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Old 7 Sep 2017, 04:26 AM   #1
genegold99
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Possible small bug in webmail Inbox after moving a draft

I'm wondering if the following is a bug. At the webmail site, I started an email (compose), left it in Drafts, then later moved it to the Inbox. After that, the Inbox showed a "(1)" as if there was an unread message, although there wasn't. Opening and closing the former draft didn't correct it. That doesn't seem as it should. The issue is independent of browser (I started in Safari on an iPad and came back to it in Opera on a desktop pc).
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 05:48 AM   #2
BritTim
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Moving messages from Drafts to another folder is, well, interesting. In general, it would probably be better if the system did not allow it. Once it has been permitted, there are several questions that arise. Should it still be regarded as a draft (albeit not in the normal folder)? If it is still a draft, should new versions as they are edited be stored in Inbox or Drafts? I have little doubt it is an untested and unconsidered scenario best stayed away from.
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 06:03 AM   #3
genegold99
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Other technical considerations aside, I don't think there should be any question about moving drafts to the Inbox. For example, my day typically starts on an iPad Mini, where sometimes I start a reply to an email then put off finishing it until later at my desktop PC, where my main mail accounts are handled via an email client using POP3. Moving it draft to the Inbox is the easiest and obvious way to carry on.

Last edited by genegold99 : 7 Sep 2017 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 06:22 AM   #4
BritTim
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I appreciate that you may have rather unique requirements. Frankly, I consider POP3 email clients to be almost extinct, though I know a few still use them. Most people using both webmail and external mail clients use IMAP where the issue of how to continue editing of drafts does not require any unusual handling. As I indicated in my earlier reply, draft messages are not normally intended to be stored in an Inbox (actually, especially in a POP3 scenario where there is no possible mechanism for editing the version on the server).

Maybe, others will have a different view, but IMHO, rather than moving messages from Drafts to Inbox, you should send the message to yourself and get the message to your POP3 Inbox that way without confusing the system.
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 02:34 PM   #5
n5bb
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I also think that you won't be able to use Drafts as you wish. If you use a browser with the Fastmail web interface (or the mobile Fastmail app) rather than a POP3 client you can deal with Draft messages as intended.

The original intention of the POP standard was that a single client pulled down all messages from the server. The user then read and responded to messages using that single client. There is no concept of a folder on the server, so you can't really work with a single server account using multiple clients. Some features were added to POP (such as the ability to leave messages on the server), but this makes it difficult to keep track of messages, and sent messages from one client can't be seen on a different client.

IMAP was intended for use by several different clients. Messages may be marked as read or unread and moved between folders. Sent messages may be read by any client. Nearly all webmail systems now use a system model which matches the IMAP model, and most of them allow synchronization with IMAP email clients.

Bill
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 03:35 PM   #6
genegold99
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My post is not about POP vs IMAP, although I find the claim that POP is hardly used is hard to believe. The post is about a bug or, if you prefer, quirk, where moving a draft to the Inbox, makes it show the same as an unread message, even after being opened; i.e., it's not giving up its draft status. I would imagine the status changing to read is an easy fix.

Last edited by genegold99 : 7 Sep 2017 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 04:26 PM   #7
n5bb
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When I move a draft message to Inbox it does not appear as unread -- in fact, I can not set the unread property. It does keep it's draft status (as it should), since that is needed for the Template feature:
https://www.fastmail.com/help/send/templates.html

The draft property isn't understood by a POP3 client. A draft message is normally kept on the server until it's opened using the Fastmail mobile app or web interface. My guess is that the draft message always appears to be new to a POP3 client. POP3 is very simple and ignores folders and message properties on the server. I kindly suggest that you should only expect POP3 to do what it was intended to do -- allow a server to temporarily save incoming messages for you until you can retrieve them to a single client. You will get odd behavior if you move messages between folders (since POP3 does not know about folders) or try to use draft messages.

Bill
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 04:37 PM   #8
genegold99
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Bill - As I've thought about the issue, I keep recalling that I've moved a number of drafts into my Inbox and not seen this showing as unread before. So why it's happening this time, I'm not clear - and I did replicate it.

I'm not understanding the relevance of your second paragraph's point about the draft property not being understood by a POP3 client. My post is about what is showing here -
the UI - on the webmail site when I move a draft to a different folder (or at least the Inbox).
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 05:46 PM   #9
BritTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
When I move a draft message to Inbox it does not appear as unread -- in fact, I can not set the unread property. It does keep it's draft status (as it should), since that is needed for the Template feature:
https://www.fastmail.com/help/send/templates.html

Bill
Bill, I understand the functionality is needed for moving messages from Drafs to Templates. It is unclear to me why moving such messages to folders other than Templates, especially Inbox, should be supported. It does not seem to provide important functionality, but does allow potentially very strange system statuses to occur. I would be surprised if there are comprehensive test suites covering the various conditions that could arise. Thoughts?
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Old 7 Sep 2017, 06:09 PM   #10
BritTim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genegold99 View Post
My post is not about POP vs IMAP, although I find the claim that POP is hardly used is hard to believe. The post is about a bug or, if you prefer, quirk, where moving a draft to the Inbox, makes it show the same as an unread message, even after being opened; i.e., it's not giving up its draft status. I would imagine the status changing to read is an easy fix.
I think such situations where unconsidered user actions cause strange system behavior are always difficult to categorize. Usually, they tend to be treated as unsupported, with any consequent results being described as undefined, rather than bugs.

While you state that a discussion of POP vs IMAP is outside the scope of what you are asking, it is actually fundamental, for reasons briefly covered by Bill, and more comprehensively discussed in http://www.pop2imap.com/. That guide was written five years ago, but its point that 'POP should have been dead a long time ago' applies with even greater force today. Indeed, FastMail's beginnings over 15 years ago were motivated by a desire for robust support of the then inadequately implemented, but clearly superior, IMAP protocol.
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