MailPriority 1.4.1, by David Frank
Posted: 10-Sep-2004

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: David Frank Type: FREEWARE

Reviewer: Jim Melton Class: INTERNET
     
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Overview
If you are a user of Apple's Mail client and you've used other mail clients, you may miss the ability request read-receipts or set the priority of the mail you send. Fortunately, Mail has an extensible architecture that allows third-party developers to extend its capabilities by installing "bundles".

MailPriority is a plug-in for Mail that provides a simple interface to request read-receipts, set the priority of outgoing messages, and automatically color-code messages.

Requirements

  • Mac OS 10.2 or 10.3 (version 1.1 supports 10.1)
  • NOTE: The Jaguar version of MailPriority disabled itself after Security Update 2004-01-26.


Setup
Installation is straightforward. MailPriority downloads as a disk image, which should automatically mount on your desktop. Double-click on the installer and press the install button.


MailPriority Installer

If for any reason you can't or don't want to use the installer, there are simple instructions for accomplishing the installation manually.

If you want to make MailPriority available to all the users on your system, you will have to install it for each user, because it installs in the user's home directory. But it only requires 288K of disk space, so you don't have to worry about wasted disk space (just the inconvenience of the extra steps).

In Use
Once installed, MailPriority adds a Priority sub-menu to Mail's Edit menu. You can use this to see or set the priority of messages. However, in my experience, I never even knew the menu was there. In fact, I rarely use any of the menus Mail has; most common operations are accessible via toolbar icons.

MailPriority adds icons to the palette of available toolbar options, making it unobtrusive and well integrated with Mail. I customized my new message toolbar to add priority and read receipt options.


Using MailPriority within Mail


To request a read-receipt for a message, just click the icon while composing. To set the priority of your message, select from the priority icon. Based on your preferences, the priority icon can display as either a pop-up of the 5 priorities (1-highest, 5-lowest), or a toggle-button that cycles through the different priorities.

MailPriority's other feature is the ability to color-code your e-mail. From the preferences pane, you can automatically assign a color based on the priority of the message. It comes with two pre-defined color palletes, but you can completely customize the colors assigned to each priority. Personally, I don't get a lot of prioritized mail, and I use Mail's rules to color mail from people in my Address Book and SPAM, so this feature is not of much use to me. However, for the sake of this review, I tried using the colorize feature. MailPriority adds a contextual menu (control-click, or right-click with a 2-button mouse) to the viewer list.


Colorizing with MailPriority


After selecting a color, I found that I had to wait for a *very* long time (at least 10 seconds). If I didn't wait, the color didn't take. MailPriority changes the color of the letters in the browser list display. Compared to Mail's built-in colorizing of the background of the list entry, I didn't find it worthwhile. Also, having to wait for the effect to be applied was frustrating and counterintuitive.

Summary
MailPriority is a plug-in that adds a couple of useful features inexplicably missing from Apple's Mail client. It adds the ability to request read-receipts and to set the priority of the mail you send. I find these features so glaringly absent from Mail, that MailPriority is one of my "must-have" tools, and the price is right. In contrast, the colorization feature is pretty much a waste of time. There is a potential for it to be useful, if you receive a lot of prioritized mail. On the other hand, Mail's built-in rule-based colorization is likely to be more useful. Fortunately, MailPriority could omit this feature entirely and still be completely worthwhile to me. Anyone who uses Apple Mail should install this plug-in.

Pros

  • Adds the ability to request read receipts to Mail
  • Adds message priority to Mail
  • Well integrated with Mail preferences and screens


Cons

  • Current version only supports 10.2 and higher
  • Difficult to use colorization


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice