Folks who are concerned about email retention (as I am) might find this interesting:
Like MailSteward (MS), <http://mailsteward.com/> this software archives emails to an external database.
MailSteward does it automatically, at a scheduled interval you can set (or you can invoke it manually). All mail goes into either its own internal SQLite database, or into your machine’s larger mySQL database. It works with Apple’s Mail only.
Mothsoftware’s Mail Archiver X (MAX) does not (yet – it’s planned) support scheduled backups, requiring that you do it yourself, although the process, once setup is trivial.
The advantages however are significant, at least to me:
Archives emails from the following formats: Entourage, Eudora, Mail, Outlook, Postbox, Powermail, Thunderbird, and standard mbox.
Exports emails to the following formats: Valentina (native), Filemaker, PDF, mbox, mySQL, Text, or XML.
MAX has a built-in browser for its own Valentina DB and comes with a free browser for FileMaker. (PDF, mBox, mySQL et al all have easily obtainable and free browsers.)
That internal browser for Valentina makes sticking with the MAX Valentina DB the most convenient solution.
I only just got MAX and so don’t have lots of experience with it. I did verify that it performs as advertised above however.
I’ve been using MS, and it’s been 100% reliable and very useful when I need to find an old email, but when you hit 60,000 emails or so, you’ll start reaching the limits of SQLite, and have to pony up for the “real database” version of MS, which uses mySQL and costs $100 ($50 upgrade fee, I think.) (MS prices are $25, $50 and $100.)
Either one, MAX or MS, will allow you to keep the mail client’s own database small (because once you’ve archived email, you can delete it from the mail program), and the email program will therefore be more responsive, and less trouble to navigate.
Either one will export the database, so you can easily back it up (although restoring mySQL is a bit of a pain.)
The other advantage to MAX over MS is the price: it’s only $35.
Once the developer gets scheduling going, it seems that it’s going to be hard to justify MS much longer… but I’ll have to play with MAX for a while to be sure about that.
As it now stands, the MAX advantages are significant enough for me to seriously consider it… if for no other reason than that it will let me play with other email clients with impunity.
Bottom line between the two: MS is geeky and not “Mac-like” while MAX does a better job of being more friendly, and versatile.
LATER… HOWEVER… MAX is very slow at finding information if the original source is buried in levels of folders. For example, while MS can find almost anything in under a second, MAX takes 12x as long – on my modest 24,000 messages, it takes 12 seconds to return a list of finds.
and so… I went back to Mail Steward.