Imap Deletion Behaviour
Date: 14/5/2008
Whats the standard user agent behaviour for deletion of mail and folders stored on an IMAP server?

Do the items just disappear never to be seen again?

Or do they go into a trash folder?
14/05/2008 9:43am
In Outlook "delete" only marks recieved mail (-headers) for deletion with a font strickthrough in the IMAP inbox folder(s) list. After additionaly hitting the "Delete permanently all mail marked for deletion" menu option, the mail(s) are deleted on the server, and vanish from the list permanently.

Good luck on your hard work!
14/05/2008 10:02am
On second thought:
I do not see a reason for treating IMAP differently. Outlook deletes POP3 mails via a trash folder, and IMAP mails via a deletion mark. Why?

An IMAP trash folder could work just as well, and you save on menu options and complexity.

Downside is, I guess, the deleted mail then should be moved to the trash folder on the server, too, where it may be deleted after x days. *IF* the IMAP Server *HAS* a trash folder... Also, it then would be nice to download only new trash folder mail headers (i.e. added to the trash via IMAP web interface or filters)

My IMAP-SP (Arcor) offers inbox, trash, spam, and custom folders for serverside filtering. The Inbox is allways retrieved, all other folders optionally.
14/05/2008 10:10am
ok one more:
When Outlook "permanently deletes" IMAP mails, it does not use a server's trash folder. It is just deleted permanently from wherever it is located. Maybe some IMAP servers do not offer a trash bin?
Sultan of Stereo
14/05/2008 3:38pm
I have a IMAP account. I use both Thunderbird and Outlook with it.

In Thunderbird, when I delete a message, that message is marked deleted. In Thunderbird's representation of the mailbox, that message is moved to the Trash. When I log onto's web interface, the message is still in the inbox, but has a line through it (it is marked as deleted). That same message appears in the trash folder as well.

I think Thunderbird creates a trash folder that holds a copy of each message that is deleted. Secondly, Thunderbird does not display a message in the inbox or other folder if it is marked deleted. If a user restores or undeletes a message from the trash folder (or moves it to, say, the inbox), Thunderbird deletes the copy of the message from trash and marks the message in that folder as no longer deleted. I'm not sure, but I think that is how it works.

Thunderbird makes the IMAP mailbox appear to the user like it is a "real mailbox." I like that very much.

Outlook has an inferior implementation. Outlook displays deleted messages in the inbox and other folders with a line through them. If you haven't emptied the inbox, your IMAP mailbox can look very cluttered in Outlook.

My $0.02. HTH.
16/05/2008 4:42am
I think I'll look into moving deleted items to a Trash folder. If that works then it'll mirror the mail2 implementation which is good. It won't confuse users.

Currently I'm working on the replication of folders only. Once that is solid then I'll begin working on the email side of things. So far I can create, delete and sync folders. It's not production tried and tested yet but it's working for me :)
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