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 March 19, 2003  

Volume 1, Issue 3 

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Retrieve E-Mail from a POP3 Server
Your app can easily retrieve Internet e-mail from a POP3 server once you learn the tricks...

Building an application to access POP3 mail can be very difficult without the right help.  I have been building POP3 apps for 6 years now and have worked closely with professional developers the world over -- helping them to do the same.  In this issue of E-Mail Secrets, I am going to show you how to build a reliable POP3 application the easy way.  Developers who are new to POP3 as well as seasoned POP3 developers will find this article indispensable.  We will cover topics from basic to advanced and offer tips, tricks and secrets that developers of all levels can benefit from.  What you will learn from this brief article will save you weeks or more of learning, research and development.  I am confident that you can read this article and have a basic, reliable POP3 application up and running within an hour.

In this edition you will learn:

  • How to connect to a POP3 server
  • What you need to know about protecting POP3 passwords that are processed with your application.
  • How to get the total count of messages in the mailbox
  • How to download full messages or headers only
  • How to download messages or headers in small groups to enable paging capabilities in your app
  • How to delete a message from the server
  • How to parse a downloaded messages and access all message parts, including attachments, HTML, etc...
  • How to uniquely identify messages on the server
  • How to synchronize your app with a POP3 server and enable it to work offline
  • How to detect if a message has already been downloaded by your app
  • 5 things you can't do with a POP3 server
  • Bonus: How to store and organize downloaded messages locally

This edition also contains a sample code and applications including:

  • VB script code demonstrating most POP3 procedures
  • A simple VB6 POP3 client
  • A simple ASP POP3 client


There are many reasons why you may want to build an application to retrieve e-mail from a POP3 server.  Automated e-mail processing, inbox notifications and message scanning are some uses for POP3 applications -- other than building a full blown desktop or web based POP3 client. 

What does it take to write a functional and dependable POP3 application?  You need a basic understanding of what POP3 can and can not do, and you need a good component to provide that functionality.  You will also need a component that can parse and decode downloaded messages.

The code samples throughout the newsletter are written in VB Script.  I purposely kept them very simple to avoid confusing you with unnecessary functionality, bells, whistles and other bulk.  We will be using the POP3 and Message components of the EasyMail Objects for retrieving and parsing the messages.  In the bonus section we will use the EasyMail MailStore object to store and manage downloaded messages on  the local hard drive.  The EasyMail Objects are a set of COM objects that will enable your application to send, retrieve, merge, compose, view, edit, store and print Internet e-mail messages. We will only be using a portion of the EasyMail Objects in this issue.  To run the samples you will need to download and install the EasyMail Objects.  The combination of VB Script and COM components is easy to understand and easily adaptable to other programming languages or environments such as Visual Basic, ASP, C++, Delphi, etc... Also available for download are two sample POP3 client applications.  One in Visual Basic and the other in ASP.  You can download the samples and the EasyMail Objects here.

Lets get started...

Logging In and Getting Message Count

The following example shows how to log into a POP3 server and get the number of available messages.  It uses the EasyMail POP3 object to connect to the POP3 server and get the message count:

set objPOP3 = CreateObject("EasyMail.POP3")
cnt = objPOP3.GetDownloadableCount() 
MsgBox cnt & " messages available."

Are your POP3 passwords at risk?  Continue on to find out why your passwords may be vulnerable and how to protect them...

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In This Issue:

Learn the secrets of building a successful POP3 application. 

Downloadable code to get you started right away

This Issue's Poll:

What are your plans for developing IMAP Applications?

Currently developing
Within 90 days
Within 12 months
Within 5 years
No plans

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Quiksoft News:

For a limited time, Quiksoft is enabling developers to license the SMTP portion of EasyMail .Net Edition separately.

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