Introducing the Wasiliana Mail Client

Hi guys,

I have talked briefly about a new project I wanted to undertake and so here it is!

‘wasiliana’ verb: communicate (swahili)

Wasiliana is a new email client that specifically targets small-form-factor devices such as netbooks. It combines the flexibility and beauty of HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, with the speed and extensibility of Genie/Vala.

Not only will the design be beautiful, but it shall be practical, especially on small devices.

I am still in exams and so haven’t started coding yet but I have made some mockups and there is a video of a prototype I made.

Launchpad Page

Mockups (5)

Video of Prototype

I was inspired to make this as I have yet to see any mail client that really delivers on a netbook.

Programs such as Anjal have gone in the right direction, but in has the hindrance of being based on bloated Evolution and trying to still use GTK widgets. I also believe current mail clients have it all wrong when it comes to design regarding contacts etc. and so I wanted an opportunity to fix this.

My mockups were obviously inspired by the great danRabbit and they use the elementary icons. I am not ready to begin coding but if anyone is interested/wants to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the comments below.

Any comments? 🙂


26 responses to “Introducing the Wasiliana Mail Client

  1. adnane002

    Really Good work

  2. Great work! When we have some alpha version to test?

  3. Yes. Yes yes yes. Good luck with your exams.

  4. Aaron

    I love the concept. Happy to help where I have the time and required skills. Let me know.

  5. Pingback: Wasiliana – wkrótce nowy klient poczty na Linuksa | blog z pasją . . .

  6. Thankyou very much everyone for the kind words. I am very happy that you like it and this will spur me on to try and get an alpha as soon as possible (I will try to get it out before September).

    I will post a blog post when it is out and try to contact all of you who have said you are interested 🙂

  7. Very nice! From the mocks and video it looks like UX heaven 🙂

    One request I have to all OSS developers that come up with amazing ideas –
    Please, please have support for RTL languages from the core. Otherwise you make this beautiful application useless to tens of millions of us Hebrew and Arabic speakers out there.

    Will be glad to help in this field if needed (CSS and HTML wise)

    • I was thinking about this when I was designing and when I begin work I shall definitely ping you, as this is an area in which I have NO expertise 🙂

      • adnane002

        I can help you with the Arabic layout

      • Great to hear!

        Basically, supporting page and paragraph direction is supposed to be quite easy.

        The more difficult stuff are changing the direction of the entire layout f the UI language is RTL, and handling RTL and mixed scripts in the background in a way that won’t break the sentence. If you need help in this area you are more than invited to ping me and even if I can’t help personally I can point you to some other talented OSS developers.

      • Andrew, I’ve got quite a lot of experience in designing systems that can handle multiple languages and scripts, including RTL (English/Arabic in particular) so if you need any help, please shout. I can also help with code if you want, considering that you are planning to write it in Vala. And finally, I have a netbook that is crying for such an app so I would be happy to contribute to testing.

  8. mike

    You’re planning on not using Evolution?

    I though with evo being slimmed down and shipping on every GNOME or MeeGo device this would be a good basis, no?

    I mean doing a brilliant UI + backend is a serious project, why not start with the great UI first (which everybody seems to be looking for), and offer an alternative backend if needed (which I doubt actually).

    Nice mook-up though 😉

    • One problem I have always thought (maybe incorrectly) about evolution is that it is quite bloated.

      I also have no experience in C (probably more of a blocker than the above) and wanted to try out Vala/Genie.

      I also believe that decisions in the design of evolution are dated and have not evolved as our use of email/contacts has evolved.

      I felt Anjal was going in the correct direction, but now Evolution Express(?) is the focus and it uses the same design as Evolution (desktop) and is therefore not appropriate (in my mind).

      I shall definitely focus on getting the UI done first and I shall hopefully be using tinymail ( which should be a huge part of the backend in itself.

      • Vala is designed to easily integrate with C. The Vala compiler doesn’t compile directly, it produces C code that is then compiled by the resident C compiler. So providing access to a C library from Vala is just a case of creating a .vapi mapping and setting the compiler’s –vapidir option properly so that it finds it.

  9. This looks beautiful, Andrew! (And, indeed, the desktop PIM software of today is horrific).

    For the technical decision of which mail system to use, you _may_ want to check out Evolution version 2.30, if you haven’t already. The whole thing has been very neatly cleaned up and honestly doesn’t feel bloated any more. There’s a ppa for it somewhere…

    Meego uses the new Express mode for the default UI (evolution –express), which makes the experience seem a little less like using Outlook.

    Really, though, whatever backend this uses, I’m sure I’ll find myself using it. The mockup looks very pretty, and with Maverick’s newer datetime / messaging menus, integration should happen the other way around: apps (your app, Evolution, Thunderbird) tell the menu what to show, instead of it reading Evolution’s database on its own.

    Oh, and Vala, too! You’re excellent 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words Dylan 🙂

      Nothing is set in stone yet and so I shall have a look at Evolution 🙂

      OR Genie, haven’t decided but as a previous Python programmer, probably Genie 🙂

  10. Good luck, nice concept.

  11. Vadim P

    Can’t wait.

  12. Varun

    Sounds like a great project, and something I’d be glad to help with coding. I’m starting to learn Vala at the moment so I might actually be able to help pretty soon.

    I’m wondering what your problems with GTK widgets is. HTML5 based widgets will take longer to render, and will not integrate well into a normal persons desktop environment. A polished client would integrate seamlessly, so using GTK widgets would be important.

    Will keep myself updated on this project.

    • I just feel as though with a small screen space, you have to think outside the box to a certain degree, and using GTK widgets in such a context does not allow the interface to be as flexible or as pretty 🙂

      • Varun

        GTK widgets are plenty flexible. Especially when they’re combined with Clutter animations. The theme is what gives the application its look.

        If you actually start building this application, I’d implore you to build it with GTK, as otherwise it’ll feel just as odd as chrome does on my desktop (The scrollbar looks plain awful)!

  13. Fabian


    did you look at clutter-mx? A widget library based in clutter. There are also vala bindings and examples available. And from a visual point of view the mx widgets look a bit like yours and animations are integrated:

  14. Nick Jackson

    Looks Fantastic! Can’t wait to give it a try.

  15. Pingback: Έρχεται το Wasiliana και οι mail clients θα είναι… κούκλα!

  16. What’s up, all is going fine here and ofcourse every one is sharing
    information, that’s truly good, keep up writing.

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