Webmail

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The term Webmail (or Web-based e-mail) is used to describe two things. One use of the word is to describe a Webmail client: an email client implemented as a web application accessed via a web browser. This article focuses in this use of the term. The other use of the word is to describe an email service offered through a web site (a webmail provider) such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and AOL Mail;.[1] Practically every webmail provider offers email access using a webmail client, and many of them also offer email access by a desktop email client using standard email protocols, while many internet service providers provide a webmail client as part of the email service included in their internet service package.

As with any web application, webmail's main advantage over the use of a desktop email client is the ability to send and receive email wherever there's a web browser. Its main disadvantage is the need to be connected to the internet while using it (Gmail offers offline use of its webmail client through the installation of Gears.[2]).

Contents

History

In the early days of the web, in 1994 and 1995, several people were working on enabling email to be accessed on a web browser. In Europe, Soren Vejrum and Luca Manunza released their "WWW Mail"[3] and "WebMail"[4][5] applications, whereas in the United States, Matt Mankins wrote "Webex".[6] Each of these early applications were perl scripts which included the full source code available for download.

Also in 1994, Bill Fitler, while at Lotus cc:Mail in Mountain View, California, began working on an implementation of web-based email as a CGI program written in C on Windows NT, and demonstrated it publicly at Lotusphere in January 1995.[7][8][9]

Soren Vejrum's "WWW Mail" was written when he was studying and working at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, and was released on February 28, 1995.[10] Luca Manuza's WebMail was written while he was working at CRS4, in Sardinia, with the first source release on March 30, 1995.[11] In the United States, Matt Mankins, under the supervision of Dr. Burt Rosenberg at the University of Miami [12] released his "Webex" application source code in a post to comp.mail.misc on August 8, 1995,[13] although it had been use as the primary e-mail application at the School of Architecture where Mankins worked for some months prior.

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