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JavaMail is the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) API that deals with Internet messaging services. While it is normally associated with Internet email, it was designed as a protocol-independent approach to electronic messaging, allowing support for a wide variety of point-to-point message transport mechanisms. JavaMail service providers divide the messaging world into stores , which hold incoming messages, and transports , which launch messages toward a destination. Message objects are used to represent individual emails, and a Session object is used to tie message stores, transports, and messages together. The general capability set of Internet email provides the least common denominator functionality.
The standard JavaMail implementation from Sun provides for POP3 and IMAP message stores, and for SMTP message transport. All three of these protocols support Internet email. An experimental NNTP client is also available from Sun, and various third parties provide support for other messaging systems.  The API is currently at Version 1.2; 1.3 should be finalized and released by the time you read this.
I assume you have some general familiarity with the basic concepts of the JavaMail API. If you've never programmed with JavaMail, this chapter can be seen as the sequel to Chapter 12 of Java Enterprise in a Nutshell, Second Edition by myself , Jim Farley, and David Flanagan (O'Reilly).
In this chapter I'll cover strategies for using JavaMail to effectively interact with end users, both to publish information and respond to commands. My real focus is on how email in general, and JavaMail in particular, can be usefully and effectively integrated with J2EE applications.
You'll also see how to use JavaMail to enable connections between different information systems and web services. To get there, we'll start by looking at some different ways of sending messages and managing message content, including how to use the most effective form of email for the task at hand. We'll then look at how software can effectively retrieve and manage incoming email and address strategies for integrating JavaMail into an enterprise messaging framework. We'll talk about integrating email with web services via the Java API for XML messaging, and finish up by addressing three common JavaMail performance and flexibility bottlenecks.
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