want a nice and beautiful mail client. I'm used to write programs in Rust, and some friends keep telling me that I should write web clients with Elm, so I thought I could do something with this.

Elm is a language that transpiles to JavaScript, so I won't be able to write everything in Elm, so I thought Rust + Elm would be perfect for it.

Right now, it is a mail client, pretty much like Roundcube, except that it's not linked to a mail server, but it accepts registration and people can add their email accounts. The Elm client talks to a Rust backend that sends the IMAP and SMTP requests to do stuff and returns the answers to Elm.

Current status: on the shelf

Not many features are available now, but there are a few things you can do:

  • register an account (and eventually, require an email verification)
  • add IMAP accounts
  • see the titles of your mails in the INBOX folder

As I said, there are not many features, the web client doesn't remember when you log, you can't change mailbox, you can't read or write mail), and some recent things happened that make me spend the little time I have on other things. I hope I'll be able to get back to it at some point.

Future features

There are plenty of things that I'd want this to be:

  • it could be a webmail where people could register and add email addresses, and use it like a thunderbird
  • it could be used in replacement for Roundcube, by forcing constant IMAP / SMTP servers and logging directly via those servers
  • it could also be software that could be installed on desktop, both the backend and the frontend so you know that your mails stay on your computer

There are many features that I'd like to have for this:

  • all the basic features that GMail have (e.g. contacts, calendar, invitations, ...)
  • built-in Markdown support
  • encryption
  • etc...