Emacs: notmuch-indicator version 1.2.0

This is a simple package that renders an indicator with an email count of the notmuch index on the Emacs mode line. The underlying mechanism is that of notmuch-count(1), which is used to find the number of items that match the given search terms. In practice, the user can define one or more searches and display their counters. These form a listing which realistically is like: @50 😱1000 💕0 for unread messages, bills, and love letters, respectively.

Below are the release notes.

This version brings quality-of-life refinements to an already stable package.

More styles for the indicator

The user option notmuch-indicator-args always accepted an optional face that was applied to the label that accompanies the given counter. The same can now be done for the counter itself. To be concrete:


[unread]    10

Or what you will most likely prefer:

[U] 10

The technicalities of how to set those up are covered in the documentation string of notmuch-indicator-args. Here is a variant of what I use (I actually have custom faces):

(setq notmuch-indicator-args
      '(( :terms "tag:unread and tag:inbox"
          :label "[A] "
          :label-face font-lock-string-face
          :counter-face font-lock-string-face)
        ( :terms "tag:unread and tag:inbox and not tag:package and not tag:coach"
          :label "[U] "
          :label-face font-lock-type-face
          :counter-face font-lock-type-face)
        ( :terms "tag:unread and tag:package"
          :label "[P] "
          :label-face font-lock-function-name-face
          :counter-face font-lock-function-name-face)
        ( :terms "tag:unread and tag:coach"
          :label "[C] "
          :label-face font-lock-preprocessor-face
          :counter-face font-lock-preprocessor-face)))

For backward-compatibility, :face has the same meaning as :label-face.

Control exactly where the indicator is placed

This is for advanced users, though I am happy to help you set it up if you are interested.

By default, the indicator (the block with all the email counters) is appended to the mode line. It thus shows up on the mode line of the current window but also on that of all inactive windows.

To control exactly where the indicator is placed set the user option notmuch-indicator-add-to-mode-line-misc-info to nil. This will no longer display the indicator on the mode line. Then do any of the following:

  1. If you are using the built-in tab-bar-mode, add the notmuch-indicator-tab-bar-format to the list of tab-bar-format. Like this:

    (setq tab-bar-format
          '( tab-bar-format-history
             notmuch-indicator-tab-bar-format ; here it is
  2. Add the notmuch-indicator-mode-line-construct to the mode-line-format. This allows you to put it wherever you want, such as before the buffer name.

  3. Create your own mode line construct with the extra logic you need and then add it anywhere you want in the mode-line-format list. This is what I do to display the indicator only on the active mode line:

    ;; Here is my variant of the indicator.
    (defvar-local prot-modeline-notmuch-indicator
          (" "
           (:eval (when (mode-line-window-selected-p)
      "The equivalent of `notmuch-indicator-mode-line-construct'.
    Display the indicator only on the focused window's mode line.")
    ;; And here I format my modeline to place everything exactly where I want.
    (setq-default mode-line-format
                    ;; ... things before
                    ;; ... things after

Escape queries to avoid shell errors

We now escape all special shell characters before running the notmuch shell command to get the number of emails. This way, more complex queries are read without any issue. Thanks to Sébastien Delafond for the contribution, which was done in pull request 4: https://github.com/protesilaos/notmuch-indicator/pull/4.

The change is small, meaning that Sébastien does not need to assign copyright to the Free Software Foundation.

Bind call to the notmuch binary to the user’s home directory

The reason for this is explained by @shimeike (MikeS): https://github.com/protesilaos/notmuch-indicator/issues/2#issuecomment-1819853525. In short, we want to make sure we use the correct binary while visiting files via TRAMP.

Also thanks to Mohamed Suliman for corroborating the findings discussed therein.