MailSteward is an awesome program. If you use Apple’s Mail program and you’ve never used it, you’re really missing out. Basically, it’s an email archive program. You can schedule it to create backups at predefined intervals. I have it schedule to run nightly. It’s the kind of program that you think you don’t need until you need it, then you’re so damned glad you plunked down the $50.00. Searching a large amount of email is breeze, and it’s fast. Plus, knowing that your email is safely locked away in MailSteward’s database lets you delete email from Mail without worrying about it. Also, if you use Indev’s awesome Mailtags, MailSteward has you covered.

I’m in the process of migrating a domain from one server to Google Apps. I’ve got email dating back to 2001 on this server and I don’t want to lose it. However, I don’t really want it all imported to Google either. One problem I ran into is that MailSteward can import mbox files but doesn’t have support for maildir (that I could find). After flexing my Google-fu, I found this blog post which, in the comments, references this bash script. After downloading and running the script on my Maildir, I had a nice little 72Mb mbox file containing approximately 1,130 email. I transferred it to my laptop, fired up MailSteward and imported it. Within five minutes, MailSteward had imported the entire file, with the exception of 20 duplicate emails that it found. It skipped the dupes. Nice.

Now I can easily search through all of my email, dating back to 2001, quickly and efficiently. That’s power, baby.

The regular ($50.00) version of MailSteward uses SQLite, which is fast and dependable up to 100,000 email or so. If you have more email that than, in addition to seeking professional mental care, you can upgrade to the Pro version ($99.95) which uses a MySQL backend allowing you access to a larger archive than any one human could ever need. Wow.

I highly and strongly recommend MailSteward. It’s saved my bacon more than once, and being able to quickly access email from years ago is truly invaluable. The search interface is incredibly powerful while being very accessible. It’s one of the few programs that I consider a must-have.

NB: I have no connection with MailSteward or the developer(s). I’m just a very satisfied customer.