Announcing MarkMail

by Ian Small

Categories: Applications
Altitude: 10,000 feet

Today, we officially announced MarkMail (

Those of you who were at the May 2007 User Conference may recall Jason Hunter's keynote session in which he talked about XML as a data model for e-mail, and showed an early version of what we've rolled out over the last week. I can still remember that when Jason asked for questions, there was a long silence, until Lisa Bos from Really Strategies asked: "So what are you going to do with it?"

Jason's answer summed up what we knew at the time: "We don't know."

Since the user conference, positive reactions have continued to be the order of the day. So we decided that we'd take MarkMail to the next level, and put it up on the web as a free service for people interested in searching public mailing lists.

In fact, we launched it a little over a week ago, when we took the covers off it and started showing it to selected folks at the Apache Software Foundation. Why Apache? Well, they've got about 4,000,000 pretty interesting e-mails, and e-mail and its history are both really important to them. So they were a pretty good place to start. Over the last ten days, we've transitioned from a stealth launch through an Apache community launch to today's formal launch.

Note: in fact, the MarkMail development team is at ApacheCon in Atlanta starting today (Nov. 12) through the end of the week. If you're at the conference, go visit them at the Hackathon.

If you remember MarkMail from the user conference, the version you'll find at is definitely the "next generation". We've spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to create a fluid user experience that takes e-mail search and discovery to the next level. The result is a true content application: a user experience completely tailored to the target user and their task, powered by MarkLogic Server and written in XQuery.

If you'd like to know more about MarkMail, take a look at the site's FAQ. Also, Dave Kellogg has authored quite a good posting in his blog.

Initial reaction from the community and from the blogosphere has been quite positive. Here's an assortment of third-party blog postings:

  • An early fan
  • Ajaxian covered the launch, with particular interest toards the site's interactive JavaScript components
  • Danny Angus writes about how we use Apache James for e-mail ingestion

Of course, Apache isn't the end, it's only the beginning. We'll be adding other mailing lists to the MarkMail archive over time. If you've got a mailing list you'd particularly like to see archived at MarkMail, let us know.

So go ahead! Take MarkMail out for a spin. Perhaps you'll find your own personal histogram.