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To ease adoption of TWiki in the corporate environment it would be good to help people migrate into TWiki.

One idea:,have TWiki check a series of pop3 boxes for new content and have this content posted to topics by the same name. This way email users could CC TWiki as the corporate memory.

(I am sure that having a box per topic would not be efficient how else could a forwarder determine where to put the content. Hmm perhaps an smtp receiver would be better?)

-- MartinCleaver - 11 Mar 2001

This is something I've planned after the Storage system is stabilised. Basically a email interface to TWiki.

It requires some generic ability to be able to deal with conflicted commits and some consideration of how to deal with the authenication side of things.

In the long run, the system could be made generic with TWikiCluster, TWikiEmailInterface, etc been written with the same generic message passing sub-system.

-- NicholasLee - 11 Mar 2001

I've been thinking about an interface between email and TWiki as well. Here's what I envision:

  • An account, "twiki@hostname.com", which can be cc'd or forwarded email
  • Subject determines dispatch of content.
    • if there is a WikiTopic word within the subject, content is appended there
    • otherwise subject is treated as if wrapped in [ [ ] ] and content is appended there
      • ignore Re: Fwd: etc. at beginning of subject
      • could be smart about Webname.TopicName
      • default destination web should be specified at configuration time
  • an HR then "Email contribution from joe@senderPLEASENOSPAM.com:" could be a "header" above the content
  • email address of sender would be used to handle edit authentication
  • maybe some way to say whether content should be appended or prepended per-topic?

...just wish I had more spare time to code this up...

-- PaulReiber - 19 Jun 2001

The one thing I'm quite keen to work on at some stage is an email thread to TWIki parser. Which dealt with '>' and paragraphs in a appropiate manner.

-- NicholasLee - 20 Jun 2001

There is a ticket tracking system that falls into this category, called 'req' or 'wreq', which threads trouble tickets based on ticket number in the subject header. Once a ticket is sent to the system via email, the req system resends the mail to the sender and the distribution list with a ticket number. all replies to the email sent out by the req system are logged and appended to the text of the trouble ticket.

The code for wreq is open and available for us to borrow, although I would probably just borrow the ideas they used (code's not in the best shape).

Here's how I'd envision it working (similar to PaulReiber's suggestions):

  1. The TWemail thread could be started by sending TWiki an initial email.
    • Each web could have it's own TWiki email address. If that's too complicated, we could just require that the subject have a particular format, as PaulReiber suggested.
    • TWiki could keep track of and maintain the recipient list for the topic, starting with everone who was on the To and CC list of the orignal email.
  2. TWiki could respond with an email with the subject line TWikified and formatted:
    • [ Web.SubjectTopic ] "original subject text".
  3. Responses to the now logged TWiki email would be logged to Web.SubjectTopic using an email alias filter similar to hypermail, and sent out to the folks on the recipient list.
    • The hard part here, as NicholasLee stated above, is parsing the text of the email to make it readable in the context of the topic. wreq does an o.k. job of this, but I'd probably change a few things. The biggest problem is response comments embedded inside quoted text from the previous message.

Potential problems:

  • We don't use our email as our TWiki login; we use badge numbers for authentication, because it's easier for us to use the company LDAP system to standardize secure access to all our intranet applications (I haven't built this into TWiki yet, but I'm looking at it) We'd have to maintain some other metadata somewhere that maps the 'From' address to badge number for authentication. I guess the lookup would be easier if we were using LDAP to maintain user data for TWiki to begin with.
  • With standard sendmail, you can "become" someone else by setting the From address to whatever you want, and insert unsolicited messages into the thread.
  • Someone could simply email a message containing some code that might not be caught by perl taint mode. Taint checking becomes more difficult.

-- PeterNixon - 10 Mar 2002

The MailInAddOn handles this mapping by looking up the email address and basically trusting that people are not going to fiddle with headers. I think especially in a corporate environment this is fair, on the internet various things could be tried, for example:

  • Use PGP mail (most people don't have it)
  • Send a receipt back to the user.

The MailInAddOn queues requests until the topic becomes unlocks and then appends it. There is a piece missing, however, this is the bit that grabs the message out of a pop mailbox. It is missing because the implementation I was building it for was going to be using LotusNotes mail not POP mail. Indeed, you may choose to build an IMAP4 interface instead.

-- MartinCleaver - 12 Mar 2002

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Topic revision: r9 - 2008-09-02 - TWikiJanitor
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