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Take AJAX to your Email Inbox: Developing the Client-side Application Layer

Welcome to part two of the series “Take AJAX to your email inbox.” If the article’s title doesn’t ring any bells for you, let me tell you that this tutorial series goes through the making of a simple web-based POP3 client, which uses AJAX for pulling out email messages from a given mail server, and displays them right on a web page.

Author Info:
By: Alejandro Gervasio
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April 05, 2006
  1. · Take AJAX to your Email Inbox: Developing the Client-side Application Layer
  2. · Connecting to the mail server: defining the "sendHttpRequest()" function
  3. · Collecting connection data: defining the "getFormValues()" function
  4. · Displaying email messages: defining the "fetchMessages()" function
  5. · Initializing the POP3 client: defining the "initializeUserPanel()" function
  6. · Integrating the POP 3 client: listing the complete source code of the application

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Take AJAX to your Email Inbox: Developing the Client-side Application Layer
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Just so it's clear and fresh in your mind, in the previous article of the series, I built the user interface of the POP3 client. I defined the (X)HTML markup, and the accompanying CSS declarations, in order to set up the basic visual structure of the mail application. Additionally, I outlined the generic definitions for each of the JavaScript functions that compose the client-side application layer. These are the ones, as you'll see in a few moments, that will be responsible for doing a lot of useful things, such as requesting the PHP file that sends POP3 commands to the mail server, as well as controlling the behavior of each component of the user interface previously defined.

Before I can get email messages out of the mail server for inclusion in the web page, I must  turn my attention to developing the appropriate JavaScript layer that allows you to add functionality to the POP3 program's front-end. After all, you will want to know how to establish a connection to the mail server from inside the client-side application, and how to add the corresponding behaviors to the navigational buttons that are included as part of the user interface.

Keeping in mind these concepts, in this second tutorial I'll completely define all the JavaScript functions that you saw in the first article. Hopefully, by the end of this installment, you'll have a working set of functions capable of fetching messages from a given mail server to be displayed on the web document. You should also have a simple navigation mechanism, useful for going back and forth between messages.

Having established the goal of this tutorial, let's leap forward to coding the client-side layer of the web-based POP3 client. Let's go!

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