draft-ietf-imap-imap4-05.txt   draft-ietf-imap-imap4-06.txt 
Network Working Group M. Crispin Network Working Group M. Crispin
Internet Draft: IMAP4 University of Washington Internet Draft: IMAP4 University of Washington
Document: internet-drafts/draft-ietf-imap-imap4-05.txt August 1994 Document: internet-drafts/draft-ietf-imap-imap4-06.txt October 1994
INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 4 INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 4
Status of this Memo Status of this Memo
This document is an Internet Draft. Internet Drafts are working This document is an Internet-Draft. Internet-Drafts are working
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and its Working Groups. Note that other groups may also distribute and its working groups. Note that other groups may also distribute
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This is a draft document of the IETF IMAP Working Group. A revised This is a draft document of the IETF IMAP Working Group. A revised
version of this draft document will be submitted to the RFC editor as version of this draft document will be submitted to the RFC editor as
a Proposed Standard for the Internet Community. Discussion and a Proposed Standard for the Internet Community. Discussion and
suggestions for improvement are requested, and should be sent to suggestions for improvement are requested, and should be sent to
imap@CAC.Washington.EDU. This document will expire before 31 January imap@CAC.Washington.EDU. This document will expire before 30 April
1995. Distribution of this draft is unlimited. 1995. Distribution of this draft is unlimited.
Abstract Abstract
The Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4 (IMAP4) allows a The Internet Message Access Protocol, Version 4 (IMAP4) allows a
client to access and manipulate electronic mail messages on a server. client to access and manipulate electronic mail messages on a server.
IMAP4 permits manipulation of remote message folders, called IMAP4 permits manipulation of remote message folders, called
"mailboxes", in a way that is functionally equivalent to local "mailboxes", in a way that is functionally equivalent to local
mailboxes. IMAP4 also provides the capability for an offline client mailboxes. IMAP4 also provides the capability for an offline client
to resynchronize with the server (see also [IMAP-DISC]). to resynchronize with the server (see also [IMAP-DISC]).
IMAP4 includes operations for creating, deleting, and renaming IMAP4 includes operations for creating, deleting, and renaming
mailboxes; checking for new messages; permanently removing messages; mailboxes; checking for new messages; permanently removing messages;
setting and clearing flags; RFC 822 and MIME parsing; searching; and setting and clearing flags; RFC 822 and MIME parsing; searching; and
selective fetching of message attributes, texts, and portions selective fetching of message attributes, texts, and portions
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thereof. Messages in IMAP4 are accessed by the use of numbers. thereof. Messages in IMAP4 are accessed by the use of numbers.
These numbers are either message sequence numbers (relative position These numbers are either message sequence numbers (relative position
from 1 to the number of messages in the mailbox) or unique from 1 to the number of messages in the mailbox) or unique
identifiers (immutable, strictly ascending values assigned to each identifiers (immutable, strictly ascending values assigned to each
message, but which are not necessarily contiguous). message, but which are not necessarily contiguous).
IMAP4 supports a single server. A mechanism for supporting multiple IMAP4 supports a single server. A mechanism for supporting multiple
IMAP4 servers is discussed in [IMSP]. IMAP4 servers is discussed in [IMSP].
IMAP4 does not specify a means of posting mail; this function is IMAP4 does not specify a means of posting mail; this function is
handled by a mail transfer protocol such as [SMTP]. handled by a mail transfer protocol such as [SMTP].
IMAP4 is designed to be upwards compatible from the [IMAP2] protocol. IMAP4 is designed to be upwards compatible from the [IMAP2] protocol.
Compatibility issues are discussed in [IMAP-COMPAT]. Compatibility issues are discussed in [IMAP-COMPAT].
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Table of Contents
Status of this Memo ............................................... i
Abstract .......................................................... i
IMAP4 Protocol Specification ...................................... 1
1. Organization of this Document ............................. 1
1.1. How to Read This Document ................................. 1
1.2. Conventions Used in this Document ......................... 1
2. Protocol Overview ......................................... 1
2.1. Link Level ................................................ 1
2.2. Commands and Responses .................................... 1
2.2.1. Client Protocol Sender and Server Protocol Receiver ....... 2
2.2.2. Server Protocol Sender and Client Protocol Receiver ....... 2
3. State and Flow Diagram .................................... 4
3.1. Non-Authenticated State ................................... 4
3.2. Authenticated State ....................................... 4
3.3. Selected State ............................................ 4
3.4. Logout State .............................................. 4
4. Data Formats .............................................. 6
4.1. Atom ...................................................... 6
4.2. Number .................................................... 6
4.3. String .................................................... 6
4.3.1. 8-bit and Binary Strings .................................. 7
4.4. Parenthesized List ........................................ 7
4.5. NIL ....................................................... 7
5. Operational Considerations ................................ 8
5.1. Mailbox Naming ............................................ 8
5.2. Mailbox Size and Message Status Updates ................... 8
5.3. Response when no Command in Progress ...................... 8
5.4. Autologout Timer .......................................... 8
5.5. Multiple Commands in Progress ............................. 9
6. Client Commands ........................................... 10
6.1. Client Commands - Any State ............................... 10
6.1.1. CAPABILITY Command ........................................ 10
6.1.2. NOOP Command .............................................. 11
6.1.3. LOGOUT Command ............................................ 11
6.2. Client Commands - Non-Authenticated State ................. 12
6.2.1. AUTHENTICATE Command ...................................... 12
6.2.2. LOGIN Command ............................................. 14
6.3. Client Commands - Authenticated State ..................... 14
6.3.1. SELECT Command ............................................ 15
6.3.2. EXAMINE Command ........................................... 16
6.3.3. CREATE Command ............................................ 17
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6.3.4. DELETE Command ............................................ 18
6.3.5. RENAME Command ............................................ 18
6.3.6. SUBSCRIBE Command ......................................... 19
6.3.7. UNSUBSCRIBE Command ....................................... 19
6.3.8. LIST Command .............................................. 20
6.3.9. LSUB Command .............................................. 22
6.3.10. APPEND Command ............................................ 22
6.4. Client Commands - Selected State .......................... 23
6.4.1. CHECK Command ............................................. 23
6.4.2. CLOSE Command ............................................. 24
6.4.3. EXPUNGE Command ........................................... 25
6.4.4. SEARCH Command ............................................ 25
6.4.5. FETCH Command ............................................. 29
6.4.6. PARTIAL Command ........................................... 32
6.4.7. STORE Command ............................................. 33
6.4.8. COPY Command .............................................. 34
6.4.9. UID Command ............................................... 35
6.5. Client Commands - Experimental/Expansion .................. 37
6.5.1. X<atom> Command ........................................... 37
7. Server Responses .......................................... 38
7.1. Server Responses - Status Responses ....................... 39
7.1.1. OK Response ............................................... 40
7.1.2. NO Response ............................................... 40
7.1.3. BAD Response .............................................. 41
7.1.4. PREAUTH Response .......................................... 41
7.1.5. BYE Response .............................................. 42
7.2. Server Responses - Server and Mailbox Status .............. 42
7.2.1. CAPABILITY Response ....................................... 42
7.2.2. LIST Response ............................................. 43
7.2.3. LSUB Response ............................................. 44
7.2.4. SEARCH Response ........................................... 44
7.2.5. FLAGS Response ............................................ 44
7.3. Server Responses - Message Status ......................... 45
7.3.1. EXISTS Response ........................................... 45
7.3.2. RECENT Response ........................................... 45
7.3.3. EXPUNGE Response .......................................... 45
7.3.4. FETCH Response ............................................ 46
7.3.5. Obsolete Responses ........................................ 51
7.4. Server Responses - Command Continuation Request ........... 51
8. Sample IMAP4 session ...................................... 52
9. Formal Syntax ............................................. 53
10. Author's Note ............................................. 63
11. Security Considerations ................................... 63
12. Author's Address .......................................... 63
Appendices ........................................................ 64
A. Obsolete Commands ......................................... 64
A.6.3.OBS.1. FIND ALL.MAILBOXES Command ........................ 64
A.6.3.OBS.2. FIND MAILBOXES Command ............................ 64
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A.6.3.OBS.3. SUBSCRIBE MAILBOX Command ......................... 65
A.6.3.OBS.4. UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX Command ....................... 65
B. Obsolete Responses ........................................ 67
B.7.2.OBS.1. MAILBOX Response .................................. 67
B.7.3.OBS.1. COPY Response ..................................... 67
B.7.3.OBS.2. STORE Response .................................... 67
C. References ................................................ 69
D. Changes from Draft 05 ..................................... 70
E. IMAP4 Keyword Index ....................................... 71
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IMAP4 Protocol Specification IMAP4 Protocol Specification
1. Organization of this Document 1. Organization of this Document
1.1. How to Read This Document 1.1. How to Read This Document
This document is written from the point of view of the implementor of This document is written from the point of view of the implementor of
an IMAP4 client or server. Beyond the protocol overview in section an IMAP4 client or server. Beyond the protocol overview in section
2, it is not optimized for someone trying to understand the operation 2, it is not optimized for someone trying to understand the operation
of the protocol. The material in sections 3 through 5 provides the of the protocol. The material in sections 3 through 5 provides the
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An IMAP4 session consists of the establishment of a client/server An IMAP4 session consists of the establishment of a client/server
connection, an initial greeting from the server, and client/server connection, an initial greeting from the server, and client/server
interactions. These client/server interactions consist of a client interactions. These client/server interactions consist of a client
command, server data, and a server completion result response. command, server data, and a server completion result response.
All interactions transmitted by client and server are in the form of All interactions transmitted by client and server are in the form of
lines; that is, strings that end with a CRLF. The protocol receiver lines; that is, strings that end with a CRLF. The protocol receiver
of an IMAP4 client or server is either reading a line, or is reading of an IMAP4 client or server is either reading a line, or is reading
a sequence of octets with a known count followed by a line. a sequence of octets with a known count followed by a line.
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2.2.1. Client Protocol Sender and Server Protocol Receiver 2.2.1. Client Protocol Sender and Server Protocol Receiver
The client command begins an operation. Each client command is The client command begins an operation. Each client command is
prefixed with a identifier (typically a short alphanumeric string, prefixed with a identifier (typically a short alphanumeric string,
e.g. A0001, A0002, etc.) called a "tag". A different tag is e.g. A0001, A0002, etc.) called a "tag". A different tag is
generated by the client for each command. generated by the client for each command.
There are two cases in which a line from the client does not There are two cases in which a line from the client does not
represent a complete command. In one case, a command argument is represent a complete command. In one case, a command argument is
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Server data may be sent as a result of a client command, or may be Server data may be sent as a result of a client command, or may be
sent unilaterally by the server. There is no syntactic difference sent unilaterally by the server. There is no syntactic difference
between server data that resulted from a specific command and server between server data that resulted from a specific command and server
data that were sent unilaterally. data that were sent unilaterally.
The server completion result response indicates the success or The server completion result response indicates the success or
failure of the operation. It is tagged with the same tag as the failure of the operation. It is tagged with the same tag as the
client command which began the operation. Thus, if more than one client command which began the operation. Thus, if more than one
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command is in progress, the tag in a server completion response command is in progress, the tag in a server completion response
identifies the command to which the response applies. There are identifies the command to which the response applies. There are
three possible server completion responses: OK (indicating success), three possible server completion responses: OK (indicating success),
NO (indicating failure), or BAD (indicating protocol error such as NO (indicating failure), or BAD (indicating protocol error such as
unrecognized command or command syntax error). unrecognized command or command syntax error).
The protocol receiver of an IMAP4 client reads a response line from The protocol receiver of an IMAP4 client reads a response line from
the server. It then takes action on the response based upon the the server. It then takes action on the response based upon the
first token of the response, which may be a tag, a "*", or a "+". As first token of the response, which may be a tag, a "*", or a "+". As
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A client MUST be prepared to accept any server response at all times. A client MUST be prepared to accept any server response at all times.
This includes server data that it may not have requested. Server This includes server data that it may not have requested. Server
data SHOULD be recorded, so that the client can reference its data SHOULD be recorded, so that the client can reference its
recorded copy rather than sending a command to the server to request recorded copy rather than sending a command to the server to request
the data. In the case of certain server data, recording the data is the data. In the case of certain server data, recording the data is
mandatory. mandatory.
This topic is discussed in greater detail in the Server Responses This topic is discussed in greater detail in the Server Responses
section. section.
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3. State and Flow Diagram 3. State and Flow Diagram
An IMAP4 server is in one of four states. Most commands are valid in An IMAP4 server is in one of four states. Most commands are valid in
only certain states. It is a protocol error for the client to only certain states. It is a protocol error for the client to
attempt a command while the command is in an inappropriate state. In attempt a command while the command is in an inappropriate state. In
this case, a server will respond with a BAD or NO (depending upon this case, a server will respond with a BAD or NO (depending upon
server implementation) command completion result. server implementation) command completion result.
3.1. Non-Authenticated State 3.1. Non-Authenticated State
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In selected state, a mailbox has been selected to access. This state In selected state, a mailbox has been selected to access. This state
is entered when a mailbox has been successfully selected. is entered when a mailbox has been successfully selected.
3.4. Logout State 3.4. Logout State
In logout state, the session is being terminated, and the server will In logout state, the session is being terminated, and the server will
close the connection. This state can be entered as a result of a close the connection. This state can be entered as a result of a
client request or by unilateral server decision. client request or by unilateral server decision.
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+--------------------------------------+ +--------------------------------------+
|initial connection and server greeting| |initial connection and server greeting|
+--------------------------------------+ +--------------------------------------+
|| (1) || (2) || (3) || (1) || (2) || (3)
VV || || VV || ||
+-----------------+ || || +-----------------+ || ||
|non-authenticated| || || |non-authenticated| || ||
+-----------------+ || || +-----------------+ || ||
|| (7) || (4) || || || (7) || (4) || ||
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+--------------------------------------+ +--------------------------------------+
(1) connection without pre-authentication (OK greeting) (1) connection without pre-authentication (OK greeting)
(2) pre-authenticated connection (PREAUTH greeting) (2) pre-authenticated connection (PREAUTH greeting)
(3) rejected connection (BYE greeting) (3) rejected connection (BYE greeting)
(4) successful LOGIN or AUTHENTICATE command (4) successful LOGIN or AUTHENTICATE command
(5) successful SELECT or EXAMINE command (5) successful SELECT or EXAMINE command
(6) CLOSE command, or failed SELECT or EXAMINE command (6) CLOSE command, or failed SELECT or EXAMINE command
(7) LOGOUT command, server shutdown, or connection closed (7) LOGOUT command, server shutdown, or connection closed
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4. Data Formats 4. Data Formats
IMAP4 uses textual commands and responses. Data in IMAP4 can be in IMAP4 uses textual commands and responses. Data in IMAP4 can be in
one of several forms: atom, number, string, parenthesized list, or one of several forms: atom, number, string, parenthesized list, or
NIL. NIL.
4.1. Atom 4.1. Atom
An atom consists of one or more non-special characters. An atom consists of one or more non-special characters.
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excluding CR and LF, with double quote (<">) characters at each end. excluding CR and LF, with double quote (<">) characters at each end.
The empty string is respresented as either "" (a quoted string with The empty string is respresented as either "" (a quoted string with
zero characters between double quotes) or as {0} followed by CRLF (a zero characters between double quotes) or as {0} followed by CRLF (a
literal with an octet count of 0). literal with an octet count of 0).
Note: Even if the octet count is 0, a client transmitting a Note: Even if the octet count is 0, a client transmitting a
literal must wait to receive a command continuation literal must wait to receive a command continuation
request. request.
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4.3.1. 8-bit and Binary Strings 4.3.1. 8-bit and Binary Strings
8-bit textual and binary mail is supported through the use of 8-bit textual and binary mail is supported through the use of
[MIME-1] encoding. IMAP4 implementations MAY transmit 8-bit or [MIME-1] encoding. IMAP4 implementations MAY transmit 8-bit or
multi-octet characters in literals, but should do so only when the multi-octet characters in literals, but should do so only when the
character set is identified. character set is identified.
Although a BINARY body encoding is defined, unencoded binary strings Although a BINARY body encoding is defined, unencoded binary strings
are not permitted. A "binary string" is any string with NUL are not permitted. A "binary string" is any string with NUL
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The empty list is represented as () -- a parenthesized list with no The empty list is represented as () -- a parenthesized list with no
members. members.
4.5. NIL 4.5. NIL
The special atom "NIL" represents the non-existence of a particular The special atom "NIL" represents the non-existence of a particular
data item that is represented as a string or parenthesized list, as data item that is represented as a string or parenthesized list, as
distinct from the empty string "" or the empty parenthesized list (). distinct from the empty string "" or the empty parenthesized list ().
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5. Operational Considerations 5. Operational Considerations
5.1. Mailbox Naming 5.1. Mailbox Naming
The interpretation of mailbox names is implementation-dependent. The interpretation of mailbox names is implementation-dependent.
However, the mailbox name INBOX is a special name reserved to mean However, the mailbox name INBOX is a special name reserved to mean
"the primary mailbox for this user on this server". If it is desired "the primary mailbox for this user on this server". If it is desired
to export hierarchical mailbox names, mailbox names must be left-to- to export hierarchical mailbox names, mailbox names must be
right hierarchical using a single character to separate levels of left-to-right hierarchical using a single character to separate
hierarchy. The same hierarchy separator character is used for all levels of hierarchy. The same hierarchy separator character is used
levels of hierarchy within a single name. for all levels of hierarchy within a single name.
5.2. Mailbox Size and Message Status Updates 5.2. Mailbox Size and Message Status Updates
At any time, a server can send data that the client did not request. At any time, a server can send data that the client did not request.
Sometimes, such behavior is required. For example, agents other than Sometimes, such behavior is required. For example, agents other than
the server may add messages to the mailbox (e.g. new mail delivery), the server may add messages to the mailbox (e.g. new mail delivery),
change the flags of message in the mailbox (e.g. simultaneous access change the flags of message in the mailbox (e.g. simultaneous access
to the same mailbox by multiple IMAP servers), or even remove to the same mailbox by multiple agents), or even remove messages from
messages from the mailbox. A server MUST send mailbox size updates the mailbox. A server MUST send mailbox size updates automatically
automatically if a mailbox size change is observed during the if a mailbox size change is observed during the processing of a
processing of a command. A server SHOULD send message flag updates command. A server SHOULD send message flag updates automatically,
automatically, without requiring the client to request such updates without requiring the client to request such updates explicitly.
explicitly. Special rules exist for server notification of a client Special rules exist for server notification of a client about the
about the removal of messages to prevent synchronization errors; see removal of messages to prevent synchronization errors; see the
the description of the EXPUNGE response for more details. description of the EXPUNGE response for more details.
Regardless of what implementation decisions a client may take on Regardless of what implementation decisions a client may take on
remembering data from the server, a client implementation MUST record remembering data from the server, a client implementation MUST record
mailbox size updates. It MUST NOT assume that any command after mailbox size updates. It MUST NOT assume that any command after
initial mailbox selection will return the size of the mailbox. initial mailbox selection will return the size of the mailbox.
5.3. Response when no Command in Progress 5.3. Response when no Command in Progress
Server implementations are permitted to send an untagged response Server implementations are permitted to send an untagged response
(except for EXPUNGE) while there is no command in progress. Server (except for EXPUNGE) while there is no command in progress. Server
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considerations. Specifically, they must either (1) verify that the considerations. Specifically, they must either (1) verify that the
size of the data does not exceed the underlying transport's available size of the data does not exceed the underlying transport's available
window size, or (2) use non-blocking writes. window size, or (2) use non-blocking writes.
5.4. Autologout Timer 5.4. Autologout Timer
If a server has an inactivity autologout timer, that timer MUST be of If a server has an inactivity autologout timer, that timer MUST be of
at least 30 minutes' duration. The receipt of ANY command from the at least 30 minutes' duration. The receipt of ANY command from the
client during that interval should suffice to reset the autologout client during that interval should suffice to reset the autologout
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timer. timer.
5.5. Multiple Commands in Progress 5.5. Multiple Commands in Progress
The client is not required to wait for the completion result response The client is not required to wait for the completion result response
of a command before sending another command, subject to flow control of a command before sending another command, subject to flow control
constraints on the underlying data stream. Similarly, a server is constraints on the underlying data stream. Similarly, a server is
not required to process a command to completion before beginning not required to process a command to completion before beginning
processing of the next command, unless an ambiguity would result processing of the next command, unless an ambiguity would result
because of a command that would affect the results of other commands. because of a command that would affect the results of other commands.
If there is such an ambiguity, the server executes commands to If there is such an ambiguity, the server executes commands to
completion in the order given by the client. completion in the order given by the client.
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6. Client Commands 6. Client Commands
IMAP4 commands are described in this section. Commands are organized IMAP4 commands are described in this section. Commands are organized
by the state in which the command is permitted. Commands which are by the state in which the command is permitted. Commands which are
permitted in multiple states are listed in the minimum permitted permitted in multiple states are listed in the minimum permitted
state (for example, commands valid in authenticated and selected state (for example, commands valid in authenticated and selected
state are listed in the authenticated state commands). state are listed in the authenticated state commands).
Command arguments, identified by "Arguments:" in the command Command arguments, identified by "Arguments:" in the command
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BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The CAPABILITY command requests a listing of capabilities that the The CAPABILITY command requests a listing of capabilities that the
server supports. The server MUST send a single untagged server supports. The server MUST send a single untagged
CAPABILITY response with "IMAP4" as the first listed capability CAPABILITY response with "IMAP4" as the first listed capability
before the (tagged) OK response. This listing of capabilities is before the (tagged) OK response. This listing of capabilities is
not dependent upon connection state or user. It is therefore not not dependent upon connection state or user. It is therefore not
necessary to issue a CAPABILITY command more than once in a necessary to issue a CAPABILITY command more than once in a
session. session.
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Capability names other than "IMAP4" refer to extensions, Capability names other than "IMAP4" refer to extensions,
revisions, or amendments to this specification. See the revisions, or amendments to this specification. See the
documentation of the CAPABILITY response for additional documentation of the CAPABILITY response for additional
information. No capabilities are enabled without explicit client information. No capabilities are enabled without explicit client
action to invoke the capability. See the section entitled "Client action to invoke the capability. See the section entitled "Client
Commands - Experimental/Expansion" for information about the form Commands - Experimental/Expansion" for information about the form
of site or implementation-specific capabilities. of site or implementation-specific capabilities.
Example: C: abcd CAPABILITY Example: C: abcd CAPABILITY
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Example: C: a002 NOOP Example: C: a002 NOOP
S: a002 OK NOOP completed S: a002 OK NOOP completed
. . . . . .
C: a047 NOOP C: a047 NOOP
S: * 22 EXPUNGE S: * 22 EXPUNGE
S: * 23 EXISTS S: * 23 EXISTS
S: * 3 RECENT S: * 3 RECENT
S: * 14 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen \Deleted)) S: * 14 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen \Deleted))
S: a047 OK NOOP completed S: a047 OK NOOP completed
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6.1.3. LOGOUT Command 6.1.3. LOGOUT Command
Arguments: none Arguments: none
Data: mandatory untagged response: BYE Data: mandatory untagged response: BYE
Result: OK - logout completed Result: OK - logout completed
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
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what requirements, if any, are placed on the password and what access what requirements, if any, are placed on the password and what access
restrictions are placed on anonymous users. restrictions are placed on anonymous users.
Once authenticated (including as anonymous), it is not possible to Once authenticated (including as anonymous), it is not possible to
re-enter non-authenticated state. re-enter non-authenticated state.
In addition to the universal commands (CAPABILITY, NOOP, and LOGOUT), In addition to the universal commands (CAPABILITY, NOOP, and LOGOUT),
the following commands are valid in non-authenticated state: the following commands are valid in non-authenticated state:
AUTHENTICATE and LOGIN. AUTHENTICATE and LOGIN.
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6.2.1. AUTHENTICATE Command 6.2.1. AUTHENTICATE Command
Arguments: authentication mechanism name Arguments: authentication mechanism name
Data: continuation data may be requested Data: continuation data may be requested
Result: OK - authenticate completed, now in authenticated state Result: OK - authenticate completed, now in authenticated state
NO - authenticate failure: unsupported authentication NO - authenticate failure: unsupported authentication
mechanism, credentials rejected mechanism, credentials rejected
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buffer is transferred over the connection as a stream of octets buffer is transferred over the connection as a stream of octets
prepended with a four octet field in network byte order that prepended with a four octet field in network byte order that
represents the length of the following data. The maximum represents the length of the following data. The maximum
ciphertext buffer length is defined by the protection mechanism. ciphertext buffer length is defined by the protection mechanism.
The server is not required to support any particular The server is not required to support any particular
authentication mechanism, nor are authentication mechanisms authentication mechanism, nor are authentication mechanisms
required to support any protection mechanisms. If an AUTHENTICATE required to support any protection mechanisms. If an AUTHENTICATE
command fails with a NO response, the client may try another command fails with a NO response, the client may try another
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authentication mechanism by issuing another AUTHENTICATE command, authentication mechanism by issuing another AUTHENTICATE command,
or may attempt to authenticate by using the LOGIN command. In or may attempt to authenticate by using the LOGIN command. In
other words, the client may request authentication types in other words, the client may request authentication types in
decreasing order of preference, with the LOGIN command as a last decreasing order of preference, with the LOGIN command as a last
resort. resort.
Example: S: * OK KerberosV4 IMAP4 Server Example: S: * OK KerberosV4 IMAP4 Server
C: A001 AUTHENTICATE KERBEROS_V4 C: A001 AUTHENTICATE KERBEROS_V4
S: + AmFYig== S: + AmFYig==
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6.3. Client Commands - Authenticated State 6.3. Client Commands - Authenticated State
In authenticated state, commands that manipulate mailboxes as atomic In authenticated state, commands that manipulate mailboxes as atomic
entities are permitted. Of these commands, the SELECT and EXAMINE entities are permitted. Of these commands, the SELECT and EXAMINE
commands will select a mailbox for access and enter selected state. commands will select a mailbox for access and enter selected state.
In addition to the universal commands (CAPABILITY, NOOP, and LOGOUT), In addition to the universal commands (CAPABILITY, NOOP, and LOGOUT),
the following commands are valid in authenticated state: SELECT, the following commands are valid in authenticated state: SELECT,
EXAMINE, CREATE, DELETE, RENAME, SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, LIST, LSUB, EXAMINE, CREATE, DELETE, RENAME, SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, LIST, LSUB,
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and APPEND. and APPEND.
6.3.1. SELECT Command 6.3.1. SELECT Command
Arguments: mailbox name Arguments: mailbox name
Data: mandatory untagged responses: FLAGS, EXISTS, RECENT Data: mandatory untagged responses: FLAGS, EXISTS, RECENT
optional OK untagged responses: UNSEEN, PERMANENTFLAGS optional OK untagged responses: UNSEEN, PERMANENTFLAGS
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mailbox can be accessed. Before returning an OK to the client, mailbox can be accessed. Before returning an OK to the client,
the server MUST send the following untagged data to the client: the server MUST send the following untagged data to the client:
FLAGS Defined flags in the mailbox FLAGS Defined flags in the mailbox
<n> EXISTS The number of messages in the mailbox <n> EXISTS The number of messages in the mailbox
<n> RECENT The number of messages added to the mailbox since <n> RECENT The number of messages added to the mailbox since
the previous time this mailbox was read the previous time this mailbox was read
OK [UIDVALIDITY <n>]
The unique identifier validity value. See the
description of the UID command for more detail.
to define the initial state of the mailbox at the client. If it to define the initial state of the mailbox at the client. If it
is not possible to determine the messages that were added since is not possible to determine the messages that were added since
the previous time a mailbox was read, then all messages SHOULD be the previous time a mailbox was read, then all messages SHOULD be
considered recent. considered recent.
The server SHOULD also send an UNSEEN response code in an OK The server SHOULD also send an UNSEEN response code in an OK
untagged response, indicating the message sequence number of the untagged response, indicating the message sequence number of the
first unseen message in the mailbox. first unseen message in the mailbox.
If the client can not change the permanent state of one or more of If the client can not change the permanent state of one or more of
the flags listed in the FLAGS untagged response, the server SHOULD the flags listed in the FLAGS untagged response, the server SHOULD
send a PERMANENTFLAGS response code in an OK untagged response, send a PERMANENTFLAGS response code in an OK untagged response,
listing the flags that the client may change permanently. listing the flags that the client may change permanently.
Only one mailbox may be selected at a time in a session; Only one mailbox may be selected at a time in a session;
simultaneous access to multiple mailboxes requires multiple simultaneous access to multiple mailboxes requires multiple
sessions. The SELECT command automatically deselects any sessions. The SELECT command automatically deselects any
currently selected mailbox before attempting the new selection. currently selected mailbox before attempting the new selection.
Consequently, if a mailbox is selected and a SELECT command that Consequently, if a mailbox is selected and a SELECT command that
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fails is attempted, no mailbox is selected. fails is attempted, no mailbox is selected.
If the user is permitted to modify the mailbox, the server SHOULD If the user is permitted to modify the mailbox, the server SHOULD
prefix the text of the OK response with the "[READ-WRITE]" prefix the text of the OK response with the "[READ-WRITE]"
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response code. response code.
If the user is not permitted to modify the mailbox but is If the user is not permitted to modify the mailbox but is
permitted read access, the mailbox is selected as read-only, and permitted read access, the mailbox is selected as read-only, and
the server MUST prefix the text of the OK response to SELECT with the server MUST prefix the text of the OK response to SELECT with
the "[READ-ONLY]" response code. Read-only access through SELECT the "[READ-ONLY]" response code. Read-only access through SELECT
differs from the EXAMINE command in that certain read-only differs from the EXAMINE command in that certain read-only
mailboxes may permit the change of permanent state on a per-user mailboxes may permit the change of permanent state on a per-user
(as opposed to global) basis. Netnews messages marked in a user's (as opposed to global) basis. Netnews messages marked in a user's
.newsrc file are an example of such per-user permanent state that .newsrc file are an example of such per-user permanent state that
can be modified with read-only mailboxes. can be modified with read-only mailboxes.
Example: C: A142 SELECT INBOX Example: C: A142 SELECT INBOX
S: * 172 EXISTS S: * 172 EXISTS
S: * 1 RECENT S: * 1 RECENT
S: * OK [UNSEEN 12] Message 12 is first unseen S: * OK [UNSEEN 12] Message 12 is first unseen
S: * OK [UIDVALIDITY 3857529045] UIDs valid
S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft) S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft)
S: * OK [PERMANENTFLAGS (\Deleted \Seen \*)] Limited S: * OK [PERMANENTFLAGS (\Deleted \Seen \*)] Limited
S: A142 OK [READ-WRITE] SELECT completed S: A142 OK [READ-WRITE] SELECT completed
6.3.2. EXAMINE Command 6.3.2. EXAMINE Command
Arguments: mailbox name Arguments: mailbox name
Data: mandatory untagged responses: FLAGS, EXISTS, RECENT Data: mandatory untagged responses: FLAGS, EXISTS, RECENT
optional OK untagged responses: UNSEEN, PERMANENTFLAGS optional OK untagged responses: UNSEEN, PERMANENTFLAGS
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The EXAMINE command is identical to SELECT and returns the same The EXAMINE command is identical to SELECT and returns the same
output; however, the selected mailbox is identified as read-only. output; however, the selected mailbox is identified as read-only.
No changes to the permanent state of the mailbox, including No changes to the permanent state of the mailbox, including
per-user state, are permitted. per-user state, are permitted.
The text of an OK response to the EXAMINE command MUST begin with The text of an OK response to the EXAMINE command MUST begin with
the "[READ-ONLY]" response code. the "[READ-ONLY]" response code.
Example: C: A932 EXAMINE blurdybloop Example: C: A932 EXAMINE blurdybloop
S: * 17 EXISTS S: * 17 EXISTS
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S: * 2 RECENT S: * 2 RECENT
S: * OK [UNSEEN 8] Message 8 is first unseen S: * OK [UNSEEN 8] Message 8 is first unseen
S: * OK [UIDVALIDITY 3857529045] UIDs valid
S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft) S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft)
S: * OK [PERMANENTFLAGS ()] No permanent flags permitted S: * OK [PERMANENTFLAGS ()] No permanent flags permitted
S: A932 OK [READ-ONLY] EXAMINE completed S: A932 OK [READ-ONLY] EXAMINE completed
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6.3.3. CREATE Command 6.3.3. CREATE Command
Arguments: mailbox name Arguments: mailbox name
Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
Result: OK - create completed Result: OK - create completed
NO - create failure: can't create mailbox with that name NO - create failure: can't create mailbox with that name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
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with a name that refers to an extant mailbox. Any error in with a name that refers to an extant mailbox. Any error in
creation will return a tagged NO response. creation will return a tagged NO response.
If the mailbox name is suffixed with the server's hierarchy If the mailbox name is suffixed with the server's hierarchy
separator character (as returned from the server by a LIST separator character (as returned from the server by a LIST
command), this is a declaration that the client may, in the command), this is a declaration that the client may, in the
future, create mailbox names under this name in the hierarchy. future, create mailbox names under this name in the hierarchy.
Server implementations that do not require this declaration MUST Server implementations that do not require this declaration MUST
ignore it. ignore it.
If a new mailbox is created with the same name as a mailbox which
was deleted, its unique identifiers MUST be greater than any
unique identifiers used in the previous incarnation of the mailbox
UNLESS the new incarnation has a different unique identifier
validity value. See the description of the UID command for more
detail.
Example: C: A003 CREATE owatagusiam/ Example: C: A003 CREATE owatagusiam/
S: A003 OK CREATE completed S: A003 OK CREATE completed
C: A004 CREATE owatagusiam/blurdybloop C: A004 CREATE owatagusiam/blurdybloop
S: A004 OK CREATE completed S: A004 OK CREATE completed
Note: the interpretation of this example depends on whether Note: the interpretation of this example depends on whether
"/" was returned as the hierarchy separator from LIST. If "/" was returned as the hierarchy separator from LIST. If
"/" is the hierarchy separator, a new level of hierarchy "/" is the hierarchy separator, a new level of hierarchy
named "owatagusiam" with a member called "blurdybloop" is named "owatagusiam" with a member called "blurdybloop" is
created. Otherwise, two mailboxes at the same hierarchy created. Otherwise, two mailboxes at the same hierarchy
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level are created. level are created.
6.3.4. DELETE Command 6.3.4. DELETE Command
Arguments: mailbox name Arguments: mailbox name
Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
Result: OK - delete completed Result: OK - delete completed
NO - delete failure: can't delete mailbox with that name NO - delete failure: can't delete mailbox with that name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The DELETE command permanently removes the mailbox with the given The DELETE command permanently removes the mailbox with the given
name. An OK response is returned only if the mailbox has been name. An OK response is returned only if the mailbox has been
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deleted. It is an error to attempt to delete INBOX or a mailbox deleted. It is an error to attempt to delete INBOX or a mailbox
name that does not exist. Any error in deletion will return a name that does not exist. Any error in deletion will return a
tagged NO response. tagged NO response.
The value of the highest-used unique indentifier of the deleted
mailbox MUST be preserved so that a new mailbox created with the
same name will not reuse the identifiers of the former
incarnation, UNLESS the new incarnation has a different unique
identifier validity value. See the description of the UID command
for more detail.
Example: C: A683 DELETE blurdybloop Example: C: A683 DELETE blurdybloop
S: A683 OK DELETE completed S: A683 OK DELETE completed
6.3.5. RENAME Command 6.3.5. RENAME Command
Arguments: existing mailbox name Arguments: existing mailbox name
new mailbox name new mailbox name
Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
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NO - rename failure: can't rename mailbox with that name, NO - rename failure: can't rename mailbox with that name,
can't rename to mailbox with that name can't rename to mailbox with that name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The RENAME command changes the name of a mailbox. An OK response The RENAME command changes the name of a mailbox. An OK response
is returned only if the mailbox has been renamed. It is an error is returned only if the mailbox has been renamed. It is an error
to attempt to rename from a mailbox name that does not exist or to to attempt to rename from a mailbox name that does not exist or to
a mailbox name that already exists. Any error in renaming will a mailbox name that already exists. Any error in renaming will
return a tagged NO response. return a tagged NO response.
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Renaming INBOX is permitted; a new, empty INBOX is created in its Renaming INBOX is permitted; a new, empty INBOX is created in its
place. place.
Example: C: Z4S9 RENAME blurdybloop owatagusiam Example: C: Z4S9 RENAME blurdybloop owatagusiam
S: Z4S9 OK RENAME completed S: Z4S9 OK RENAME completed
6.3.6. SUBSCRIBE Command 6.3.6. SUBSCRIBE Command
Arguments: mailbox Arguments: mailbox
Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
Result: OK - subscribe completed Result: OK - subscribe completed
NO - subscribe failure: can't subscribe to that name NO - subscribe failure: can't subscribe to that name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The SUBSCRIBE command adds the specified mailbox name to the The SUBSCRIBE command adds the specified mailbox name to the
server's set of "active" or "subscribed" mailboxes as returned by server's set of "active" or "subscribed" mailboxes as returned by
the LSUB command. This command returns an OK response only if the the LSUB command. This command returns an OK response only if the
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subscription is successful. subscription is successful.
Example: C: A002 SUBSCRIBE #news.comp.mail.mime Example: C: A002 SUBSCRIBE #news.comp.mail.mime
S: A002 OK SUBSCRIBE completed S: A002 OK SUBSCRIBE completed
6.3.7. UNSUBSCRIBE Command 6.3.7. UNSUBSCRIBE Command
Arguments: mailbox name Arguments: mailbox name
Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
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BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The UNSUBSCRIBE command removes the specified mailbox name from The UNSUBSCRIBE command removes the specified mailbox name from
the server's set of "active" or "subscribed" mailboxes as returned the server's set of "active" or "subscribed" mailboxes as returned
by the LSUB command. This command returns an OK response only if by the LSUB command. This command returns an OK response only if
the unsubscription is successful. the unsubscription is successful.
Example: C: A002 UNSUBSCRIBE #news.comp.mail.mime Example: C: A002 UNSUBSCRIBE #news.comp.mail.mime
S: A002 OK UNSUBSCRIBE completed S: A002 OK UNSUBSCRIBE completed
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6.3.8. LIST Command 6.3.8. LIST Command
Arguments: reference name Arguments: reference name
mailbox name with possible wildcards mailbox name with possible wildcards
Data: untagged responses: LIST Data: untagged responses: LIST
Result: OK - list completed Result: OK - list completed
NO - list failure: can't list that reference or name NO - list failure: can't list that reference or name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
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delimiter, and name; see the description of the LIST reply for delimiter, and name; see the description of the LIST reply for
more detail. more detail.
An empty ("" string) reference name argument indicates that the An empty ("" string) reference name argument indicates that the
mailbox name is interpreted as by SELECT. The returned mailbox mailbox name is interpreted as by SELECT. The returned mailbox
names MUST match the supplied mailbox name pattern. A non-empty names MUST match the supplied mailbox name pattern. A non-empty
reference name argument is the name of a mailbox or a level of reference name argument is the name of a mailbox or a level of
mailbox hierarchy, and indicates a context in which the mailbox mailbox hierarchy, and indicates a context in which the mailbox
name is interpreted in an implementation-defined manner. name is interpreted in an implementation-defined manner.
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 The reference and mailbox name arguments are interpreted, in an
implementation-dependent fashion, into a canonical form that
The reference and mailbox name arguments are canonicalized, in an
implementation-dependent fashion, to an interpreted form that
represents an unambiguous left-to-right hierarchy. The returned represents an unambiguous left-to-right hierarchy. The returned
mailbox names will be in the interpreted form. mailbox names will be in the interpreted form.
Any part of the reference argument that is included in the Any part of the reference argument that is included in the
interpreted form SHOULD prefix the interpreted form. It should interpreted form SHOULD prefix the interpreted form. It should
also be in the same form as the reference name argument and not also be in the same form as the reference name argument. This
canonicalized into some other form. This rule permits the client rule permits the client to determine if the returned mailbox name
to determine if the returned mailbox name is in the context of the is in the context of the reference argument, or if something about
reference argument, or if something about the mailbox argument the mailbox argument overrode the reference argument. Without
overrode the reference argument. Without this rule, the client this rule, the client would have to have knowledge of the server's
would have to have knowledge of the server's naming semantics naming semantics including what characters are "breakouts" that
including what characters are "breakouts" that override a naming override a naming context.
context.
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For example, here are some examples of how references For example, here are some examples of how references
and mailbox names might be interpreted on a UNIX-based and mailbox names might be interpreted on a UNIX-based
server: server:
Reference Mailbox Name Interpretation Reference Mailbox Name Interpretation
------------ ------------ -------------- ------------ ------------ --------------
~smith/Mail/ foo.* ~smith/Mail/foo.* ~smith/Mail/ foo.* ~smith/Mail/foo.*
archive/ % archive/% archive/ % archive/%
#news. comp.mail.* #news.comp.mail.* #news. comp.mail.* #news.comp.mail.*
~smith/Mail/ /usr/doc/foo /usr/doc/foo ~smith/Mail/ /usr/doc/foo /usr/doc/foo
archive/ ~fred/Mail/* ~fred/Mail/* archive/ ~fred/Mail/* ~fred/Mail/*
The first three examples demonstrate interpretations in The first three examples demonstrate interpretations in
the context of the reference argument. Note that the context of the reference argument. Note that
"~smith/Mail" should not be canonicalized into something "~smith/Mail" should not be transformed into something
like "/u2/users/smith/Mail", or it would be impossible like "/u2/users/smith/Mail", or it would be impossible
for the client to determine that the interpretation was for the client to determine that the interpretation was
in the context of the reference. in the context of the reference.
The character "*" is a wildcard, and matches zero or more The character "*" is a wildcard, and matches zero or more
characters at this position. The character "%" is similar to "*", characters at this position. The character "%" is similar to "*",
but it does not match a hierarchy delimiter. but it does not match a hierarchy delimiter. If the "%" wildcard
is the last character of a mailbox name argument, matching levels
of hierarchy are also returned. If these levels of hierarchy are
not also selectable mailboxes, they are returned with the
\Noselect mailbox name attribute (see the description of the LIST
response for more detail).
Server implementations are permitted to "hide" otherwise Server implementations are permitted to "hide" otherwise
accessible mailboxes from the wildcard characters, by preventing accessible mailboxes from the wildcard characters, by preventing
certain characters or names from matching a wildcard in certain certain characters or names from matching a wildcard in certain
situations. For example, a UNIX-based server might restrict the situations. For example, a UNIX-based server might restrict the
interpretation of "*" so that an initial "/" character does not interpretation of "*" so that an initial "/" character does not
match. match.
The special name INBOX is included in the output from LIST if it The special name INBOX is included in the output from LIST if it
matches the input arguments and INBOX is supported by this server matches the input arguments and INBOX is supported by this server
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for this user. The criteria for omitting INBOX is whether SELECT for this user. The criteria for omitting INBOX is whether SELECT
INBOX will return failure; it is not relevant whether the user's INBOX will return failure; it is not relevant whether the user's
real INBOX resides on this or some other server. real INBOX resides on this or some other server.
Example: C: A002 LIST "~/Mail/" "%" Example: C: A002 LIST "~/Mail/" "%"
S: * LIST (\Noselect) "/" ~/Mail/foo S: * LIST (\Noselect) "/" ~/Mail/foo
S: * LIST () "/" ~/Mail/meetings S: * LIST () "/" ~/Mail/meetings
S: A002 OK LIST completed S: A002 OK LIST completed
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6.3.9. LSUB Command 6.3.9. LSUB Command
Arguments: reference name Arguments: reference name
mailbox name with possible wildcards mailbox name with possible wildcards
Data: untagged responses: LSUB Data: untagged responses: LSUB
Result: OK - lsub completed Result: OK - lsub completed
NO - lsub failure: can't list that reference or name NO - lsub failure: can't list that reference or name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
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Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
Result: OK - append completed Result: OK - append completed
NO - append error: can't append to that mailbox, error NO - append error: can't append to that mailbox, error
in flags or date/time or message text in flags or date/time or message text
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The APPEND command appends the literal argument as a new message The APPEND command appends the literal argument as a new message
in the specified destination mailbox. This argument is in the in the specified destination mailbox. This argument is in the
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format of an [RFC-822] message. 8-bit characters are permitted in format of an [RFC-822] message. 8-bit characters are permitted in
the message. A server implementation that is unable to preserve the message. A server implementation that is unable to preserve
8-bit data properly MUST be able to reversibly convert 8-bit 8-bit data properly MUST be able to reversibly convert 8-bit
APPEND data to 7-bit using [MIME-1] encoding. APPEND data to 7-bit using [MIME-1] encoding.
If a flag parenthesized list or date_time are specified, that data If a flag parenthesized list or date_time are specified, that data
SHOULD be set in the resulting message; otherwise, the defaults of SHOULD be set in the resulting message; otherwise, the defaults of
empty flags and the current date/time are used. empty flags and the current date/time are used.
If the append is unsuccessful for any reason, the mailbox MUST be If the append is unsuccessful for any reason, the mailbox MUST be
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restored to its state before the APPEND attempt; no partial restored to its state before the APPEND attempt; no partial
appending is permitted. If the mailbox is currently selected, the appending is permitted. If the mailbox is currently selected, the
normal new mail actions should occur. normal new mail actions should occur.
If the destination mailbox does not exist, a server MUST return an If the destination mailbox does not exist, a server MUST return an
error, and MUST NOT automatically create the mailbox. Unless it error, and MUST NOT automatically create the mailbox. Unless it
is certain that the destination mailbox can not be created, the is certain that the destination mailbox can not be created, the
server MUST send the response code "[TRYCREATE]" as the prefix of server MUST send the response code "[TRYCREATE]" as the prefix of
the text of the tagged NO response. This gives a hint to the 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 client that it can attempt a CREATE command and retry the APPEND
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because it does not provide a mechanism to transfer [SMTP] because it does not provide a mechanism to transfer [SMTP]
envelope information. envelope information.
6.4. Client Commands - Selected State 6.4. Client Commands - Selected State
In selected state, commands that manipulate messages in a mailbox are In selected state, commands that manipulate messages in a mailbox are
permitted. permitted.
In addition to the universal commands (CAPABILITY, NOOP, and LOGOUT), In addition to the universal commands (CAPABILITY, NOOP, and LOGOUT),
and the authenticated state commands (SELECT, EXAMINE, CREATE, and the authenticated state commands (SELECT, EXAMINE, CREATE,
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DELETE, RENAME, SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, LIST, LSUB, FIND DELETE, RENAME, SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, LIST, LSUB, FIND
ALL.MAILBOXES, FIND MAILBOXES, and APPEND), the following commands ALL.MAILBOXES, FIND MAILBOXES, and APPEND), the following commands
are valid in the selected state: CHECK, CLOSE, EXPUNGE, SEARCH, are valid in the selected state: CHECK, CLOSE, EXPUNGE, SEARCH,
FETCH, PARTIAL, STORE, COPY, and UID. FETCH, PARTIAL, STORE, COPY, and UID.
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6.4.1. CHECK Command 6.4.1. CHECK Command
Arguments: none Arguments: none
Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
Result: OK - check completed Result: OK - check completed
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The CHECK command requests a checkpoint of the currently selected The CHECK command requests a checkpoint of the currently selected
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BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The CLOSE command permanently removes from the currently selected The CLOSE command permanently removes from the currently selected
mailbox all messages that have the \Deleted flag set, and returns mailbox all messages that have the \Deleted flag set, and returns
to authenticated state from selected state. No untagged EXPUNGE to authenticated state from selected state. No untagged EXPUNGE
responses are sent. responses are sent.
No messages are removed, and no error is given, if the mailbox is No messages are removed, and no error is given, if the mailbox is
selected by an EXAMINE command or is otherwise selected read-only. selected by an EXAMINE command or is otherwise selected read-only.
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Even when a mailbox is selected, it is not required to send a Even when a mailbox is selected, it is not required to send a
CLOSE command before a SELECT, EXAMINE, or LOGOUT command. The CLOSE command before a SELECT, EXAMINE, or LOGOUT command. The
SELECT, EXAMINE, and LOGOUT commands implicitly close the SELECT, EXAMINE, and LOGOUT commands implicitly close the
currently selected mailbox without doing an expunge. However, currently selected mailbox without doing an expunge. However,
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when many messages are deleted, a CLOSE-LOGOUT or CLOSE-SELECT when many messages are deleted, a CLOSE-LOGOUT or CLOSE-SELECT
sequence is considerably faster than an EXPUNGE-LOGOUT or sequence is considerably faster than an EXPUNGE-LOGOUT or
EXPUNGE-SELECT because no untagged EXPUNGE responses (which the EXPUNGE-SELECT because no untagged EXPUNGE responses (which the
client would probably ignore) are sent. client would probably ignore) are sent.
Example: C: A341 CLOSE Example: C: A341 CLOSE
S: A341 OK CLOSE completed S: A341 OK CLOSE completed
6.4.3. EXPUNGE Command 6.4.3. EXPUNGE Command
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S: * 3 EXPUNGE S: * 3 EXPUNGE
S: * 3 EXPUNGE S: * 3 EXPUNGE
S: * 5 EXPUNGE S: * 5 EXPUNGE
S: * 8 EXPUNGE S: * 8 EXPUNGE
S: A202 OK EXPUNGE completed S: A202 OK EXPUNGE completed
Note: in this example, messages 3, 4, 7, and 11 had the Note: in this example, messages 3, 4, 7, and 11 had the
\Deleted flag set. See the description of the EXPUNGE \Deleted flag set. See the description of the EXPUNGE
response for further explanation. response for further explanation.
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6.4.4. SEARCH Command 6.4.4. SEARCH Command
Arguments: optional character set specification Arguments: optional character set specification
searching criteria (one or more) searching criteria (one or more)
Data: mandatory untagged response: SEARCH Data: mandatory untagged response: SEARCH
Result: OK - search completed Result: OK - search completed
NO - search error: can't search that character set or NO - search error: can't search that character set or
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tagged NO response (not a BAD). tagged NO response (not a BAD).
In all search keys that use strings, a message matches the key if In all search keys that use strings, a message matches the key if
the string is a substring of the field. The matching is the string is a substring of the field. The matching is
case-insensitive. case-insensitive.
The defined search keys are as follows. Refer to the Formal The defined search keys are as follows. Refer to the Formal
Syntax section for the precise syntactic definitions of the Syntax section for the precise syntactic definitions of the
arguments. arguments.
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<message set> Messages with message sequence numbers <message set> Messages with message sequence numbers
corresponding to the specified message sequence corresponding to the specified message sequence
number set number set
ALL All messages in the mailbox; the default initial ALL All messages in the mailbox; the default initial
key for ANDing. key for ANDing.
ANSWERED Messages with the \Answered flag set. ANSWERED Messages with the \Answered flag set.
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LARGER <n> Messages with an RFC822.SIZE larger than the LARGER <n> Messages with an RFC822.SIZE larger than the
specified number of octets. specified number of octets.
NEW Messages that have the \Recent flag set but not the NEW Messages that have the \Recent flag set but not the
\Seen flag. This is functionally equivalent to \Seen flag. This is functionally equivalent to
"(RECENT UNSEEN)". "(RECENT UNSEEN)".
NOT <search-key> NOT <search-key>
Messages that do not match the specified search Messages that do not match the specified search
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key. key.
OLD Messages that do not have the \Recent flag set. OLD Messages that do not have the \Recent flag set.
This is functionally equivalent to "NOT RECENT" (as This is functionally equivalent to "NOT RECENT" (as
opposed to "NOT NEW"). opposed to "NOT NEW").
ON <date> Messages whose internal date is within the ON <date> Messages whose internal date is within the
specified date. specified date.
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TEXT <string> Messages that contain the specified string in the TEXT <string> Messages that contain the specified string in the
header or body of the message. header or body of the message.
TO <string> Messages that contain the specified string in the TO <string> Messages that contain the specified string in the
envelope structure's TO field. envelope structure's TO field.
UID <message set> UID <message set>
Messages with unique identifiers corresponding to Messages with unique identifiers corresponding to
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the specified unique identifier set. the specified unique identifier set.
UNANSWERED Messages that do not have the \Answered flag set. UNANSWERED Messages that do not have the \Answered flag set.
UNDELETED Messages that do not have the \Deleted flag set. UNDELETED Messages that do not have the \Deleted flag set.
UNDRAFT Messages that do not have the \Draft flag set. UNDRAFT Messages that do not have the \Draft flag set.
UNFLAGGED Messages that do not have the \Flagged flag set. UNFLAGGED Messages that do not have the \Flagged flag set.
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ALL Macro equivalent to: (FLAGS INTERNALDATE ALL Macro equivalent to: (FLAGS INTERNALDATE
RFC822.SIZE ENVELOPE) RFC822.SIZE ENVELOPE)
BODY Non-extensible form of BODYSTRUCTURE. BODY Non-extensible form of BODYSTRUCTURE.
BODY[<section>] BODY[<section>]
The text of a particular body section. The section The text of a particular body section. The section
specification is a set of one or more part numbers specification is a set of one or more part numbers
delimited by periods. delimited by periods.
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Single-part messages only have a part 1. Single-part messages only have a part 1.
Multipart messages are assigned consecutive part Multipart messages are assigned consecutive part
numbers, as they occur in the message. If a numbers, as they occur in the message. If a
particular part is of type message or multipart, particular part is of type message or multipart,
its parts must be indicated by a period followed by its parts must be indicated by a period followed by
the part number within that nested multipart part. the part number within that nested multipart part.
It is not permitted to fetch a multipart part It is not permitted to fetch a multipart part
itself, only its individual members. itself, only its individual members.
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4.2.2.2 TEXT/RICHTEXT 4.2.2.2 TEXT/RICHTEXT
Note that there is no section Note that there is no section
specification for the Multi-part parts specification for the Multi-part parts
(no section 4 or 4.2.2). (no section 4 or 4.2.2).
The \Seen flag is implicitly set; if this causes The \Seen flag is implicitly set; if this causes
the flags to change they should be included as part the flags to change they should be included as part
of the fetch responses. of the fetch responses.
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BODY.PEEK[<section>] BODY.PEEK[<section>]
An alternate form of BODY[section] that does not An alternate form of BODY[section] that does not
implicitly set the \Seen flag. implicitly set the \Seen flag.
BODYSTRUCTURE The [MIME-1] body structure of the message. This BODYSTRUCTURE The [MIME-1] body structure of the message. This
is computed by the server by parsing the [MIME-1] is computed by the server by parsing the [MIME-1]
header lines. header lines.
ENVELOPE The envelope structure of the message. This is ENVELOPE The envelope structure of the message. This is
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the [RFC-822] format header of the message with a the [RFC-822] format header of the message with a
field-name (as defined in [RFC-822]) that matches field-name (as defined in [RFC-822]) that matches
any of the strings in header_list. The matching is any of the strings in header_list. The matching is
case-insensitive but otherwise exact. The case-insensitive but otherwise exact. The
delimiting blank line between the header and the delimiting blank line between the header and the
body is always included. body is always included.
RFC822.HEADER.LINES.NOT <header_list> RFC822.HEADER.LINES.NOT <header_list>
All header lines (including continuation lines) of All header lines (including continuation lines) of
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the [RFC-822] format header of the message with a the [RFC-822] format header of the message with a
field-name (as defined in [RFC-822]) that does not field-name (as defined in [RFC-822]) that does not
match any of the strings in header_list. The match any of the strings in header_list. The
matching is case-insensitive but otherwise exact. matching is case-insensitive but otherwise exact.
The delimiting blank line between the header and The delimiting blank line between the header and
the body is always included. the body is always included.
RFC822.SIZE The number of octets in the message, as expressed RFC822.SIZE The number of octets in the message, as expressed
in [RFC-822] format. in [RFC-822] format.
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NO - partial error: can't fetch that data NO - partial error: can't fetch that data
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The PARTIAL command is equivalent to the associated FETCH command, The PARTIAL command is equivalent to the associated FETCH command,
with the added functionality that only the specified number of with the added functionality that only the specified number of
octets, beginning at the specified starting octet, are returned. octets, beginning at the specified starting octet, are returned.
Only a single message can be fetched at a time. The first octet Only a single message can be fetched at a time. The first octet
of a message, and hence the minimum for the starting octet, is of a message, and hence the minimum for the starting octet, is
octet 1. octet 1.
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The following FETCH items are valid data for PARTIAL: RFC822, The following FETCH items are valid data for PARTIAL: RFC822,
RFC822.HEADER, RFC822.TEXT, BODY[section], as well as any .PEEK RFC822.HEADER, RFC822.TEXT, BODY[section], as well as any .PEEK
forms of these. forms of these.
Any partial fetch that attempts to read beyond the end of the text Any partial fetch that attempts to read beyond the end of the text
is truncated as appropriate. If the starting octet is beyond the is truncated as appropriate. If the starting octet is beyond the
end of the text, an empty string is returned. end of the text, an empty string is returned.
The data are returned with the FETCH response. There is no The data are returned with the FETCH response. There is no
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NO - store error: can't store that data NO - store error: can't store that data
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The STORE command alters data associated with a message in the The STORE command alters data associated with a message in the
mailbox. Normally, STORE will return the updated value of the mailbox. Normally, STORE will return the updated value of the
data with an untagged FETCH response. A suffix of ".SILENT" in data with an untagged FETCH response. A suffix of ".SILENT" in
the data item name prevents the untagged FETCH, and the server the data item name prevents the untagged FETCH, and the server
should assume that the client has determined the updated value should assume that the client has determined the updated value
itself or does not care about the updated value. itself or does not care about the updated value.
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The currently defined data items that can be stored are: The currently defined data items that can be stored are:
FLAGS <flag list> FLAGS <flag list>
Replace the flags for the message with the Replace the flags for the message with the
argument. The new value of the flags are returned argument. The new value of the flags are returned
as if a FETCH of those flags was done. as if a FETCH of those flags was done.
FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> FLAGS.SILENT <flag list>
Equivalent to FLAGS, but without returning a new Equivalent to FLAGS, but without returning a new
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-FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> -FLAGS.SILENT <flag list>
Equivalent to -FLAGS, but without returning a new Equivalent to -FLAGS, but without returning a new
value. value.
Example: C: A003 STORE 2:4 +FLAGS (\Deleted) Example: C: A003 STORE 2:4 +FLAGS (\Deleted)
S: * 2 FETCH FLAGS (\Deleted \Seen) S: * 2 FETCH FLAGS (\Deleted \Seen)
S: * 3 FETCH FLAGS (\Deleted) S: * 3 FETCH FLAGS (\Deleted)
S: * 4 FETCH FLAGS (\Deleted \Flagged \Seen) S: * 4 FETCH FLAGS (\Deleted \Flagged \Seen)
S: A003 OK STORE completed S: A003 OK STORE completed
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6.4.8. COPY Command 6.4.8. COPY Command
Arguments: message set Arguments: message set
mailbox name mailbox name
Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
Result: OK - copy completed Result: OK - copy completed
NO - copy error: can't copy those messages or to that NO - copy error: can't copy those messages or to that
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Result: OK - UID command completed Result: OK - UID command completed
NO - UID command error NO - UID command error
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The UID command has two forms. In the first form, it takes as its The UID command has two forms. In the first form, it takes as its
arguments a COPY, FETCH, or STORE command with arguments arguments a COPY, FETCH, or STORE command with arguments
appropriate for the associated command. However, instead of appropriate for the associated command. However, instead of
message sequence numbers, it uses unique identifiers in the message sequence numbers, it uses unique identifiers in the
message set argument to reference a particular message or range of message set argument to reference a particular message or range of
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messages. messages.
In the second form, the UID command takes a SEARCH command with In the second form, the UID command takes a SEARCH command with
SEARCH command arguments. The interpretation of the arguments is SEARCH command arguments. The interpretation of the arguments is
the same as with SEARCH; however, the numbers returned in a SEARCH the same as with SEARCH; however, the numbers returned in a SEARCH
response for a UID SEARCH command are unique identifiers instead response for a UID SEARCH command are unique identifiers instead
of message sequence numbers. For example, the command UID SEARCH of message sequence numbers. For example, the command UID SEARCH
1:100 UID 443:557 returns the unique identifiers corresponding to 1:100 UID 443:557 returns the unique identifiers corresponding to
the intersection of the message sequence number set 1:100 and the the intersection of the message sequence number set 1:100 and the
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A unique identifier of a message is a number, and is guaranteed A unique identifier of a message is a number, and is guaranteed
not to refer to any other message in the mailbox. Unique not to refer to any other message in the mailbox. Unique
identifiers are assigned in a strictly ascending fashion for each identifiers are assigned in a strictly ascending fashion for each
message added to the mailbox. Unlike message sequence numbers, message added to the mailbox. Unlike message sequence numbers,
unique identifiers persist across sessions. This permits a client unique identifiers persist across sessions. This permits a client
to resynchronize its state from a previous session with the server to resynchronize its state from a previous session with the server
(e.g. disconnected or offline access clients); this is discussed (e.g. disconnected or offline access clients); this is discussed
further in [IMAP-DISC]. further in [IMAP-DISC].
Associated with every mailbox is a unique identifier validity
value, which is sent in an UIDVALIDITY response code in an OK
untagged response at message selection time. If unique
identifiers from an earlier session fail to persist to this
session, the unique identifier validity value MUST be greater than
in the earlier session.
Note: An example of a good value to use for the unique
identifier validity value would be a 32-bit
representation of the creation date/time of the mailbox.
It is alright to use a constant such as 1, but only if
it guaranteed that unique identifers will never be
reused, even in the case of a mailbox being deleted and
a new mailbox by the same name created at some future
time.
Message set ranges are permitted; however, there is no guarantee Message set ranges are permitted; however, there is no guarantee
that unique identifiers be contiguous. A non-existent unique that unique identifiers be contiguous. A non-existent unique
identifier within a message set range is ignored without any error identifier within a message set range is ignored without any error
message generated. message generated.
The number after the "*" in an untagged FETCH response is always a The number after the "*" in an untagged FETCH response is always a
message sequence number, not a unique identifier, even for a UID message sequence number, not a unique identifier, even for a UID
command response. However, server implementations MUST implicitly command response. However, server implementations MUST implicitly
include the UID message data item as part of any FETCH response include the UID message data item as part of any FETCH response
caused by a UID command, regardless of whether UID was specified caused by a UID command, regardless of whether UID was specified
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
as a message data item to the FETCH. as a message data item to the FETCH.
Example: C: A003 UID FETCH 4827313:4828442 FLAGS Example: C: A003 UID FETCH 4827313:4828442 FLAGS
S: * 23 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) UID 4827313) S: * 23 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) UID 4827313)
S: * 24 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) UID 4827943) S: * 24 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) UID 4827943)
S: * 25 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) UID 4828442) S: * 25 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) UID 4828442)
S: A999 UID FETCH completed S: A999 UID FETCH completed
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6.5. Client Commands - Experimental/Expansion 6.5. Client Commands - Experimental/Expansion
6.5.1. X<atom> Command 6.5.1. X<atom> Command
Arguments: implementation defined Arguments: implementation defined
Data: implementation defined Data: implementation defined
Result: OK - command completed Result: OK - command completed
NO - failure NO - failure
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send any such untagged responses, unless the client requested it send any such untagged responses, unless the client requested it
by issuing the associated experimental command. by issuing the associated experimental command.
Example: C: a441 CAPABILITY Example: C: a441 CAPABILITY
S: * CAPABILITY IMAP4 XPIG-LATIN S: * CAPABILITY IMAP4 XPIG-LATIN
S: a441 OK CAPABILITY completed S: a441 OK CAPABILITY completed
C: A442 XPIG-LATIN C: A442 XPIG-LATIN
S: * XPIG-LATIN ow-nay eaking-spay ig-pay atin-lay S: * XPIG-LATIN ow-nay eaking-spay ig-pay atin-lay
S: A442 OK XPIG-LATIN ompleted-cay S: A442 OK XPIG-LATIN ompleted-cay
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7. Server Responses 7. Server Responses
Server responses are in three forms: status responses, server data, Server responses are in three forms: status responses, server data,
and command continuation request. and command continuation request.
Server response data, identified by "Data:" in the response Server response data, identified by "Data:" in the response
descriptions below, are described by function, not by syntax. The descriptions below, are described by function, not by syntax. The
precise syntax of server response data is described in the Formal precise syntax of server response data is described in the Formal
Syntax section. Syntax section.
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implementations that offer multiple simultaneous access to the same implementations that offer multiple simultaneous access to the same
mailbox should also send appropriate unilateral untagged FETCH and mailbox should also send appropriate unilateral untagged FETCH and
EXPUNGE responses if another agent changes the state of any message EXPUNGE responses if another agent changes the state of any message
flags or expunges any messages. flags or expunges any messages.
Command continuation request responses use the token "+" instead of a Command continuation request responses use the token "+" instead of a
tag. These responses are sent by the server to indicate acceptance tag. These responses are sent by the server to indicate acceptance
of an incomplete client command and readiness for the remainder of of an incomplete client command and readiness for the remainder of
the command. the command.
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7.1. Server Responses - Status Responses 7.1. Server Responses - Status Responses
Status responses may include an optional response code. A response Status responses may include an optional response code. A response
code consists of data inside square brackets in the form of an atom, code consists of data inside square brackets in the form of an atom,
possibly followed by a space and arguments. The response code possibly followed by a space and arguments. The response code
contains additional information or status codes for client software contains additional information or status codes for client software
beyond the OK/NO/BAD condition, and are defined when there is a beyond the OK/NO/BAD condition, and are defined when there is a
specific action that a client can take based upon the additional specific action that a client can take based upon the additional
information. information.
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READ-WRITE The mailbox is selected read-write, or its access READ-WRITE The mailbox is selected read-write, or its access
while selected has changed from read-only to while selected has changed from read-only to
read-write. read-write.
TRYCREATE An APPEND or COPY attempt is failing because the TRYCREATE An APPEND or COPY attempt is failing because the
target mailbox does not exist (as opposed to some target mailbox does not exist (as opposed to some
other reason). This is a hint to the client that other reason). This is a hint to the client that
the operation may succeed if the mailbox is first the operation may succeed if the mailbox is first
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created by the CREATE command. created by the CREATE command.
UIDVALIDITY Followed by a decimal number, indicates the unique
identifier validity value. See the description of
the UID command for more detail.
UNSEEN Followed by a decimal number, indicates the number UNSEEN Followed by a decimal number, indicates the number
of the first message without the \Seen flag set. of the first message without the \Seen flag set.
Additional response codes defined by particular client or server Additional response codes defined by particular client or server
implementations should be prefixed with an "X" until they are implementations should be prefixed with an "X" until they are
added to a revision of this protocol. Client implementations added to a revision of this protocol. Client implementations
should ignore response codes that they do not recognize. should ignore response codes that they do not recognize.
7.1.1. OK Response 7.1.1. OK Response
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7.1.2. NO Response 7.1.2. NO Response
Data: optional response code Data: optional response code
human-readable text human-readable text
The NO response indicates an operational error message from the The NO response indicates an operational error message from the
server. When tagged, it indicates unsuccessful completion of the server. When tagged, it indicates unsuccessful completion of the
associated command. The untagged form indicates a warning; the associated command. The untagged form indicates a warning; the
command may still complete successfully. The human-readable text command may still complete successfully. The human-readable text
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
describes the condition. describes the condition.
Example: C: A222 COPY 1:2 owatagusiam Example: C: A222 COPY 1:2 owatagusiam
S: * NO Disk is 98% full, please delete unnecessary data S: * NO Disk is 98% full, please delete unnecessary data
S: A222 OK COPY completed S: A222 OK COPY completed
C: A222 COPY 3:200 blurdybloop C: A222 COPY 3:200 blurdybloop
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S: * NO Disk is 98% full, please delete unnecessary data S: * NO Disk is 98% full, please delete unnecessary data
S: * NO Disk is 99% full, please delete unnecessary data S: * NO Disk is 99% full, please delete unnecessary data
S: A222 NO COPY failed: disk is full S: A222 NO COPY failed: disk is full
7.1.3. BAD Response 7.1.3. BAD Response
Data: optional response code Data: optional response code
human-readable text human-readable text
The BAD response indicates an error message from the server. When The BAD response indicates an error message from the server. When
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Data: optional response code Data: optional response code
human-readable text human-readable text
The PREAUTH response is always untagged, and is one of three The PREAUTH response is always untagged, and is one of three
possible greetings at session startup. It indicates that the possible greetings at session startup. It indicates that the
session has already been authenticated by external means and thus session has already been authenticated by external means and thus
no LOGIN command is needed. no LOGIN command is needed.
Example: S: * PREAUTH IMAP4 server ready and logged in as Smith Example: S: * PREAUTH IMAP4 server ready and logged in as Smith
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7.1.5. BYE Response 7.1.5. BYE Response
Data: optional response code Data: optional response code
human-readable text human-readable text
The BYE response is always untagged, and indicates that the server The BYE response is always untagged, and indicates that the server
is about to close the connection. The human-readable text may be is about to close the connection. The human-readable text may be
displayed to the user in a status report by the client. The BYE displayed to the user in a status report by the client. The BYE
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
response may be sent as part of a normal logout sequence, or as a response may be sent as part of a normal logout sequence, or as a
panic shutdown announcement by the server. It is also used by panic shutdown announcement by the server. It is also used by
some server implementations as an announcement of an inactivity some server implementations as an announcement of an inactivity
autologout. autologout.
This response is also used as one of three possible greetings at This response is also used as one of three possible greetings at
session startup. It indicates that the server is not willing to session startup. It indicates that the server is not willing to
accept a session from this client. accept a session from this client.
Example: S: * BYE Autologout; idle for too long Example: S: * BYE Autologout; idle for too long
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protocol. Server responses MUST conform to this document until protocol. Server responses MUST conform to this document until
the client issues a command that uses the associated capability. the client issues a command that uses the associated capability.
Capability names MUST either begin with "X" or be standard or Capability names MUST either begin with "X" or be standard or
standards-track IMAP4 extensions, revisions, or amendments standards-track IMAP4 extensions, revisions, or amendments
registered with IANA. A server MUST NOT offer unregistered or registered with IANA. A server MUST NOT offer unregistered or
non-standard capability names, unless such names are prefixed with non-standard capability names, unless such names are prefixed with
an "X". an "X".
Client implementations SHOULD NOT require any capability name Client implementations SHOULD NOT require any capability name
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other than "IMAP4", and MUST ignore any unknown capability names. other than "IMAP4", and MUST ignore any unknown capability names.
Example: S: * CAPABILITY IMAP4 XPIG-LATIN Example: S: * CAPABILITY IMAP4 XPIG-LATIN
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7.2.2. LIST Response 7.2.2. LIST Response
Data: name attributes Data: name attributes
hierarchy delimiter hierarchy delimiter
name name
The LIST response occurs as a result of a LIST command. It The LIST response occurs as a result of a LIST command. It
returns a single name that matches the LIST specification. There returns a single name that matches the LIST specification. There
may be multiple LIST responses for a single LIST command. may be multiple LIST responses for a single LIST command.
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\Marked The mailbox has been marked "interesting" by the \Marked The mailbox has been marked "interesting" by the
server; the mailbox probably contains messages that server; the mailbox probably contains messages that
have been added since the last time the mailbox was have been added since the last time the mailbox was
selected. selected.
\Unmarked The mailbox does not contain any additional \Unmarked The mailbox does not contain any additional
messages since the last time the mailbox was messages since the last time the mailbox was
selected. selected.
If it is not feasible for the server to determine whether the If it is not feasible for the server to determine whether the
mailbox is "interesting" or not, it should not send either \Marked mailbox is "interesting" or not, or if the name is a \Noselect
or \Unmarked. name, the server should not send either \Marked or \Unmarked.
The hierarchy delimiter is a character used to delimit levels of The hierarchy delimiter is a character used to delimit levels of
hierarchy in a mailbox name. A client may use it to create child hierarchy in a mailbox name. A client may use it to create child
mailboxes, and to search higher or lower levels of naming mailboxes, and to search higher or lower levels of naming
hierarchy. All children of a top-level hierarchy node must use hierarchy. All children of a top-level hierarchy node must use
the same separator character. A NIL hierarchy delimiter means the same separator character. A NIL hierarchy delimiter means
that no hierarchy exists; the name is a "flat" name. that no hierarchy exists; the name is a "flat" name.
The name represents an unambiguous left-to-right hierarchy, and The name represents an unambiguous left-to-right hierarchy, and
MUST be valid for use as a reference in LIST and LSUB commands. MUST be valid for use as a reference in LIST and LSUB commands.
Unless \Noselect is indicated, the name must also be valid as an Unless \Noselect is indicated, the name must also be valid as an
argument for commands, such as SELECT, that accept mailbox names. argument for commands, such as SELECT, that accept mailbox names.
Example: S: * LIST (\Noselect) "/" ~/Mail/foo Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Example: S: * LIST (\Noselect) "/" ~/Mail/foo
7.2.3. LSUB Response 7.2.3. LSUB Response
Data: name attributes Data: name attributes
hierarchy delimiter hierarchy delimiter
name name
The LSUB response occurs as a result of an LSUB command. It The LSUB response occurs as a result of an LSUB command. It
returns a single name that matches the LSUB specification. There returns a single name that matches the LSUB specification. There
may be multiple LSUB responses for a single LSUB command. The may be multiple LSUB responses for a single LSUB command. The
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The FLAGS response occurs as a result of a SELECT or EXAMINE The FLAGS response occurs as a result of a SELECT or EXAMINE
command. The flag parenthesized list identifies the flags (at a command. The flag parenthesized list identifies the flags (at a
minimum, the system-defined flags) that are applicable for this minimum, the system-defined flags) that are applicable for this
mailbox. Flags other than the system flags may also exist, mailbox. Flags other than the system flags may also exist,
depending on server implementation. depending on server implementation.
The update from the FLAGS response MUST be recorded by the client. The update from the FLAGS response MUST be recorded by the client.
Example: S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft) Example: S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft)
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
7.3. Server Responses - Message Status 7.3. Server Responses - Message Status
These responses are always untagged. This is how message data are These responses are always untagged. This is how message data are
transmitted from the server to the client, often as a result of a transmitted from the server to the client, often as a result of a
command with the same name. Immediately following the "*" token is a command with the same name. Immediately following the "*" token is a
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
number that represents either a message sequence number or a message number that represents either a message sequence number or a message
count. count.
7.3.1. EXISTS Response 7.3.1. EXISTS Response
Data: none Data: none
The EXISTS response reports the number of messages in the mailbox. The EXISTS response reports the number of messages in the mailbox.
This response occurs as a result of a SELECT or EXAMINE command, This response occurs as a result of a SELECT or EXAMINE command,
and if the size of the mailbox changes (e.g. new mail). and if the size of the mailbox changes (e.g. new mail).
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Data: none Data: none
The EXPUNGE response reports that the specified message sequence The EXPUNGE response reports that the specified message sequence
number has been permanently removed from the mailbox. The message number has been permanently removed from the mailbox. The message
sequence number for each successive message in the mailbox is sequence number for each successive message in the mailbox is
immediately decremented by 1, and this decrement is reflected in immediately decremented by 1, and this decrement is reflected in
message sequence numbers in subsequent responses (including other message sequence numbers in subsequent responses (including other
untagged EXPUNGE responses). untagged EXPUNGE responses).
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
As a result of the immediate decrement rule, message sequence As a result of the immediate decrement rule, message sequence
numbers that appear in a set of successive EXPUNGE responses numbers that appear in a set of successive EXPUNGE responses
depend upon whether the messages are removed starting from lower depend upon whether the messages are removed starting from lower
numbers to higher numbers, or from higher numbers to lower numbers to higher numbers, or from higher numbers to lower
numbers. For example, if the last 5 messages in a 9-message numbers. For example, if the last 5 messages in a 9-message
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
mailbox are expunged; a "lower to higher" server will send five mailbox are expunged; a "lower to higher" server will send five
untagged EXPUNGE responses for message sequence number 5, whereas untagged EXPUNGE responses for message sequence number 5, whereas
a "higher to lower server" will send successive untagged EXPUNGE a "higher to lower server" will send successive untagged EXPUNGE
responses for message sequence numbers 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5. responses for message sequence numbers 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5.
An EXPUNGE response MUST NOT be sent when no command is in An EXPUNGE response MUST NOT be sent when no command is in
progress; nor while responding to a FETCH, STORE, or SEARCH progress; nor while responding to a FETCH, STORE, or SEARCH
command. This rule is necessary to prevent a loss of command. This rule is necessary to prevent a loss of
synchronization of message sequence numbers between client and synchronization of message sequence numbers between client and
server. server.
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interpreted by the client according to the content interpreted by the client according to the content
transfer encoding, body type, and subtype. transfer encoding, body type, and subtype.
8-bit textual data is permitted if a character set 8-bit textual data is permitted if a character set
identifier is part of the body parameter identifier is part of the body parameter
parenthesized list for this section. parenthesized list for this section.
Non-textual data such as binary data must be Non-textual data such as binary data must be
transfer encoded into a textual form such as BASE64 transfer encoded into a textual form such as BASE64
prior to being sent to the client. To derive the prior to being sent to the client. To derive the
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
original binary data, the client must decode the original binary data, the client must decode the
transfer encoded string. transfer encoded string.
BODYSTRUCTURE A parenthesized list that describes the body BODYSTRUCTURE A parenthesized list that describes the body
structure of a message. This is computed by the structure of a message. This is computed by the
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
server by parsing the [RFC-822] header and body server by parsing the [RFC-822] header and body
into the component parts, defaulting various fields into the component parts, defaulting various fields
as necessary. as necessary.
Multiple parts are indicated by parenthesis Multiple parts are indicated by parenthesis
nesting. Instead of a body type as the first nesting. Instead of a body type as the first
element of the parenthesized list there is a nested element of the parenthesized list there is a nested
body. The second element of the parenthesized list body. The second element of the parenthesized list
is the multipart subtype (mixed, digest, parallel, is the multipart subtype (mixed, digest, parallel,
alternative, etc.). alternative, etc.).
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send such extension data until it has been defined send such extension data until it has been defined
by a revision of this protocol. by a revision of this protocol.
The basic fields of a non-multipart body part are The basic fields of a non-multipart body part are
in the following order: in the following order:
body type body type
A string giving the content type name as defined A string giving the content type name as defined
in [MIME-1]. in [MIME-1].
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
body subtype body subtype
A string giving the content subtype name as A string giving the content subtype name as
defined in [MIME-1]. defined in [MIME-1].
body parameter parenthesized list body parameter parenthesized list
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
A parenthesized list of attribute/value pairs A parenthesized list of attribute/value pairs
[e.g. (foo bar baz rag) where "bar" is the value [e.g. (foo bar baz rag) where "bar" is the value
of "foo" and "rag" is the value of "baz"] as of "foo" and "rag" is the value of "baz"] as
defined in [MIME-1]. defined in [MIME-1].
body id body id
A string giving the content id as defined in A string giving the content id as defined in
[MIME-1]. [MIME-1].
body description body description
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Extension data follows the basic fields and the Extension data follows the basic fields and the
type-specific fields listed above. Extension data type-specific fields listed above. Extension data
is never returned with the BODY fetch, but may be is never returned with the BODY fetch, but may be
returned with a BODYSTRUCTURE fetch. Extension returned with a BODYSTRUCTURE fetch. Extension
data, if present, must be in the defined order. data, if present, must be in the defined order.
The extension data of a non-multipart body part are The extension data of a non-multipart body part are
in the following order: in the following order:
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
body MD5 body MD5
A string giving the content MD5 value as defined A string giving the content MD5 value as defined
in [MIME-1]. in [MIME-1].
Any following extension data are not yet defined in Any following extension data are not yet defined in
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
this version of the protocol, and would be as this version of the protocol, and would be as
described above under multipart extension data. described above under multipart extension data.
ENVELOPE A parenthesized list that describes the envelope ENVELOPE A parenthesized list that describes the envelope
structure of a message. This is computed by the structure of a message. This is computed by the
server by parsing the [RFC-822] header into the server by parsing the [RFC-822] header into the
component parts, defaulting various fields as component parts, defaulting various fields as
necessary. necessary.
The fields of the envelope structure are in the The fields of the envelope structure are in the
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Any field of an envelope or address structure that Any field of an envelope or address structure that
is not applicable is presented as NIL. Note that is not applicable is presented as NIL. Note that
the server must default the reply-to and sender the server must default the reply-to and sender
fields from the from field; a client is not fields from the from field; a client is not
expected to know to do this. expected to know to do this.
FLAGS A parenthesized list of flags that are set for this FLAGS A parenthesized list of flags that are set for this
message. This may include keywords as well as the message. This may include keywords as well as the
following system flags: following system flags:
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
\Seen Message has been read \Seen Message has been read
\Answered Message has been answered \Answered Message has been answered
\Flagged Message is "flagged" for urgent/special \Flagged Message is "flagged" for urgent/special
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
attention attention
\Deleted Message is "deleted" for removal by \Deleted Message is "deleted" for removal by
later EXPUNGE later EXPUNGE
\Draft Message has not completed composition \Draft Message has not completed composition
(marked as a draft). (marked as a draft).
as well as the following special flag, which may be as well as the following special flag, which may be
fetched but not stored: fetched but not stored:
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that a blank line is always included regardless of that a blank line is always included regardless of
header line restrictions. header line restrictions.
RFC822.SIZE A number expressing the number of octets in the RFC822.SIZE A number expressing the number of octets in the
message in [RFC-822] format. message in [RFC-822] format.
RFC822.TEXT A string expressing the text body of the message, RFC822.TEXT A string expressing the text body of the message,
omitting the [RFC-822] header. 8-bit characters omitting the [RFC-822] header. 8-bit characters
are permitted only if there are [MIME-1] data in are permitted only if there are [MIME-1] data in
the message that identify the character set of the the message that identify the character set of the
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
message. message.
UID A number expressing the unique identifier of the UID A number expressing the unique identifier of the
message. message.
Example: S: * 23 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) RFC822.SIZE 44827) Example: S: * 23 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) RFC822.SIZE 44827)
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
7.3.5. Obsolete Responses 7.3.5. Obsolete Responses
In addition to the responses listed in here, client implementations In addition to the responses listed in here, client implementations
SHOULD accept the obsolete COPY and STORE responses described in SHOULD accept the obsolete COPY and STORE responses described in
Appendix B. Appendix B.
7.4. Server Responses - Command Continuation Request 7.4. Server Responses - Command Continuation Request
The command completion request response is indicated by a "+" token The command completion request response is indicated by a "+" token
instead of a tag. This form of response indicates that the server is instead of a tag. This form of response indicates that the server is
skipping to change at page 51, line 5 skipping to change at page 52, line 5
Example: C: A001 LOGIN {11} Example: C: A001 LOGIN {11}
S: + Ready for additional command text S: + Ready for additional command text
C: FRED FOOBAR {7} C: FRED FOOBAR {7}
S: + Ready for additional command text S: + Ready for additional command text
C: fat man C: fat man
S: A001 OK LOGIN completed S: A001 OK LOGIN completed
C: A044 BLURDYBLOOP {102856} C: A044 BLURDYBLOOP {102856}
S: A044 BAD No such command as "BLURDYBLOOP" S: A044 BAD No such command as "BLURDYBLOOP"
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
8. Sample IMAP4 session 8. Sample IMAP4 session
The following is a transcript of an IMAP4 session. A long line in The following is a transcript of an IMAP4 session. A long line in
this sample is broken for editorial clarity. this sample is broken for editorial clarity.
S: * OK IMAP4 Service Ready S: * OK IMAP4 Service Ready
C: a001 login mrc secret C: a001 login mrc secret
S: a001 OK LOGIN completed S: a001 OK LOGIN completed
C: a002 select inbox C: a002 select inbox
S: * 18 EXISTS S: * 18 EXISTS
S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft) S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft)
S: * 2 RECENT S: * 2 RECENT
S: * OK [UNSEEN 17] Message 17 is the first unseen message S: * OK [UNSEEN 17] Message 17 is the first unseen message
S: * OK [UIDVALIDITY 3857529045] UIDs valid
S: a002 OK [READ-WRITE] SELECT completed S: a002 OK [READ-WRITE] SELECT completed
C: a003 fetch 12 full C: a003 fetch 12 full
S: * 12 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) INTERNALDATE "14-Jul-1993 02:44:25 -0700" S: * 12 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen) INTERNALDATE "14-Jul-1993 02:44:25 -0700"
RFC822.SIZE 4282 ENVELOPE ("Wed, 14 Jul 1993 02:23:25 -0700 (PDT)" RFC822.SIZE 4282 ENVELOPE ("Wed, 14 Jul 1993 02:23:25 -0700 (PDT)"
"IMAP4 WG mtg summary and minutes" "IMAP4 WG mtg summary and minutes"
(("Terry Gray" NIL "gray" "cac.washington.edu")) (("Terry Gray" NIL "gray" "cac.washington.edu"))
(("Terry Gray" NIL "gray" "cac.washington.edu")) (("Terry Gray" NIL "gray" "cac.washington.edu"))
(("Terry Gray" NIL "gray" "cac.washington.edu")) (("Terry Gray" NIL "gray" "cac.washington.edu"))
((NIL NIL "imap" "cac.washington.edu")) ((NIL NIL "imap" "cac.washington.edu"))
((NIL NIL "minutes" "CNRI.Reston.VA.US") ((NIL NIL "minutes" "CNRI.Reston.VA.US")
skipping to change at page 52, line 5 skipping to change at page 53, line 5
S: S:
S: ) S: )
S: a004 OK FETCH completed S: a004 OK FETCH completed
C: a005 store 12 +flags \deleted C: a005 store 12 +flags \deleted
S: * 12 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen \Deleted)) S: * 12 FETCH (FLAGS (\Seen \Deleted))
S: a005 OK +FLAGS completed S: a005 OK +FLAGS completed
C: a006 logout C: a006 logout
S: * BYE IMAP4 server terminating connection S: * BYE IMAP4 server terminating connection
S: a006 OK LOGOUT completed S: a006 OK LOGOUT completed
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
9. Formal Syntax 9. Formal Syntax
The following syntax specification uses the augmented Backus-Naur The following syntax specification uses the augmented Backus-Naur
Form (BNF) notation as specified in [RFC-822] with one exception; the Form (BNF) notation as specified in [RFC-822] with one exception; the
delimiter used with the "#" construct is a single space (SPACE) and delimiter used with the "#" construct is a single space (SPACE) and
not a comma. not a comma.
Except as noted otherwise, all alphabetic characters are Except as noted otherwise, all alphabetic characters are
case-insensitive. The use of upper or lower case characters to case-insensitive. The use of upper or lower case characters to
skipping to change at page 53, line 5 skipping to change at page 54, line 5
append ::= "APPEND" SPACE mailbox [SPACE flag_list] append ::= "APPEND" SPACE mailbox [SPACE flag_list]
[SPACE date_time] SPACE literal [SPACE date_time] SPACE literal
astring ::= atom / string astring ::= atom / string
atom ::= 1*ATOM_CHAR atom ::= 1*ATOM_CHAR
ATOM_CHAR ::= <any CHAR except atom_specials> ATOM_CHAR ::= <any CHAR except atom_specials>
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
atom_specials ::= "(" / ")" / "{" / SPACE / CTLs / list_wildcards / atom_specials ::= "(" / ")" / "{" / SPACE / CTLs / list_wildcards /
quoted_specials quoted_specials
authenticate ::= "AUTHENTICATE" SPACE auth_type *(CRLF base64) authenticate ::= "AUTHENTICATE" SPACE auth_type *(CRLF base64)
auth_type ::= atom auth_type ::= atom
base64 ::= *(4base64_char) [base64_terminal] base64 ::= *(4base64_char) [base64_terminal]
skipping to change at page 54, line 5 skipping to change at page 55, line 5
body_fld_lines ::= number body_fld_lines ::= number
body_fld_md5 ::= nstring body_fld_md5 ::= nstring
body_fld_octets ::= number body_fld_octets ::= number
body_fld_param ::= "(" 1#(string string) ")" / nil body_fld_param ::= "(" 1#(string string) ")" / nil
body_fld_subtyp ::= string body_fld_subtyp ::= string
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
body_type_1part ::= (body_type_basic / body_type_msg / body_type_text) body_type_1part ::= (body_type_basic / body_type_msg / body_type_text)
[SPACE body_ext_1part] [SPACE body_ext_1part]
body_type_basic ::= (<"> ("APPLICATION" / "AUDIO" / "IMAGE" / "MESSAGE" / body_type_basic ::= (<"> ("APPLICATION" / "AUDIO" / "IMAGE" / "MESSAGE" /
"VIDEO") <">) / string) SPACE body_fld_subtyp SPACE "VIDEO") <">) / string) SPACE body_fld_subtyp SPACE
body_fields body_fields
;; MESSAGE subtype MUST NOT be "RFC822" ;; MESSAGE subtype MUST NOT be "RFC822"
body_type_mpart ::= 1*body SPACE body_fld_subtyp [SPACE body_ext_mpart] body_type_mpart ::= 1*body SPACE body_fld_subtyp [SPACE body_ext_mpart]
skipping to change at page 55, line 5 skipping to change at page 56, line 5
;; Valid only when in Non-Authenticated state ;; Valid only when in Non-Authenticated state
command_select ::= "CHECK" / "CLOSE" / "EXPUNGE" / command_select ::= "CHECK" / "CLOSE" / "EXPUNGE" /
copy / fetch / partial / store / uid / search copy / fetch / partial / store / uid / search
;; Valid only when in Selected state ;; Valid only when in Selected state
continue_req ::= "+" SPACE (resp_text / base64) continue_req ::= "+" SPACE (resp_text / base64)
copy ::= "COPY" SPACE set SPACE mailbox copy ::= "COPY" SPACE set SPACE mailbox
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
CR ::= <ASCII CR, carriage return, 0x0C> CR ::= <ASCII CR, carriage return, 0x0C>
create ::= "CREATE" SPACE mailbox create ::= "CREATE" SPACE mailbox
;; Use of INBOX gives a NO error ;; Use of INBOX gives a NO error
CRLF ::= CR LF CRLF ::= CR LF
CTL ::= <any ASCII control character and DEL, 0x00 - 0x1f, 0x7f> CTL ::= <any ASCII control character and DEL, 0x00 - 0x1f, 0x7f>
skipping to change at page 55, line 46 skipping to change at page 56, line 46
date_time_new ::= date_day_fixed "-" date_month "-" date_year SPACE date_time_new ::= date_day_fixed "-" date_month "-" date_year SPACE
time SPACE zone time SPACE zone
date_time_old ::= date_day_fixed "-" date_month "-" date_year_old SPACE date_time_old ::= date_day_fixed "-" date_month "-" date_year_old SPACE
time "-" zone_old time "-" zone_old
;; OBSOLETE ;; OBSOLETE
delete ::= "DELETE" SPACE mailbox delete ::= "DELETE" SPACE mailbox
;; Use of INBOX gives a NO error ;; Use of INBOX gives a NO error
digit ::= "0" / "1" / "2" / "3" / "4" / "5" / "6" / "7" / digit ::= "0" / digit_nz
"8" / "9"
digit_nz ::= "1" / "2" / "3" / "4" / "5" / "6" / "7" / "8" / "9"
envelope ::= "(" env_date SPACE env_subject SPACE env_from SPACE envelope ::= "(" env_date SPACE env_subject SPACE env_from SPACE
env_sender SPACE env_reply-to SPACE env_to SPACE env_sender SPACE env_reply-to SPACE env_to SPACE
env_cc SPACE env_bcc SPACE env_in-reply-to SPACE env_cc SPACE env_bcc SPACE env_in-reply-to SPACE
env_message-id ")" env_message-id ")"
env_bcc ::= "(" 1*address ")" / nil Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 env_bcc ::= "(" 1*address ")" / nil
env_cc ::= "(" 1*address ")" / nil env_cc ::= "(" 1*address ")" / nil
env_date ::= nstring env_date ::= nstring
env_from ::= "(" 1*address ")" / nil env_from ::= "(" 1*address ")" / nil
env_in-reply-to ::= nstring env_in-reply-to ::= nstring
env_message-id ::= nstring env_message-id ::= nstring
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;; MUST accept flag_extension flags. Server ;; MUST accept flag_extension flags. Server
;; implementations MUST NOT generate ;; implementations MUST NOT generate
;; flag_extension flags except as defined by ;; flag_extension flags except as defined by
;; future standard or standards-track ;; future standard or standards-track
;; revisions of this specification. ;; revisions of this specification.
flag_keyword ::= atom flag_keyword ::= atom
flag_list ::= "(" #flag ")" flag_list ::= "(" #flag ")"
greeting ::= "*" SPACE (resp_cond_auth / resp_cond_bye) CRLF Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 greeting ::= "*" SPACE (resp_cond_auth / resp_cond_bye) CRLF
header_line ::= astring header_line ::= astring
header_list ::= "(" 1#header_line ")" header_list ::= "(" 1#header_line ")"
LF ::= <ASCII LF, line feed, 0x0A> LF ::= <ASCII LF, line feed, 0x0A>
list ::= "LIST" SPACE mailbox SPACE list_mailbox list ::= "LIST" SPACE mailbox SPACE list_mailbox
list_mailbox ::= 1*(ATOM_CHAR / list_wildcards) / string list_mailbox ::= 1*(ATOM_CHAR / list_wildcards) / string
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login ::= "LOGIN" SPACE userid SPACE password login ::= "LOGIN" SPACE userid SPACE password
lsub ::= "LSUB" SPACE mailbox SPACE list_mailbox lsub ::= "LSUB" SPACE mailbox SPACE list_mailbox
mailbox ::= "INBOX" / astring mailbox ::= "INBOX" / astring
;; INBOX is case-insensitive. Other names may be ;; INBOX is case-insensitive. Other names may be
;; case-sensitive depending on implementation. ;; case-sensitive depending on implementation.
mailbox_data ::= "FLAGS" SPACE flag_list / "LIST" SPACE mailbox_list / mailbox_data ::= "FLAGS" SPACE flag_list / "LIST" SPACE mailbox_list /
"LSUB" SPACE mailbox_list / "MAILBOX" SPACE text / "LSUB" SPACE mailbox_list / "MAILBOX" SPACE text /
"SEARCH" [SPACE 1#number] "SEARCH" [SPACE 1#nz_number] /
number SPACE "EXISTS" / number SPACE "RECENT"
mailbox_list ::= "(" #("\Marked" / "\Noinferiors" / "\Noselect" / mailbox_list ::= "(" #("\Marked" / "\Noinferiors" / "\Noselect" /
"\Unmarked" / flag_extension) ")" SPACE "\Unmarked" / flag_extension) ")" SPACE
(<"> QUOTED_CHAR <"> / nil) SPACE mailbox (<"> QUOTED_CHAR <"> / nil) SPACE mailbox
message_data ::= number SPACE ("EXISTS" / "RECENT" / "EXPUNGE" / message_data ::= nz_number SPACE ("EXPUNGE" /
("FETCH" SPACE msg_fetch) / msg_obsolete) ("FETCH" SPACE msg_fetch) / msg_obsolete)
msg_fetch ::= "(" 1#("BODY" SPACE body / "BODYSTRUCTURE" SPACE body / msg_fetch ::= "(" 1#("BODY" SPACE body / "BODYSTRUCTURE" SPACE body /
"BODY[" section "]" SPACE nstring / "BODY[" section "]" SPACE nstring /
"ENVELOPE" SPACE envelope / "ENVELOPE" SPACE envelope /
"FLAGS" SPACE "(" #(flag / "\Recent") ")" / "FLAGS" SPACE "(" #(flag / "\Recent") ")" /
"INTERNALDATE" SPACE date_time / "INTERNALDATE" SPACE date_time /
"RFC822" [".HEADER" / ".TEXT"] SPACE nstring / "RFC822" [".HEADER" / ".TEXT"] SPACE nstring /
"RFC822.SIZE" SPACE number / "UID" SPACE uniqueid) ")" "RFC822.SIZE" SPACE number / "UID" SPACE uniqueid) ")"
msg_obsolete ::= "COPY" / ("STORE" SPACE msg_fetch) msg_obsolete ::= "COPY" / ("STORE" SPACE msg_fetch)
;; OBSOLETE untagged data responses ;; OBSOLETE untagged data responses
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
nil ::= "NIL" nil ::= "NIL"
nstring ::= string / nil nstring ::= string / nil
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
number ::= 1*digit number ::= 1*digit
;; Unsigned 32-bit integer (0 <= n < 4,294,967,296)
partial ::= "PARTIAL" SPACE number SPACE fetch_att_text SPACE nz_number ::= digit_nz *digit
;; Non-zero unsigned 32-bit integer
;; (0 < n < 4,294,967,296)
partial ::= "PARTIAL" SPACE nz_number SPACE fetch_att_text SPACE
number SPACE number number SPACE number
password ::= astring password ::= astring
quoted ::= <"> *QUOTED_CHAR <"> quoted ::= <"> *QUOTED_CHAR <">
QUOTED_CHAR ::= <any TEXT_CHAR except quoted_specials> / QUOTED_CHAR ::= <any TEXT_CHAR except quoted_specials> /
"\" quoted_specials "\" quoted_specials
quoted_specials ::= <"> / "\" quoted_specials ::= <"> / "\"
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;; Authentication condition ;; Authentication condition
resp_cond_bye ::= "BYE" SPACE resp_text resp_cond_bye ::= "BYE" SPACE resp_text
;; Server will disconnect condition ;; Server will disconnect condition
resp_cond_state ::= ("OK" / "NO" / "BAD") SPACE resp_text resp_cond_state ::= ("OK" / "NO" / "BAD") SPACE resp_text
;; Status condition ;; Status condition
resp_text ::= ["[" resp_text_code "]" SPACE] (text_mime2 / text) resp_text ::= ["[" resp_text_code "]" SPACE] (text_mime2 / text)
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
resp_text_code ::= "ALERT" / "PARSE" / resp_text_code ::= "ALERT" / "PARSE" /
"PERMANENTFLAGS" SPACE "(" #(flag / "\*") ")" / "PERMANENTFLAGS" SPACE "(" #(flag / "\*") ")" /
"READ-ONLY" / "READ-WRITE" / "TRYCREATE" / "READ-ONLY" / "READ-WRITE" / "TRYCREATE" /
"UNSEEN" SPACE number / "UIDVALIDITY" SPACE nz_number /
"UNSEEN" SPACE nz_number /
atom [SPACE 1*<any TEXT_CHAR except "]">] atom [SPACE 1*<any TEXT_CHAR except "]">]
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
search ::= "SEARCH" SPACE ["CHARSET" SPACE astring SPACE] search ::= "SEARCH" SPACE ["CHARSET" SPACE astring SPACE]
search_criteria search_criteria
;; Character set must be registered with IANA ;; Character set must be registered with IANA
;; as a MIME character set ;; as a MIME character set
search_criteria ::= 1#search_key search_criteria ::= 1#search_key
search_key ::= search_new / search_old search_key ::= search_new / search_old
search_new ::= "DRAFT" / "HEADER" SPACE header_line SPACE astring / search_new ::= "DRAFT" / "HEADER" SPACE header_line SPACE astring /
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"BEFORE" SPACE date / "BODY" SPACE astring / "BEFORE" SPACE date / "BODY" SPACE astring /
"CC" SPACE astring / "DELETED" / "FLAGGED" / "CC" SPACE astring / "DELETED" / "FLAGGED" /
"FROM" SPACE astring / "KEYWORD" SPACE flag_keyword / "FROM" SPACE astring / "KEYWORD" SPACE flag_keyword /
"NEW" / "OLD" / "ON" SPACE date / "RECENT" / "SEEN" / "NEW" / "OLD" / "ON" SPACE date / "RECENT" / "SEEN" /
"SINCE" SPACE date / "SUBJECT" SPACE astring / "SINCE" SPACE date / "SUBJECT" SPACE astring /
"TEXT" SPACE astring / "TO" SPACE astring / "TEXT" SPACE astring / "TO" SPACE astring /
"UNANSWERED" / "UNDELETED" / "UNFLAGGED" / "UNANSWERED" / "UNDELETED" / "UNFLAGGED" /
"UNKEYWORD" SPACE flag_keyword / "UNSEEN" "UNKEYWORD" SPACE flag_keyword / "UNSEEN"
;; Defined in [IMAP2] ;; Defined in [IMAP2]
section ::= number ["." section] section ::= "0" / nz_number ["." section]
select ::= "SELECT" SPACE mailbox select ::= "SELECT" SPACE mailbox
sequence_num ::= number / "*" sequence_num ::= nz_number / "*"
;; * is the largest number in use. For message ;; * is the largest number in use. For message
;; sequence numbers, it is the number of messages ;; sequence numbers, it is the number of messages
;; in the mailbox. For unique identifiers, it is ;; in the mailbox. For unique identifiers, it is
;; the unique identifier of the last message in ;; the unique identifier of the last message in
;; the mailbox. ;; the mailbox.
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
set ::= sequence_num / (sequence_num ":" sequence_num) / set ::= sequence_num / (sequence_num ":" sequence_num) /
(set "," set) (set "," set)
;; Identifies a set of messages. For message ;; Identifies a set of messages. For message
;; sequence numbers, these are consecutive numbers ;; sequence numbers, these are consecutive numbers
;; from 1 to the number of messages in the mailbox. ;; from 1 to the number of messages in the mailbox.
;; Comma delimits individual numbers, colon ;; Comma delimits individual numbers, colon
;; delimits between two numbers inclusive. ;; delimits between two numbers inclusive.
;; Example: 2,4:7,9,12:* is 2,4,5,6,7,9,12,13, ;; Example: 2,4:7,9,12:* is 2,4,5,6,7,9,12,13,
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
;; 14,15 for a mailbox with 15 messages. ;; 14,15 for a mailbox with 15 messages.
SPACE ::= <ASCII SP, space, 0x20> SPACE ::= <ASCII SP, space, 0x20>
store ::= "STORE" SPACE set SPACE store_att_flags store ::= "STORE" SPACE set SPACE store_att_flags
store_att_flags ::= (["+" / "-"] "FLAGS" [".SILENT"]) SPACE store_att_flags ::= (["+" / "-"] "FLAGS" [".SILENT"]) SPACE
(flag_list / #flag) (flag_list / #flag)
string ::= quoted / literal string ::= quoted / literal
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TEXT_CHAR ::= <any CHAR except CR and LF> TEXT_CHAR ::= <any CHAR except CR and LF>
time ::= 2digit ":" 2digit ":" 2digit time ::= 2digit ":" 2digit ":" 2digit
;; Hours minutes seconds ;; Hours minutes seconds
uid ::= "UID" SPACE (copy / fetch / search / store) uid ::= "UID" SPACE (copy / fetch / search / store)
;; Unique identifiers used instead of message ;; Unique identifiers used instead of message
;; sequence numbers ;; sequence numbers
uniqueid ::= number uniqueid ::= nz_number
;; Strictly ascending ;; Strictly ascending
unsubscribe ::= ("UNSUBSCRIBE" SPACE mailbox) / unsubscribe_obs unsubscribe ::= ("UNSUBSCRIBE" SPACE mailbox) / unsubscribe_obs
unsubscribe_obs ::= "UNSUBSCRIBE" SPACE "MAILBOX" SPACE mailbox unsubscribe_obs ::= "UNSUBSCRIBE" SPACE "MAILBOX" SPACE mailbox
;;OBSOLETE ;;OBSOLETE
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
userid ::= astring userid ::= astring
x_command ::= "X" atom <experimental command arguments> x_command ::= "X" atom <experimental command arguments>
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
zone ::= ("+" / "-") 4digit zone ::= ("+" / "-") 4digit
;; Signed four-digit value of hhmm representing ;; Signed four-digit value of hhmm representing
;; hours and minutes west of Greenwich (that is, ;; hours and minutes west of Greenwich (that is,
;; (the amount that the given time differs from ;; (the amount that the given time differs from
;; Universal Time). Subtracting the timezone ;; Universal Time). Subtracting the timezone
;; from the given time will give the UT form. ;; from the given time will give the UT form.
;; The Universal Time zone is "+0000". ;; The Universal Time zone is "+0000".
zone_old ::= "UT" / "GMT" / "Z" / ;; +0000 zone_old ::= "UT" / "GMT" / "Z" / ;; +0000
"AST" / "EST" / "CST" / "MST" / ;; -0400 to -0700 "AST" / "EST" / "CST" / "MST" / ;; -0400 to -0700
"PST" / "YST" / "HST" / "BST" / ;; -0800 to -1100 "PST" / "YST" / "HST" / "BST" / ;; -0800 to -1100
"ADT" / "EDT" / "CDT" / "MDT" / ;; -0300 to -0600 "ADT" / "EDT" / "CDT" / "MDT" / ;; -0300 to -0600
"PDT" / "YDT" / "HDT" / "BDT" / ;; -0700 to -1000 "PDT" / "YDT" / "HDT" / "BDT" / ;; -0700 to -1000
"A" / "B" / "C" / "D" / "E" / "F" / ;; +0100 to +0600 "A" / "B" / "C" / "D" / "E" / "F" / ;; +0100 to +0600
"G" / "H" / "I" / "K" / "L" / "M" / ;; +0700 to +1200 "G" / "H" / "I" / "K" / "L" / "M" / ;; +0700 to +1200
"N" / "O" / "P" / "Q" / "R" / "S" / ;; -0100 to -0600 "N" / "O" / "P" / "Q" / "R" / "S" / ;; -0100 to -0600
"T" / "U" / "V" / "W" / "X" / "Y" ;; -0700 to -1200 "T" / "U" / "V" / "W" / "X" / "Y" ;; -0700 to -1200
;; OBSOLETE ;; OBSOLETE
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
10. Author's Note 10. Author's Note
This document is a rewrite of earlier documents, and supercedes the This document is a rewrite of earlier documents, and supercedes the
protocol specification in those documents: earlier IMAP4 Internet protocol specification in those documents: earlier IMAP4 Internet
drafts, the IMAP2bis Internet drafts, unpublished IMAP2bis.TXT drafts, the IMAP2bis Internet drafts, unpublished IMAP2bis.TXT
document, RFC 1176, and RFC 1064. document, RFC 1176, and RFC 1064.
11. Security Considerations 11. Security Considerations
IMAP4 protocol transactions, including electronic mail data, are sent IMAP4 protocol transactions, including electronic mail data, are sent
in the clear over the network unless the optional privacy protection in the clear over the network unless the optional privacy protection
is negotiated in the AUTHENTICATE command. is negotiated in the AUTHENTICATE command.
The CAPABILITY command is permitted prior to authentication. A
server may not wish to disclose certain capabilities until after
authentication.
A server error message for an AUTHENTICATE command which fails due to A server error message for an AUTHENTICATE command which fails due to
invalid credentials should not detail why the credentials are invalid credentials should not detail why the credentials are
invalid. invalid.
Use of the LOGIN command sends passwords in the clear. This can be Use of the LOGIN command sends passwords in the clear. This can be
avoided by using the AUTHENTICATE command instead. avoided by using the AUTHENTICATE command instead.
A server error message for a failing LOGIN command should not specify A server error message for a failing LOGIN command should not specify
that the user name, as opposed to the password, is invalid. that the user name, as opposed to the password, is invalid.
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Mark R. Crispin Mark R. Crispin
Networks and Distributed Computing, JE-30 Networks and Distributed Computing, JE-30
University of Washington University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195 Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: (206) 543-5762 Phone: (206) 543-5762
EMail: MRC@CAC.Washington.EDU EMail: MRC@CAC.Washington.EDU
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
Appendices Appendices
A. Obsolete Commands A. Obsolete Commands
The following commands are OBSOLETE. It is NOT required to support The following commands are OBSOLETE. It is NOT required to support
any of these commands in new server implementations. These commands any of these commands in new server implementations. These commands
are documented here for the benefit of implementors who may wish to are documented here for the benefit of implementors who may wish to
support them for compatibility with old client implementations. support them for compatibility with old client implementations.
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Data: untagged responses: MAILBOX Data: untagged responses: MAILBOX
Result: OK - find completed Result: OK - find completed
NO - find failure: can't list that name NO - find failure: can't list that name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The FIND MAILBOXES command returns a subset of names from the set The FIND MAILBOXES command returns a subset of names from the set
of names that the user has declared as being "active" or of names that the user has declared as being "active" or
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
"subscribed". It returns zero or more untagged MAILBOX replies. "subscribed". It returns zero or more untagged MAILBOX replies.
The mailbox argument to FIND MAILBOXES is similar to that for LSUB The mailbox argument to FIND MAILBOXES is similar to that for LSUB
with an empty reference, except that the characters "%" and "?" with an empty reference, except that the characters "%" and "?"
match a single character. match a single character.
Example: C: A002 FIND MAILBOXES * Example: C: A002 FIND MAILBOXES *
S: * MAILBOX blurdybloop S: * MAILBOX blurdybloop
S: * MAILBOX INBOX S: * MAILBOX INBOX
S: A002 OK FIND MAILBOXES completed S: A002 OK FIND MAILBOXES completed
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Data: no specific data for this command Data: no specific data for this command
Result: OK - unsubscribe completed Result: OK - unsubscribe completed
NO - unsubscribe failure: can't unsubscribe that name NO - unsubscribe failure: can't unsubscribe that name
BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid
The UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX command is identical in effect to the The UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX command is identical in effect to the
UNSUBSCRIBE command. A server which implements this command must UNSUBSCRIBE command. A server which implements this command must
be able to distinguish between a UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX command and be able to distinguish between a UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX command and
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
an UNSUBSCRIBE command with a mailbox name argument of "MAILBOX". an UNSUBSCRIBE command with a mailbox name argument of "MAILBOX".
Example: C: A002 UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX #news.comp.mail.mime Example: C: A002 UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX #news.comp.mail.mime
S: A002 OK UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX from #news.comp.mail.mime S: A002 OK UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX from #news.comp.mail.mime
completed completed
C: A003 UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX C: A003 UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX
S: A003 OK UNSUBSCRIBE from MAILBOX completed S: A003 OK UNSUBSCRIBE from MAILBOX completed
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B. Obsolete Responses B. Obsolete Responses
The following responses are OBSOLETE. Except as noted below, these The following responses are OBSOLETE. Except as noted below, these
responses MUST NOT be transmitted by new server implementations. responses MUST NOT be transmitted by new server implementations.
The section headings of these responses are intended to correspond The section headings of these responses are intended to correspond
with where they would be located in the main document if they were with where they would be located in the main document if they were
not obsoleted. not obsoleted.
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In some experimental versions of this protocol, this response was In some experimental versions of this protocol, this response was
returned in response to a COPY command to indicate on a returned in response to a COPY command to indicate on a
per-message basis that the message was copied successfully. per-message basis that the message was copied successfully.
Example: S: * 44 COPY Example: S: * 44 COPY
B.7.3.OBS.2. STORE Response B.7.3.OBS.2. STORE Response
Data: message data Data: message data
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
Client implementations MUST treat the STORE response as equivalent Client implementations MUST treat the STORE response as equivalent
to the FETCH response. It is documented here for the benefit of to the FETCH response. It is documented here for the benefit of
client implementors who may encounter this response from old client implementors who may encounter this response from old
server implementations. server implementations.
In some experimental versions of this protocol, this response was In some experimental versions of this protocol, this response was
returned instead of FETCH in response to a STORE command to report returned instead of FETCH in response to a STORE command to report
the new value of the flags. the new value of the flags.
Example: S: * 69 STORE (FLAGS (\Deleted)) Example: S: * 69 STORE (FLAGS (\Deleted))
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
C. References C. References
[IMAP-AUTH] Myers, J., "IMAP4 Authentication Mechanism", Work in [IMAP-AUTH] Myers, J., "IMAP4 Authentication Mechanism", Work in
Process of the IETF IMAP WG, draft-ietf-imap-auth-??.txt. Check Process of the IETF IMAP WG, draft-ietf-imap-auth-??.txt. Check
Internet Drafts listing for latest version. Internet Drafts listing for latest version.
[IMAP-COMPAT] Crispin, M. "IMAP4 Compatibility with IMAP2 and [IMAP-COMPAT] Crispin, M. "IMAP4 Compatibility with IMAP2 and
IMAP2bis", Work in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG, IMAP2bis", Work in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG,
draft-ietf-imap-compat-??.txt. Check Internet Drafts listing for draft-ietf-imap-compat-??.txt. Check Internet Drafts listing for
latest version. latest version.
[IMAP-DISC] Austein, R. "Synchronization Operations for Disconnected [IMAP-DISC] Austein, R. "Synchronization Operations for Disconnected
IMAP4 Clients", Work in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG, IMAP4 Clients", Work in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG,
draft-ietf-imap-disc-??.txt. Check Internet Drafts listing for draft-ietf-imap-disc-??.txt. Check Internet Drafts listing for
latest version. latest version.
[IMAP-MODEL] Crispin, M. "Distributed Electronic Mail Model in [IMAP-MODEL] Crispin, M. "Distributed Electronic Mail Models in
IMAP4", Work in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG, IMAP4", Work in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG,
draft-ietf-imap-model-??.txt. Check Internet Drafts listing for draft-ietf-imap-model-??.txt. Check Internet Drafts listing for
latest version. latest version.
[IMAP-NAMING] Crispin, M. "Mailbox Naming Convention in IMAP4", Work [IMAP-NAMING] Crispin, M. "Mailbox Naming Convention in IMAP4", Work
in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG, draft-ietf-imap-naming-??.txt. in Progress of the IETF IMAP WG, draft-ietf-imap-naming-??.txt.
Check Internet Drafts listing for latest version. Check Internet Drafts listing for latest version.
[IMAP2] Crispin, M., "Interactive Mail Access Protocol - Version 2", [IMAP2] Crispin, M., "Interactive Mail Access Protocol - Version 2",
RFC 1176. RFC 1176.
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[MIME-2] Moore, K., "MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) [MIME-2] Moore, K., "MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
Part Two: Message Header Extensions for Non-ASCII Text", RFC 1522. Part Two: Message Header Extensions for Non-ASCII Text", RFC 1522.
[RFC-822] Crocker, D., "Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet Text [RFC-822] Crocker, D., "Standard for the Format of ARPA Internet Text
Messages", STD 11, RFC 822. Messages", STD 11, RFC 822.
[SMTP] Postel, Jonathan B. "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", STD 10, [SMTP] Postel, Jonathan B. "Simple Mail Transfer Protocol", STD 10,
RFC 821. RFC 821.
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
D. IMAP4 Keyword Index D. Changes from Draft 05
+FLAGS <flag list> (store command data item) ............... 33 There are only minor changes from Draft 05 to Draft 06. There are no
+FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> (store command data item) ........ 33 changes to the functional intent of the protocol.
-FLAGS <flag list> (store command data item) ............... 33
-FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> (store command data item) ........ 33 The following editorial changes were made:
ALERT (response code) ...................................... 38
ALL (fetch item) ........................................... 28 The Internet Draft header wording is changed to correspond to the
ALL (search key) ........................................... 26 latest official statements.
ANSWERED (search key) ...................................... 26
APPEND (command) ........................................... 21 All usage of the verb "to canonicalize" is removed and replaced
with more standard English usage.
Clarification in the Formal Syntax that sequence numbers, unique
identifiers, and non-terminal message section numbers can never be
zero.
Removed security note about doing a second CAPABILITY command
after authentication. This was the remnant of an idea that was
rejected by the Working Group prior to draft 05.
The following changes to the protocol description were made:
Clarification of the usage and semantics of \Noselect names.
Draft 05 lacked necessary background information from the Working
Group discusssions, thus alternate (although non-useful)
interpretations were possible.
Clarification that unique identifiers are unsigned, non-zero,
32-bits. Draft 05 implied that unique identifiers were infinite
precision and could be zero.
Addition of a unique identifier validity value, to label whether
or not unique identifiers from the previous session are still
valid. Draft 05 lacked this capability, which is necessary if the
server is not able to guarantee permanence of unique identifiers.
Note: The need for the unique identifier validity value
could have been eliminated if unique identifiers were
defined as 64-bits. This was rejected because it would
have required significantly more bandwidth for low-speed
link applications, which were one of the target
applications for disconnected use.
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
E. IMAP4 Keyword Index
+FLAGS <flag list> (store command data item) ............... 34
+FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> (store command data item) ........ 34
-FLAGS <flag list> (store command data item) ............... 34
-FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> (store command data item) ........ 34
ALERT (response code) ...................................... 39
ALL (fetch item) ........................................... 29
ALL (search key) ........................................... 27
ANSWERED (search key) ...................................... 27
APPEND (command) ........................................... 22
AUTHENTICATE (command) ..................................... 12 AUTHENTICATE (command) ..................................... 12
BAD (response) ............................................. 40 BAD (response) ............................................. 41
BCC <string> (search key) .................................. 26 BCC <string> (search key) .................................. 27
BEFORE <date> (search key) ................................. 26 BEFORE <date> (search key) ................................. 27
BODY (fetch item) .......................................... 28 BODY (fetch item) .......................................... 29
BODY (fetch result) ........................................ 45 BODY (fetch result) ........................................ 46
BODY <string> (search key) ................................. 26 BODY <string> (search key) ................................. 27
BODY.PEEK[<section>] (fetch item) .......................... 30 BODY.PEEK[<section>] (fetch item) .......................... 31
BODYSTRUCTURE (fetch item) ................................. 30 BODYSTRUCTURE (fetch item) ................................. 31
BODYSTRUCTURE (fetch result) ............................... 45 BODYSTRUCTURE (fetch result) ............................... 47
BODY[<section>] (fetch item) ............................... 28 BODY[<section>] (fetch item) ............................... 29
BODY[section] (fetch result) ............................... 45 BODY[section] (fetch result) ............................... 46
BYE (response) ............................................. 40 BYE (response) ............................................. 42
CAPABILITY (command) ....................................... 10 CAPABILITY (command) ....................................... 10
CAPABILITY (response) ...................................... 41 CAPABILITY (response) ...................................... 42
CC <string> (search key) ................................... 26 CC <string> (search key) ................................... 27
CHECK (command) ............................................ 23 CHECK (command) ............................................ 23
CLOSE (command) ............................................ 23 CLOSE (command) ............................................ 24
COPY (command) ............................................. 33 COPY (command) ............................................. 34
COPY (response) ............................................ 66 COPY (response) ............................................ 67
CREATE (command) ........................................... 17 CREATE (command) ........................................... 17
DELETE (command) ........................................... 17 DELETE (command) ........................................... 18
DELETED (search key) ....................................... 26 DELETED (search key) ....................................... 27
DRAFT (search key) ......................................... 26 DRAFT (search key) ......................................... 27
ENVELOPE (fetch item) ...................................... 30 ENVELOPE (fetch item) ...................................... 31
ENVELOPE (fetch result) .................................... 48 ENVELOPE (fetch result) .................................... 49
EXAMINE (command) .......................................... 16 EXAMINE (command) .......................................... 16
EXISTS (response) .......................................... 44 EXISTS (response) .......................................... 45
EXPUNGE (command) .......................................... 24 EXPUNGE (command) .......................................... 25
EXPUNGE (response) ......................................... 44 EXPUNGE (response) ......................................... 45
FAST (fetch item) .......................................... 30 FAST (fetch item) .......................................... 31
FETCH (command) ............................................ 28 FETCH (command) ............................................ 29
FETCH (response) ........................................... 45 FETCH (response) ........................................... 46
FIND ALL.MAILBOXES (command) ............................... 63 FIND ALL.MAILBOXES (command) ............................... 64
FIND MAILBOXES (command) ................................... 63 FIND MAILBOXES (command) ................................... 64
FLAGGED (search key) ....................................... 26 FLAGGED (search key) ....................................... 27
FLAGS (fetch item) ......................................... 30 FLAGS (fetch item) ......................................... 31
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994 Internet DRAFT IMAP4 October 30, 1994
FLAGS (fetch result) ....................................... 48 FLAGS (fetch result) ....................................... 49
FLAGS (response) ........................................... 43 FLAGS (response) ........................................... 44
FLAGS <flag list> (store command data item) ................ 33 FLAGS <flag list> (store command data item) ................ 34
FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> (store command data item) ......... 33 FLAGS.SILENT <flag list> (store command data item) ......... 34
FROM <string> (search key) ................................. 26 FROM <string> (search key) ................................. 27
FULL (fetch item) .......................................... 30 FULL (fetch item) .......................................... 31
HEADER <field-name> <string> (search key) .................. 26 HEADER <field-name> <string> (search key) .................. 27
INTERNALDATE (fetch item) .................................. 30 INTERNALDATE (fetch item) .................................. 31
INTERNALDATE (fetch result) ................................ 49 INTERNALDATE (fetch result) ................................ 50
KEYWORD <flag> (search key) ................................ 26 KEYWORD <flag> (search key) ................................ 27
LARGER <n> (search key) .................................... 26 LARGER <n> (search key) .................................... 27
LIST (command) ............................................. 19 LIST (command) ............................................. 20
LIST (response) ............................................ 42 LIST (response) ............................................ 43
LOGIN (command) ............................................ 14 LOGIN (command) ............................................ 14
LOGOUT (command) ........................................... 11 LOGOUT (command) ........................................... 11
LSUB (command) ............................................. 21 LSUB (command) ............................................. 22
LSUB (response) ............................................ 43 LSUB (response) ............................................ 44
MAILBOX (response) ......................................... 66 MAILBOX (response) ......................................... 67
NEW (search key) ........................................... 26 NEW (search key) ........................................... 27
NO (response) .............................................. 39 NO (response) .............................................. 40
NOOP (command) ............................................. 11 NOOP (command) ............................................. 11
NOT <search-key> (search key) .............................. 26 NOT <search-key> (search key) .............................. 27
OK (response) .............................................. 39 OK (response) .............................................. 40
OLD (search key) ........................................... 27 OLD (search key) ........................................... 28
ON <date> (search key) ..................................... 27 ON <date> (search key) ..................................... 28
OR <search-key1> <search-key2> (search key) ................ 27 OR <search-key1> <search-key2> (search key) ................ 28
PARSE (response code) ...................................... 38 PARSE (response code) ...................................... 39
PARTIAL (command) .......................................... 31 PARTIAL (command) .......................................... 32
PERMANENTFLAGS (response code) ............................. 38 PERMANENTFLAGS (response code) ............................. 39
PREAUTH (response) ......................................... 40 PREAUTH (response) ......................................... 41
READ-ONLY (response code) .................................. 38 READ-ONLY (response code) .................................. 39
READ-WRITE (response code) ................................. 38 READ-WRITE (response code) ................................. 39
RECENT (response) .......................................... 44 RECENT (response) .......................................... 45
RECENT (search key) ........................................ 27 RECENT (search key) ........................................ 28
RENAME (command) ........................................... 18 RENAME (command) ........................................... 18
RFC822 (fetch item) ........................................ 30 RFC822 (fetch item) ........................................ 31
RFC822 (fetch result) ...................................... 49 RFC822 (fetch result) ...................................... 50
RFC822.HEADER (fetch item) ................................. 30 RFC822.HEADER (fetch item) ................................. 31
RFC822.HEADER (fetch result) ............................... 49 RFC822.HEADER (fetch result) ............................... 50
RFC822.HEADER.LINES <header_list> (fetch item) ............. 30 RFC822.HEADER.LINES <header_list> (fetch item) ............. 31
RFC822.HEADER.LINES.NOT <header_list> (fetch item) ......... 30 RFC822.HEADER.LINES.NOT <header_list> (fetch item) ......... 31
RFC822.PEEK (fetch item) ................................... 30 RFC822.PEEK (fetch item) ................................... 31
RFC822.SIZE (fetch item) ................................... 31 RFC822.SIZE (fetch item) ................................... 32
RFC822.SIZE (fetch result) ................................. 49 RFC822.SIZE (fetch result) ................................. 50
RFC822.TEXT (fetch item) ................................... 31 RFC822.TEXT (fetch item) ................................... 32
RFC822.TEXT (fetch result) ................................. 49 RFC822.TEXT (fetch result) ................................. 50
RFC822.TEXT.PEEK (fetch item) .............................. 31 RFC822.TEXT.PEEK (fetch item) .............................. 32
SEARCH (command) ........................................... 24 SEARCH (command) ........................................... 25
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SEARCH (response) .......................................... 43 SEARCH (response) .......................................... 44
SEEN (search key) .......................................... 27 SEEN (search key) .......................................... 28
SELECT (command) ........................................... 15 SELECT (command) ........................................... 15
SENTBEFORE <date> (search key) ............................. 27 SENTBEFORE <date> (search key) ............................. 28
SENTON <date> (search key) ................................. 27 SENTON <date> (search key) ................................. 28
SENTSINCE <date> (search key) .............................. 27 SENTSINCE <date> (search key) .............................. 28
SINCE <date> (search key) .................................. 27 SINCE <date> (search key) .................................. 28
SMALLER <n> (search key) ................................... 27 SMALLER <n> (search key) ................................... 28
STORE (command) ............................................ 32 STORE (command) ............................................ 33
STORE (response) ........................................... 66 STORE (response) ........................................... 67
SUBJECT <string> (search key) .............................. 27 SUBJECT <string> (search key) .............................. 28
SUBSCRIBE (command) ........................................ 18 SUBSCRIBE (command) ........................................ 19
SUBSCRIBE MAILBOX (command) ................................ 64 SUBSCRIBE MAILBOX (command) ................................ 65
TEXT <string> (search key) ................................. 27 TEXT <string> (search key) ................................. 28
TO <string> (search key) ................................... 27 TO <string> (search key) ................................... 28
TRYCREATE (response code) .................................. 38 TRYCREATE (response code) .................................. 39
UID (command) .............................................. 34 UID (command) .............................................. 35
UID (fetch item) ........................................... 31 UID (fetch item) ........................................... 32
UID (fetch result) ......................................... 49 UID (fetch result) ......................................... 51
UID <message set> (search key) ............................. 27 UID <message set> (search key) ............................. 28
UNANSWERED (search key) .................................... 28 UIDVALIDITY (response code) ................................ 40
UNDELETED (search key) ..................................... 28 UNANSWERED (search key) .................................... 29
UNDRAFT (search key) ....................................... 28 UNDELETED (search key) ..................................... 29
UNFLAGGED (search key) ..................................... 28 UNDRAFT (search key) ....................................... 29
UNKEYWORD <flag> (search key) .............................. 28 UNFLAGGED (search key) ..................................... 29
UNSEEN (response code) ..................................... 39 UNKEYWORD <flag> (search key) .............................. 29
UNSEEN (search key) ........................................ 28 UNSEEN (response code) ..................................... 40
UNSEEN (search key) ........................................ 29
UNSUBSCRIBE (command) ...................................... 19 UNSUBSCRIBE (command) ...................................... 19
UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX (command) .............................. 64 UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX (command) .............................. 65
X<atom> (command) .......................................... 36 X<atom> (command) .......................................... 37
\Answered (system flag) .................................... 48 \Answered (system flag) .................................... 50
\Deleted (system flag) ..................................... 49 \Deleted (system flag) ..................................... 50
\Draft (system flag) ....................................... 49 \Draft (system flag) ....................................... 50
\Flagged (system flag) ..................................... 48 \Flagged (system flag) ..................................... 50
\Marked (mailbox name attribute) ........................... 42 \Marked (mailbox name attribute) ........................... 43
\Noinferiors (mailbox name attribute) ...................... 42 \Noinferiors (mailbox name attribute) ...................... 43
\Noselect (mailbox name attribute) ......................... 42 \Noselect (mailbox name attribute) ......................... 43
\Recent (system flag) ...................................... 49 \Recent (system flag) ...................................... 50
\Seen (system flag) ........................................ 48 \Seen (system flag) ........................................ 50
\Unmarked (mailbox name attribute) ......................... 42 \Unmarked (mailbox name attribute) ......................... 43
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
Table of Contents
Status of this Memo ............................................... i
Abstract .......................................................... i
IMAP4 Protocol Specification ...................................... 1
1. Organization of this Document ............................. 1
1.1. How to Read This Document ................................. 1
1.2. Conventions Used in this Document ......................... 1
2. Protocol Overview ......................................... 1
2.1. Link Level ................................................ 1
2.2. Commands and Responses .................................... 1
2.2.1. Client Protocol Sender and Server Protocol Receiver ....... 2
2.2.2. Server Protocol Sender and Client Protocol Receiver ....... 2
3. State and Flow Diagram .................................... 4
3.1. Non-Authenticated State ................................... 4
3.2. Authenticated State ....................................... 4
3.3. Selected State ............................................ 4
3.4. Logout State .............................................. 4
4. Data Formats .............................................. 6
4.1. Atom ...................................................... 6
4.2. Number .................................................... 6
4.3. String .................................................... 6
4.3.1. 8-bit and Binary Strings .................................. 7
4.4. Parenthesized List ........................................ 7
4.5. NIL ....................................................... 7
5. Operational Considerations ................................ 8
5.1. Mailbox Naming ............................................ 8
5.2. Mailbox Size and Message Status Updates ................... 8
5.3. Response when no Command in Progress ...................... 8
5.4. Autologout Timer .......................................... 8
5.5. Multiple Commands in Progress ............................. 9
6. Client Commands ........................................... 10
6.1. Client Commands - Any State ............................... 10
6.1.1. CAPABILITY Command ........................................ 10
6.1.2. NOOP Command .............................................. 11
6.1.3. LOGOUT Command ............................................ 11
6.2. Client Commands - Non-Authenticated State ................. 12
6.2.1. AUTHENTICATE Command ...................................... 12
6.2.2. LOGIN Command ............................................. 14
6.3. Client Commands - Authenticated State ..................... 14
6.3.1. SELECT Command ............................................ 15
6.3.2. EXAMINE Command ........................................... 16
6.3.3. CREATE Command ............................................ 17
Internet DRAFT IMAP4 August 1, 1994
6.3.4. DELETE Command ............................................ 17
6.3.5. RENAME Command ............................................ 18
6.3.6. SUBSCRIBE Command ......................................... 18
6.3.7. UNSUBSCRIBE Command ....................................... 19
6.3.8. LIST Command .............................................. 19
6.3.9. LSUB Command .............................................. 21
6.3.10. APPEND Command ............................................ 21
6.4. Client Commands - Selected State .......................... 22
6.4.1. CHECK Command ............................................. 23
6.4.2. CLOSE Command ............................................. 23
6.4.3. EXPUNGE Command ........................................... 24
6.4.4. SEARCH Command ............................................ 24
6.4.5. FETCH Command ............................................. 28
6.4.6. PARTIAL Command ........................................... 31
6.4.7. STORE Command ............................................. 32
6.4.8. COPY Command .............................................. 33
6.4.9. UID Command ............................................... 34
6.5. Client Commands - Experimental/Expansion .................. 36
6.5.1. X<atom> Command ........................................... 36
7. Server Responses .......................................... 37
7.1. Server Responses - Status Responses ....................... 38
7.1.1. OK Response ............................................... 39
7.1.2. NO Response ............................................... 39
7.1.3. BAD Response .............................................. 40
7.1.4. PREAUTH Response .......................................... 40
7.1.5. BYE Response .............................................. 40
7.2. Server Responses - Server and Mailbox Status .............. 41
7.2.1. CAPABILITY Response ....................................... 41
7.2.2. LIST Response ............................................. 42
7.2.3. LSUB Response ............................................. 43
7.2.4. SEARCH Response ........................................... 43
7.2.5. FLAGS Response ............................................ 43
7.3. Server Responses - Message Status ......................... 43
7.3.1. EXISTS Response ........................................... 44
7.3.2. RECENT Response ........................................... 44
7.3.3. EXPUNGE Response .......................................... 44
7.3.4. FETCH Response ............................................ 45
7.3.5. Obsolete Responses ........................................ 50
7.4. Server Responses - Command Continuation Request ........... 50
8. Sample IMAP4 session ...................................... 51
9. Formal Syntax ............................................. 52
10. Author's Note ............................................. 62
11. Security Considerations ................................... 62
12. Author's Address .......................................... 62
Appendices ........................................................ 63
A. Obsolete Commands .............................................. 63
A.6.3.OBS.1. FIND ALL.MAILBOXES Command ........................ 63
A.6.3.OBS.2. FIND MAILBOXES Command ............................ 63
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A.6.3.OBS.3. SUBSCRIBE MAILBOX Command ......................... 64
A.6.3.OBS.4. UNSUBSCRIBE MAILBOX Command ....................... 64
B. Obsolete Responses ............................................. 66
B.7.2.OBS.1. MAILBOX Response .................................. 66
B.7.3.OBS.1. COPY Response ..................................... 66
B.7.3.OBS.2. STORE Response .................................... 66
C. References ................................................ 68
D. IMAP4 Keyword Index ....................................... 69
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