Introduction to Open Source PHP-Based IMAP Mail Filtering
Introduction to Filtered
Filtered is an open source IMAP-based mail filtering application written in PHP using the Yii Framework. While Filtered provides basic mail filtering features and learns from the folders you drag and drop your email to, it is also a powerful foundational platform to enhance and innovate email – with a number of unique features.
We’re drowning in email and managing our inboxes remains a heavy burden. Mail services and clients have done very little to help us with this. Most of the email we receive is sent by machines, not people – yet, we’re the ones who have to individually process all of it. Analysis of my own email showed I was receiving email from more than 230 automated senders, far fewer people.
I built Filtered because I was tired of constructing filters in gmail and filling in unsubscribe forms. I wanted to have more control over managing my email and simplifying my life. I also wanted to offer a free, open source platform that allows other to innovate as well.
Filtered is essentially a programmable playground for “hacking” your own email.
For as important as email is, innovation of email as an application has been slow. In 2010, I wrote Twelve Gmail Ideas to Revolutionize Email (Again) but most of the ideas I wished for have remained out of reach. With Filtered, I’ve managed to build a few of them.
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Here are a few of Filtered’s features:
- Analysis of incoming email via IMAP – keeping only desired messages in your inbox.
- Mail from unknown senders are placed in a Review folder.
- Email routing based on per sender settings chosen from the web or learned from drag and drop email placement.
- Regular email digests of unreviewed mail and filtered bulk email minimizing the need to regularly navigate your email folder tree.
- Quiet hours. Now I can turn off email delivery overnight and on weekends except for important friends or families.
- Unsubscribe that works. Tell Filtered to block a sender and their messages are permanently blocked. I don’t need to spend time figuring out unsubscribe processes or worrying about whether they work.
- Privacy. Drag messages to the Privacy folder and emails are encrypted and stored on your own server and deleted from your email server at Google or other provider that may be scanned by the NSA. You can also configure important contacts to automatically route to the Privacy folder.
- Biodegradable messages. Filtered can automatically delete messages from Senders after they reach a certain age, reducing email clutter.
- Notifications to your smartphone when messages from specific people or with specific keywords arrive.
- White listing. Filtered challenges new senders to verify themselves if they want to reach your inbox in a timely manner. The rest are placed in a folder for your review and for the digest.
- Anonymity. Filtered makes it easier to use anonymous email addresses as part of a catch-all domain to manage your privacy and reduce spam.
Read our Feature Summary and our visual Guide to Features for more details.
The coolest thing about Filtered is that it’s a platform for reading, analyzing, routing and managing your email – possibilities abound. The basic version is free and open source available for download at Github now. Check out our Installation Guide.
The advanced feature module is available to anyone who contributes $25 or more to support the platform. Custom installation and technical support are also available for an additional fee.
Learn about How Filtering works, request a feature or rate feature requests and post questions about the code in the community support forum.
Filtered is also a great guide to learning how to use IMAP APIs to access Gmail or just generally managing your email.
I can’t wait to see what types of enhancements people build from here.
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