Re: [imapext] [ietf-smtp] Fwd: Request to form a new WG: JMAP

Ted Lemon <> Mon, 14 November 2016 21:49 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 0994512946C for <>; Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:49:17 -0800 (PST)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -2.6
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-2.6 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_00=-1.9, DKIM_SIGNED=0.1, DKIM_VALID=-0.1, HTML_MESSAGE=0.001, RCVD_IN_DNSWL_LOW=-0.7, SPF_PASS=-0.001] autolearn=unavailable autolearn_force=no
Authentication-Results: (amavisd-new); dkim=pass (2048-bit key)
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id rgUdjPMRs9I1 for <>; Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:49:13 -0800 (PST)
Received: from ( [IPv6:2a00:1450:400c:c09::232]) (using TLSv1.2 with cipher ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256 (128/128 bits)) (No client certificate requested) by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id 09557129432 for <>; Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:49:13 -0800 (PST)
Received: by with SMTP id g23so125406470wme.1 for <>; Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:49:12 -0800 (PST)
DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20150623; h=mime-version:in-reply-to:references:from:date:message-id:subject:to :cc; bh=l7Lb+2BJelRIY/10gYtG3t8ypPwKdiJbzw5RM4usvaM=; b=mYiF8IKCHqsPR1qv7Cb9/bFnzk9d2L7Vr6TYsD5Y4x3MXqC62gA1u3DieCcHnmK68a +1b0d51X1Ye/Si9DGtyWFS/GhgLWrQqL5oXwhmzi0pymM9IdtH+SjAhb2V2DkM2FiUB0 RwY7qGmH0x1t8QbScVhqjBTh9HyBuewsBntf52B5HPGVi5P7UCZK0cXf5x7Ercd5CR3x 1IwvcuT/HSc7KR1sV2tCyCI3qqtVtrhTMZom85t6Hs404+yb25mtsfcefz+1cmAihXS3 DgpDEdHo9ktT2G59QolYAA0HO7BFmXES7BaXUQsSMf2fK4tiwVoRazBIvmC75cbHikMe Gkbw==
X-Google-DKIM-Signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed;; s=20130820; h=x-gm-message-state:mime-version:in-reply-to:references:from:date :message-id:subject:to:cc; bh=l7Lb+2BJelRIY/10gYtG3t8ypPwKdiJbzw5RM4usvaM=; b=lGRAsTlQQ1E1woQWGUTcvpL7u3qo3/c6lpm1RJk04i9v0xdS7g2F9Twv++cDPMg/A4 GPCH+zeGvihne/cTKwXm9VoR6DlK35hsNzSiRvzPMhwXdljmzfwZOGWLiSShAnSbLHUN +KMv7ijZdggokaQOz2GYz1emz2EGl1UZvUPbgvDqIOnbXBjwRKNwr5NT5sjmPpzCZjkp ZqMP5uvc6ccCBGXc7noqmpbMccsjFNIvc3x9o9P12YsSB2jan7tTslraQsUwWpak4wdi 0zLnYdoxUu3o9isJbZ9Z7x+Y2GEcZjP7VXz5sWnRhifp/n6o1LdF4bj4KvlLLNUGfy7h 9H5A==
X-Gm-Message-State: ABUngveTXipAlR97uMrGpvIZuaFZRCVJozdDrzKsYAC4fRe+tsS/4eswR160WWMw5fCYOD4Cj46Jdhh6iUo6hQ==
X-Received: by with SMTP id s139mr9207590lfs.176.1479160151469; Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:49:11 -0800 (PST)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Received: by with HTTP; Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:49:10 -0800 (PST)
Received: by with HTTP; Mon, 14 Nov 2016 13:49:10 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <> <56DA516EAC53C07E3F453BA6@JcK-HP8200> <> <> <5F4EE3F805C40EF25D1E0E57@JcK-HP8200> <>
From: Ted Lemon <>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2016 06:49:10 +0900
Message-ID: <>
To: Ned Freed <>
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="001a1141021c6504d9054149cf71"
Archived-At: <>
Cc: John C Klensin <>, Alexey Melnikov <>,, "" <>, Doug Royer <>
Subject: Re: [imapext] [ietf-smtp] Fwd: Request to form a new WG: JMAP
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.17
Precedence: list
List-Id: Discussion of IMAP extensions <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2016 21:49:17 -0000

I agree with almost everything you said here, Ned, except for the idea that
offline isn't important. For those of us who travel internationally, being
able to look up travel info on your phone before you have your
international SIM is crucial, and this is just one example of a situation
where this is important.

On Nov 15, 2016 4:49 AM, "Ned Freed" <> wrote:

> Apologies for the late response on this one.
> > A few questions about some of your comments (again, just
> > questions);
> > --On Wednesday, November 09, 2016 07:15 -0800 Ned Freed
> > <> wrote:
> > >> The complexity of the requests and replies are the issue. If
> > >> its mostly converting IMAP to JSON, the same problems are
> > >> going to exist.
> > > Yes and no. Part of the problem with IMAP is that it was
> > > designed for a very different sort of client than what we have
> > > now.
> > Which design model are you talking about?   It seems to me that
> > the original specs (through and including RFC 1064 and IIR 1176)
> > had only what we now call online mode and was optimized for
> > "kiosk" uses.  With the exception of the "walk up to someone
> > else's shared machine" part, that seems very similar to what we
> > have today with the assumption that everything is on the server,
> > the client keeps messages only on a transient basis, and one
> > cannot access messages unless one is online.    It seems to me
> > that is not very different from where we are headed now, whether
> > via "dumb MUA" or "MUA implemented on a web interface".   It may
> > be more complex than needed because it contains some
> > optimizations are what, by today's standards, are low-bandwidth
> > environments but some of those features also have security
> > advantages (that we haven't talked about very much recently).
> Pretty much the entire design model is canted away from what I see being
> needed
> by modern clients.
> One assumption the old model makes is that bandwidth is cheap enough that
> there's no need to highly optimize metadata transfer. And to some extent
> this
> also applies to message data, e.g., the lack of support for message
> summaries
> and thumbnails, but that's a more complex topic.
> This matters because with mobile client view timliness is critical, but
> not at
> the expense of bandwidth. And push notifications only get you half of the
> way
> there - once notified you have to connect and update.
> Sit down with a mobile client designer sometime, and you'll quickly see
> that in
> order to build the sorts of message displays they want without
> transferring far
> more data than they need or can afford, you need to engage a large number
> of
> IMAP extensions, and even then you're unlikely to achieve the exact result
> they
> would prefer.
> And then there's search. A powerful search capability is now essential, but
> IMAP search assumes a particular set of semantics that are simultaneously
> not
> what a mobile client needs (nobody is going to spend time entering complex
> search terms on their phone) as well as being misaligned with modern text
> search engines, making it difficult to implement on the back end. (What
> typically happens is implementations vary substantially from what the
> specifications call for, and vary in different ways.)
> Then there's the stuff that nobody cares about that you have to support,
> like
> subcriptions.
> I could go on and list more stuff, but I think this makes the point that
> there's a mismatch. And really, given how the landscape has changed and
> how old
> some of these specifications are, I see no reason for surprise.
> > Now, when we added offline (simulated POP3 on steroids) and
> > disconnected modes with IMAP4, things got more complex.  From my
> > personal perspective, disconnected mode (more or less the
> > ancient PCMAIL model) is the only thing that makes sense for
> > people with poor or intermittent connectivity, especially if
> > they need to work offline sometimes and use multiple machines.
> > However, it has never been broadly and well-supported in MUAs
> > (there are, IMO, a few "good enough" MUA implementations but no
> > really good ones) so maybe the marketplace has told us there
> > aren't enough users to count.
> Offline support is another thing that's increasingly superfluous now.
> Mobile
> devices are expected to always be online and to present an up-to-date view
> of
> the world at all times.
> Of course the sync capbilities designed to support offline mode can also be
> used to minimize data transfer for a connected client, but even so, it's
> not
> quite the same problem.
> > Now, I've never been a fan of the LISP-like command and response
> > syntax, but that is much more a matter of taste than
> > functionality.
> Unfortunately, syntax matters more than it really should. I previously
> pointed
> out that the complexity of HTTPS in this context is irrelevant because
> "there's
> a library for that". The same is true for JSON - the automapping mapping of
> JSON to and from data structures that many languages offer is very
> convenient.
> > > (I note that the problem SMTP is intended to solve hasn't
> > > changed nearly as much.)
> > I agree with you but have heard claims that the multiple relay
> > and alternate destination (mail exhannge) models have outlived
> > their usefulness in today's highly-connected Internet.
> Even if it's true, this is all external to SMTP itself, and I don't think
> it's relevant here.
> > I don't
> > see things as that highly connected (even looking to the future,
> > SMTP would work much better in the presence of a DTN than, e.g.,
> > HTTP[S} and for much the same reason it worked well for delivery
> > servers that were only connected a few hours a week) and I think
> > the robustness those features enable as important.  However,
> > there is no disputing that mail transport could be considerably
> > simplified if we allowed only endpoint-to-endpoint connections
> > with no alternatives.
> Uh, no, not really. To the extent that implementation of message transfer
> is a
> complex problem, it's mostly in the splitting of messages and the handling
> of
> errors. These problems don't go away when you limit things to one hop. In
> fact
> one of the nice things about SMTP is that you don't know and don't need to
> know
> how many hops there are ahead of you.
> The complexity of transitions through multiple ADMDs grots up the security
> and
> spam situation, but those are for the most part externalities to the SMTP
> implementation.
> Additionally, this notion of getting rid of multiple hops across the
> Internet
> ignores the present day reality that as the size of a "typical" mail system
> deployment has increased, so has the number of hops messages often take
> inside
> the deployment.
> > Such connections would also permit
> > straightforward feature negotiation.  That would be a big help
> > for, e.g., EAI/SMTPUTP8 and similar arrangements and might even
> > help blur the boundary between transport-level and end0t9-end
> > encryption.
> Perhaps, but again, I don't see the relevance to the matter at hand.
> > >  Getting rid of historical baggage will definitely simplify things.
> > But that is my question.  I don't see IMAP disconnected mode as
> > historical baggage.  We've ended up with some redundant ways to
> > do things as a result of newer and more powerful options and
> > commands and the old ways could be cleared out.   We could
> > probably make some different choices about data structures and
> > maybe even standardize some things that today just add to the
> > complexity of the options.  But I'm not sure how significant
> > those actually would be -- what are you thinking of?
> IMAP disconnected mode support isn't baggage because it provides
> capabilities
> that are useful to mobile connected clients, albeit in a somewhat
> suboptimal
> fashion.
> That said, there absolutely is substantial baggage in IMAP.
> > ...
> > > My guestimate is that - and here I'm speaking only of the
> > > message access space - that a HTTPS/JSON approach wins in
> > > terms of effective implementation complexity, although it is
> > > far from clear to me by how much.
> > But, unless we can get rid of IMAP (and some of the
> > functionality, like disconnected mode, that can't obviously be
> > supported over a purely HTTPS/JSON interface) entirely, it seems
> > to me that an HTTPS/JOSN approach is additive, requiring the
> > mail environment to support both it and IMAP for (at least) a
> > very long time.  So, while I agree with your guess, I don't see
> > the need to support an additional as a net gain, especially in
> > the short to medium term.
> Just a guess on my part, but I rather suspect that disconnected mode is
> easier to do on top of a protocol designed to optimize mobile sync than
> the other way around.
> Of course this ignores the cost of conversion. But I don't think you can
> necessarily make the case based on protocol features alone.
>                                 Ned
> _______________________________________________
> ietf-smtp mailing list