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Unified Inbox & Label Editing Arrive in Open-Source E-mail App ‘N1’

nylas n1 logo

The N1 email client is one of our favourite apps

A major update is rolling out to hackable open source e-mail client N1.

So important are the changes that the developers say it is the biggest update made to the extensible email app since its launch last October.

Nylas N1 v0.4.4 brings a bevy of new features with it, including long-awaited support for a unified inbox and a quicker way to edit labels.

We’ll take a closer look at all the changes in a moment. But first a refresher on what the N1 app is and isn’t.

Nylas N1 – An Open-Source Email Client

Although we often refer to the app as ‘Nylas N1‘ it’s actually called ‘N1’.

‘Nylas’ is the name of the company who make the app and the name of the open-source ‘sync engine’ that provides the powerful mail sorting capabilities.

‘N1’ is the open-source desktop client created by Nylas, the front-end that plugs into the sync engine backend.

N1 uses the open-source sync engine to sift through, sort, organise and apply ‘rules’ to your e-mail on the fly. By default, N1 will use a hosted instance of this engine.

It makes getting started with N1 a total cinch: you install the app, login and authorise  your Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook or other supported e-mail account and the app will copy across all your mail and fetch/send new mails as they arrive).

Having all of your e-mail stored on a remote third-party server is, understandably, a privacy concern for many (though is theoretically no more “risky” than using the new Windows 10 e-mail app or a third-party e-mail client on Android, iOS, etc, it’s simply about trust).

To reassure the worried Nylas do stress that they are:  “…not an advertising company. We don’t sell user data or provide “personalized” ads, and we have no plans to do so.”

The company makes money by providing infrastructure and services to corporate and enterprise clients.

As both the app and the sync engine are fully open-source, the privacy conscious among you can check the code or run a the Nylas Sync Engine locally for peace of mind.

Why Choose Nylas?

The uniqueness of Nylas is not that it is open-source or well designed. It’s that it’s extensible like a web-browser.

New features, plugins and themes can be added to N1 easily. Developers can write extensions in JavaScript, React, NodeJS, Flux and Electron.

Nylas offer an in-depth guide on getting started with N1 extension development for those interested in expanding its feature set.

Nylas N1 0.4.4: New Features

Nylas N1 on Linux

Recap of what the app is out-of-the-way, let’s run-down the more notable changes arriving in version 0.4.4.

‘Unified Inbox allows you to see, sift and sort all mail from all of your connected accounts at once’

Note: we are only summarising new features/improvements here. We are not providing a comprehensive list of pre-existing features.

Unified Inbox

It’s the big one, this; the long-awaited, much-requested, can’t-believe-it-didn’t-already-have feature of all features.

Unified Inbox allows you to see, sift and sort all mail from all of your connected accounts at once, in the same window.

unified inbox

N1: Unified Inbox

Debuting along with the unified Inbox are unified Search and unified Drafts, Sent and Trash views.

As someone who has several email accounts I appreciate the boost in workflow a unified inbox brings.

I can now tackle all the mail from all the accounts I care about at the same time (and with over 150 nominations to our Cinnamon Theme Showdown, I’ve had a lot to keep on top of!).

Sidebar Tweaks

Through user feedback the account sidebar has been tweaked to add the following features:

  • Right-click on Labels to edit/rename them
  • Collapsible label and folder views
  • Unread counts for all accounts when viewing “All Accounts”
  • Rearrange the order accounts using through Preferences > Accounts
N1: Easier label editing

N1: Easier label editing

Other Changes

Send and Archive

If you archive email conversations after replying to them then rejoice: the latest version of N1 can perform this action automatically.

Nylas say more “send variants” are to come in a future update, including ‘Send Later’, ‘Undo Send’ and an option to choose which send behaviour is actioned by default.

Send As

N1 Send as

N1: New Sending Options

If you take advantage of the new unified inbox you could get confused about which mail you’re sending a reply from. A new account picket let’s your choose an alias or account before sending.

You can also set a default account to send mail from in Preferences > Sending.

Launch on Login

To receive notification of new e-mail as it arrives you should keep Nylas running in the background. If you’re forgetful you’ll appreciate the option to  set N1 to launch in the background. Head to Preferences to enable this.

Misc

  • You can now archive / trash items from the search results view
  • N1 stores mail it us unable to send in your Drafts folder (and auto-sends it when connection is restored)
  • The conversation list is now loaded faster, and makes fewer database queries
  • Unified Contact autocomplete
  • Unified unread count in indicator icon

Bonus tip: if you use N1 on Ubuntu and would like a theme that integrates better with Ambiance check out this one  on Github.

Nylas N1 Ubuntu Theme

N1 with Ubuntu theme and two-column layout enabled

Download Nylas N1 for Linux

‘Like a browser, N1 is designed to be hacked on and extended with plugins and extensions’

The best thing about N1 (and the Nylas engine that powers it is) is that it’s an open-source project. If a feature is missing, if support is patchy, and if something needs fixing anyone can dive in to toy with the code.

Like Firefox and Chrome N1 is designed to be hacked on and extended with plugins and extensions. Developer who are familiar with JavaScript can add whatever feature or change they need and make it available for other users to install, whether it’s a simple color picker for customizing labels or a totally redesigned interface that auto sorts e-mail alphabetically or inserting Nyan cat .gifs into the subject lines of every mail marked spam.

The possibilities and the potential are fantastic.

You can install N1 on both 32bit and 64bit Ubuntu by using the precompiled .deb installer linked below.

This deb, which weighs in at around 73MB, also adds the official N1 repository to your Software Sources so that you can receive future updates as and when they become available.

Download Nylas N1 for Linux (.deb)

Installers for Windows and Mac OS X are also available from the official N1 website.

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