Introducing Mailr

Mailr is an Open Source webmail client with Gmail-like conversations.

Mailr is early in development. There is a lot of work, that has to be done.

  • Python 3 with the help of werkzeug, jinja2, sqlalchemy, lxml;
  • PostgreSQL with his awesome power;
  • lessjs, jquery (yet only) on the frontend.

I want to use minimal scope of dependencies for building Mailr. And I always want to keep in mind simplicity when developing it.

Source code available on github.

A big piece of work I did, but it’s mostly invisible part and about IMAP communication, async synchronization, email parsing. The visible part is some working interface. There is public demo, which works pretty fast (and yep, it is not available to compose email yet). You can send email to demo[at] and it probably appears in Inbox.



Vision of first version

Mailr will have web interface, which will be fast and useful on laptop with small screen, on big monitor and on iPad Mini (these devices I have and I want a one customizable web interface for them).

Mailr will have Gmail compatible mode (through IMAP), so return to Gmail will be easy. I will also not plan to implement a phone version and this mode can be used in parallel with any phone client which connects to Gmail as usual. That is also easier to develop using Gmail as the first backend.

Mailr will have many features from Gmail, such as: useful conversations, labels, fast search, filters for sorting incoming messages, detecting and folding quotes, keyboard shortcuts, SSL support…

Also Mailr will have some additional features.

Merging conversations. I really like Gmail conversations, they have made the best implementation (I have tried many others, when I wanted to move away from Gmail). Google are matching well which message belongs to which tread, but sometimes they can’t match:


I think possibility to merge it manually is a good solution in such cases.

Write in Markdown. I like Markdown and reStructuredText and I want to use them for writing my emails. They are also useful for reading after converting to HTML.

Two panels. I really like two panel mode in my VIM(text editor), I started using them and now I feel uncomfortable in one panel editor. Second panel gives me more context when I write in another one. This feature is in progress, as you can see on the screenshot. But I need to implement a possibility to turn that feature off, because I understand, that not all people would like it.

Customizable interface. As I said Mailr will be useful in different resolutions and custom themes and settings for interface will solve this task.

All in one tab. I use Chrome and I like that “Settings”, “Downloads”, “Extensions” just open in new tabs instead of new windows (I used Firefox before and it has been using new separated windows for those things). I really like consistent user interface. All my surfing lives in one window and I want all my emails would probably live in one tab (that also means different accounts, but multiple accounts probably will appear after the first version).

Simple backup. Mailr will have ability to get all your data (including accounts, filters, etc.) and restore it on your own server or on secure server of your trusted friend.

Next versions

After I’m able to use Mailr with Gmail as backend I want to get the possibility to move away from Gmail and to switch on my own email address, that mean I probably add support Mailgun (it is a hard way to support your own mail server with spam filter, so Mailgun is easier way to get my own email and they don’t save emails in their servers).

Then there are many things to keep in mind such as multiple accounts, support other IMAP servers, PGP encryption, mailinglists…


I have been working intensively for about last two months on Mailr, but my long vacation is ending soon and I will probably spend a little time on Mailr later. Anyway I will try to implement the first version one day.

Discussion: Reddit and Hacker News