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. These devices are currently used to send and receive email messages, but are not used for accessing and running web applications and web services. The web application client remains the browser. As these portable devices become increasingly popular, it would be useful to access the growing number of web services and web applications using the email capabilities that are already supported in these devices. This invention details an email user interface that can interact with a web application in a similar manner to that of a web browser.

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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...