Sunday, August 7, 2011

So I Came Up With This Really Great Idea

Not too long ago, Gabor came up with an idea - href="http://blog.gaborcselle.com/2010/02/how-to-replace-imap.html">Throw out IMAP.  As anyone
that has ever had to fiddle with email settings should know, IMAP is an email transfer protocol.  It allows
a client to communicate with a server and keep email data synchronized between the two.  It was a good idea
for its time (1994), but now its old and is no longer as well suited to email tasks as it should be.

Think
about it.  How much has email changed in the last twenty years?  Not a lot, if any.  The most revolutionary
features are GMail's labels and Gmail/Outlook's server-side email rules/filter settings.  To me, this is
ridiculous.  I was born in 1991, played around on the internet when it was on dialup, and had a free Juno
account when I was old enough.

Since then I'd moved through Yahoo, Hotmail, and finally
rested on Gmail.  But all-in-all, everything is still pretty much the same.  It was because of this that
Gabor's idea to scrap IMAP really intrigued me.  I wanted this.
 Google and Microsoft had both come up with newer, proprietary synchronization standards, and creating a
new, open protocol would be the way to usher in a new age of compatibility and extensible feature sets.

Since
this initial bit of intrigue, I've spent some time working on protocol documentation whenever I can get a
bit motivated and have some spare time to do so.  I continue to push my creativity and find new things to
throw in to the protocol, ideas that wouldn't have to be there when the first part hits, but that its
extensibility would make possible.  Ideas such as receiving push notifications from web services, that could
also be synced to mobile devices through the protocol, or using OpenID as a base and creating a new
single-login/password system that uses your email address., or even ideas such as being able to query an
email server for a person's contact information, and store/update it in a syncable address book.

Once
we leave the defining bounds of IMAP and proprietary protocols like Exchange, we can really start work on
building something terrific that would allow a flood of innovation that email has never seen before.

Unfortunately,
my voice is small - and is very largely unheard.  I can't even get Gabor, the original creator of this idea
to @mention me on twitter regarding it anymore, and so I've been stuck working on it by myself.

So
yes, this is a call to action, and I do so hope that you'll oblige me.  I need help
revolutionizing email
.  I can't do it all on my own, and the protocol being open is the
important part.  I need other people's ideas, not just my own.  I need their thoughts and their knowledge.
 I'm only a college student after all, and as much as I'd like to do this all by myself and use it as my
claim to fame - I'd much rather just be a person that helped start and organize it and get things moving.

So
please, join me in discussing my ideas, submitting your own, and if you feel like it even work on defining
the protocol!

Please
join the discussion on 'MSAP' at Google Groups
.

Thank you for your time, and
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.