Public folders and IMAP
IMAP is a mail protocol for accessing e-mail stored on a server. Most popular e-mail clients, such as Outlook or Outlook Express, are capable of communicating with an IMAP server, such as Softalk Mail Server. The fundamental difference between accessing e-mail via IMAP and accessing e-mail via
POP3 is that IMAP, unlike POP3, does not download the messages and store them locally.
Instead the messages are stored in a folder structure on the server. Any manipulation of the messages, such as opening, moving or deleting them is done on the server, by the server. There are several advantages
of storing the folders centrally: Firstly, it is much easier to backup message folders stored in one place on the server than it is to individually backup the mail client's personal message stores on each workstation. Secondly, the messages are more readily accessible remotely, for example staff can easily access their e-mail while away from the Office using Softalk Organizer or an IMAP client. Thirdly, it becomes possible to increase collaboration through the introduction of shared public folders.
Public folders defined in Softalk Mail Server are message folders that are visible to all users that use either an IMAP client or Softalk Organizer. Through its content filtering component, Softalk Mail Server provides the ability to automatically move sent and received messages into public folders, thus creating shared inboxes and shared sent folders for certain users. Also, all IMAP clients and also Softalk Organizer permit the user to manually move messages from their personal folders into public folders and vice versa. This provides a powerful way of publishing and sharing information.
Since Softalk Mail Server provides the ability to move or delete messages held in public folders after a certain length of time, certain public folders can, through their transient nature, be used to display only up-to-date information.