The Iterative Web App: Auto-expanding Compose Boxes

Monday, October 26, 2009 | 8:45 AM

On April 7th, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Among the improvements was a complete redesign of the web application's underlying code which allows us to more rapidly develop and release new features that users have been asking for, as explained in our first post. We'd like to introduce The Iterative Webapp, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: Auto-expanding compose boxes

When composing a message on my phone, I really want to see as much of my draft as possible and make use of all the available screen space. One of my biggest gripes is a fixed-size compose box that restricts me to only a couple lines of visible text when my screen still has room to display more lines.

Today we launched auto-expanding compose boxes in Gmail for iPhone. This makes composing longer messages much easier since you're able to see more of the text you've typed. Just keep typing until you get near the bottom and then the compose box will magically expand by a few lines! As an added bonus, for all those iPhone users out there, auto-expanding compose boxes take away the need to press and hold to scroll with the magnifying glass! Instead, you can flick to scroll, much like you would normally do to scroll up and down a webpage. (On Android-powered devices, this hasn't been much of a problem, thanks to the trackball.)

While we're on the subject of making it easier to view content in Gmail, one more bit of news. We've been working on ways to make inline images show up in your messages, and you can now get some of those images to display by following these steps.

To try out, visit on your iPhone/iPod touch (OS 2.2.1 or above, US English only) and create a home screen link for easy access.

by Casey Ho, Software Engineer, Google Mobile


davidfg4 said...

Actually you didn't need to use the magnifying glass to scroll. Using two fingers scrolls a frame in a webpage.

Kyle Johnson said...

Very nice. Now how about a "reply with selected text" option for the mobile web app. I can do it with the full gmail web app. I basically never want to quote the whole message, and with the mobile the only viable option is quote with everything or quote with nothing.

chrisle9 said...

I was pleasantly surprised to see the compose screen auto-expand. Good job for thinking of good updates!

lowlight said...

Can someone explain why these features are only enabled by default for Android and iPhone devices? Windows Mobile browsers have no problem handling these features (and in fact I set Opera 9.7's user agent to identify as iPhone to get most of them).

This feature doesn't work, but most "iphone and Android only" features do.

Can someone explain why Google is going out of their way to exclude Windows Mobile users from something that would work fine with no extra work for them?

Ryan H said...

Why aren't these features enabled for French (and possibly other) localizations? I still can't even swipe & delete and that has been implemented for U.S. English a long time ago.

Why does Google take forever to activate these features across the board?

laptop said...

We need this in normal gmail!

Alex Popescu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Alex Popescu said...

I've been looking for this feature for quite a while GMail: Finally, the Missing Feature is Here

Now, I hope you'll do the same with those annoying issues in Google Reader.