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RFC 3502 - Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) - MULTIAPPEND Extension

Last post 12-05-2008, 15:37 by Peter Strömblad. 0 replies.
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  •  12-05-2008, 15:37

    RFC 3502 - Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) - MULTIAPPEND Extension

    Network Working Group                                         M. Crispin
    Request for Comments: 3502                      University of Washington
    Category: Standards Track                                     March 2003
        Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) - MULTIAPPEND Extension
    Status of this Memo
       This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
       Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
       improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
       Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
       and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
    Copyright Notice
       Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.
       This document describes the multiappending extension to the Internet
       Message Access Protocol (IMAP) (RFC 3501).  This extension provides
       substantial performance improvements for IMAP clients which upload
       multiple messages at a time to a mailbox on the server.
       A server which supports this extension indicates this with a
       capability name of "MULTIAPPEND".
       The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
       "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to
       be interpreted as described in [KEYWORDS].
       The MULTIAPPEND extension permits uploading of multiple messages with
       a single command.  When used in conjunction with the [LITERAL+]
       extension, the entire upload is accomplished in a single
       command/response round trip.
       A MULTIAPPEND APPEND operation is atomic; either all messages are
       successfully appended, or no messages are appended.
       In the base IMAP specification, each message must be appended in a
       separate command, and there is no mechanism to "unappend" messages if
       an error occurs while appending.  Also, some mail stores may require
    Crispin                     Standards Track                     [Page 1]
    RFC 3502                    IMAP MULTIAPPEND                  March 2003
       an expensive "open/lock + sync/unlock/close" operation as part of
       appending; this can be quite expensive if it must be done on a
       per-message basis.
       If the server supports both LITERAL+ and pipelining but not
       MULTIAPPEND, it may be possible to get some of the performance
       advantages of MULTIAPPEND by doing a pipelined "batch" append.
       However, it will not work as well as MULTIAPPEND for the following
            1) Multiple APPEND commands, even as part of a pipelined batch,
            are non-atomic by definition.  There is no way to revert the
            mailbox to the state before the batch append in the event of an
            2) It may not be feasible for the server to coalesce pipelined
            APPEND operations so as to avoid the "open/lock +
            sync/unlock/close" overhead described above.  In any case, such
            coalescing would be timing dependent and thus potentially
            unreliable.  In particular, with traditional UNIX mailbox files,
            it is assumed that a lock is held only for a single atomic
            operation, and many applications disregard any lock that is
            older than 5 minutes.
            3) If an error occurs, depending upon the nature of the error,
            it is possible for additional messages to be appended after the
            error.  For example, the user wants to append 5 messages, but a
            disk quota error occurs with the third message because of its
            size.  However, the fourth and fifth messages have already been
            sent in the pipeline, so the mailbox ends up with the first,
            second, fourth, and fifth messages of the batch appended.
    6.3.11.  APPEND Command
       Arguments:  mailbox name
                   one or more messages to upload, specified as:
                      OPTIONAL flag parenthesized list
                      OPTIONAL date/time string
                      message literal
       Data:       no specific responses for this command
       Result:     OK - append completed
                   NO - append error: can't append to that mailbox, error
                        in flags or date/time or message text,
                        append cancelled
                   BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
    Crispin                     Standards Track                     [Page 2]
    RFC 3502                    IMAP MULTIAPPEND                  March 2003
          The APPEND command appends the literal arguments as new messages
          to the end of the specified destination mailbox.  This argument
          SHOULD be in the format of an [RFC-2822] message.  8-bit
          characters are permitted in the message.  A server implementation
          that is unable to preserve 8-bit data properly MUST be able to
          reversibly convert 8-bit APPEND data to 7-bit using a [MIME-IMB]
          content transfer encoding.
                Note: There MAY be exceptions, e.g., draft messages, in
                which required [RFC-2822] header lines are omitted in the
                message literal argument to APPEND.  The full implications
                of doing so MUST be understood and carefully weighed.
          If a flag parenthesized list is specified, the flags SHOULD be set
          in the resulting message; otherwise, the flag list of the
          resulting message is set empty by default.
          If a date-time is specified, the internal date SHOULD be set in
          the resulting message; otherwise, the internal date of the
          resulting message is set to the current date and time by default.
          A zero-length message literal argument is an error, and MUST
          return a NO.  This can be used to cancel the append.
          If the append is unsuccessful for any reason (including being
          cancelled), the mailbox MUST be restored to its state before the
          APPEND attempt; no partial appending is permitted.  The server MAY
          return an error before processing all the message arguments.
          If the destination mailbox does not exist, a server MUST return an
          error, and MUST NOT automatically create the mailbox.  Unless it
          is certain that the destination mailbox can not be created, the
          server MUST send the response code "[TRYCREATE]" as the prefix of
          the text of the tagged NO response.  This gives a hint to the
          client that it can attempt a CREATE command and retry the APPEND
          if the CREATE is successful.
          If the mailbox is currently selected, the normal new message
          actions SHOULD occur.  Specifically, the server SHOULD notify the
          client immediately via an untagged EXISTS response.  If the server
          does not do so, the client MAY issue a NOOP command (or failing
          that, a CHECK command) after one or more APPEND commands.
    Crispin                     Standards Track                     [Page 3]
    RFC 3502                    IMAP MULTIAPPEND                  March 2003
       Example: C: A003 APPEND saved-messages (\Seen) {329}
                S: + Ready for literal data
                C: Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 21:52:25 -0800 (PST)
                C: From: Fred Foobar 
                C: Subject: afternoon meeting
                C: To:
                C: Message-Id: 
                C: MIME-Version: 1.0
                C: Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII
                C: Hello Joe, do you think we can meet at 3:30 tomorrow?
                C:  (\Seen) " 7-Feb-1994 22:43:04 -0800" {295}
                S: + Ready for literal data
                C: Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 22:43:04 -0800 (PST)
                C: From: Joe Mooch 
                C: Subject: Re: afternoon meeting
                C: To:
                C: Message-Id: 
                C: MIME-Version: 1.0
                C: Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII
                C: 3:30 is fine with me.
                S: A003 OK APPEND completed
                C: A004 APPEND bogusname (\Flagged) {1023}
                S: A004 NO [TRYCREATE] No such mailbox as bogusname
                C: A005 APPEND test (\Flagged) {99}
                S: + Ready for literal data
                C: Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 22:43:04 -0800 (PST)
                C: From: Fred Foobar 
                C: Subject: hmm...
                C:  {35403}
                S: A005 NO APPEND failed: Disk quota exceeded
            Note: The APPEND command is not used for message delivery,
            because it does not provide a mechanism to transfer [SMTP]
            envelope information.
    Modification to IMAP4rev1 Base Protocol Formal Syntax
       The following syntax specification uses the Augmented Backus-Naur
       Form (ABNF) notation as specified in [ABNF].
       append          = "APPEND" SP mailbox 1*append-message
       append-message  = [SP flag-list] [SP date-time] SP literal
    Crispin                     Standards Track                     [Page 4]
    RFC 3502                    IMAP MULTIAPPEND                  March 2003
    MULTIAPPEND Interaction with UIDPLUS Extension
       Servers which support both MULTIAPPEND and [UIDPLUS] will have the
       "resp-code-apnd" rule modified as follows:
       resp-code-apnd  = "APPENDUID" SP nz-number SP set
       That is, the APPENDUID response code returns as many UIDs as there
       were messages appended in the multiple append.  The UIDs returned
       should be in the order the articles where appended.  The message set
       may not contain extraneous UIDs or the symbol "*".
    Security Considerations
       The MULTIAPPEND extension does not raise any security considerations
       that are not present in the base [IMAP] protocol, and these issues
       are discussed in [IMAP].  Nevertheless, it is important to remember
       that IMAP4rev1 protocol transactions, including electronic mail data,
       are sent in the clear over the network unless protection from
       snooping is negotiated, either by the use of STARTTLS, privacy
       protection is negotiated in the AUTHENTICATE command, or some other
       protection mechanism is in effect.
    Normative References
       [ABNF]     Crocker, D. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
                  Specifications: ABNF", RFC 2234, November 1997.
       [IMAP]     Crispin, M., "Internet Message Access Protocol - Version
                  4rev1", RFC 3501, March 2003.
       [KEYWORDS] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
                  Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
       [MIME-IMB] Freed, N. and N. Borenstein, "MIME (Multipurpose Internet
                  Mail Extensions) Part One: Format of Internet Message
                  Bodies", RFC 2045, November 1996.
       [RFC-2822] Resnick, P., "Internet Message Format", RFC 2822, April
    Crispin                     Standards Track                     [Page 5]
    RFC 3502                    IMAP MULTIAPPEND                  March 2003
    Informative References
       [LITERAL+] Myers, J., "IMAP4 non-synchronizing literals", RFC 2088,
                  January 1997.
       [UIDPLUS]  Myers, J., "IMAP4 UIDPLUS extension", RFC 2359, June 1988.
       [SMTP]     Klensin, J., Editor, "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", RFC
                  2821, April 2001.
    Author's Address
       Mark R. Crispin
       Networks and Distributed Computing
       University of Washington
       4545 15th Avenue NE
       Seattle, WA  98105-4527
       Phone: (206) 543-5762
       EMail: MRC@CAC.Washington.EDU
    Crispin                     Standards Track                     [Page 6]
    RFC 3502                    IMAP MULTIAPPEND                  March 2003
    Full Copyright Statement
       Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003).  All Rights Reserved.
       This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
       others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
       or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
       and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
       kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
       included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
       document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
       the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
       Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
       developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
       copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
       followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than
       The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
       revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.
       This document and the information contained herein is provided on an
       Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
       Internet Society.
    Crispin                     Standards Track                     [Page 7]

    Kind regards / Peter
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