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Java Cookbook, 2nd Edition by Ian F Darwin

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Chapter 19. Java and Electronic Mail

Introduction

Sending and receiving email from a program is easy with Java. If you are writing an applet, you can simply trick the browser into composing and sending it for you. Otherwise, you can use the JavaMail Extension (package javax.mail) to both send and read mail. JavaMail provides three general categories of classes: Messages , Transports, and Stores. A Message, of course, represents one email message. A Transport is a way of sending a Message from your application into the network or Internet. A Store represents stored email messages and can be used to retrieve them as Message objects. That is, a Store is the inverse of a Transport, or, looked at another way, a Transport is for sending email and a Store is for reading it. One other class, Session, is used to obtain references to the appropriate Store and/or Transport objects that you need to use.

Being an extension, the JavaMail package must be downloaded separately from Sun's web site and is not part of the core API. It's worth it, though. For the cost of a few minutes' downloading time, you get the ability to send and receive electronic mail over a variety of network protocols. JavaMail is also included in the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), so if you have J2EE you do not need to download JavaMail.

Finally, as you might have guessed from Chapter 16, it's not that big a stretch to write code that contacts an SMTP server yourself and pretends to be a mail program. Hey, why pretend? ...

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