Hirundo: Frequently Asked Questions

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Hirundo (Latin for 'Swift') is a convenient way to browse and follow the discussions in the Swift mailing lists like Swift-Evolution or Swift-Dev. You can even bookmark messages of threads because they contain important information



1 Which data does Hirundo read?

In order to show all the messages, Hirundo imports the mailing list archives (i.e. the Gziped files here). The HTML representations lack sufficient meta information to properly import them. However those compressed archives are only updated once a day. This would make it impossible to follow ongoing conversations throughout the day.

hirundo-lists.stylemac.com is a small smtp server that caches the Swift mailing list conversations throughout the day and exposes them as gz files. Those caches are cleared when the official archives are updated.

2 Why does it connect to hirundo-lists.stylemac.com?

Hirundo allows you to follow the Swift mailing lists without having to subscribe to it. In order to show all the messages, Hirundo imports the mailing list archives (i.e. the Gziped files here). The HTML representations lack sufficient meta information to properly import them. However those compressed archives are only updated once a day. This would make it impossible to follow ongoing conversations throughout the day.

hirundo-lists.stylemac.com is a small smtp server that caches the Swift mailing list conversations throughout the day and exposes them as gz files. Those caches are cleared when the official archives are updated.

3 Why can I only subscribe to some mailing lists?

Hirundo does not offer the ability to subscribe any mailing list because for each list, an account needs to be set up on hirundo-lists.stylemac.com so that there is realtime support. Future versions may allow to subscribe to any mailing by opting out of the realtime support.

4 Will the app be free when it leaves beta?

The current beta of Hirundo is time-limited. It will probably cost money once it leaves the beta phase, though that still has to be determined.

5 In some messages, the text is cut off at the bottom

This is a known issue, resize the window a wee bit (i.e. on the right side) and it should automatically resize everything correctly.

6 The initial import takes rather long (i.e. Swift-Evolution)

The mailing lists do not offer a server-side API to import or read the messages. This means that Hirundo needs to read all messages for all subscribed archives. This might take some time depending on the size of the mailing list archives.

7 The app seems to only display plain text messages, no HTML

HTML support is currently partially implemented and is not activated yet because it is trickier. The rendering of messages also takes longer (especially for long threads).

8 I want to set a different reading font

Hirundo allows selecting one of multiple fonts in the preferences. Future versions may allow you to choose any font installed on your system.

9 What is this "Rank" sort in the threads list?

Hirundo allows you to sort the threads in a mailing list in different ways. One of them is "Rank" where the threads are sorted by relevance similar to the sorting algorithm employed by Hacker News or Reddit.

10 I'd love to see syntax highlighting in the messages' code parts

I've been thinking about that, too. The difficulty is that there's no canonical way of signifying which parts of a mail is code and which isn't. Some mails are written in Markdown, in which case identifying the code (```) is easy. Future versions may properly identify that.

11 I'm getting an error / It's crashing

The app is still in beta, contact me on Twitter.

12 I'd like to see feature a/b/z

Contact me on Twitter, depending on whether people like the app I'd love to implement more features. I also have things lined up I have yet to implement.

13 Known Issues

  • There's a weird Core Data error where it sometimes can't save after an import. Restarting the app will fix that.
  • Some messages have a weird formatting where it lacks spaces between words. That's because the conversion from HTML to Plaintext (on the mailing list server) doesn't do a good job here. I'm thinking about ways of solving this in a better way.
  • When importing all lists, the UI may block and not display the message contents anymore
  • The height of the messages is sometimes not updated until the window is resized a wee bit
  • Some messages are not properly stripped of all mail headers