Mail 2.0: Cause of invalid vertical scroll bar status

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Mail
July 7th, 2005 • 1:50 am

A few weeks ago, I noted a problem with the visual interface in Tiger’s Mail, where the vertical scroll bar in the main viewer window would be active with a blue scroller indicating the presence of stuff below the visible area, even though there was nothing beyond the visible area, with the message list stopping short of reaching the bottom of the visible area of the window.

At the time, I said I wasn’t able to reproduce it reliably — so of course I couldn’t report it to Apple as a bug.

Now I think I’ve found a way to reproduce it reliably. It has to do with message threads. You need to set your mail viewer window so that messages are automatically organized by threads (i.e. messages with the same subject line are collapsed together into a single line that can be expanded by clicking on the triangle on the left-hand side). This is done using the “Organize by Thread” option in the “View” menu.

Once you’ve set up Mail’s viewing options this way, you need to view the contents of a mailbox which has at least one thread of multiple messages with the same subject line, and also which does not have enough messages to fill the entire height of the viewer window, even when the thread is expanded.

When you view the mailbox with the thread collapsed, there is no active vertical scroll bar, and the blue scroller is not there. But as soon as you expand the thread by clicking on the triangle on the left-hand side, the vertical scroll bar becomes active, and there is a blue scroller that doesn’t fill the entire scroll bar, with some space at the bottom indicating that you need to scroll down to see the rest of the message list. The thing is that there’s nothing left to show! Even when the thread is expanded, the message list still is not long enough to take up the entire height of the viewer window.

I can certainly reproduce this reliably with the current contents of my Inbox, which take up about two thirds of the available space in my window. If I expand a thread that adds just 2 or 3 messages to the list, I get a message list that still doesn’t take up the entire available space in the window, and yet the vertical scroll bar becomes active!

This doesn’t make any sense and is clearly a bug. Report filed :).

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