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February 6, 2008

Web App ideas: QuickMail

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I was thinking the other day, I want to build a web app. Yeah. Right after I finish Physics homework, build an AI program, and take finals. Good grief.

What the heck, I can still come up with ideas, right? Google didn't turn up much inspiration, so I started thinking on my own. Here's what I came up with.

QuickMail, a lightweight mail app, designed for those who don't have time to deal with bulky webmail interfaces (am I right, AOL users??). It should support as many mainstream mail services as possible. It should have a clean, simple interface, with little or no bells or whistles. It should be built for speed (both runtime and download time).

Upon entering the site, the user is presented with a login panel, which contains a dropdown with available services, username and password fields, and out-of-the-way links to an about page and other pages that might be accessed before "logging in" (perhaps a "donate" page to pay for hosting, maintenance, etc). Ideally, this panel will be presented as a blackbox-style overlay, to prevent the need to wait for an extra page refresh after logging in.

Once "logged in", mail will be fetched from the user's account (probably through AJAX) and displayed (unread mail only? both read/unread? will there be options?). No registration is required for QuickMail, only the login credentials for the specific service are needed. The user should be able to choose whether or not the app autochecks for new mail (for slower computers, to avoid the constant background JS that would be required), and there should be a button for checking for new mail, regardless of whether autocheck is on or off.

Credentials should be kept only on a per-session basis; the user should be able to simply exit their browser without fear of being "hacked". Most likely, this will involve avoiding cookies, probably keeping the credentials as JS variables.

A mail search function would be nice, though it would be an extra feature, to be implemented after the core functionality is stable.

With this kind of setup, you could type "qm.com" or similar in your url, choose your service, enter your credentials, and read your email, all in the 15min between classes :D ok, maybe not that snappy, but close enough. Once you're done, just exit the browser (or tab) and don't worry about logging out (since you were never really "logged in" to begin with).

So, what do you think? Would you use this? Is it feasible? Anything I missed?

If you think you can implement it, fine, but I'd love to be in on it. If not, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments :)

1 comment:

Chris said...

Congratulations. You've invented Gmail :)