#3186 ✓fixcommitted
Erik M-H

Forgetful columns

Reported by Erik M-H | January 21st, 2023 @ 03:28 PM

Forgetful columns

I have just signed on as “watching” 24 different tickets, which can all be summed up as “my column and/or thread settings are being ignored.” I thought it might be helpful to create a single list of them. It’s possible, of course, that not all of these are exactly the same problem under the hood — but the effect on the end user is the same: reasoned, considered settings are forgotten and need to be recreated periodically. In my case, it comes up every six weeks or so, and has done so for nearly a decade.

Many of these tickets mention the work-around, but I’ll put it here for completeness:

  1. Enter defaults delete com.freron.MailMate MmMailboxRelatedStates in Terminal.
  2. Restart MailMate.
  3. Re-create your ideal column settings.
  4. Choose View > Columns > Use as Default Columns.
  5. Remember that some specialized mailbox types (e.g., “Sent Messages”) don’t (and shouldn’t) use the Default Columns default.

[*Quite a few of the tickets are marked as “spam.” Though clicking on the “This has been marked as spam” notation in Lighthouse makes the notation go away, it doesn’t “stick” for me when re-loading the page. I assume only those with greater priviledges than I can effect such change.*]

@Benny, please do let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you get this fixed. There’s so much to love about MailMate, but this is becoming quite frustrating. Thanks!

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Christian Bailey

    Christian Bailey January 23rd, 2023 @ 06:46 PM

    Frustratingly, the work-around does not help me in that I need the "All Messages" mailbox to be different to Default Columns. It's the one that is selected when searching and so I want it to display some extra columns: To and Source Mailbox).

    I set those columns multiple times per day, and every time the mailbox is re-selected, my settings are gone and it reverts (presumably to default columns).

    Screen recording: https://curated-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/christianbailey_cu...

    (And to confirm, running defaults delete com.freron.MailMate MmMailboxRelatedStates in Terminal does not help.)

  • Erik M-H

    Erik M-H January 31st, 2023 @ 01:37 PM

    To the above list, we should now add:

    № 3190 (**new**), 2021-01-31. Bart Lipman. default columns don’t stick

  • Bart Lipman

    Bart Lipman February 2nd, 2023 @ 01:27 AM

    Just caught up to this. It didn't work for me -- I followed the directions, but the option Benny says to select is greyed out... Possibly related to another ticket I just added that MailMate is not working at all for me now...

  • Erik M-H

    Erik M-H February 2nd, 2023 @ 03:57 PM

    @Bart, usually the problem when “Use as Default Columns” is grayed out is that you need to change the “Outline Column” using View > Columns > Outline Column >.

    I’ve never been able to suss out what this “outline column” is actually for — but once you’ve changed it to something other than what it’s set to, you should be able to select “Use as Default Columns.”


  • Alan Dobkin

    Alan Dobkin February 2nd, 2023 @ 06:46 PM

    • Tag cleared.

    @Erik, from what I've noticed, the Outline Column does these two things:

    1. In threaded view, it is the column which contains the ">" for expanding and collapsing threads.
    2. In any message list (regardless of threading status), it is the column which appears next to the cursor when dragging a message somewhere else.
  • Erik M-H

    Erik M-H February 2nd, 2023 @ 06:52 PM

    @Alan, thanks for that. I never use threaded view, so I haven’t had a chance to notice #1.

    Now that you point it out, I see just what you mean about #2, though. It’s kind of cool that we can set that!

  • benny

    benny February 4th, 2023 @ 10:39 AM

    @Erik: Impressive work on the collection of links. I'm sorry you had to spend time on that, but maybe it's what was needed to get this issue onto the top of my list. As I've stated quite a few times, I do find it to be an embarrassing issue, but it's just not easily fixed. There are 2 somewhat mixed reasons for that: 1. It's hard to reproduce. 2. The system itself is badly designed/inflexible. I would prefer fixing it by focusing on item 2, but that has also meant that I keep having to postpone doing it (some times after attempting a rewrite).

    Enough excuses. I'll revisit my (many) notes on mailbox state and see if I can come up with some plan for either more easily debugging this part of MailMate or rewriting it. Simple reproducible steps using the latest test release of MailMate (after clearing MmMailboxRelatedStates) are always helpful.

    (With respect to junk state on some tickets. There's a bug in the lighthouseapp system which puts some tickets into a semi-junk state. I fix it when I see them, but the real fix is probably to stop using lighthouseapp -- most likely switching to a Github issue tracker instead. Another item on the todo.)

  • Christian Bailey

    Christian Bailey February 4th, 2023 @ 02:40 PM

    @benny my video linked above has simple, reproducible steps after clearing MmMailboxRelatedStates. Let me know if you prefer me to write them out, but I think the images are much clearer than written description. I cropped the video for privacy, though the main steps are still clear. And I am happy to send you a full capture to let you see exactly what I'm doing.

  • benny

    benny February 4th, 2023 @ 03:19 PM

    @Christian: Still cannot reproduce it. It seems you have added other columns before the video starts, but I don't know if that might matter. Note the “View > Distortion Mode” which is useful when making screenshots/captures.

    There might be some error message involved when it fails. Could you try reproducing it after launching MailMate from a Terminal window like this:

    defaults delete com.freron.MailMate MmMailboxRelatedStates

    Also, how do you switch mailbox and to which one? (This might also matter.)

  • Christian Bailey

    Christian Bailey February 4th, 2023 @ 04:04 PM

    I usually switch between mailboxes with:
    - custom key bindings - perform a search which defaults to the "All Messages" mailbox

    I launched from Terminal as above and was able to recreate "Forgetful Columns" first time.

    Then quit, reset defaults again, and recorded a video. This time columns were remembered!

    Tried it a third time and columns remembered. So I don't think worth sending the video.

    There must be something else users are doing at some point to trigger the behavior.

  • Christian Bailey

    Christian Bailey February 4th, 2023 @ 04:10 PM

    Okay, I was able to recreate it. After resetting defaults.

    • set custom columns for All Messages (add To & Source Mailbox, disable threading)
    • switch between mailboxes several times using Custom Key Bindings.
    • perform a search (takes you to All Messages mailbox) [columns are forgotten]

    video: https://curated-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/christianbailey_cu...

  • Erik M-H

    Erik M-H February 4th, 2023 @ 04:48 PM

    @Benny, thank you so much for turning to this. I understand the context (and embarrasment and frustration) all too well, and I suspect most of us reading here are probably developer-adjacent enough that we can all empathize, or at least sympathize, with your position.

    I hadn’t realized that you’d never been able to recreate the issue. I’ve really never been sure what I might be doing that causes it, but I have to say that @Christian’s steps are all things that I do from time to time — so I’ll see whether I can reproduce the problem here following his concise outline.

    @Christian, FYI, for whatever reason, I’m unable to view your .mov file, either in the browser (Safari, Orion, SigmasOS) or as a download (QuickTime Player). In every environment I simply see some sort of spinner, and nothing loads. It’s quite possibly a content-blocking issue on my end, though, so if others aren’t having this trouble, forget I mentioned it.

  • Christian Bailey

    Christian Bailey February 4th, 2023 @ 05:07 PM

    @Erik M-H it loads for me in the browser. Possibly your firewall is blocking curated-my.sharepoint.com? Shared here also through iCloud: https://www.icloud.com/iclouddrive/0155cHf7EAARADEkJoW75c5VA#MailMa...

  • benny

    benny February 5th, 2023 @ 08:11 AM

    Just a quick update: It does appear it might be related to key bindings. At least I noticed the the disappearing column settings myself just now. I'll be looking into it today or tomorrow. Maybe there's a chance of a quick fix instead of a slow rewrite (which is still needed though).

    @Erik: I have been able to reproduce issues in the past and I've also fixed them, but this feature has always been very fragile because changes to somewhat unrelated code can easily have side effects. Some times fixing one thing will just break another. We'll see if that happens again :)

  • benny

    benny February 5th, 2023 @ 12:00 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “fixcommitted”

    Ok, custom key bindings (and likely other use cases) would most often not work well with the handling of storing/restoring mailbox columns. In a few minutes, r5942 should be available with a fix. I've also ensured that I'm less likely to re-introduce this type of bug, but the real fix is still both a rewrite of how column states are stored/restored and changing how mailbox related settings are handled in general. I'll mark this specific ticket as fixed since it's related to a specific bug in the current system.

    Sorry about the inconvenience.

  • benny

    benny February 5th, 2023 @ 12:07 PM

    For the record, the bug was introduced when fixing an unrelated key binding issue in r5928.

  • Christian Bailey

    Christian Bailey February 5th, 2023 @ 05:31 PM

    Can confirm that Columns have been remembered since updating to r5942.

    Wow, this is a big quality of life improvement. @benny, thank you for pulling yourself ways from the long-term fixes to resolve this one Benny. And thank you @Erik M-H for compiling the threads to move this out of the not reproducible category.

  • benny

    benny February 5th, 2023 @ 07:44 PM

    @Christian: Thanks for verifying. To be honest, I thought this was about some of the long standing issues with this feature. It took me some time to realize it was a new (and worse) bug.

  • Justin Bradley

    Justin Bradley March 15th, 2023 @ 10:00 PM

    Was also tracking this issue and related column issues. I had reverted back to 5918 because it was so frustrating. Thanks @benny for the fix.

  • Erik M-H

    Erik M-H March 16th, 2023 @ 01:30 AM

    I clean-installed test release r5950 a couple of days ago on a new machine (to act as a drone processor), and set the columns the way I wanted them. Everything was great. I created some new mailboxes early on, and their column settings matched my default exactly as expected.

    I just created three new mailboxes a few minutes ago: all three had (matching) column settings — completely different from my default. I had to change the “outline column” (as I always have to in these situations), and then tried to “revert to default.” No dice.

    I ran defaults delete com.freron.MailMate MmMailboxRelatedStates and re-start MailMate. Then I was able to “revert to default” properly.

    So we’re not out of the woods yet....

  • Erik M-H

    Erik M-H March 16th, 2023 @ 03:05 AM

    And then I created a few more mailboxes, and suddenly every mailbox has screwed-up columns. Deleting the “RelatedStates” preference, re-launching MailMate, and “revert to default” has no effect on any mailbox. Evidently, I now need to redefine the default layout again.

    So tired....

  • benny

    benny March 16th, 2023 @ 05:21 PM

    @Erik: Sorry about that! I'm also really tired of the related code. It has always been a mess. For the record, deleting MmMailboxRelatedStates should not delete the default column states explicitly saved. I did note a bug where the use/revert menu items are wrongly greyed out. Changing a column can be used to enable them again, and then you can revert to default columns. Sigh...

  • Erik M-H

    Erik M-H April 2nd, 2023 @ 08:53 PM

    I’m sure you are, Benny! I can only imagine....

    FWIW, in test build r5959, I can as always change the outline column in order to enable the use/revert menu items. It’s usually stuck on “From” and I change it to “Subject,” which is how it’s set for my default layout.

    If I do nothing else, that change “sticks” even when I leave the mailbox and return to it.

    But if I instead attempt to revert to default columns, not only do the columns not revert to my defined default, but the outline column changes back from “Subject” (which, again, is both what I’ve just set and also the default setting) to “From” (which I don’t want and never set) — and of course this also then grays out the “use” and “revert” menu items.

    I can repeat the experiment endlessly with no change of behavior. I’ll update to r5964 and will post here if anything changes.

    — Erik

  • David

    David June 30th, 2023 @ 11:19 AM

    Fyi, i just added a video to this issue to show the Column Width not being remembered when switching the layout: https://freron.lighthouseapp.com/projects/58672-mailmate/tickets/25...

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