Client rewrite for RoundCube

Thomas Bruederli roundcube at
Mon Aug 28 09:41:51 CEST 2006

Hi Brennan,

I understand your concepts for enhancing the client code of RoundCube
and I mostly agree with your ideas. The current code is very straight
forward and grew with the application. It currently counts about 3900
lines! All actions are held in one object and are (mostly) invoked
using one method: rcube.command();

I already wanted to split the code into task-specific files such as
mail, address book and settings where all methods are added to the
main class using rcube_webmail.prototype.nnn. Also creating some new
classes for list functionality etc. was in my mind.

There also popped up some plans and suggestions to make the client
even more ajaxy and eliminate full page loads when switching between
list, view and compose mode. Probably that's something we could
include in this concept.

Actually I agree with a rewrite as you suggested, the only
disadvantage I see, is that this will take some time and it will stop
the current development because merging could become very difficult.
That's also the reason, why I cc-ed the mailing list because that's a
task that concerns all developers. For me, it's no problem because
I'll go on holiday for more than a month soon and will not work on the
project then.

Best regards,

2006/8/25, Brennan Stehling <offwhite at>:
> My approach with the frontend would be to make it much more object oriented
> and event-driven.  Each mail folder would be represented by a folder object
> which would hold a series of  message objects.  And when you need to add a
> message to the display, you simply add a message to the folder object.
> Adding it will trigger an event to update the display.  Essentially I would
> create a model in Javascript to represent the system and have the screens
> rendered from that model.
> The current frontend code is writing out HTML DOM directly when the backend
> requests it.  And there is no good way to trigger an event based on
> something happening with a message or folder.  Like when you move a message
> from the current folder to another (or folder at this point), I would simply
> use the following code.
> inboxFolder.remove(message1);
> trashFolder.add(message1);
> A controller object (MailAgent) may wrap this behavior.
> mailAgent.moveMessage(message1, inboxFolder, trashFolder);
> Internally when the folders are changed at the model level they can trigger
> display events which update the screen as needed, like updating the page
> Title for the current count, the folder tray and the message tray.  The
> counts to show are the counts for the messages held by the folder objects.
> It is no longer just dictated from the server-side.
> And at the UI level you would have those objects: PageTitle, MessageTray,
> FolderTray, etc.  In the FolderTray you would simply have it bound to the
> Folder object which holds  a collection of Message objects.  And since the
> Message objects have date and string values it would be very easy for the
> MessageTray to sort them on those properties.
> Notice that at this point there is no HTML DOM being managed.  By separating
> those conceptual areas you can have project volunteers focus on what they
> know best.  I know XHTML, CSS and Javascript well and if all I did was help
> out by handling the UI portion of the Javascript I would be productive at
> it.  I would not have to concern myself with how I need to interact with the
> mail system.  I would just work with the methods and properties available on
> the objects I had available to me.  I would work against the API of the mail
> model.
> The same is true for the mail model.  A developer could focus on enhancing
> the model to do some amazing stuff.  Like when the message is moved from one
> folder to another it would trigger the server-side interaction to make that
> happen.  If that fails, they can have the message returned back to the
> folder it came from to ensure UI properly matches the server-side state.
> And they would do so without touching any HTML DOM.
> Brennan

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