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03 May 2018
Recently I've been working on EAI mail, looking at what software is available (Gmail and Outlook/Hotmail both handle it now) and what work remains to be done. A surprisingly tricky part is assigning EAI addresses to users.
In traditional ASCII mail, the local part of the address, what goes before the @ sign, can be any printable ASCII characters. Although an address like %i()/;~email@example.com is valid, and mail systems will handle it, users don't want addresses like that. A good address is one that is easy to remember, easy to tell someone over the phone, and easy to type.
Mail systems all give senders some help when interpreting addresses. If an address is Bob@example, they'll accept bob@ or BOB@. If the address is joe.smith@, they'll accept Joe.Smith@ and often variations in punctuation like joesmith@ without the dots.
The flip side of this is that you don't assign different addresses that are too similar. While it is techincally possible that BOB@ and bob@ could deliver to different mailboxes, nobody does that. Similarly, nobody makes joesmith@ and joe.smith@ different. (They may not both work, but if they do, they're the same mailbox.)
The domain (the part of the address after the @ sign) has to follow the DNS rules, which don't allow any fuzzy matching other than ASCII upper and lower case.How does all this extend into EAI mail?
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