MachV/Mozilla: Mail & News

UI Specification 

Quick Search in Three Pane

Last Modification:

Author: Jennifer Glick 
Creation Date: 29 June 01

Status: Draft Proposal



Feature Team


 Scott Putterman, Seth Spitzer 


 Kevin Murray


 Esther Goes


 Robin Foster Clark 


 Jennifer Glick




Open Issues

  1. Name of toolbar? Quick Search is recommended.
  2. If the account level is selected in the Folder Pane, can a Search on the whole account be done? Or does the Search Toolbar become disabled?
  3. Type of search?  A -  "contains" search on "subject", "sender" and "body".  B -  "contains" search on "subject" and  "sender" . 
  4. Do we want to allow users to type in the +,  -, or  "" notations? 
  5. Label text says "Search for:" or "Subject or Sender contains:" "Depends on #3 sort of)?



Bug 63573 - RFE: have a "search engine like" interface for searching mail news.

Provide a method for users to perform a basic and easily accessible search in Three Pane Mail and News.


Design Details


Select "Quick Search Bar" from the View: Show/Hide menu. 

A Search Bar below the main toolbar opens.  


Toolbar in Three Pane

Option A

Users who search a lot can leave this toolbar open if they prefer.  The default is closed.  Mail should remember how the user last left the toolbar (open vs. close vs. collapsed).

The user types the search criteria into the text field and clicks the "Go" button or presses Enter/Return on the keyboard to begin the search.

Based on what is typed in the search text area, a "contains" search on "subject", "sender" (and "body"?) is performed.  Only the folder that is selected in the Left Folder Pane is searched.  Users can also type in the +,  -, or  "" notations and the search will do the right thing  and construct the search appropriately.  For example:

While the search is in progress, the "Go" button changes to "Stop".  The progress of the search is displayed in the status bar. If the cursor is over the window, a busy cursor is displayed.

Clicking on the "Advanced..." button opens the full "Search Messages" dialog.



Option B


Option C

As user types in field (after X amount of keyboard pause), the thread pane is updated to reflect matching items.

Displaying the Results

The results of the search are displayed in the Thread Pane. The number of matches found are displayed in the status bar.

Once a search is complete, the "Clear" button becomes enabled. Clicking the "Clear" button will clear the search field and the search results from the Thread Pane. The Thread Pane repopulates with the full contents of the folder selected in the left Folder Pane.  Note: Clicking on any folder, newsgroup or account in the left Folder pane should also clear the search field and the Thread Pane.  Once a search has been cleared, the "Clear" button is again disabled. 

Users are able to drag and drop results of the search to other folders. Just like drag and drop in the Three Pane Mail, a Move is preformed.  Accelerator plus drag and drop is a copy.  When drag and dropping newsgroup messages, a copy is always performed.


No Results Found

If no matching results were found, the text, "No matches found." is displayed in the Thread Pane as well Status bar.  The Message pane, if open, is empty.

The "Clear" button can be clicked to return to the previous view, or selecting a folder, newsgroup or account in the left Folder pane will refresh the contents of the Thread pane and clear the search text field.