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  • GTD with IMAP?

    I am thinking of switching to IMAP for email. I've heard that the GTD plug-in works somewhat, but not great in a IMAP world. Anyone have experience and able to comment?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Works fine for me

    Originally posted by tim_han
    I am thinking of switching to IMAP for email. I've heard that the GTD plug-in works somewhat, but not great in a IMAP world. Anyone have experience and able to comment?

    Thanks!
    Tim:

    The GTD add-in works just fine in an IMAP environment, assuming you understand the implications of the protocol and have realistic expectations. IMAP was designed to provide a server-based store for e-mail that, like Microsoft Exchange and other collaboration servers, provides access to your mail independent of the device you happen to be using. This has advantages (ubiquitous access) and disdvantages (potentially long synchronization time if you "subscribe" to all your mail and duplicated storage).

    The biggest issue if, like me, you elect not to synchronize with the server (I simply have too much mail - about 1GB - and syncing bogs Outlook down big time) is that you cannot work offline with complete effectiveness. Your IMAP mail folders will not be accessible when you are not connected to the server.

    There are workarounds, of course, besides syncing. You can drag mail you need to work on offline to a local .pst file (I use a POP3 account for my profile account and my IMAP accounts are added as secondary accounts. And you can work on your lists and calendar while offline.

    Sadly, there really aren't any great IMAP clients out there. Outlook is good but not great. Same with Thunderbird, Barca, and Eudora, and Apple's Mail. The protocol never received strong support (Microsoft would much rather you used their Exchange Server) and has proven to be very difficult for third party developers to support. ClearContext, which I would love to use, doesn't support IMAP. Nether does NEO Pro. Even some desktop search tools (x1, Copernic) struggle with IMAP.

    I hope all that helps a bit. IMAP is a mixed bag. I have no choice really - it's what my company uses. But I think, with the caveats I've outlined, that you can expect to be able to use the add-in.

    --Marc

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    • #3
      IMAP is good, but GTD add-in doesn't support it well

      I have been using IMAP for over a year with no problems. My email folders are not as large as Marc's, under a half-gig. I sync and store local replicas at work and at home, with no delays and no problems. I have used Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, and Entourage with no problems.

      As I recall, the GTD plug-in uses local folders for its own storage of email, so it greatly limits the utility of IMAP. If you are pretty much tied to a single machine but must use IMAP, you should be ok. Be aware that local folders are not backed up on the mail server, though. If you want/need to use multiple machines, things are not so good. It's really a variant of the same problems palm users have with the plug-in.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mochant
        Sadly, there really aren't any great IMAP clients out there. Outlook is good but not great. Same with Thunderbird, Barca, and Eudora, and Apple's Mail. The protocol never received strong support (Microsoft would much rather you used their Exchange Server) and has proven to be very difficult for third party developers to support.
        --Marc
        What would make an IMAP client great? I have used IMAP on Thunderbird for over a year with no problems.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the great input. I was thinking of using one of the web-based imap services to combine several accounts, and also use my work mail, which is currently pop3, but may move to imap or exchange. I'll give it some more thought before I decide.

          Comment


          • #6
            IMAP greatness

            Originally posted by Max
            What would make an IMAP client great? I have used IMAP on Thunderbird for over a year with no problems.
            Max:

            Thunderbird is a nice app but suffers from the same synchronization issues I mentioned in my previous post. If you have a large store of mail on the server and get tons of new mail every day, the synchronization times can be extreme (especially when the server is under load from many users) and can often time out.

            To a certain degree, this is a server issue and configuring a server machine properly can mitigate these performance concerns to a certain degree. But in the 4.5 years I've been using an IMAP-based mail system, running on a well-configured server machine, I've encountered performance issues with every IMAP mail client I've tried.

            Of course my real issue with Thunderbird, like any mail-only application, is that it doesn't put all of my stuff into a single environment. If Mozilla ever gets a real calendar and task component integrated into Thunderbird, I'll be a lot more interested in reevaluating it. Currently Outlook is the only truly integrated environment for GTD I've used that meets my needs. My entire processing flow is predicated on being able to rapidy transform incoming actionable e-mail into calendar events and tasks. It's the only way I can keep up with the insane volume of e-mail I receive and get In to empty.

            Splitting e-mail away from time and tasks and using two separate applications is a non-starter for me.

            Comment


            • #7
              In to empty, OK, but how do you get all the tasks DONE?

              Originally posted by mochant
              My entire processing flow is predicated on being able to rapidy transform incoming actionable e-mail into calendar events and tasks. It's the only way I can keep up with the insane volume of e-mail I receive and get In to empty.
              I always have a question for those who convert a huge volume of email to tasks, so I will take the opportunity to ask it now. How will you have time to DO so many tasks?

              I am a huge fan of managing task lists in the fastest way possible. But I get a fair percentage of my tasks through email and type them into separate task/calendar software. I know that it might be faster to drag them into tasks in Outlook, but the other software saves me huge amounts of time when it comes to the Do and Review stages of workflow. (Plus, my own wording of my task is usually clearer to me than the original email.) Creating a task in my current software takes barely more time than in Outlook, once I include setting some fields for the task in Outlook. But obviously if Outlook is slightly faster overall for entering tasks, there would be a tradeoff in time saved while entering versus while doing/reviewing. So I have wondered where that point would be: how many emails-into-tasks-per-day would it take to make Outlook faster for me? I can easily create 20-30 tasks from emails per day with my current method and still come out way ahead timewise. 50 might be getting tiresome. 100 would be a real pain -- but I can't even DO 100 tasks per day every day. So this is why I wonder how the huge-volume-of-email-tasks people are getting their tasks done. What am I missing here?

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