With my iPad due to arrive in four days time, the time had arrived to get things sorted for its homecoming. Since the app store has gone live I have been saving apps which have caught my eye to my wish-list awaiting the arrival of my Nectar Points & Tesco Clubcard points (which arrived today) that could be exchanged for iTunes gift cards which I spent within a heartbeat of my account being credited.
I foresee one of the main uses of my iPad to be email, which gave me the incentive I needed to revisit my email strategy.
Problem To Be Solved:
Currently my email is hosted with a company called 1&1 who I have been using for several years. Their basic package gives you five email accounts derived from your chosen domain name. This includes 2GB of server-side storage per account. Up until now I had used an IMAP system on my Mac, and by using rules within Mail.app placed emails in a hierarchical folder structure stored locally on my Mac. By using IMAP if my Mac was switched off, new emails could be accessed either from my iPhone or via the webmail client before they were sorted and downloaded by Mail.app. However now that I had my iPad, a device which I see to replace all my emailing needs, what would I do if I needed to access an email from a few weeks ago – now stored in one of my folders?
By storing email locally on my Mac, I would not be able to access them from any other device other than my Mac, which is where the problem arose. I wanted my email on my iPhone, iPad and if the need calls through a web client.
Having a vague idea of what needed to be done I thought I would just sound my ideas against my Twitter followers. One follower of mine (who is now known as Mr Email) is Mark Dalton, offered me very sound advice through a blog post entitled ‘Getting to grips with eMail‘.
I tweaked his method slightly by using the following workflow.
- Using MailSteward I archived off all of my email contained within Mail.app.
- I then created a Smart Folder which contained all email which were older than 2 years. These were then deleted as I saw no foreseeable situation where I would need to access on the go, an email older than two years. If I did, these emails would be saved within MailSteward.
- I then copied all of the email in the folder structure to my IMAP server. To recap only email which is now under two years old is on my IMAP server.
I now had the ability to access all these email on my iPhone, web client (and when it arrives) my iPad; problem solved.
But what about rules? Mail.app had rules contained that if mail came from an email address firstname.lastname@example.org it would be placed within John’s folder under people. This of course would not work if my Mac was not on running Mail.app to process the rules.
Having watched the latest ScreenCast Online by Don McAllister demonstrating server-side rules on MobileMe beta; I wondered if the same could be done with 1&1. To my sheer joy this was the case. I could input peoples email addresses, and assign the folder for their email to be dropped into. Perfect!!!
Now, no matter where I am or which device I access my email from, they are placed within the folders which I have specified, exactly what I wanted.
Thankyou To Mark:
Getting an email workflow that suits you up and running takes a vast amount of time, which is probably one of the reasons for me putting off this ‘iPad compatible’ workflow for so long. I would like to therefore publicly thank Mark Dalton for all his help, assistance and time; both over email and Twitter he has given to help me get my workflow just perfect. He has once again confirmed the strength of the Mac community something which I doubt exists over on the Windows platform.