The Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) is a less common but more richly
featured email protocol than POP3.
IMAP is a more modern protocol than POP3, first invented at Stanford University
in 1986. The current version is IMAP4, providing similar services to the POP3
protocol, but with additional features.
The IMAP features can be useful in several situations,
for example when you are traveling and don't want to download your email onto
a laptop because then you won't have them on your home computer when you get
back. It can also
be useful for use on low-bandwidth devices like personal digital assistants,
enabling you to select a few email from a list of subject headers before downloading
the ones you want.
Resources. The following Internet RFC's provide information
- RFC 1064; INTERACTIVE MAIL ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 2;
RFC 1733; DISTRIBUTED ELECTRONIC MAIL MODELS IN IMAP4; M. Crispin;
- RFC 2180; IMAP4 Multi-Accessed Mailbox Practice;
- RFC 2683;
IMAP4 Implementation Recommendations; B. Leiba;
RFC 3501; INTERNET MESSAGE ACCESS PROTOCOL - VERSION 4rev1;
The following references provide IMAP related information: