Endless Parentheses

Ramblings on productivity and technical subjects.

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Write Gmail in Emacs the Easy Way: gmail-message-mode

Trying out the myriad of Emacs mail clients is no less than an odyssey. I am proud to say I dove into this sea of protocols and credentials and emerged from it a better man, albeit empty handed.

I do not blame the clients available. Gnus and Mew, in particular, are both Herculean beasts of coding prowess. It was I who failed, regrettably, to fit them into my workflow. Thus I designed my own solution.

gmail-message-mode combines all the features of Gmail's web interface, with the editing prowess we all love about Emacs. How does it work?

  • First of all, it is not a mail client.
  • In you browser, when composing a message, you invoke a hotkey that sends you to Emacs.
  • In Emacs, you can use plain text or the full power of Markdown to write your email.
  • Hit C-x # to finish your edits and gmail-message-mode seamlessly converts the message back to Gmail's format (html).

The installation process is as follows.

Install the mode

Good old (package-install 'gmail-message-mode) will do. If you'd like to install manually, see the Readme.

Configure your browser

Chrome and Firefox require an extra add-on for editing text-fields in Emacs. Conkeror works out of the box.

  1. Google-Chrome or Chromium - Edit with emacs
  2. Firefox - A very slightly modified version of the It's all text add-on, patched by patjak and oantolin.
  3. Conkeror - Spawn Helper (built-in).
  4. Others - Tried it in another browser? Let me know!

Install a Markdown converter

You need an executable so that Emacs can convert the Markdown to HTML. I personally recommend Pandoc. Many distros also have a markdown package.

If you choose something else, see the ham-mode-markdown-command variable.

Tags: gmail, email, emacs,

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