Yes you’re right the BeOS mail model is unusual, but it arises from that original BeOS concept of filesystem as database. That invites the user to embrace queries as the main method of navigating his data, whether it’s emails, jpegs, MP3s, or whatever. You’re supposed to go hog-wild with custom queries, taking the place of mailboxes, music libraries and so on.
Now, stuck as I am at the far end of the world, I have never seen a live BeOS or Haiku installation that was not my own. So what I am suggesting may be reinventing the wheel, but read on…
The big problem, IMO, is that all those queries are created by default in the ~/Queries folder and that becomes just a big mess of every type of query. They need sorting. (And the suggestion in Ticket #1208 mentioned above is recognition of that. But it requires users to do some work, manually identifying mail-related queries and moving them to a special folder.)
Here’s my modest solution. Call it superqueries, if you like:
First, index _trk/qrystr (in a terminal: >mkindex _trk/qrystr) thus making queries themselves searchable according to whatever they’re searching for.
Now you can set about making superqueries for whatever broad categories you are interested in.
eg, in a Terminal:
settype -t “application/x-vnd.Be-query” MailBox
addattr _trk/qrystr “((_trk/qrystr==“text/x-email”)&&(BEOS:TYPE==application/x-vnd.Be-query)&&
(That last expression all on one line, of course. No space after the ampersands.)
And there you’ve made a query that doesn’t find itself but returns all other queries which are looking for emails, whether it’s “unread” “to and from Aunty Em” “Haiku devs” or whatever.
I’ve been using this happily on BeOS for a few years now, with four (so far) superqueries in use; Mailbox, People, Mitunes (ultimate target MP3s) and PhotoAlbums (ultimate target jpegs; particularly useful because I have custom “caption” “copyright” and “keywords” attributes attached to jpegs, and indexed. You just have to do a bit of work adding that data every time you import a batch of photos from the camera.)
I also have a query called “World” which looks for only those four queries, so when it’s clicked on, it cascades into them. That sits on my Desktop as an alternative way-in to the data I access most. That’s as far as I’ve gone, but ISTM this is highly extensible,
Meanwile, I see that Ticket #1208 has already been acted on, with a ~/config/settings/Mail/Queries folder in current builds, and a link to it in the mail menu. But as I say, you have to manually put mail-related queries in there. I’ve replaced that folder in my mail menu with my Mailbox superquery. No further work needed.
Finally, I think the default Find window could lose the expander - if the name box and “temporary” checkbox were visible by default (and perhaps unchecked by default), more users might get the idea. The bottom line is: once you have a sorted way-in to your Queries folder it becomes much more practical to make lots of permanent sensibly-named queries, and start using them.