gd0t.com

How to fix email while still keeping email.

It has been said many times (ie: http://joncalhoun.posterous.com/email-sucks-this-is-how-we-fix-it) by many people that email is lagging behind the times with the way it is often used.

What was intended to be a way to simply send messages back and forth and communicate like civilized humans; email has evolved into the centralized place where many people get actionable items.

MIME email includes a multipart/alternative header that allows you to send alternative versions of the same message; almost always to have an HTML and a Plain Text version of the same email; where the latter doesn't have to be simply an HTML stripped version of the former.

A standard could be agreed upon (or someone could just do it first) for something like

Content type: application/integration-json
{type: 'bugreport',
title: 'IE6 Still doesn't work'
metadata: {project: 'web2.0 application blah', example: 'http://something.com/path/to/bug'}
}

And our email readers could have plugins to deal with different 'integration types'; and we could assign permissions to specific senders so that they automagically get put into our todo lists, because they are our boss or favorite client; others get ignored automatically, some we have to approve manually.

But in every case that we have a plugin defined we get the saved steps of moving something to our todo list, or our bug tracker, or bill we have to pay. It essentially could lay an arbitrary API on top of email within the existing specification.

If we don't have a plugin for the specific type; then the original message is still there for us to read and deal with manually.

This approach would allow a gradual-over-time improvement without ever having to ditch 'email.'