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IMAP: contacts

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Maelmoro

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Jun 2, 2013, 4:50:08 AM6/2/13
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Do popular emails support contacts in IMAP?

For example, does Gmail share its contacts via IMAP to my email
client?

Sam

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Jun 2, 2013, 11:30:51 AM6/2/13
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Maelmoro writes:

> Do popular emails support contacts in IMAP?

There's no such thing as "Contacts" in IMAP. IMAP defines a protocol by
which a client accesses the contents of individual messages in a mailbox,
optionally arranged as discrete folders. The only thing that IMAP gives a
mail client are the raw contents of the individual messages in the mailbox.

Some particular mail client, I suppose, can abuse IMAP to store the mail
client's contact list in a pseudo-message, in some mailbox. But that's
something that only that mail client will understand how to use.

> For example, does Gmail share its contacts via IMAP to my email
> client?

No.

Juancho

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Dec 14, 2013, 7:20:37 PM12/14/13
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Sam wrote:
> Maelmoro writes:
>
>> Do popular emails support contacts in IMAP?
>
> There's no such thing as "Contacts" in IMAP. IMAP defines a protocol by
> which a client accesses the contents of individual messages in a
> mailbox, optionally arranged as discrete folders. The only thing that
> IMAP gives a mail client are the raw contents of the individual
> messages in the mailbox.
>
> Some particular mail client, I suppose, can abuse IMAP to store the
> mail client's contact list in a pseudo-message, in some mailbox. But
> that's something that only that mail client will understand how to use.

It would be nice if there was a standard RFC that defined a common
interface to store Contacts using IMAP protocol/storage, and also for
Calendar information.

That way, we could do away with the patent-encumbered Microsoft
ActiveSync protocol in smartphones, and be able to seamlessly sync not
only email through IMAP in smartphones, but also Contacts and Calendar
through IMAP.

Chris Davies

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Jan 2, 2014, 12:20:24 PM1/2/14
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Juancho <jua...@notarealaddress.org> wrote:
> It would be nice if there was a standard RFC that defined a common
> interface to store Contacts using IMAP protocol/storage, and also for
> Calendar information.

It might be an interesting exercise to try sharing contacts using vCard,
one contact per message. There are a number of RFCs associated with
vCards, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VCard. Designate a folder,
or hierarchy of folders ("_contacts", anyone?). To update a contact you
upload a new version of the entity and then delete the message containing
the original.

- Access control (no access, read only, read/write)
- Revision control (do we need to worry about duplicates)
- Exclusion of folder(s) from normal IMAP search operations

Oh, look. All of this exists as CardDAV. Just not over IMAP ;-)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CardDAV and RFC 6352.

Chris

Miquel van Smoorenburg

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Jan 3, 2014, 7:23:35 AM1/3/14
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In article <onjgpax...@news.roaima.co.uk>,
You might be interested in the open source Kolab server. It stores
contacts and calendars in IMAP storage, and the format is
documented: https://wiki.kolab.org/Kolab_3.0_Storage_Format

You can also access the same data over caldav/carddav (it has
a builtin gateway).

Mike.

Juancho

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Jan 3, 2014, 1:09:13 PM1/3/14
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Very nice, that Kolab initiative is exactly what is needed. Now, if that
could be formalized in a RFC, so that also Thunderbird could natively do
Contacts and Calendar and store them both "in the cloud" through the
IMAP protocol _in_a_standardized_way_, that would be great.

Also, a PIM app for Android and iPad/iPhone would be needed (in order to
replicate against an IMAP backend Android's and iPad's/iPhone's
ActiveSync client functionality).

For the time being, the only on-premises solution which provides
seamless integration of Email + Contacts + Calendar in the Desktop, in
the Mobile, and in the web-interface, is Microsoft Exchange (and
possible Zimbra, as long as it manages to replicate Microsoft Exchange).
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