I'm an avid user of gmail and since I have started using it I think it is the best thing since sliced bread. As with all webbased mail services the best part is also its weakest part: the mail is always available, provided that you are online. Last week I had to stay in a holiday vilage without internet access inside the appartment, and that made reading and sending mail quite troublesome, not to mention it showed how much dependent we (I?) have gotten on being online.

IMAP is a much better protocol, but the problem is that I find email clients quirky at best compared to the gmail reader where you can read a discussion (which happen a lot on the @wicket-user and @wicket-dev lists) in one go. The Google mail interface shows the whole discussion without threading. It took a while to get used to, but when I noticed that keeping up with the mailinglists was considerable less effort than before (somewhere around one quarter of the effort and time before gmail), I was hooked.

The likes of gmail:

  • always available - just start up any browser and voila
  • zero configuration - no need to do any configuration of mail clients
  • quick - depends on the internet connection and browser (safari load times can be long)
  • reading discussions - read all 19 messages in a dicsussion in one go, no clicks required
  • massive storage - 2.5Gig's of mail storage is a lot

Dislikes of gmail:

  • not available offline - you can't respond to messages in your inbox without being online
  • claiming of browser tab - when you open gmail and other tabs to start your online day, gmail focusses its browser tab

What is scary but often also very funny are the google ads displayed next to heated discussions on developer forums. I often saw ads for communication consultancy firms, process improvement etc.

GMail is probably the biggest reason why Wicket's user and development list is highly regarded as fast, quick and friendly. The core developers are able to keep responding to the onslaught of messages by using this web mail service.