One of the MailMate patrons sent me (and you) a special New Years gift. Matt Petrowsky decided to make a series of screencasts about how he uses MailMate. The screencasts are high quality and they cover a lot of aspects of MailMate. It is, by far, the most detailed general visual introduction available for MailMate.

And here’s the big surprise: He made 13 episodes totalling more than 2 hours of video.

I’m simply amazed by this effort and it is greatly appreciated. Thanks Matt!

I should have shared it a month ago, but I first wanted to look through all of it myself to see if I had any important comments — and then a month passed. Shame on me! I’ve now decided to split this task into smaller subtasks. Today, I’m commenting on the first 2 episodes.

Here’s a link to the entire list of screencasts: MailMate: The Killer Email App for Mac OS.

Update February 10th: Matt created an additional video which can be found here.

Note that MailMate has been updated to revision 5344 (it’s version number is still 1.9.6). See the release notes for the quite long list of details.

Episode 1: Introduction (7:39)

Matt previously used the Gmail web interface and this is his starting point. Therefore he didn’t notice that if he had accounts configured in Apple Mail or Thunderbird then MailMate would have automatically triggered “File ▸ Import Accounts…”. It is, by the way, quite a hassle to make this work since there is no standard way to obtain settings from other email clients and Apple, in particular, keeps on changing how they save account settings. This is not a complaint, but it helps explain why this feature tends to be broken on a regular basis.

My favorite quote of the introduction is that “MailMate is an application that you really must configure based on how you work”. That might also be a nice way to say that MailMate has a somewhat steep learning curve.

Episode 2: Account Setup (7:29)

Matt compares MailMate with the Gmail web interface which also makes this a nice introduction to the differences between webmail and desktop email clients. Desktop email clients use IMAP, POP3, or Exchange to access emails. MailMate only supports IMAP (and Exchange when IMAP access is enabled on the server).

It is clearly described how to enable IMAP access for a Gmail account, but I’m pretty sure this is actually not necessary. I tried to disable IMAP, but I was still able to access my Gmail account from MailMate. I believe this is because the setting is ignored when using OAuth2 to authenticate an account. The OAuth2 setting is also described by Matt and this is certainly recommended for Gmail accounts, because otherwise all kinds of issues may arise. My thoughts on OAuth2 for desktop email clients can be found here.

There’s a very nice description of using multiple email addresses for a single IMAP account. With respect to Gmail you need to be careful though. If Google does not like the “From” address of an email (when using their SMTP server) then it doesn’t reject the email, it just rewrites the “From” header. I cannot find this documented anywhere, but Google describes how to add additional email addresses on this support page.

Some minor comments:

  • Never ever disable SSL. This setting only exists for the few users needing it for, e.g., a local IMAP server, but I’ve considered hiding it by default. If you have an email provider which does not support SSL (or does not enforce it) then it’s time to consider an alternative.
  • Matt is nice to say that it’s really easy to add an account. Just for the record, I do think it could be a lot easier.

That’s it for now. Thanks again Matt!