by J. vonKanel, J. S. Givler, B. Leiba, W. Segmuller
Electronic mail (e-mail) has become an important tool for companies to use to conduct their businesses. With the introduction of the World Wide Web, awareness of the existence of the Internet has exponentially increased over the last two years, and people are starting to realize that there is more to the Internet than just the Web. Companies are expanding their use of e-mail from internal to external. But the large set of proprietary, noninteroperable e-mail systems make this more of a trip through a jungle than a drive along the information highway. Most approaches to overcome the connectivity problems use gateways to convert between the proprietary format and the Internet standards. These conversions are lossy at best; hence, most proprietary system vendors are revamping their systems to base them on Internet standards. This paper summarizes the current state of the most important Internet standards related to e-mail and the general state of proprietary e-mail systems. It then introduces a set of technologies we developed to solve the complex problem of evolving from proprietary to Internet-standards-based e-mail systems. We have structured these technologies into Internet Messaging Frameworks.