gmail-attachment-downloader: You don’t want to know

Yesterday was the last work day of the month, and in my job that’s both a blessing and a curse, since it’s extraordinarily hectic, but it’s also payday. So my apologies for missing a day, but that job pays, and this one doesn’t.😉

To complicate things I got two tips via e-mail, one from Rashid and one from Lewis, mentioning gmail-attachment-downloader. I like to check things before I add them to the list, and at first glance it looked like a simple python script that scrapes through attachments in your account, and gives you a local copy.

That’s true, but I should be clear: It downloads attachments. All attachments. Every last one. From the beginning. Of all time.😯

So while I don’t have much to show for gmail-attachment-downloader, I do have about 10 years of junk to sort through as a result.


Aside from that warning, there are some other notes I should offer.

I ran into errors when I tried gmail-attachment-downloader in straight python in Arch. python2 appears to be the preferred framework here. Aside from that, I needed no peculiar dependencies. It takes no flags or options.

I gave my account with the suffix; the first time I tried with only the prefix and it wasn’t as successful. That I blame on GMail though, since I know it tends to want full addresses as “user names.”

As you can see, gmail-attachment-downloader is clever enough to avoid name collisions, and will skip over files that are identical and rename files that are similar. I don’t know if that means it is performing some sort of hash check or if it is just looking at file size. Either way is fine with me, but if you have a better idea, talk with the author.

My only suggestion for an improvement would be some sort of date stamping addition. Pulling down years of stashed .config files is fine, but without preserving the original date of the message, or perhaps prefixing the name with original date, everything is just swirled together.

And I suppose I should mention — again — that this is an all-or-nothing adventure. There’s no way (yet) to prompt to download a file, screen messages and pull down attachments by filter, or otherwise control the product. Start it up, set it spinning, and come back a few hours later.

And then spend the next day or two wondering what the context was for the half-dozen Anpanman wallpaper images buried somewhere in your account. Did I really e-mail those to myself … ?😕