Front App vs Missive
Both Front app and Missive share some similarities, first and foremost they let you and your teammates comment in between emails.
But that is where similarities stop. Missive was built from the ground up to be a full featured email client; whereas Front app was built to be a support desk fueled by emails.
This makes for a tremendous difference in functionalities, user interface, roadmap and user expectations. Let me explain.
One core precept of Missive is that the email part of the application needs to be so good that users want to consume all their emails in it: shared addresses (email@example.com), personal work inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) and personal inbox (email@example.com).
It’s so important because the collaborative part of Missive becomes infinitely more useful when users live and breathe inside Missive. You not only want to collaborate around emails sent to your company help@ address, but also around the really important emails you most likely receive at your personal company address, like that email from a potential high profile partner.
People have really high expecations regarding what an email client needs to offer in terms of functionalities, behavior and look. To reach our objective we invested a lot of time nailing the small details that make Missive a great email client.
User interface (email client VS help desk)
Missive’s user interface is designed to look and feel like an email client. You find the classical 3 column layout where the first column lists unified mailboxes (Inbox, Drafts, Sent, All, etc.) and labels. You can choose which mailboxes or labels stay opened; it’s your way, independent of your teammates.
Front app is fairly opinionated in the way it displays and organizes your emails. Everything is geared towards assignment; it’s mostly focused on the customer support use case of emails (help@, info@) where assignment is an important concept.
Missive imports 15 days of email history on the free plan. Upon subscribing to a paid plan, more history is imported (6 months on the Starter plan, unlimited on Productive). This applies no matter what email provider you are using (Gmail, Office 365, regular IMAP, etc).
Front app imports your last 100,000 emails for Gmail accounts only. If you need more history or use a different email provider, you are out of luck.
Once you add a Gmail channel, the import will begin. Front will automatically import your most recent 10,000 emails. –Front app FAQ
Mailboxes / Labels
Missive fully supports Gmail labels on the free and paid plans. All your labels are synced from and to Gmail. Every conversation labeled in Missive will be labeled in Gmail. Every conversation starred in Gmail will be starred in Missive. Missive can be used side by side with Gmail or any other email client. It means you can keep your label nomenclature. When you switch to Missive, most things your were doing in Gmail are still possible.
Front app syncs your labels and flags but it's not seamless:
When you delete a label or tag in one system, the corresponding label or tag is not deleted in the other. You will need to delete both the label and tag manually.
The same applies for renaming tags and labels — you will need to update the name of the corresponding tag or label in the other system. Otherwise, you will end up with two separate tags or labels in the other system: one for the old name and one for the new name.
If you apply a private tag to a message in a team inbox in Front, the message will not be labeled in Gmail. If you remove a label in Gmail that matches a private tag in Front, the private tag will not be removed.
In Missive you manage aliases like you do in any other email client. For each of your email accounts you can easily setup new aliases. You need to make sure that those aliases have been verified in your Gmail settings.
This makes it possible to manage multiple domain addresses from a single Gmail account (phil@companyA.com, phil@companyB.com, …)
Front app lets you change the From address for your inboxes but does not seem to support using multiple aliases per inbox.
In Missive, you live edit drafts with your teammates. Writing a draft with a colleague feels like writing a Google Doc.
In Front app, when you reply to a conversation shared with teammates, they are only warned that you are replying. You cannot see the draft nor help them write it.
In Missive, every conversation can be assigned to one or multiple people in your team. In Front app a conversation can only be assigned to one person at a time.
In Missive, you can assign conversations from your INBOX or you can activate the assignment flow for shared inboxes (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). This will let people from your team triage the conversations from one or many Team inboxes.
You can learn more about the assignment flow by reading this guide: How to triage and assign emails.
In Missive you can create an infinite number of tasks per conversation and assign them to yourself, one, or multiple teammates.
A lot of our daily tasks are generated from the interactions we have with the outside world (emails) and the discussions we have internally (chats). In Missive a task is simply a comment with a checkbox.
e.g. You receive a bug report from a customer, instead of assigning the whole conversation to one of your team member, you can be specific and create multiple tasks:
In Front app a whole conversation can be assigned to one teammate only. There is no granularity, meaning you will probably need a third party task tool to manage complex issues.
The language and UI behind assignment in Front app is geared towards the customer support use case.
In Missive, each shared conversation shows an overview of who has access and what’s their respective state (seen/unseen, inbox/archived, snoozed, viewing, etc.)
In the example below, Philippe’s state (pink) goes from:
- Unread conversation in his inbox
- Viewing the conversation in his inbox
- Snoozed the conversation until 8:00 PM
Shared and private conversations live alongside in your unified inbox or labels.
In Front app, shared conversations can be assigned to one person and followed by everyone.
The Front app UI doesn’t have a unified inbox, so conversations are spread in many places.
Before being assigned to someone, a conversation is located in a team inbox. When it gets assigned, it’s moved to the Assigned to me mailbox for the asssignee and in the Following mailbox for everyone else. If you are not following a conversation that is not assigned to you, you can find it back in the assignee’s mailbox.
Since there is no unified inbox, Front app offers an Activities view where you can see what is happening. In Missive, you follow what’s going on in your inbox.
In Missive, you can always preview full responses before inserting them in a draft. This is vital because you can't expect everyone to know the content of every responses created by teammates.
In Front app, you can only preview the first few characters of content. You will have to carefully craft each title for your team to find back the relevant responses.
In Missive, you can quickly find responses by searching their title, subject and content. To find a response named “How to be a better person?” you can input many different possibilities:
|“ho bet pers”||✅ “How to be a better person?”|
|“pers better”||✅ “How to be a better person?”|
|“person?”||✅ “How to be a better person?”|
You don't have to input every character from a word for the matching results to show up. And you can refine your search as you type.
In Front app, you will always have to write full words.
|“ho bet pers”||❌|
|“person?”||✅ “How to be a better person?”|
There is a lot more to read about the responses in Missive.
Twitter, Facebook, SMS mailboxes
Both Missive and Front app support Twitter, Facebook Messenger and SMS. In Front, emails, tweets, direct messages, SMS and Messenger messages pretty much all look the same. This makes it difficult to quickly differentiate between each of them. In Missive, each message type has a unique styling that reflects the original platform’s design:
Twitter Direct Messages
Both Missive and Front offer integrations with third-party apps and also give you the ability to build a custom one for your business.
Browse all the integrations Missive offers.
Missive offers the ability to be part of multiple organizations in a single account. This means you can be part of many projects at the same time.
In the above image the user is part of four organizations, letting them collaborate instantly from a single app on many projects. Being part of many projects doesn’t change the fact that you still have only one unified inbox to manage.
Front app doesn’t support multiple organizations. This feature is marked as planned in their roadmap.
In Front, unless you have a Google or Office 365 account you will need to set up a forwarding generic inbox (@in.frontapp.com). This seems inoffensive at first, but it's a significant disadvantage because this locks you to Front. Mainly because the only backup copy of your emails will reside in Front.
We simply don’t believe this is how email should be handled. A dedicated email server that hosts the main copy of your emails should be the backbone of an organization’s email setup, then collaborative apps like Missive and Front should be a layer on top and they should not lock you in forever.
Here are a few more things Missive offers that Front app does not:
- Shared email accounts - Delegate/share emails from an email account to one or many teammates (e.g. CEO delegates emails to their assistant)
- Pin conversations to the left bar for quick access
- Chat-only conversations
- General, team and 1-to-1 chat rooms (permanent, auto-created)
To be fair to Front app, here are things their app offers that Missive does not:
- Contacts - Missive does not offer dedicated contact management, but it does auto-complete contacts from sending history
Front app alternative
What is the difference between Front app VS Missive?
To us, Front app is a help desk. It cannot replace your email client or team chat app. It’s a ticketing app for your shared mailboxes. The user interface assumes emails are tickets that need to be assigned to people.
Missive offers a full work management solution (email, social media, chat, tasks) where you communicate with your team internally, orchestrate tasks and collaborate over the communication you have with the outside world. In Missive, emails are emails; they are first-class citizen. You don’t lose much going from your previous email client to Missive but you gain the tremendous ability to coordinate with your team. Our solution is also more affordable and your emails won't be locked in* with us.
If Front gets an update and this article becomes outdated, email us and we will update it.
*If using anything other than Google or Office 365, Front keeps the only copy of your emails in their servers.