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== README   Mail::Box v2
Last update: 2008-09-26

The Mail::Box folder is a modern mail-folder manager --at least at the
moment of this writing ;)  It is written to be a replacement of MailTools
and Mail::Folder, an alternative to the Email::* set of modules.

The most important modules are Mail::Box::Manager, Mail::Box, and
Mail::Message.  Their documentation explain the features in more detail
than this document.  The Mail::Box-Overview page describe each set of
modules in more detail.
Start reading at

Other descriptive documents in this module:
    README.FAQ           Frequently asked questions
    README.todo          Thoughts about possible extensions

Mail::Box version (developed in 2000 and 2001) runs on perl 5.005
and up, Mail::Box version is much faster and more flexible, but
only runs on perl 5.6.1 and up.

===== Contributors

A full list of contributors can be found in the Changelog, but a few
people have to mentioned in special:

* Mark Overmeer
  - 99% of the code
  - initial version of documentation
* David Coppit
  - massive corrections and additions in all documentation
  - many valid suggestions to the design and parts of the implementation
    -- and some invalid ones ;) --  you really must know what you are
    talking about to convince stubborn Mark.
* Tassilo von Parseval
  - scripts/takemail
  - contributions to the design
* Liz Mattijsen for the POP3 implementation

===== Status

This module has been used by dozens of people, on many different
platforms.  Some problems do surface sometimes:

  . on Windows, some methods (like moving messages between some
    kinds of folders) do not work.  Windows can not rename a file
    which is locked, for instance... so where this is used you may
    get hurt.  No Windows specialist has provided a patch to solve
    this correctly.

  . the IMAP implementation got stalled when Mail::IMAPClient was
    not maintained.  I lack the time to complete it.

===== Features

The Mail::Box modules try to keep messages stored in the mailbox
file(s) for as long as possible.  The message is read from file and
parsed only if the user really needs the contents of the message.
This is called 'delay loading'.

Demand- or delayed-loading of messages is implemented using the
standard AUTOLOAD mechanism, which means that it is not visible to
the user of the folder!  This mechanism also reduces the memory
footprint of the program enormously.

For some folder types, not only the content (body) of the message is
delayed, but even the header.  In those cases, the opening of a folder
is just counting the messages: really fast.

The implementation also avoids parsing and then unparsing mail messages.
If you read from a folder, then use it and write to it to a different
folder, unmodified messages are not reformatted from memory. Instead they
are copied from the old folder into a new one byte-by-byte.  When you
open a folder with 1000 messages, and modify two messages, only those
two get parsed and recomposed.  All 998 other messages are simple
byte-by-byte copied into the replacement file.