Archive for April, 2011

Archives UI for mailman: Use cases

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment

As a first step, I have gone through all the use cases of archives UI listed as part of Systers Archive Project last year and these are my views. Please give your feedback.

Users Viewing a Conversation
1.Users want to be able to navigate all messages within a conversation in as few clicks as possible
2.Users prefer spending less time browsing all messages in a conversation
3.Suppose the conversation the user found is a question about solving a technical problem. Users would want to be able to easily find replies (answers) to the original message.

-> Very important use cases. Even if we don’t have any notion of a ‘conversation’, showing more than one message on a page will help users to quickly browse through all the messages in a thread.

Handling Top/Bottom Posting
By default, the quoted text can either be all hidden or all displayed. It might also be good to only hide the quoted text when it is at the end of the message, as when it is in the middle, the user is likely to want to see it for context.

->On mailing lists, people generally use ‘inline posting’ to reply. One level of inline posting is helpful to see the context, but if it goes beyond one level then, it might be a good idea to hide the old quoted text.

Users Viewing Index of Conversations
Single Archive and Page-Splitting for Conversations Index – 2010-07-09, 2010-07-16
->This is a good idea to view archives as a conversation.

Users Viewing a Conversation
4.Users want to be able to easily separate the meta data (sender’s name, date the message was sent etc) from the post so they can either skip over or really pay attention to whichever part they need.

5.Some users may want to be able to distinguish between replying to the sender and replying to the mailing list

Situations that involve filtering messages by date:
-> Though, it is very easy to implement.

Support for Non-dlist lists:
-> I don’t have much idea how many users use this.

One more Use case
When a user views a message, he is provided the link to either go to previous message or next message. Along with those links, we can show a list of links to all messages of that thread along with author names, to allow that user to directly jump to any message in that thread.
“Mail-archive” provides this feature.

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GSOC Proposal for Mailman 3

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Developing Archives for Mailman 3


The objective of this project is to implement mailman archives with advanced search capabilities andimproveduser interface(UI) to display archived messages. We would like to cover the use cases developed for the Systers archive project last year. Then, we can cover other important use cases as well.


Both archives UI and search were implemented separately for the Systers archive project last year. They were tested with mbox files as input. So, we can use Syster’s archiver code to achieve our goal.

In order to implement these features in Mailman 3, we have two options:

      1. Build a replacement for pipermail: For Mailman 3, we can develop a new archiver with support of these functionalities.
      2. Modify pipermail: We can implement both UI and search functionalities in pipermail and produce a standalone pipermail++. Then, we need to integrate this modified pipermail with Mailman.

I have decided to go ahead with adapting pipermail keeping these reasons in mind:

1. Adapted pipermail will be more usable as a single product.

2. Other functionalities e.g. ‘stable urls’ are also being added to pipermail. So, all improvements on pipermail can be integrated.

The goal is to have working archives for Mailman 3 with the following features:

  • Searchable archives
  • Improved UI to view archives

Project Schedule

  1. [Before Coding Starts + 1 week]:
  • Set up dev environment
  • Go through the source code of archiver UI and search
  • Finalize the approach
  • Also, explore possibilities of a standalone pipermail++
  1. [3-4 weeks]: Archive UI
  • Integrate archives UI
  • Handle conversations in Mailman
  • Testing it and discussing it with the community
  1. [3-4 weeks]: Archives Search
  • Integrate search into archives
  • Testing it and discussing it with the community
  1. [1 week]: Integrating with other projects on mailman archives
  2. [2 weeks]: Bugfixing and Documentation


I am a fourth year dual degree(Bachelors + Masters) student of Department of Computer Science, IIT Delhi, India.

I believe I am a good candidate to work in the proposed project because I am well experienced in python language. I also have some experience with Django. Last summers, I did my internship with IBM Extreme Blue.


1. Mailman Archives UI (
2. Project Description (
3. Mailman Search (
4. Documentation of Mailocate package (
Contact Info

Name:Dushyant Bansal (irc nick: dushyant)
e-mail 2:

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