Apple Mail has design flaw and bug

When sending a batch of draft messages from Apple Mail running on Lion, the app behaves in weird ways. Ways that you can only see as flawed or buggy.

The other day I had to send a batch of draft messages from my business account. I have all of my accounts set up with one mail server on Linux, that has been set up through CPanel. The accounts are all saved in Mail’s Preferences.

When I started sending these messages, Mail did two things that prove to be either a design flaw or a regular bug:

  • It will ask you for a mail server to send each message from
  • It will not remove the sent message from the Drafts list if you send them quickly one after the other.

To reproduce this problem, you’ll have to select some five messages at a time in order to have a good batch, and then double-click to open each one of them. Upon opening, each message will pop up the mail server question. Mail will complain about not finding an outgoing mail server attached to your account. That must be a bug, because as I explained earlier for each of my accounts I have a correctly set up an outgoing mail server.

When you then click the “Use Current Account” button the message appears to get sent but the message itself remains in the Drafts list. This made me think the message hadn’t been sent after all. The result is that I can expect a few people to be really pissed off as they will receive four identical messages from me — but as one of them already pointed out: with different “From” email addresses.

The design flaw is that messages that you’ve already sent are kept in the Drafts list, apparently until Mail is sure the server has understood the send command, but the difference between a sent message and one that has yet to go is totally unclear. In retrospect I think the sent ones were grey, but at the time of sending that wasn’t obvious to me at all.

What definitely is a design flaw in my opinion, is that the messages that were being processed could still be selected and sent. The least that should happen after you clicked on that “Use This Account” button and saw the message being sent — on Lion with a nice animation that from this experience proves to be only there for the show — is the message being blocked from selection in the Drafts list.

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