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|| The TCP/IP Guide|
9 TCP/IP Application Layer Protocols, Services and Applications (OSI Layers 5, 6 and 7)
9 TCP/IP Key Applications and Application Protocols
9 TCP/IP File and Message Transfer Applications and Protocols (FTP, TFTP, Electronic Mail, USENET, HTTP/WWW, Gopher)
9 TCP/IP Electronic Mail System: Concepts and Protocols (RFC 822, MIME, SMTP, POP3, IMAP)
9 TCP/IP Electronic Mail Access and Retrieval Protocols and Methods
TCP/IP Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP/IMAP4)
The offline mailbox
access model provides the basic mail access
functions that most users need. Using the popular Post
Office Protocol (POP3), a user can access
his or her mailbox and retrieve messages so they can be read on a local
machine. This model has the advantage of simplicity, but does not provide
many features that are increasingly in demand today, such as keeping
track of the status of messages and allowing access from many client
devices simultaneously. To provide better control over how mail is accessed
and managed, we must use either the online or disconnected
access models. The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) was
created to allow these access models to be used, providing rich functionality
and flexibility for the TCP/IP e-mail user.
In this section I describe the operation
of the Internet Message Access Protocol. I begin as I usually do, with
a general look at the protocol, its history, versions and standards.
This includes a discussion of its benefits compared to the simpler POP3.
I describe the operation of the current version of the standard, IMAP4,
focusing on how client and server devices communicate and showing how
the IMAP session moves through a series of four states. I describe how
IMAP commands, results and responses are used and discuss the commands
that can be used at any time during an IMAP session. I then describe
the processes that are performed and commands used in each of the three
main IMAP states.
Related Information: The main price that IMAP pays for having a much richer set of functionality than POP is much more complexity. In this section, I have described IMAP in approximately the same level of detail that I did POP in its section. Please see the appropriate RFC documents for the full description of the protocol and more discussion of some of its nuances, particularly the syntax of the many commands and parameters, which would take dozens of pages to cover fully here.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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