Patrick Rhone has written about an alternative way to compose email: “I want to write my email like I write my letters. I want to compose it first, then address it, and then come up with an appropriate subject.” He’s invited developers to write apps to implement his idea.
so that the first input box that pops up is for the body, and the next input box is for the subject. After you submit, the iPhone mail app opens with these fields pre-populated.
This got me thinking: I’m a PHP newbie, but there’s no reason this can’t be done on the web. After all, if you click on a mailto: link in the browser, it will launch your desktop mail app (or Gmail if you have the handler configured correctly). So I’ve written a web app (you can get the code here) that does just this.
As an added benefit, it’s a “distraction-free writing environment.” On one of the many podcasts Merlin Mann has recorded or been a guest on (my best guess is his recent spot on Mac Power Users), he mentioned the following “hack”: In Gmail, he created a Label called “Null” and assigned a Textexpander snippet to call up that Label — which means that instead of going to the home page of Gmail where he is presented with his inbox, he is instead presented with a “blank page” where he can get down to writing (as long as he doesn’t assign any emails to the “Null” label).
So with this web app you can do just that. It’s not an email program — you can’t configure it with POP3 or IMAP. And none of your input is submitted to a database. It literally just takes your input and translates it into one long mailto: link. When you click on the link that you see after you submit the form, it opens up your default mail app and pre-populates the fields. Then you can hit “Send” for real.
I haven’t tested this with multiple clients, so your feedback is appreciated in the comments below.