Node:Importing and Exporting E-Mail, Next:Some Client-specific Aux-Item Types, Previous:Writing Clients, Up:Top
E-mail import has been implemented using various programs since the
first LysKOM server became operational. Protocol version 10 introduces a
lot of aux-items, a large part of which are intended for use by mail
importers to enhance the functionality. As of this moment, there is one
mail importer (
komimportmail) that is designed to take full
advantage of all the new aux-items.
E-mail export has never been used seriously. The first person to design and implement an exporter gets to rewrite this appendix based on his or her experiences.
The main job of the mail importer is to figure out where to deliver mail, how to handle MIME coding and/or structure and how to deal with threading. During this, it creates one or more texts and a lot of aux-items.
Although a mail message contains
CC headers, they
are not really useful when importing as it is the envelope recipients,
not the header recipients, that should be used. To understand this,
consider a mail where the
To header contains a personal mail
address. The mail is received using a tool like
forwarded to the LysKOM importer. The envelope address will be correct,
To header will still contain the personal address.
komimportmail importer uses addresses like
"number@server", where number is the number of the
recipient and server is the mail domain reserved for the LysKOM
importer. For backwards compatibility with earlier importers, it is
allowed to prepend a "p" before the number. Instead of the number,
komimportmail can accept a name, as long as the name can be
resolved to exactly one conference or letterbox. Before looking up the
name, any underscore or period is translated into a space.
Care should be taken when a mail is received more than once. This can
happen if a mail is addressed to more than one address. For example,
assume that a mail is sent to
email@example.com. Two different mail servers handle the
two recipients, but both eventually decide to forward the mail to the
LysKOM importer (but for different conferences). The LysKOM importer
will receive the mail twice, with different envelope recipients.
A solution is to keep a database containing a mapping from
Message-ID to LysKOM text number for imported messages. If a
message is seen more than once, the message is not imported. Instead,
recipients are added to the existing text.
On the other hand, that will introduce a security hole, where a person
who knows the
Message-ID of an interesting imported mail can add
himself or some open conference as a recipient. Perhaps the importer
should check for matching contents before adding recipients.
The importer needs to be careful not to deliver messages to conferences that do not allow messages, even though the server might not complain.
For mail delivery to work for any conference, the importer has to use a
privileged person, or it will be unable to deliver mail to secret
conferences. A potential problem is that this leaks secret information
from the server. For the time being, the
avoids this problem by using an unprivileged person and requiring the
members of secret conferences to invite the importer if they want e-mail
import to work.
The importer should do its best to thread messages. When the importer
sees a new message it needs to look at the
In-Reply-To header to
see what the message is a reply to. If the
does not exist, or if it exists but does not contain a valid Message-ID,
the last valid Message-ID of a
References header may be used
If the Message-ID of a previously imported e-mail is found, the new text should be made a comment of the replied-to text.
If the Message-ID is of the form defined below (see Message-ID), and it refers to a text exported from this server, the new text should be made a comment of the replied-to text.
This means that the importer will probably have to maintain its own database of imported texts that maps the message ID to the text number in the LysKOM database. There is no other way to find the text number for a particular imported text. Fortunately, this is exactly the same database we need to solve the multiple reception problem described above.
It has been noted that messages on some mailing lists arrive in peculiar order, with replies before the original messages. Perhaps this is due to moderation. A smart importer should be prepared to handle this, by adding a comment link when the original message eventually arrives.
One possible solution is to add a new kind of entry to the Message-ID database, mapping a Message-ID to a list of text numbers that should become comments to the message when it is imported.
An importer should try to handle e-mail messages containing MIME appendices as smart as possible. As the current LysKOM model lacks hierarchical structuring inside articles, appendices should probably be imported as comments or footnotes to the main message.
One would think that it is easy to convert the hierarchical MIME structure to a corresponding LysKOM comment tree. However, this would require creating empty interior nodes to attach some comments to.
komimportmail importer currently uses a rather
naive algorithm: All leaf parts are found. The first one gets to be the
main text, and the rest are included as comments to it.
Appendices encoded with Base64 or Quoted-Printable should be decoded.
When creating aux-items like
mx-author, text coded using the
method in RFC 2047 should be decoded.
As of this writing, an experimental e-mail exporter exists, but it is a fairly recent creation. The author of this document knows very little about how it works, so this section contains very little information.
A standard for Message-ID creation has been established. The general
The different parts are explained below:
canonical-nameaux item defines a unique name for the LysKOM system that the text was exported from. The server and port fields are set from it. If no port is specified in the
canonical-name, the port part is set to the empty string.