#82 new

search should not reset the selected source (in the mailboxes pane) to All Messages (optionally?)

Reported by Mason | March 7th, 2011 @ 11:18 AM

Usually, when I want to search, I am already looking at the account or mailbox within which I want to search.

I know this varies from person to person--Apple struggled with this in Spotlight search and finally made it a preference[1]. So maybe it could be a preference option, though I tend to think the typical MM user would tend to start by winnowing the search to the right mailboxes.

Consider this fairly typical search use case:

1.) User expands a mail account in the Sources list to look in her "Lists" subfolder.
2.) She is looking for message about a new source code indexer for Objective-J that provides autocomplete in Xcode.
3.) She can't remember which list she saw the post on, so she Command-selects objj-users, objj-dev, and cappuccino-ninjas.
4.) Now there are too many messages to quickly find it, so she wants to search within what she has selected for "Xcode". She enters Cmf-Opt-F to search.

BOOM! Her careful selection of the correct (and alphabetically discontiguous) mailboxes, from the many lists she subscribes too. She must now re-select those.

Also, in her particular case, she happens to have 170,000 messages in MailMate (just like I do--what a coincidence!), and so whenever the "All Messages" folder is selected, her SSD-booting 8-core Mac Pro sputters nonresponsively for 3-4 seconds (separate enhancement request coming soon).

I understand the rationale for a Search to start out by searching everything, but think the argument for preserving the selected mailboxes to initiate the search is more persuasive.

Rock on,

[1] Spotlight used to always start with "This Mac" when you initiated search. Enoguh users complained that they added a preference to do that,or to instead search within the folder you were already looking at.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • benny

    benny March 7th, 2011 @ 12:29 PM

    Previously, the default was to stay in the same mailbox, but that didn't work well for most of the initial searches. It is possible to hold down ⌥ to stay in the current mailbox, but unfortunately this is not a good solution for the Mailbox Search shortcut ⌥⌘F, so that one is hardcoded to All Messages for now. There is also a toolbar button where ⌥ could work, but it doesn't due to a bug (I fixed it today).

    I guess MailMate could choose to stay in the currently selected mailboxes when more than 1 mailbox is selected, but that may also be a confusing mixed behavior. I'll think about that.

    Note: When you lose your selection like this then try to go “Back in History” using ⌘[.

  • Mason

    Mason March 7th, 2011 @ 01:08 PM

    Ah, so that explains why this hasn't bugged me until sometime fairly recently.

    I think this discussion gives further weight to the idea of a preference option, like Spotlight has. I can see how some people wouldn't like what I like; on the other hand, to me it is maddening to have my selections un-made.

    This applies not just to MM, but to any app which takes it upon itself to unselect something I have selected. Together with what to do when the user manually changes the source list selection with an active search, this is an area in which Mac apps are wildly inconsistent. iTunes, Mail, Xcode...

    Personally, I like Xcode's way the best (talking Xcode 3 here). When you select something in the source list, and then do Cmd-Opt-F, it does not modify the selection. Furthermore, when you then change the selected sources, it does not change your search criteria. You can gradually adjust each of those things to refine the search and zero in on what you need.

    I think that this shows the most respect for the user--even though small, the acts of selection-making and inputting search criteria represent work by the user. Discarding that work at the whims of the computer is presumptuous at best and maddening at worst.

    Mail, iTunes, and Finder get it varyingly wrong, IMO.

    MM is better; it does give you the option to gradually refine both--you can progressively edit the search criteria, and also change the sources you are searching. That is great.

    It is only at the start of a new search that I find MM's behavior lacking. I would like the option to tell MM 'look, you non-sentient collection of machine instructions: I'm a human, and I know what I am doing, so don't undo any of my explicit actions'.

    I guess that's basically saying what I said before using different words, though, so I will leave it at that. ;-)

  • Mason

    Mason March 7th, 2011 @ 01:10 PM

    Or, you know, even a "Search in Selected Mailboxes" (Cmd-Opt-Shift-F) would be fine... I would just get used to always using that command instead of the current one.

  • Mason

    Mason March 7th, 2011 @ 01:10 PM

    Such a solution would use up one more valuable keyboard shortcut, but would have zero ambiguity...

  • Thomas Hanke

    Thomas Hanke March 8th, 2011 @ 03:32 PM

    Please add this feature soon.

    I tried to use Spotlight for a quick - that's no good sign.

  • benny

    benny March 23rd, 2011 @ 08:24 AM

    • State changed from “new” to “fixcommitted”

    The next update is going to have separate shortcuts for Search All Messages (⌥⌘F) and Mailbox Search (⌥⌘F).

  • benny

    benny March 25th, 2011 @ 10:47 PM

    • State changed from “fixcommitted” to “fixreleased”

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