Browse Prior Art Database

Method and System of an Email User Interface to Web Services and Web Applications with Session State

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013214D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jun-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
Document File: 2 page(s) / 63K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A number of portable devices have been created that allow users to send and receive email over a wireless network while the user is on the go. These portable devices include Short Message Service (SMS)-enabled devices, two-way pagers, cellular phones with email service, and portable networked laptops or Personal Data Assistants (PDA) that use email.

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  Method and System of an Email User Interface to Web Services and Web Applications with Session State

   Disclosed is a program that combines the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) model with email technology by routing incoming emails to a web application server, parsing and processing the email messages, and sending formatted email responses back to the user. See figure for an example of one possible implementation of this infrastructure.

A persistent server-side session is maintained for each email thread, so that state information can be kept on the server between emails. A reference identification number (ID) is sent in the email subject along with a text message and a set of choices. The user receives this email on a portable device and sends a reply message containing a user selection. The subject field of the response email will retain the reference ID, which allows the server-side email processor program to load state information from the server-side session. The email is processed in accordance with the user selection.

The user starts a new session by sending a generic email to the server. Since the email is missing a valid reference ID, the server creates a new session and sends a menu of starting options back to the user. The subject field of the "main menu" email will contain a reference ID.

When an email is sent by the email processor, the email session information is stored in a hashtable, database, or other type of storage. The information can be retrieved using the reference ID as a lookup key. The session information consists of one or more name / value pairs. These pairs identify what options are to be executed when reply email is received.

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When reply message is received by the server, its session information is removed from storage to prevent additional replies to the same m...