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> HTML support when writing in AirMail, (or some other suitable e-mail client)
Daniel W
post Dec 11 2019, 11:42 AM
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As this is about the Airmail by Planet Computers app, I was a bit torn as to where to post this. As I expect to use it a LOT more, once my Cosmo comes, I put it here.

Anyway... Airmail displays HTML e-mail just fine, so I just supposed it would compose them reasonably well too, but I've found NO such support at all. This threw me off earlier today, when I needed to e-mail a step-by-step instruction with some images in it, maybe bold text in the subheadings, and red text for a warning. On the PC, I routinely do such things in Mozilla Thunderbird. There, I need to enable the HTML support to use it when composing e-mail. Is there a similar setting in Airmail, or is the Planet Computers e-mail client, supposedly specially geared for their devices, supposedly specially geared for mobile creators, really just capable of composing bare bones basic black text?

If so, there will be some e-mails I just cannot send with it, or reply to. If I am to insert snippets of source code into an e-mail, those snippets, but not the rest of the e-mail, needs to use a mono spaced (and, usually, slightly smaller) font. If I'm going to suggest changes to a text, I need strikethrough, or color, or... something to make a clear difference between what I want to remove, and what I want to insert. I need ??????? (hrm... it seems IP.Board can't handle Unicode symbols too well) and super/subscript for basic math notation, or footnotes, lest ?(X2+Y2) is to degrade into SQR(X^2+Y^2). You get the idea.

Can any of this be done in Airmail, or can the community, pretty please, suggest a Gemini/Cosmo-compatible e-mail client that does?

It doesn't have to be free, but it can't just be a web mail, and it must work with regular e-mail servers, so some special Gmail-only app, or similar, won't do. I don't need anything too fancy, it's e-mail after all, but, well, I roughly need to be able to send this forum post (and Unicode symbols) by e-mail, without loosing anything. Yes, sure, I can write and attach a Word™ document, but only if I know the recipient has Word too, which they may or may not - especially if they are on a mobile device too - or their organization might be wary of such attachments. In a pinch, I could send a PDF, which almost everyone can read, but those are deliberately designed to NOT be editable. So, yeah, there are painful workarounds, but - just to be clear - I'm not asking for those. I'm asking for somewhat capable e-mail, as I'm used to in the non-mobile world.
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gymbo
post Dec 11 2019, 05:17 PM
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It's not covering all your html-wishes, but ProfiMail has some really basic html-creating capabilities: Bold, italic, underline, size and colour, but that seems to be it. And ProfiMail is not developed anymore (but it has a three-pane view, and a widget that can display just new mail, so it basically suits my needs, and I can use webmail if there is something it doesn't do properly...).

So don't really know if that gets you any closer to your "goal"?

(The biggest problem I have with ProfiMail is that if it for some reason looses internet, by me putting the Gemini in flight-mode for instance, it often starts reloading ALL my mail. I use it for around 20 mail-accounts, of which I use at least ten quite regularly, 13 connected with IMAP-idle, which are usually the ones affected, some of them with around 5000 mail in the inbox. So might be because of the number of accounts and mails, but annoying anyway... And it means it loads a LOT of data when it thinks it needs to start from "scratch" again...)
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Daniel W
post Dec 12 2019, 01:19 PM
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QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 12 2019, 02:17 AM) *
It's not covering all your html-wishes, but ProfiMail has some really basic html-creating capabilities... ...not developed anymore"

I get bit scared when apps are no longer in development, as the next Android update could break it, and nobody would fix it, but thanks for the tip anyway. I did some digging of my own. Searching for things like "HTML email" on Play Store yielded many low quality hits at first. After some creative Googling, I came across at least two possible, though not all that appetizing, options:

Aqua Mail, which, since it's geared towards corporate users, appears to be quite competent, but since it is geared towards corporate users, their pro version, without ads and with support for more than one e-mail account (I have two at the moment), costs around $25 (if converting my local currency to USD). That's still fairly cheap, but I see people complaining that the app was bought by another company recently, with worse support and less development. Other are complaining that their paid version now aggressively tries to sell them stuff. I get the sense they want to move to a subscription model, which might be fine in a corporate setting, but to replace a built-in email client that, in my view, should really handle basic stuff like bold text and color, well, nah...

MailDroid also supports composing HTML mail. Their ad-free pro version is around $6 right now (it seems to be on a sale, with no mention of the duration or the normal price). The last update was 18 months ago, which might be OK for mature software, but when combined with "We are aware of a licensing issue... ...we are working on a solution", I get a tad hesitant. The web site link in Google Play gives a 404 not found... but, if I copy-paste the same URL to a new tab, the web site works... but it is from 2015, and doesn't really say anything useful. On https://androidforums.com/threads/looking-t...id-pro.1299094/, I found a post from late March by "maildroiddev", saying "I'm still here, just super busy these days", with other posters complaining that support e-mail has gone unanswered for six months. I don't know...

Maybe I'm expecting too much, but, well, smartphones has been around since 1997 (though I got my first in 2003) and HTML email was well established in 2007 (maybe earlier). Planet Computers markets their products as offering a "a true desktop experience in a pocket PC". Well, their hardwired, uninstallable (yes, it can be hidden) e-mail client, currently, is a far cry from that "true desktop experience". As far as sending e-mail is concerned, it's more like "a graphical DOS experience". For what it's worth, I sent an e-mail to support, asking if they have a more proper "desktop experience" version of Airmail on their near-term roadmap, but as it's really a fork of K-9 which is a fork of the e-mail client in Android 1.0, I'm not holding my breath.

There's not shortage of e-mail clients, but marketing today seems to be about pretty pixels and who can say "Cloud" most often. Yeah, e-mail needs to use the internet, sure, but letting Google AI skim my mail, so they can serve me "better" ads, just isn't my cup of tea. I want plain old email, be it the version from 2007, not 1997.
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vldmr
post Dec 12 2019, 02:10 PM
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Well, here is an idea that might work for you -- this post mentions running thunderbird on cosmo.
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gymbo
post Dec 12 2019, 04:30 PM
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QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 12 2019, 10:19 PM) *
QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 12 2019, 02:17 AM) *
It's not covering all your html-wishes, but ProfiMail has some really basic html-creating capabilities... ...not developed anymore"

I get bit scared when apps are no longer in development, as the next Android update could break it, and nobody would fix it, but thanks for the tip anyway.
.....

.....
Maybe I'm expecting too much, but, well, smartphones has been around since 1997 (though I got my first in 2003) and HTML email was well established in 2007 (maybe earlier). Planet Computers markets their products as offering a "a true desktop experience in a pocket PC". Well, their hardwired, uninstallable (yes, it can be hidden) e-mail client, currently, is a far cry from that "true desktop experience". As far as sending e-mail is concerned, it's more like "a graphical DOS experience". For what it's worth, I sent an e-mail to support, asking if they have a more proper "desktop experience" version of Airmail on their near-term roadmap, but as it's really a fork of K-9 which is a fork of the e-mail client in Android 1.0, I'm not holding my breath.

There's not shortage of e-mail clients, but marketing today seems to be about pretty pixels and who can say "Cloud" most often. Yeah, e-mail needs to use the internet, sure, but letting Google AI skim my mail, so they can serve me "better" ads, just isn't my cup of tea. I want plain old email, be it the version from 2007, not 1997.

Profimail still WORKS, and should be able to be considered "mature", but it gives a quite limited html-creating possibilities, as I already said, so will probably not be enough anyhow.

(I've seen people praising Aquamail too, and it should probably be a good alternative, but if has recently been sold, one might want to be aware...)

I could not agree more on the sentiments regarding software and "cloud". I would prefer to keep everything just on my Gemini (and later on the Cosmo), and just back-up to a computer or (micro-)SD-card. But that seems to be difficult, at least without root (which I'm hesitant to enable/install). And every software/app should at least get the BASIC functionality working, before adding "bells and whistles"!!
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Daniel W
post Dec 13 2019, 03:23 PM
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QUOTE(vldmr @ Dec 12 2019, 11:10 PM) *
Well, here is an idea that might work for you -- this post mentions running thunderbird on cosmo.
As far as I understand that thread, they're running an entire Linux on top of Android, using AndroNix, which, similar to UserLAnd and AnLinux provides a virtual root file system so the Linux internally can behave as it had root, even on top of an unrooted Android. I get the sense that the Linux is kind of sandboxed, and has root inside that sandbox only.

Anyway, needing to start an entire Linux to start Thunderbird, so I can get decent support for writing e-mail, feels a bit overcomplicated, and the virtual rootFS has a performance penalty. I also guess that things like notifications for incoming mail would stop working unless I have that Linux running 24/7. Thanks anyway for thinking outside the box.

QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 13 2019, 01:30 AM) *
Profimail still WORKS, and should be able to be considered "mature", but it gives a quite limited html-creating possibilities, as I already said, so will probably not be enough anyhow.
True, in both cases. MailDroid probably also works, even if the, seemingly single, developer, isn't actively maintaining it at the moment, so if I had to pick a choice today, I might try that.
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vldmr
post Dec 13 2019, 05:08 PM
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QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 13 2019, 05:23 PM) *
Anyway, needing to start an entire Linux to start Thunderbird, so I can get decent support for writing e-mail, feels a bit overcomplicated, and the virtual rootFS has a performance penalty. I also guess that things like notifications for incoming mail would stop working unless I have that Linux running 24/7. Thanks anyway for thinking outside the box.


Actually, from description of your problem I understood that you would need mail client with html sending only occasionally, and for day to day use you would continue to use android mail client to take advantage of notifications and integration with the rest of the system.

With respect to starting linux - prooted installations do not start their own system, they are still using services of the same kernel that runs android itself. So there is actually no startup penalty for the system - only applications themself. But in general, without trying it would be hard to tell how (in)convenient would be using desktop application with GUI on our miniature device.
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Daniel W
post Dec 14 2019, 09:59 AM
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QUOTE(vldmr @ Dec 14 2019, 02:08 AM) *
Actually, from description of your problem I understood that you would need mail client with html sending only occasionally...

With respect to starting linux - prooted installations do not start their own system, they are still using services of the same kernel that runs android itself...

...without trying it would be hard to tell how (in)convenient would be using desktop application with GUI on our miniature device...
Thank you for adding those details. You read my description correctly. While I, on the PC, tend to use bold fonts, underlines and such in most of of my e-mail, for aesthetic reasons, 95% of my email could make do with plain text, which is why I've be able to (lightly) use a Gemini with Airmail for so long, before it dawned on me it can't even insert a picture.

A secondary client
Having a primary plain text e-mail client and a secondary for sending html email, might be a possibility. I'm not sure I'd be able to make them cooperate nicely and share things like contact lists or the folder for sent messages, but there might be workarounds. I could perhaps send a copy of any outgoing html email to myself, and tell both clients to leave messages on the server for a while, so both clients can fetch them. And I don't use a contact list THAT often anyway. I'll have to think a bit about that.

PRoot
I kind of knew PRoot-based solutions uses the same kernel as the host Android OS, but I was under the impression they still need start a full Linux desktop environment, from which I then could launch, say, Thunderbird. If, in this example, Thunderbird could just sit as an app icon in my regular Android launcher, and start from there, like any other Android app, that might make me more interested in trying out something PRoot based.

I suppose the PRooted environment shares the non-root parts of the file system with Android, so I can save a picture from an Android photo app and then insert that into an email in the PRooted Thunderbird, but do you know if clipboard is shared too, as that would be the simplest way to move a half-written e-mail to the other client, when I realize I just have to do something HTML-ish? (Yes, I could Google that - just lazily asking, in case you happened to know).

The performance penalty I mentioned, wasn't so much the startup time, but I am under the impression that when something runs under PRoot, all calls to the rootFS must be intercepted and rerouted to the virtual rootFS. As I haven't (yet anyway) tried it myself, I can only rely on what I've read elsewhere, which seems to suggest this virtualization costs a bit of performance, and the Planet Computers devices aren't blazing fast to begin with. Then again, that whole train of thought presupposed I was going to use a PRooted Thunderbird as my ONLY everyday email client, and, as you pointed out, that might not be the best compromise.

GUI
Regarding the GUI, currently, when I, once in a while, needs to send a work-related e-mail from my personal device, I use remote desktop to log on to my computer at work and send it from there. The GUI for Outlook gets tiny, but I can cope reasonably well, so I think I could deal with Thunderbird too. This time, it was an e-mail I needed to send from my own domain though. I suppose I could set up remote desktop to my home computer (or rather, say, TeamViewer, so I won't have to expose a remote desktop port in my supposedly-not-that-secure home router), but I'm not sure I'd want to leave my computer on when I'm not at home.
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vldmr
post Dec 14 2019, 10:59 AM
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QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 14 2019, 11:59 AM) *
Having a primary plain text e-mail client and a secondary for sending html email, might be a possibility. I'm not sure I'd be able to make them cooperate nicely and share things like contact lists or the folder for sent messages, but there might be workarounds. I could perhaps send a copy of any outgoing html email to myself, and tell both clients to leave messages on the server for a while...


I use IMAP access to my mailboxes, so I have the same view of my mail from all my devices. Like I can mark message unread on one to remind me to read it later on while on another

QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 14 2019, 11:59 AM) *
I suppose the PRooted environment shares the non-root parts of the file system with Android, so I can save a picture from an Android photo app and then insert that into an email in the PRooted Thunderbird, but do you know if clipboard is shared too...


That would depend on the application that will be used to access xwindows session. I presume using the same remote client that you use over VNC protocol with xvnc server would allow to share text clipboard, I doubt that pictures can be shared. Access through filesystem would work fine.

QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 14 2019, 11:59 AM) *
The performance penalty I mentioned, wasn't so much the startup time, but I am under the impression that when something runs under PRoot, all calls to the rootFS must be intercepted and rerouted to the virtual rootFS.


I'd say the impact depends on use scenario. I would avoid building kernel under proot, but in using mail client the impact on performance would hardly be noticeable.

It is really hard to tell without trying yourself. But in general this approach does require lots of tinkering.
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Daniel W
post Dec 14 2019, 03:34 PM
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QUOTE(vldmr @ Dec 14 2019, 07:59 PM) *
I use IMAP access to my mailboxes, so I have the same view of my mail from all my devices....
For one of my mailboxes, IMAP hasn't been available, but I think that might have changed, so, yeah, that would probably make using multiple clients on one device feasible.
QUOTE(vldmr @ Dec 14 2019, 07:59 PM) *
I presume using the same remote client that you use over VNC protocol with xvnc server would allow to share text clipboard, I doubt that pictures can be shared. Access through filesystem would work fine.
Being able to cut-and-paste text and share files, including images, via the file system, would be sufficient for my needs.
QUOTE(vldmr @ Dec 14 2019, 07:59 PM) *
I would avoid building kernel under proot, but in using mail client the impact on performance would hardly be noticeable.
That sounds reasonable. The "performance impact" I read about, wasn't quantified in any way, and may not be relevant in this case.
QUOTE(vldmr @ Dec 14 2019, 07:59 PM) *
It is really hard to tell without trying yourself. But in general this approach does require lots of tinkering.
Yeah, I'd have to test and, probably, tinker. But it's good to know the option exists, so thank you for helping me to understand what's available.

As a single-client solution would likely be more convenient, I've kept looking a bit.

K-@
Apparently there's a fork of K-9 called K-@, with a rich text e-mail editor! I sense a tad of humor here. K-9 (named after a robot dog belonging to some incarnation of Dr.Who) is a word play on canine, while, I suppose K-@ is k-at or "cat". Less funny is the 2.7 star rating on Google Play, and no updates since 2016. There is a paid version, which has a LOWER 2.2 star rating. Refreshing in a way, as oftentimes people seems unwilling to give a low rating to apps they spent their money on, unless it's REALLY bad. The ratings doesn't both me that much, but no updates in three years does.

Nine Email and Calendar
This seems to be supported, well regarded and they advertise a "Rich-Text Editor". With its own built in calendar, contact list, notes and to-do list manager, it seems more of a "PIM" (Personal Information Manager) than just an e-mail client, so if spending $15 on this, I'm going to feel I'm mostly paying for duplicated functionality, as there's already a contact list and a calendar hardwired into Android, and then Planet Computers has hardwired its Agenda and Notes. Then there's Google Keep Notes preinstalled too, which CAN be uninstalled, it seems. Anyway, this might be a viable contender.
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gymbo
post Dec 15 2019, 03:34 PM
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Since I mentioned ProfiMail earlier, and that they don't develop it anymore, I thought I ought to mention that it actually got an update 10th of December (claims to deal with "compatibility fixes", whatever that means...). So although they don't develop it anymore, they seem to be fixing known issues at least... But it still has limited html-creating capabilities...

And it has some other issues as well, in addition to the ones I have mentioned before: Sometimes it is difficult to get it to include the whole body of the mail you are replying to (which one often can work around by starting to forward the message, and then copy the recipients in again... ). Getting it to upload drafts is close to impossible, I don't know what triggers it. If a sent mail doesn't upload you can just go into and out of the "sent" folder, and it will try again. With the number of issues, I really ought to find an alternative (but I still manage to get by with ProfiMail): Anyone know of any other mail-client for Android that has three-pane-view as Profimail has; its in the second, and the two last pictures of it in the Play-store. And if it can be navigated with the arrow-keys as well, that would be even better! You can somewhat navigate in ProfiMail with the arrow keys, but you cannot get in to the folder/account list without using the touchscreen (as I'm quite sure I could do on the older ProfiMail on Symbian...). (E.g. getting to the sent-folder and such)
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Daniel W
post Dec 16 2019, 02:51 PM
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QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 16 2019, 12:34 AM) *
Since I mentioned ProfiMail earlier, and that they don't develop it anymore... ...it actually got an update 10th of December...
I suppose that is the difference between abandoned software and just old software. If it already does what it needs to, it may not need much attention, except when the world around it changes.
QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 16 2019, 12:34 AM) *
And it has some other issues as well...
Well, you're certainly not overselling it. I appreciate that. I can live with quirks, as long as it gets the job done. While I'd like a tad richer rich text, still: color, size, bold, italic, underline, links and images is a LOT more than nothing. If Airmail had exactly that, I'd probably make do and get a bit creative.
QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 16 2019, 12:34 AM) *
...three-pane-view...
Yes, that's nice, and rather close to how I have Thunderbird set up on the PC. Haven't seen that elsewhere on mobile, I'm afraid. One way for you to achieve that outside of ProfiMail, might be to go the route vlrmr suggested, and use AndroNix, UserLAnd, AnLinux or similar so you could run Thunderbird for Linux. But that, as he points out, probably requires a fair bit of testing and tinkering.
QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 16 2019, 12:34 AM) *
...you cannot get in to the folder/account list without using the touchscreen (as I'm quite sure I could do on the older ProfiMail on Symbian...)
I'm not sure I can completely navigate Airmail by keyboard only either. Symbian brings back memories. I think I have a Sony Ericsson P990 in a box somewhere...

ProfiMail is certainly the cheapest paid option among the Android apps I've briefly looked at. By the way, it seems I'm not the only one to ask for rich text in K-9: https://github.com/k9mail/k-9/issues/1745
Would that happen, it might trickle down to Airmail, though I wouldn't hold my breath. I asked Planet about it last Wednesday, and they just didn't answer (though they are likely legitimately busy at the moment, trying to make Cosmo Christmas happen for as many as possible). The fork K-@ already has rich text support by means of Android-RTEditor, but THAT hasn't been updated in years, nor has RichEditor, so rich text doesn't seem all that popular on Android. Oh, well, I'll have to ponder my options. Thank you for your input.
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mmbika
post Dec 17 2019, 03:08 AM
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I found Librem Mail in F-droid which is almost like for like to Airmail.

In both, I can scroll the message list with arrow keys, however it doesn't open the message which is being selected by the up/down arrow, I still have to tap the message to make it appear in the right side panel (I am using split view). This is really annpying. Any suggestion or alternates?
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gymbo
post Dec 17 2019, 12:26 PM
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QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 16 2019, 11:51 PM) *
QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 16 2019, 12:34 AM) *
And it has some other issues as well...
Well, you're certainly not overselling it. I appreciate that. I can live with quirks, as long as it gets the job done. While I'd like a tad richer rich text, still: color, size, bold, italic, underline, links and images is a LOT more than nothing. If Airmail had exactly that, I'd probably make do and get a bit creative.

I know that my preferences are not for everybody (heck, I even want my mobile phone to have a keyboard! ph34r.gif ), so the fact that I can live with "quirks" to get certain features, doesn't mean everybody else can/want to. So think it is only fair to tell you what kind of problems you might get along with the "features" if you decide to go for it.
QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 16 2019, 11:51 PM) *
QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 16 2019, 12:34 AM) *
...three-pane-view...
Yes, that's nice, and rather close to how I have Thunderbird set up on the PC. Haven't seen that elsewhere on mobile, I'm afraid. One way for you to achieve that outside of ProfiMail, might be to go the route vlrmr suggested, and use AndroNix, UserLAnd, AnLinux or similar so you could run Thunderbird for Linux. But that, as he points out, probably requires a fair bit of testing and tinkering.

And would probably loose the ability to have a widget running, showing new mails as well...
QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 16 2019, 11:51 PM) *
QUOTE(gymbo @ Dec 16 2019, 12:34 AM) *
...you cannot get in to the folder/account list without using the touchscreen (as I'm quite sure I could do on the older ProfiMail on Symbian...)
I'm not sure I can completely navigate Airmail by keyboard only either. Symbian brings back memories. I think I have a Sony Ericsson P990 in a box somewhere...

And in Symbian you also had more shortcut-keys... You can actually still get that version for Android as well, but it does have quite a few issues, and is probably don't worth the hassle:Link
QUOTE(Daniel W @ Dec 16 2019, 11:51 PM) *
ProfiMail is certainly the cheapest paid option among the Android apps I've briefly looked at. By the way, it seems I'm not the only one to ask for rich text in K-9: https://github.com/k9mail/k-9/issues/1745
Would that happen, it might trickle down to Airmail, though I wouldn't hold my breath. I asked Planet about it last Wednesday, and they just didn't answer (though they are likely legitimately busy at the moment, trying to make Cosmo Christmas happen for as many as possible). The fork K-@ already has rich text support by means of Android-RTEditor, but THAT hasn't been updated in years, nor has RichEditor, so rich text doesn't seem all that popular on Android. Oh, well, I'll have to ponder my options. Thank you for your input.

It also seems like if you copy-paste something into ProfiMail it keeps the html-formatting, but doesn't seem to be any way to edit the html-attributes??? Haven't really tried to send e-mails that way, as I don't know if the html will actually be sent, and prefer a plain text that I can "control"...
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gymbo
post Dec 17 2019, 12:31 PM
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QUOTE(mmbika @ Dec 17 2019, 12:08 PM) *
I found Librem Mail in F-droid which is almost like for like to Airmail.

In both, I can scroll the message list with arrow keys, however it doesn't open the message which is being selected by the up/down arrow, I still have to tap the message to make it appear in the right side panel (I am using split view). This is really annpying. Any suggestion or alternates?

Have you tried hitting space-bar instead of enter?

(In ProfiMail space-bar is used to "select" a line, but it could be used differently in Librem/Airmail??)
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