Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Gmail technical implimentation

I have been using Gmail for a while now and I think the UI is great! It's much more than just a web mail. Do any of you know what is the language used to develop it? Python? Perl? .NET? Java? How do they acheive all those cool effects? like keyboard shortcuts etc.?

Anon
Saturday, June 12, 2004

Using a specific lang is not a garantee for success.

Somorone
Saturday, June 12, 2004

I think it's a legitimate question.  Of course I'm not one of the uber-elite who has been choosen to use gMail, so I don't know what he's talking about.

GuyIncognito
Saturday, June 12, 2004

OK, forget the language. I am curious about how those features are implimented. Is it using JavaScript or DHTML? Are those specific to any language or can I implement those using any language used for web applications?

Anon
Saturday, June 12, 2004

I'll bet that you can reimplement gmail in any lang. Its just coming with the ideas your self that is the hard part.

Somorone
Saturday, June 12, 2004

You should look at the page sourcecode and see whats included.

I think they are using javascript (to be cross browser/platform) to get messages like when a user clicked here or there. 

Look at this page for keyboard shortcuts in javascript:http://www.netmag.co.uk/tutorials/default.asp?pagetypeid=2&articleid=9683&subsectionid=499&subsubsectionid=180

Please not that I'm not using gmail or ever seen more then some pics of it. However I do have the possibility to use it but I'm not interested.

Somorone
Saturday, June 12, 2004

I belive that google is a python shop.  Implementing a decent UI in a browser is tough so I'd be interested in hearing more.  They could sent me an invitation any time, Id be glad to try it out ;-)

Ken McKinney
Saturday, June 12, 2004

"Is it using JavaScript or DHTML?"

That part is rendered by your browser and the source code should be available for you to look at by a simple: View > Source. ALT + V, C in IE.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, June 12, 2004

View Source doesn't reveal much. I already tried that. Thanks for the responses so far.

Anon
Saturday, June 12, 2004

Use a http sniffer like Mozilla's Live Http Headers,  http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/ or the Charles Web Debugger http://www.xk72.com/charles/, then you can actually see what happens over http when you perform an action.

Also this goes into how Gmail works a bit: http://diveintomark.org/archives/2004/04/10/gmail-accessibility

Matthew Lock
Saturday, June 12, 2004

Mathew,
Thanks. That's really interesting.

Anon
Sunday, June 13, 2004

They seem to be using a lot of JavaScript to do things on the client but I haven't seen any cross browser compatability problems.  The intellitype ripoff is really nicely done and the way that it occasionally checks for new email if you leave the browser open too, rather than timing out your session like my old webmail account. 

On the whole it seems to be well thought through - it's missing a lot at the moment (like the ability to import email from other accounts for example - I'd guess that this is on the list given their 1Gb storage/never delete anything strategy) but I think that they're taking their time and getting things right.

R1ch
Monday, June 14, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home