We’re back in compose!

On the surface, the biggest ‘missing piece’ of ActiveInbox 7 for the last 6 months has been the ability to mark a freshly composed email as a task. That’s now fixed.

We’ve slightly altered the look of Waiting On to be more intuitive for its main goal: to track something you need a reply for, so your brain saves its energy for better things than worrying.

Admittedly it’s taken a while

You read correctly: ‘6 months’.

A quick recap: in March Gmail announced their own first major upgrade for nearly a decade. We scrambled, with barely any sleep, to build something that’ll work for it. That was v7.

Then, because I’d got my mind back into ActiveInbox’s codebase, I added a task to our backlog: “Refactor ActiveInbox’s data system to be maintainable for the next few years [1d]”. See that ‘1d’? That means it was expected to take 1 day.

It’s been… Six. Months. Of almost as late night a finish as that first horrid scrambling month. I can honestly say I haven’t worked this hard for years. Punishing crunch-work is not really what we’re about as a company, but we wanted to get this to you!

I owe a huge thank you to all beta testers, but especially to Dusan, Dale, Mr Gross, Mr Corl, Mr Konstanski, BobG, Marcus, Johan and Stratos; for whom I’ve been in nearly daily contact via Skype for months.

And to Remi, who has been there right alongside me slinging new code, and Lisa who has kept everyone in the community supported even while us developers were buried in a dark cave.

There WAS, however, a silver lining…

We didn’t stop there…

ActiveInbox has never, ever, been faster.

Our new data system includes caching. It stores emails/tasks in your browser for much much faster loading (after the first time!).

And, I performance analysed everything I could, repeatedly, and shaved off milliseconds everywhere. I got a bit obsessed. I hope you *don’t* notice, simply because it just works instantly 🙂

Get a relationship safety net

We added a ‘History’ button when you’re writing an email, so you don’t miss any tasks you promised the recipient, and you can incorporate earlier conversations.

Finish things straight from the inbox

We’ve restored this old feature that was missing from ActiveInbox 7.0.

Tired of re-reading long conversations?

We’ve made Sub Tasks and Notes a lot cleaner to use. I’m not entirely sure why we previously buried it into the subject line, but we were trying to be too clever. It turns out, simple predictability is far more useable.

Blow away distractions with Do Not Disturb

My favourite pair of new features, a little glossy gift: you can hide the inbox, and fade out much of Gmail, to give you a really easy way to focus on just blasting through your tasks.

We’re rolling this out over the next week

Did I mention it’s a huge rewrite? I can’t remember the exact count, but I think we’ve changed 20,000 lines of code, and deleted a lot more.

It’s been in beta for at least 3 months, but I’m still super cautious about opening it to everyone.

So, day by day we’ll be turning it on for more people. If anything goes wrong, we can also turn it back off for you. (Yes, I am paranoid!).


This was written by Andy Mitchell