Browse Prior Art Database

Enabling offline processing of email messages with imbedded remote references

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000145904D
Original Publication Date: 2007-Jan-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2007-Jan-31
Document File: 2 page(s) / 44K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Most email client software programs such as IBM Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, and so on allow download or replication of email messages from the email server so that they can be processed locally. Using these email clients in contrast to browser-based email has the advantage that one can process these email messages when working offline and hence not connected to the email server. Most email messages today have imbedded references or links to remotely stored information such as web pages stored on a web server, Lotus Notes database server documents, and so on. To process such email messages, a user has to retrieve the remote information using the imbedded references. However, if the user is working offline or does not have network access when processing these email messages, accessing the remote information may not be possible. This invention disclosure proposes a method to enable users to process email messages that have imbedded references to remotely stored information while working offline. This enablement is provided by enhancing the email client or server to automatically retrieve and locally cache such information prior to the actual processing of the email by the user.

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Enabling offline processing of email messages with imbedded remote references

People process email in one of two ways:
1) By connecting to the email server using a web browser. Examples of this include internet-based providers such as Yahoo! mail, Gmail, Hotmail and so on.
2) By downloading the email onto end devices such as Personal Computers or Personal Digital Assistants using software programs such as IBM Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, and so on. Using these email client-based software programs in contrast to browser-based email has the advantage that one can process (read, reply, forward,
etc.) these email messages when not connected to the email server.

Most email messages today have imbedded references or links to remotely stored information such as web pages stored on a web server, Lotus Notes database server documents, and so on. These imbedded references are in the form of HTTP URLs (HyperText Transport Protocol Universal Resource Locators), Lotus Notes document links, and so on. To process such email messages, a user has to retrieve the remote information by using ("clicking on") the imbedded links. Typical examples of such email messages are newsletters on various topics containing a series of HTTP URLs to the actual articles on various websites, official documents notifications that are stored on remote document databases and so on.

The problem that such email messages present is that the user cannot typically process these email messages when working offline or when there is no network connectivity. This disclosure proposes a method to enable processing of email with imbedded references even when the user does not have network connectivity at the time of processing the email.

The invention works by introducing a new software module -- henceforth referred to as ECM or "Enhanced Cache Module" in this disclosure -- with the following capabilities:
1) ability to process email messages and extract the imbedded references to remotely stored information
2) for each imbedded reference that has been extracted, ability to trigger retrieval and caching of the information locally

This software module ECM could be built as an enhancement to either the email server or the email client. In either case, one can envision providing the...