GMail for Rails mailing list

Update - Aug 19th

Great news! The official Rails mailing list has moved to Google Groups. The official announcement can be read here. This move allows the mailing list to be searched by the Google search engine.

Original post

The Rails mailing list is an amazing community and it’s often the best place to get help with Rails. Of course, before posting to any mailing list you should search past postings to see if your question has been previously answered. But doing this requires access to the past postings…

There is a web-based forum bridge but the search feature is spotty. So is there a better way? Of course! Just ask yourself who is the best at search…

… the answer of course is Google.

So the best way I have found to search the mailing list is to subscribe with your GMail account. GMail has quite a few amazing features and some of my favorites are used to make the perfect mailing list reader - labels, filters, and conversation viewing. Here is how it’s done.

  • Signup for a free GMail account.
  • Subscribe to the Rails mailing list.
  • Create a Gmail label named ‘rails mailing list’ (Click Settings -> Labels).
  • Create a Gmail filter (Click Settings -> Filters).
  • Search criteria -> To:(rails@lists.rubyonrails.org)
  • Choose action Skip Inbox, Apply label “rails mailing list”

That’s it! Now the amazing resource that is the rails mailing list will archive itself over time in your GMail account.

All messages from the list will skip your inbox and become automatically archived under the rails mailing list label. Simply click on your rails mailing list label to view all the messages (which are beautifully sorted into conversations - gotta love that).

Now for the fruits of your labor. Have a question? Hit a stumbling block? Interested to see who is discussing a particular topic? Use the search box at the top of the screen to find anything with the speed and accuracy you expect from Google. Use the label:rails-mailing-list prefix in searches to exclude other emails (this is already pre-populated in the search box if you are viewing the label).

Remember that it’ll take a little while to archive enough messages to be really useful. That’s why you should do this right now. Before you know it you’ll have thousands of messages from which every developer could learn an incredible amount.

Hope this helps. Does anyone else out there have any other mailing list / GMail / productivity hints along these same lines?

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