Chapter 18: ASP and Internet Mail

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One of the new components that is packaged with Internet Information Server 4.0 is an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server. There's also an interface called Collaboration Data Objects for NT Server (CDO for NTS) which can be used for manipulating the SMTP server from Active Server Pages.

You might say "Excellent!". Or, like a great many other people, you might just say "Huh?". Internet messaging, to the uninitiated, often seems like a big, scary jungle. Except instead of tigers, the jungle is full of three- and (worse still) four-letter acronyms just waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting. I'll be honest, just thinking about acronyms like SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, MIME and RFCs makes me feel like I'm sprouting a pony-tail and the kind of anti-social behavior patterns that only a mother can love. (If you come from a messaging background, I'm only joking… well, sort of…).

In all seriousness, however, you just have to take a look at some of the questions that appeared in the public newsgroups when IIS 4.0 was in beta and then released to know that an awful lot of people don't really know how Internet messaging works. And why should they? I drive to work every day and I don't know how my car's alternator works. (Most of my passengers also say that I don't know how to drive, but that's a different matter). The same goes for messaging. You can use it every day, but that doesn't mean you know how it works.

So before we look at what you can and can't do with messaging from Active Server Pages, we'll look at some of the basics of Internet mail. Once we've done that we can look at what the CDO for NTS interface allows us to do from our Active Server Pages and then we'll look at how we can do it. This chapter covers:

  • Standards and Protocols

  • The SMTP Service

  • CDO Messaging for NTS

  • Future Directions

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