I recently moved back to Gmail after a not-quite-year-long experiment with “raw” IMAP. I’m not a massive fan of Gmail from an ideological standpoint–specifically the “proprietary data collecting” aspects of it–but, as it turns out, I really, really loathe IMAP from a “holy fuck I just want it to work” standpoint.

Email is a pretty fucking critical part of modern life, even for people–like yours truly–who aren’t particularly heavy users. Except the protocols behind it are twenty-plus years out of date, and they suck.

Proprietary implementations of email–such as that found in Gmail or in Outlook–can make the user experience a bit nicer, but they’re still built as crappy little islands of incompatibility floating in a sea of creaking bullshit.1

Because it seems that, nowadays, everyone needs their own “email replacement”, FastMail is working on an API it calls JMAP.2 It sounds… interesting. Honestly, anything that even attempts to improve email (in an open, replicable way) is a-okay by me. I wish them luck. And possibly money, if they end up with a decent, reasonably priced SaaS offering I can shift my data into.

  1. Ocean metaphor intentional. I really liked Wave. Shame Google’s web front end for it sucked. []
  2. Because J comes after I in the alphabet, geddit? Oh, and also it’s built on JSON. That too. []