Why is WebMail better?

Phillip Hallam-Baker phill at hallambaker.com
Fri Dec 11 18:21:11 UTC 2015


I have all the mail clients on my machine. Yet I use Gmail on the desktops,
why?

The main reason seems to be that the protocols are cleverer. Gmail gives me
instant, fluid response and all my IMAP based clients give me a long pause
to download mail.

IMAP does have some advantages, I can read mail offline for a start. So it
is better for mobile devices. But on the desktop, Gmail wins.


This doesn't have to be the case though. The IMAP protocol is slow because
it is poorly designed. It is single threaded with every transaction
requiring a separate request/response. So one big file causes everything to
jam up. Sorting of messages takes place in the client and the changes are
uploaded back to the server.

Gmail also optimizes the user experience by separating out metadata
downloads from content and message data from attachments. Their protocol is
S/MIME aware while IMAP is not.


These are all fixable.
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