Folder names and GMail internal foldersGMail will provide one IMAP folder per label whose name will be the label's name. So far, so good. Now: GMail also uses some special folders to operate internally and you'll see them in the IMAP tree. These folders are:
- [GMail]/All Mail
- [GMail]/Sent Mail
- The [GMail]/Drafts folder is visible in GMail web interface, so it's very handy to have Evolution save drafts directly there: you could start a message on Evolution, save it, and then sending it from you mobile device. You should be aware of a gotcha: if you're editing a message with a large attachment beware that when the mail client saves it, it will indeed send the attachment to the server! In such cases, I just attach the file at last.
- The [GMail]/All Mail folder contains a link to every single message in your account. That's why you should never store messages directly here unless you know what to do. We'll get into this later.
- The [GMail]/Sent folder contains a link to every message you sent. GMail does this automatically for you: the message will be stored on the server and labeled accordingly. That's why you don't have to save sent messages on the server. You would simply waste bandwith!
- The [GMail]/Starred folder contains a reference to starred messages. One more time you realize that everything's built around labels.
- The [GMail]/Trash label is very special. We'll get into this later.
Copying and moving messagesThe file metaphor still applies:
- Copying a mail from a folder to another is equivalent to label a message with the destination folder's label.
- Moving a mail from a folder to another means removing the origin folder's label and applying the destination folder's label.
Deleting messagesThis is where things may not be so intuitive. I'll try to make it clera with an example: when you receive a message (and you don't have any auto-labeling filter triggered by such message), that email goes into the Inbox. Moreover, that message will automagically appear into the [GMail]/All Mails folder. Now: what's the IMAP gesture that corresponds to archiving such message? A valid answer would be: moving it to the [GMail]/All Mails folder. This would indeed translate to:
- Removing the GMail internal Inbox label.
- Applying the [GMail]/All Mails label (which is already applied to every message).
- Moving the message to a local (non-GMail) folder: this folder could also be the Evolution local Trash folder.
No matter how many labels a message has, labeling it with the [GMail]/Trash label effectively tell GMail to delete it in 30 days.If you want to delete a message, then, just move it to the corresponding [GMail]/Trash folder of your account.
Is there a better way to do it?I recognize that renouncing to the comfortable Delete button and having to move a message into the [GMail]/Trash folder is neither intuitive (semantically) nor easy: one click is addictive, a (right-click, move, choose folder) sequence is just a pain.
I had to cope with the same issue in Thunderbird but, fortunately, Thunderbird was easy enough to tweak in order to map the Delete action into the corresponding GMail action. It basically reduced to mapping the local Trash folder into the remote [GMail]/Trash folder and it could be easily accomplished manually editing the trash_folder_name property of each account.
I haven't (yet) found a way to do it with Evolution and I'll spend a couple of hours more to investigate it.