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HellBound Hackers | Computer General | General Computer Problems

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Browser Mail Compared to Client-Based MUA


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Posted on 27-02-10 21:08
Hi,
I was wondering if anyone knew the difference between browser-based mail and other forms of mail, i.e. Outlook Express or Thunderbird.

If I'm correct, I believe the main difference is that POP3/IMAP is not involved in retrieving email, at least not as far as the client is concerned. Say you log onto a gmail account and look at your mail. There's no POP3 between your computer and the server, is there? I think the only POP3 (or IMAP) traffic is going between the web server and other servers.

The reason this has me dumbfounded is that in all of the books that I've read they simply fail to mention browser based email! And google searches on the subject have yielded only tidbits of info--however I may have been looking at all the wrong articles. Smile

So am I right to assume that there's no POP3 going between the client and server when the client is using a browser based client? And that all the traffic that would be requisite for applications on the client such as Thunderbird are pushed back one level so that the server is actually functioning as the mail client?

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide.
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RE: Browser Mail Compared to Client-Based MUA


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Posted on 28-02-10 22:45


Thanks
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RE: Browser Mail Compared to Client-Based MUA


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Posted on 01-03-10 01:42
mattseanbachman wrote:
If I'm correct, I believe the main difference is that POP3/IMAP is not involved in retrieving email, at least not as far as the client is concerned. Say you log onto a gmail account and look at your mail. There's no POP3 between your computer and the server, is there? I think the only POP3 (or IMAP) traffic is going between the web server and other servers.

So am I right to assume that there's no POP3 going between the client and server when the client is using a browser based client? And that all the traffic that would be requisite for applications on the client such as Thunderbird are pushed back one level so that the server is actually functioning as the mail client?

The answer is "yes" and "no", alternating. There will be POP3 requests from the client to the server (and responses, as a result). However, in the case of web-based mail, the client is the user's browser... which is being served up by the server. Thus, the web server is acting as both client and server, but the client must request email as a desktop client would: by retrieving POP3 traffic and iterating through it to show messages. So, there are no POP3 requests coming from your computer... because, by the time the client makes it to your browser, the POP3 requests from the web server (acting as the client on behalf of your browser) have already been processed.

That is the explanation that you will have more trouble finding a link for. If it seems confusing... that's because it is. The client-server relationship is segregated on the web server but, when it makes it to the user, it is not so clear.


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Posted on 01-03-10 01:51
define wrote:

The answer is "yes" and "no", alternating. There will be POP3 requests from the client to the server (and responses, as a result). However, in the case of web-based mail, the client is the user's browser... which is being served up by the server. Thus, the web server is acting as both client and server, but the client must request email as a desktop client would: by retrieving POP3 traffic and iterating through it to show messages. So, there are no POP3 requests coming from your computer... because, by the time the client makes it to your browser, the POP3 requests from the web server (acting as the client on behalf of your browser) have already been processed.

That is the explanation that you will have more trouble finding a link for. If it seems confusing... that's because it is. The client-server relationship is segregated on the web server but, when it makes it to the user, it is not so clear.


Thanks for the explanation. Mail is much more difficult than I first surmised! Your answer helps though.

Thanks again. Smile