I've been a big GMail user ever since I got my first account and I've gotten very used to it. About a year ago I switched the email for my website and our corporate email over to Google Apps and eventually was able to drop Outlook completely [1].

I've been extremely satisfied with this setup and don't regret it at all. However, as much as I like GMail and all, it's sometimes a drag when actually editing new emails or responses to existing ones. It's not really GMail's fault; it's just that a TEXTAREA isn't really a good editor for email (I try to stick to plain text email only as much as possible).

IAT Fortunately, I discovered a while ago the It's All Text! extension for Firefox. This little extension gives you a small button next to textareas; when you click it, it will open your favorite text editor to edit the text, and then replace it with whatever you saved before closing it.

Now, I can just use this to edit complex/longer emails in gVim, and get all the text-editing goodness I'm used to!

Firefox did have one nice feature I missed at first: Spell checking. This wasn't always useful, though, as it only really supports a single language at a time, and I regularly use both Spanish and English, but it was better than nothing.

Vim, however, also supports spell checking! I just had never bothered setting it up correctly. I've now configured my .vimrc file so that I can enable/disable spell checking for English or Spanish with a few key-presses. Here's how I configured mine:

map <Leader>se :setlocal spell spelllang=en_us<CR>
map <Leader>ss :setlocal spell spelllang=es_es<CR>
map <Leader>sn :setlocal nospell<CR>

Now I can just press \se in normal mode to start the spell checker in English or \ss for Spanish, and then \sn to disable it later on, if I want to. Otherwise I just keep spell checking disabled so that it doesn't get in the way of my coding sessions.

VimSpell

The combination of It's all Text!, Vim and its spell checker makes for a much nicer GMail experience for me.

[1] I still need to migrate some old personal email over to my GMail account, which I haven't done because I'm lazy, but I should definitely get around to that some day.

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Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.