Hard Lessons
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Having worked on email-related code before, I have been morbidly fascinated by one of the founders of handmade.network writing an email client. Handmade Network is trying to reinvigorate programming by emphasizing small teams and from-scratch performant code. It’s a great way to write small, self-contained projects (games, libraries, utilities) that can be done, but fell out of favor two decades ago for complex user-facing software.

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POP3 and SMTP via SSH Tunnels
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I use Fetchmail to retrieve my email. I have an account that still doesn’t support SSL, but at least I also have an SSH account that on the same network. Here’s the fetchmailrc config to optionally tear down, then build and use an SSH tunnel:

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Deleting Spam From sup Maildirs
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A quirk of the sup email client is that it doesn’t sync back changes like deletes to mail sources. “Deleted” messages are only flagged and hidden from the user.

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Extracting Immutable Objects
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In the last few weeks I’ve been rehabilitating some of the first object-oriented code I wrote in the hopes of bringing my mailing list archive back online. Lately I’ve been refactoring some of the earliest, core code: the Message class. It manages the individual emails in the system and, because I didn’t understand how to extract functionality, had turned into something of a God Class.

Yesterday I tweeted about a really satisfying cleanup:

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Inbox Zero
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A few minutes ago, for the first time in around a decade, I emptied my email inbox. I’ve been steadily whittling it down (or at least holding the line) for the last few months: catching up on mailing lists, responding to outstanding emails, admitting there’s some things that are so old I’m not going to respond to them, and moving work items onto a proper to-do list. So I have an impressively boring screenshot:

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Command/Query Separation
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Objects contain both state (data) and methods, and methods should be classifiable into commands that change state and queries that introspect state. The principle of Command/Query Separation (CQS) expresses a design principle I’ve intuitively used as a rule of thumb. With the conscious consideration that comes from hearing it, I knew how to improve some of my own code.

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