tech-invite   World Map     

IETF     RFCs     Groups     SIP     ABNFs    |    3GPP     Specs     Gloss.     Arch.     IMS     UICC    |    Misc.    |    search     info

RFC 4315

Proposed STD
Pages: 8
Top     in Index     Prev     Next
in Group Index     Prev in Group     Next in Group     Group: ~mail-imap

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) - UIDPLUS extension

Obsoletes:    2359

Top       Page 1 
Network Working Group                                         M. Crispin
Request for Comments: 4315                                 December 2005
Obsoletes: 2359
Category: Standards Track

      Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) - UIDPLUS extension

Status of This Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).


   The UIDPLUS extension of the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)
   provides a set of features intended to reduce the amount of time and
   resources used by some client operations.  The features in UIDPLUS
   are primarily intended for disconnected-use clients.

1.  Introduction and Overview

   The UIDPLUS extension is present in any IMAP server implementation
   that returns "UIDPLUS" as one of the supported capabilities to the
   CAPABILITY command.

   The UIDPLUS extension defines an additional command.  In addition,
   this document recommends new status response codes in IMAP that
   SHOULD be returned by all server implementations, regardless of
   whether or not the UIDPLUS extension is implemented.

   The added facilities of the features in UIDPLUS are optimizations;
   clients can provide equivalent functionality, albeit less
   efficiently, by using facilities in the base protocol.

1.1.  Conventions Used in This Document

   In examples, "C:" and "S:" indicate lines sent by the client and
   server, respectively.

Top       Page 2 
   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to
   be interpreted as described in [KEYWORDS].

   A "UID set" is similar to the [IMAP] sequence set; however, the "*"
   value for a sequence number is not permitted.

2.  Additional Commands

   The following command definition is an extension to [IMAP] section

2.1.  UID EXPUNGE Command

   Arguments:  sequence set

   Data:       untagged responses: EXPUNGE

   Result:     OK - expunge completed
               NO - expunge failure (e.g., permission denied)
               BAD - command unknown or arguments invalid

      The UID EXPUNGE command permanently removes all messages that both
      have the \Deleted flag set and have a UID that is included in the
      specified sequence set from the currently selected mailbox.  If a
      message either does not have the \Deleted flag set or has a UID
      that is not included in the specified sequence set, it is not

      This command is particularly useful for disconnected use clients.
      By using UID EXPUNGE instead of EXPUNGE when resynchronizing with
      the server, the client can ensure that it does not inadvertantly
      remove any messages that have been marked as \Deleted by other
      clients between the time that the client was last connected and
      the time the client resynchronizes.

      If the server does not support the UIDPLUS capability, the client
      should fall back to using the STORE command to temporarily remove
      the \Deleted flag from messages it does not want to remove, then
      issuing the EXPUNGE command.  Finally, the client should use the
      STORE command to restore the \Deleted flag on the messages in
      which it was temporarily removed.

      Alternatively, the client may fall back to using just the EXPUNGE
      command, risking the unintended removal of some messages.

Top       Page 3 
   Example:    C: A003 UID EXPUNGE 3000:3002
               S: * 3 EXPUNGE
               S: * 3 EXPUNGE
               S: * 3 EXPUNGE
               S: A003 OK UID EXPUNGE completed

3.  Additional Response Codes

   The following response codes are extensions to the response codes
   defined in [IMAP] section 7.1.  With limited exceptions, discussed
   below, server implementations that advertise the UIDPLUS extension
   SHOULD return these response codes.

   In the case of a mailbox that has permissions set so that the client
   can COPY or APPEND to the mailbox, but not SELECT or EXAMINE it, the
   server SHOULD NOT send an APPENDUID or COPYUID response code as it
   would disclose information about the mailbox.

   In the case of a mailbox that has UIDNOTSTICKY status (as defined
   below), the server MAY omit the APPENDUID or COPYUID response code as
   it is not meaningful.

   If the server does not return the APPENDUID or COPYUID response
   codes, the client can discover this information by selecting the
   destination mailbox.  The location of messages placed in the
   destination mailbox by COPY or APPEND can be determined by using
   FETCH and/or SEARCH commands (e.g., for Message-ID or some unique
   marker placed in the message in an APPEND).


      Followed by the UIDVALIDITY of the destination mailbox and the UID
      assigned to the appended message in the destination mailbox,
      indicates that the message has been appended to the destination
      mailbox with that UID.

      If the server also supports the [MULTIAPPEND] extension, and if
      multiple messages were appended in the APPEND command, then the
      second value is a UID set containing the UIDs assigned to the
      appended messages, in the order they were transmitted in the
      APPEND command.  This UID set may not contain extraneous UIDs or
      the symbol "*".

         Note: the UID set form of the APPENDUID response code MUST NOT
         be used if only a single message was appended.  In particular,
         a server MUST NOT send a range such as 123:123.  This is
         because a client that does not support [MULTIAPPEND] expects
         only a single UID and not a UID set.

Top       Page 4 
      UIDs are assigned in strictly ascending order in the mailbox
      (refer to [IMAP], section and UID ranges are as in
      [IMAP]; in particular, note that a range of 12:10 is exactly
      equivalent to 10:12 and refers to the sequence 10,11,12.

      This response code is returned in a tagged OK response to the
      APPEND command.


      Followed by the UIDVALIDITY of the destination mailbox, a UID set
      containing the UIDs of the message(s) in the source mailbox that
      were copied to the destination mailbox and containing the UIDs
      assigned to the copied message(s) in the destination mailbox,
      indicates that the message(s) have been copied to the destination
      mailbox with the stated UID(s).

      The source UID set is in the order the message(s) were copied; the
      destination UID set corresponds to the source UID set and is in
      the same order.  Neither of the UID sets may contain extraneous
      UIDs or the symbol "*".

      UIDs are assigned in strictly ascending order in the mailbox
      (refer to [IMAP], section and UID ranges are as in
      [IMAP]; in particular, note that a range of 12:10 is exactly
      equivalent to 10:12 and refers to the sequence 10,11,12.

      This response code is returned in a tagged OK response to the COPY


      The selected mailbox is supported by a mail store that does not
      support persistent UIDs; that is, UIDVALIDITY will be different
      each time the mailbox is selected.  Consequently, APPEND or COPY
      to this mailbox will not return an APPENDUID or COPYUID response

      This response code is returned in an untagged NO response to the
      SELECT command.

         Note: servers SHOULD NOT have any UIDNOTSTICKY mail stores.
         This facility exists to support legacy mail stores in which it
         is technically infeasible to support persistent UIDs.  This
         should be avoided when designing new mail stores.

Top       Page 5 
   Example:    C: A003 APPEND saved-messages (\Seen) {297}
               C: Date: Mon, 7 Feb 1994 21:52:25 -0800 (PST)
               C: From: Fred Foobar <>
               C: Subject: afternoon meeting
               C: To:
               C: Message-Id: <>
               C: MIME-Version: 1.0
               C: Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII
               C: Hello Joe, do you think we can meet at 3:30 tomorrow?
               S: A003 OK [APPENDUID 38505 3955] APPEND completed
               C: A004 COPY 2:4 meeting
               S: A004 OK [COPYUID 38505 304,319:320 3956:3958] Done
               C: A005 UID COPY 305:310 meeting
               S: A005 OK No matching messages, so nothing copied
               C: A006 COPY 2 funny
               S: A006 OK Done
               C: A007 SELECT funny
               S: * 1 EXISTS
               S: * 1 RECENT
               S: * OK [UNSEEN 1] Message 1 is first unseen
               S: * OK [UIDVALIDITY 3857529045] Validity session-only
               S: * OK [UIDNEXT 2] Predicted next UID
               S: * NO [UIDNOTSTICKY] Non-persistent UIDs
               S: * FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft)
               S: * OK [PERMANENTFLAGS (\Deleted \Seen)] Limited
               S: A007 OK [READ-WRITE] SELECT completed

   In this example, A003 and A004 demonstrate successful appending and
   copying to a mailbox that returns the UIDs assigned to the messages.
   A005 is an example in which no messages were copied; this is because
   in A003, we see that message 2 had UID 304, and message 3 had UID
   319; therefore, UIDs 305 through 310 do not exist (refer to section of [IMAP] for further explanation).  A006 is an example of a
   message being copied that did not return a COPYUID; and, as expected,
   A007 shows that the mail store containing that mailbox does not
   support persistent UIDs.

4.  Formal Syntax

   Formal syntax is defined using ABNF [ABNF], which extends the ABNF
   rules defined in [IMAP].  The IMAP4 ABNF should be imported before
   attempting to validate these rules.

   append-uid      = uniqueid

   capability      =/ "UIDPLUS"

Top       Page 6 
   command-select  =/ uid-expunge

   resp-code-apnd  = "APPENDUID" SP nz-number SP append-uid

   resp-code-copy  = "COPYUID" SP nz-number SP uid-set SP uid-set

   resp-text-code  =/ resp-code-apnd / resp-code-copy / "UIDNOTSTICKY"
                     ; incorporated before the expansion rule of
                     ;  atom [SP 1*<any TEXT-CHAR except "]">]
                     ; that appears in [IMAP]

   uid-expunge     = "UID" SP "EXPUNGE" SP sequence-set

   uid-set         = (uniqueid / uid-range) *("," uid-set)

   uid-range       = (uniqueid ":" uniqueid)
                     ; two uniqueid values and all values
                     ; between these two regards of order.
                     ; Example: 2:4 and 4:2 are equivalent.

   Servers that support [MULTIAPPEND] will have the following extension
   to the above rules:

   append-uid      =/ uid-set
                     ; only permitted if client uses [MULTIAPPEND]
                     ; to append multiple messages.

5.  Security Considerations

   The COPYUID and APPENDUID response codes return information about the
   mailbox, which may be considered sensitive if the mailbox has
   permissions set that permit the client to COPY or APPEND to the
   mailbox, but not SELECT or EXAMINE it.

   Consequently, these response codes SHOULD NOT be issued if the client
   does not have access to SELECT or EXAMINE the mailbox.

6.  IANA Considerations

   This document constitutes registration of the UIDPLUS capability in
   the imap4-capabilities registry, replacing [RFC2359].

7.  Normative References

   [ABNF]        Crocker, D. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
                 Specifications: ABNF", RFC 4234, October 2005.

Top       Page 7 
                 VERSION 4rev1", RFC 3501, March 2003.

   [KEYWORDS]    Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
                 Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [MULTIAPPEND] Crispin, M., "Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) -
                 MULTIAPPEND Extension", RFC 3502, March 2003.

8.  Informative References

   [RFC2359]     Myers, J., "IMAP4 UIDPLUS extension", RFC 2359, June

9.  Changes from RFC 2359

   This document obsoletes [RFC2359].  However, it is based upon that
   document, and takes substantial text from it (albeit with numerous
   clarifications in wording).

   [RFC2359] implied that a server must always return COPYUID/APPENDUID
   data; thus suggesting that in such cases the server should return
   arbitrary data if the destination mailbox did not support persistent
   UIDs.  This document adds the UIDNOTSTICKY response code to indicate
   that a mailbox does not support persistent UIDs, and stipulates that
   a UIDPLUS server does not return COPYUID/APPENDUID data when the COPY
   (or APPEND) destination mailbox has UIDNOTSTICKY status.

Author's Address

   Mark R. Crispin
   Networks and Distributed Computing
   University of Washington
   4545 15th Avenue NE
   Seattle, WA  98105-4527

   Phone: (206) 543-5762
   EMail: MRC@CAC.Washington.EDU

Top       Page 8 
Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).

   This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
   contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors
   retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an

Intellectual Property

   The IETF takes no position regarding the validity or scope of any
   Intellectual Property Rights or other rights that might be claimed to
   pertain to the implementation or use of the technology described in
   this document or the extent to which any license under such rights
   might or might not be available; nor does it represent that it has
   made any independent effort to identify any such rights.  Information
   on the procedures with respect to rights in RFC documents can be
   found in BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Copies of IPR disclosures made to the IETF Secretariat and any
   assurances of licenses to be made available, or the result of an
   attempt made to obtain a general license or permission for the use of
   such proprietary rights by implementers or users of this
   specification can be obtained from the IETF on-line IPR repository at

   The IETF invites any interested party to bring to its attention any
   copyrights, patents or patent applications, or other proprietary
   rights that may cover technology that may be required to implement
   this standard.  Please address the information to the IETF at ietf-


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.