Saturday, August 05, 2006

Hacking Gmail

Last weekend I had a quick flick through Hacking Gmail at my local Barnes and Noble. Most of the book focuses on building client applications in PHP/Python/Perl to do interesting stuff like download your email and archive it in a standard format like mbox format, but it contained a few other quick tips worth noting:
  • Gmail uses the syntax to sort and filter emails (I'de forgot that syntax was still in use!).
  • Many of the Gmail client APIs simply invoke HTTP requests. This works because Gmail has a non-ajax interface - just disable javascript in your browser and see for yourself!
  • Gmail actually supports https for all mail operations, not just login. The catch is that all of the URLs returned from gmail are http URLs, so even if you started your session with https you'll soon find you're back to http. You can force an https session in Firefox by first installing the Greasemonkey plugin - which lets you to add bits of DHTML ("user scripts") to any web page to change its behavior - and this one line script that changes all http URLs to https.
  • Instead of using one of the gazillion RSS readers available on the net, you can use a service like to email publications to your inbox.

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