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Object-oriented API for accessing IMAP accounts.

Project description


This package provides an object-oriented API for accessing IMAP servers. It was written to provide an API that is simple to use while still maintaining good performance.


gocept.imapapi is sponsored by the Technical University of Munich as part of a research co-operation geared towards an integrated webmail system for the university’s student portal MyTum. Other components of this project include gocept.restmail and CMFWebmail.

This project was initially developed by gocept gmbh & co. kg.

Object-oriented API

One of the first goals of the webmail project was to factor out the lower-level utilities to allow others to build on our efforts.

This library takes on to provide a better abstracted, more object-oriented, well, more pythonic approach than the builtin imaplib does.

Let us give you an example of what we feel a good API looks like:

>>> from gocept.imapapi import Account
>>> account = Account('localhost', 10143, 'tim', 'mightywizard')
>>> account.folders.keys()
>>> account.folders['INBOX'].messages
<Messages object at 0x...>
>>> for message in account.folders['INBOX'].messages.values():
...     repr(message.headers['subject'])
u'Re: your spell from last week'
u'Enlarge your magic wand!'

Some of the aspects that come to mind when looking at this example:

  • Object model on top of protocol specifics

  • Use of native Python data structures

  • Decode protocol-specific data as early as possible (see the unicode headers)

With this approach we try to make programming IMAP clients simpler and more convenient.


The imapapi layer tries to keep the amount and size of communication as small as possible, only retrieving data when really needed and re-using data already retrieved.

As an examples, body content isn’t downloaded until needed and even when looking at the body structure we differentiate between metadata and content.


This package is still in early development and published for experimental purposes and to invite a wider community to join us developing an IMAP library that is more convenient than Python’s builtin imaplib.

Running the tests

The tests expect an IMAP server to be available on localhost:10143. The default buildout environment provides a dovecot installation for this.

As we aim to be compatible with as many IMAP servers as possible, you should be able to provide any IMAP server on this port, as long as a user ‘test’ with the password ‘bsdf’ is configured.

Warning: Do not let the tests run against a production system. They might wreak havoc.


0.5 (2011-01-31)

  • Added Folder.unread_message_count.

  • Added some debug output to help with #6830 and #7769.

  • Made some recently introduced logging more useful, adapted tests.

0.4.1 (2010-11-30)

  • Made the test infrastructure load test messages in a more stable order.

0.4 (2010-09-24)

  • Added filter criterion “seen” (#7263).

0.3 (2010-08-09)

  • Filter messages on the IMAP server. (#4699)

0.2 (2010-08-04)

  • Lots of changes (see svn log for details).

0.1 (2008-07-22)

  • initial release.

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