The IMAP Working Group will also investigate how to provide for ``disconnected operation'' capabilities similar to the DMSP protocol (RFC 1056, with Informational status) with a goal of making it possible for IMAP to replace DMSP.
An e-mail access protocol provides a uniform, operating system-independent way of manipulating message data (e-mail or bulletin board) on a remote message store (repository). Mail user agents implementing such a protocol can provide individuals with a consistent view of the message store, regardless of what type of computer they are using, and regardless of where they are connected in the network. Multiple concurrent sessions accessing a single remote mailbox, and single sessions accessing multiple remote mailboxes, are both possible with this approach.
This differs from POP3 (RFC 1225) in that POP is a store-and-forward transport protocol that allows an MUA to retrieve pending mail from a mail drop (where it is then usually deleted automatically), whereas IMAP is focused on remote mailbox manipulation rather than transport. IMAP differs from various vendor-specific remote access approaches in that IMAP is an open protocol designed to scale well and accommodate diverse types of client operating systems.
Security-related tasks include how to incorporate secure authentication mechanisms when establishing a session, and possible interactions with Privacy Enhanced Mail.
It is expected that most of the work of this group will be conducted via e-mail. A goal is to integrate and update RFC 1176 and the existing IMAP2bis draft, then submit the result as an Internet-Draft well before the November 1993 IETF meeting, which would then focus on detailed review of the text in preparation for submission as a Proposed Standard before the end of 1993.