Posts Tagged ‘email’

IMAP Pickup

An interesting little project I wanted to work on; I wanted to be able to pull attachments from emails in an IMAP mailbox and then download them. I wanted an IMAP solution instead of writing a script for the MTA as a script would be specific to the MTA software and not transferable to another server. In addition, there’s also the common case where you may simply not have access to the MTA.

The biggest help in putting this together and dealing with attachments was this blog post and this comment on the PHP docs. Information on doing this is a bit scattered and incomplete in many cases, likely because extracting attachments is somewhat difficult as email is a notoriously bad way to transfer files; the file data is base64 encoded and dumped in as part of the message body.

ImapPickup is the class that encapsulates all the necessary functionality,

class ImapPickup
{
protected $imapStream = null;

protected function findAttachments($part)
{
$partNum = -1;
$attachments = array();

$this->findAttachmentsRec($part, &$attachments, &$partNum, -1);

return $attachments;
}

protected function findAttachmentsRec($part, &$attachments, &$partNum, $partNumSub)
{
if (isset($part->parts))
{
foreach ($part->parts as $partOfPart)
{
$this->findAttachmentsRec($partOfPart, &$attachments, &$partNum, $partNumSub+1);
}
}
else
{

if (isset($part->disposition)){
if ($part->disposition == 'attachment') {
$attachments[] = array($part->dparameters[0]->value, $partNum, $partNumSub);
}
}
}

$partNum++;
}

public function getAttachmentContent($msgNum, $partNum)
{
$contents = imap_fetchbody($this->imapStream, $msgNum, $partNum, FT_UID);
return imap_base64($contents);
}

public function getAttachments($msgNum)
{
$struct = imap_fetchstructure($this->imapStream,$msgNum,FT_UID);
$attachments = $this->findAttachments($struct);

return $attachments;
}

public function getAttachmentsFromMessages($msgArray)
{
$msgIdToAttachmentsMap = array();

if ($msgArray)
{
foreach($msgArray as $msgId)
{
$attachments = $this->getAttachments($msgId);
if(!empty($attachments))
{
$msgIdToAttachmentsMap[$msgId] = $attachments;
}
}
}

return $msgIdToAttachmentsMap;
}

public function getMessages($searchQuery)
{
return imap_search($this->imapStream, $searchQuery, SE_UID);
}

public function connect($mailbox, $user, $password)
{
$this->imapStream = imap_open($mailbox, $user, $password);
}

public function disconnect()
{
imap_close(
$this->imapStream);
}

}

Here’s a little example of how it can be used. This will query all messages with “pickup::” in the subject line and print out the messageID of all messages with attachments, followed by the filenames of all attachments for that message.

$imapPickup = new ImapPickup();
$imapPickup->connect("{mail.hotspotdot.net:143}INBOX", "test@test.net", "pass123");

$messages = $imapPickup->getMessages("SUBJECT pickup::");
$attachments = $imapPickup->getAttachmentsFromMessages($messages);

foreach($attachments as $msgId => $attArr)
{
echo "<p>{$msgId} => ";

foreach($attArr as $attachment)
{
echo $attachment[0];
echo ",";
}

echo "</p>";
}

$imapPickup->disconnect();

The array for a single file attachment contains 3 entries:

  • [0] => filename
  • [1] => major part number
  • [2] => minor part number

getAttachments(), findAttachments(), and findAttachmentsRec() will return an array of such entries (or an empty array is there are no attachments). getAttachmentsFromMessages() will return a map from messageID => array of single attachments.

The part number (both major and minor) is needed to retrieve the contents of an attachment. For getAttachmentContent(), simply use the major number if the minor number is <= 0, or concatenate them with a period separating them (e.g. "2.3").

Reflex Feedback widget

I worked on a small AJAX widget for user feedback built atop jQuery UI: Reflex Feedback. It’s inspired by the widgets you see from services like Get Satisfaction and UserVoice, but much simpler and it’s a frontend-only widget, how you handle the feedback info on the backend is up to you.

Here’s what it looks like.

reflex feedback widget dialog

And here’s what the tag that opens the dialog looks like:

reflex feedback widget tag

To use it, download or clone the ReflexFeedback repo from bitbucket

Place the .js file wherever you’d like but the /reflex.content folder should a subdirectory in the same folder as the page loading the .js file. Load reflex.js as you would any other javascript file:

<script type="text/javascript" src="js/reflex.js"></script>

Call Reflex.init() to add the widget to the page. The first argument is the DOM element to attach the additional HTML/CSS code to. The seconds argument is the server-side script to call when the user clicks Send Feedback.

Reflex.init($('body'), 'controller/post_feedback.php');

That’s it for the frontend. You should see the tag show up in the right-hand corner and when clicked the dialog open.

For the backend, the AJAX call to send the feedback info will send a POST request with 2 fields: feedback_type, feedback_txt.

Reflex expects an XML reply from the server:

<reflex>
<result>ok</result>
</reflex>

ok indicates a successful result, any other reply is considered an error.

A successful result will close the dialog and show another with a thank you message.

reflex feedback thank you dialog

For an error, a message is shown below the Send Feedback button, informing the user that an error has occurred and to try again.

reflex feedback send fail

As for what to actually do with the feedback, that’s up to you, but what I’m doing is sending myself an email with the feedback info. I’ve posted my PHP script below; feel free to use it, modify it, etc. If you do use this code, be sure to fill in your mail server credentials and a from address; you’ll also need PEAR’s Mail package installed.

<?php

require_once "Mail.php";
require_once "Mail/mime.php";

header('Content-type: application/xml; charset=utf-8');
echo "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"utf-8\"?>\r\n";

if(!isset($_POST['feedback_type']) || !isset($_POST['feedback_txt']))
{
echo "<reflex><result>error:missing-arguments</result></reflex>";
}
else
{
$from = "...";
$to = "...";
$subject = "Feedback from user...";

$feedback_type = $_POST['feedback_type'];
$feedback_txt = $_POST['feedback_txt'];

$bodyHtml = "<html><body>";
$bodyHtml .= "<p>Type: {$feedback_type}</p>";
$bodyHtml .= "<p>Feedback: {$feedback_txt}</p>";
$bodyHtml .= "</body></html>";
$body = $bodyHtml;

$host = "...";
$port = "...";
$username = "...";
$password = "...";

$headers = array('MIME-Version' => '1.0rn',
'Content-type' => 'text/html; charset=utf-8',
'From' => $from, 'To' => $to, 'Subject' => $subject);


$smtp = Mail::factory('smtp',
array ('host' => $host,
'port' => $port,
'auth' => true,
'username' => $username,
'password' => $password));

$mail = $smtp->send($to, $headers, $body);

if (PEAR::isError($mail))
{
$err_details = $mail->getMessage();
echo "<reflex><result>error:send-failure</result><details>{$err_details}</details></reflex>";
}
else
{
echo "<reflex><result>ok</result></reflex>";
}
}

?>

That’s all for now. I’ll work on more features and options for customization in the future. You can see the widget in action over at dotspott.com

Share hotspots via email

A small, but useful addition to hotspotdot: you can now share hotspots via. email.

hotspot shared via. email, shown in gmail client

Currently only available on the web client, but this and a few other features will soon make their way into the webOS mobile app.

At one point I did consider making a larger social networking component integrated into the site – sharing hotspots with other hotspotdot users – however, I don’t think this would have been very useful, certainly not to me. In many ways hotspotdot is fairly anti-social, focused much more on functionality revolving around maintaining your personal repository of locations rather than the current location of your friends and whether or not they’ve checked-in at some commercial venue; the concept underlying other location services such as Google Latitude, foursquare, and Facebook Places.

Goodbye to Google Wave

Google has announced it will be shutting it down.

I saw the demo of it in the Google I/O webcast last year, it seemed interesting, like Facebook comments but more professional and more generic (not limited to a closed social network); however, the idea of it as a service to replace email left me uneasy. I liked email. Sure it could be better, and Wave was in some ways better, but it didn’t seem substantially better. On a more ideological level, I also liked that email was vendor-free, I wasn’t chained to Google for my most important communication tool.

google wave logo

I was somewhat alone in this opinion. Most outlets were already predicting Wave as the next big thing and the end of email was fast approaching (nice summary from SAI).

Using Wave was disappointing. It was like being in an empty chatroom as no one in my social network was there. Lonely, but I figured that could change, this was, after all, just an early beta. Most striking to me was the 3-column design, which seemed like overkill and placed, IMO, an overload of information on the screen (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a successful app with a 3-column layout). More importantly the actual user interaction seemed quirky. You had your list of waves in the center column, but you replied to and created new waves in the right-most column. The information in the 2 columns were intimately linked, but the layout made the thread and its associated waves seem disconnected. A 2-column layout with a Facebook-comment-esque system in the right-hand column would seem to have been a better design and allowed for user content to claim the majority of screen real estate. One early lesson I learn working on apps: let the user’s content come through.

Beyond my first impressions, nothing brought me back to Wave. It wasn’t significantly better than email and having yet another messaging or social networking tool was a burden for me. It may have been an okay project collaboration tool, but the feature set never blew me away and my misgiving about the UI didn’t compel me to go in that direction.

Another bit of advertising

Got this email from PayPal today, beautiful in its simplicity and gets straight to the point:

paypal debit marketing