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Friday, September 24, 2004

What is IMAP?

Well, POP3 was done.. But then I though it would be real good to write stuff about IMAP.. So guys, for all you wanting to know about this protocol, here is the answer...


IMAP (Internet Mail Access Protocol)
A method of accessing electronic mail or bulletin board messages that are kept on a (possibly shared) mail server. In other words, it permits a "client" email program to access remote message stores as if they were local. For example, email stored on an IMAP server can be manipulated from a desktop computer at home, a workstation at the office, and a notebook computer while traveling, without the need to transfer messages or files back and forth between these computers.

IMAP synchronizes the messages with the server with the e-mail client by downloading just the subject and header information from the new messages (instead of the entire message). When a message is read, the body of the message is then sent to the e-mail client but the message remains on the IMAP server. Now if a user moves messages into folders, the messages are saved on the server, not on the user's computer.

Advantages:

1) Can manipulate persistent message status flags.

2) Can support concurrent upsates and access to shared mailboxes.

3) Especially useful management over low speed links. More efficient than POP3.

4) Save valuable bandwidth, because when you check your mail, all you download is headers: you don't download any message until you ask to read it. Read or download any part of a MIME message without downloading the other parts - no more waiting for attachments to download before you can read your mail.

5) Access and manipulate your mail and all your mailboxes (mail folders) from anywhere - work, home, on the road, even using someone else's computer - with total convenience and transparency, without any confusion about what you've read, where you've stored it, and so on.

Disadvantages:

1) More complicated to implement on the server

2) Less software which supports the IMAP protocol (like older versions of Eudora).

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