Author: David Wood
Publisher: O'Reilly, 1999
Aimed at: Those needing to tackle Internet standards relating to email
Pros: Good coverage of POP3, SMTP and others
Cons: Programming examples fairly advanced; ignores the Windows platform's peculiarities
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
Despite the fact that this book was published a decade ago it covers many of the email protocols that have been troubling me over the past few months plus a few extras. If you want to know the basics about POP3 or SMTP then this book will help but it also goes into ESMTP and IMAP as well as MIME. It also introduced me to Mailcap, a system for keeping MIME types under control, which Windows doesn’t implement.
There are programming examples, in Perl and Java, and a chapter near the end deals with Spam. The programming examples are fairly advanced and include a replacement for /bin/mail in Perl and a Java monitor for POP3 mail boxes.
The only problem with this book is that it more or less ignores the Windows platform’s peculiarities. For example, Windows doesn’t use mail or biff, which are mentioned. This would be fine if these were the only differences and the peculiarities were small but they are not! As a result you get a picture of a world as it should be rather than how it actually is. Microsoft still implements Internet protocols in its own particular way. It usually justifies this on the grounds that it improves on them but in practice it just makes the protocols Microsoft specific. There is still room for another book on this subject just devoted to email under Win32. Until someone gets round to writing it, this particular volume will at least help make clear the Internet standards relating to email.