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A method for reusing attachments across emails without download on web-based email (webmail) systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000199047D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-24
Document File: 2 page(s) / 109K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database


A method for reusing attachments across emails without download for web-based email (webmail) systems, but assigning unique tags for each attachment at the server-side. The users (at the client side) merely specify the unique tag as an attachment to an email (where the attachment already exists at the server side, such as attachments in earlier received emails).

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A method for reusing attachments across emails without download on web -based email (webmail) systems

Webmail service providers typically provide a button to open a file dialog to upload a file as an attachment to an email. This solves the need when sending new attachments with email, however, if the recipient of an email has to compose a message with attachments from multiple emails received, the only solution is to download all relevant attachments, and re-upload them.

This results in a number of problems:
1. Downloading multiple attachments from multiple emails can be a daunting task for novice computer users.

2. Internet users with poor connectivity are among the worst affected since it can take a long time to download attachments and then upload them again.
3. It is also a waste of time and bandwidth, since the attachment(s) are already present on the email server.

    This idea proposes a method for sharing and reuse of attachments across emails without the need to download them. This can be achieved in a number of ways, either by enabling the users to .tag. attachments received in emails, or using HTML5 features to drag-and-drop attachments received by opening multiple sessions in a browser.

There are a number of advantages to this approach:
1. Improved email usability for webmail users
2. Webmail users will have an experience similar to those using native/standalone email clients.
3. Reduced time and bandwidth use where email composition requires attachments from multiple emails. This is especially beneficial in the Cloud computing scenario where organisations have outsourced their email needs to providers such as gmail.

The idea can be implemented in at least two ways:

Implementation 1: Attachment tagging by users

    In this approach, the attachments received in an email can be .tagged. by the user, where each tag is a unique name that identifies a received file. For example, the attachments are displayed with a HTML .checkbox. next to them, with a textbox and a button with text .Add Tag. on the main menu of the webmail interface to .tag. an attachment. These tags are stored server-side, and once added, are subsequently available as .attachments. to be added to emails, until the tag or attachment is deleted.

Implementation 2: Server-side attachment tagging and HTML5 drag-and-drop

    In this approach, HTML5 specification section of drag-and-drop events, as well as HTML5 support in new-generation browsers is employed. However, the idea extends this, by enabling drag-and-drop of attachments from multiple browser windows to an email composition window, without downloading the attachments.

    An area within the HTML presentation of the email displaying all attachments with an email that displays each attachment in a separate .div. section,...