Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Re: Next Generation Email
Author: Wesley Felter Posted: 9/22/1999; 6:10:56 PM Topic: Next Generation Email Msg #: 11363 (In response to 11331) Prev/Next: 11362 / 11364
Some people are working on next-gen email. I think Lifestreams is the closest thing to an actual product right now. Jamie Zawinski (who wrote several email clients) has some Ted Nelson-inspired thoughts on the intertwingularity of mail, some of which are being used in GNOME's Evolution mailer.
This is the part where I start talking about backwards compatibility. Almost all Unix mailers, including Mozilla and Evolution, use the same old mailbox folder file format, which causes lots of problems. I believe that a high-performance mailer will have to abandon compatibility (except import/export) with old file formats. Compatibility with other clients in addressing and the transport protocol (SMTP) is still essential though.
I should also point out that IMO, it does not much matter which metaprotocol a system uses. XML-RPC, SOAP, RMI/Jini, and CORBA are all metaprotocols. What is important is the conceptual model; once a model has been decided on it can be cast into any metaprotocol or expressed in a hand-rolled protocol like IMAP. I agree that it's probably a lot easier to build protocols using exisiting metaprotocols so that you don't have to waste time specifying every byte on the wire.
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