Alfresco Community 3.2 introduces support for accessing the Alfresco server via the IMAP protocol. The protocol allows email applications that support IMAP, including Outlook, Apple Mail and Thunderbird, to connect to and interact with Alfresco repositories directly from the mail application.
Each user has their own set of mailboxes stored within alfresco, most importantly their INBOX. The emails within alfresco can be managed by Alfresco ECM, so for example workflow, transformation and permissions are all available.
In addition Share Sites can be nominated as "IMAP Favourites" in which case their contents will be shown as a set of IMAP folders. Non favourite sites are not shown.
A metadata extractor for IMAP emails (a.k.a RFC822 messages) can extract values from the contents of the email message and store the values as alfresco properties.
Alfresco IMAP Mount Points
IMAP mount points are used to control which folders are available via IMAP and the mode in which they are accessed. Modes are used to define the type of interaction available.
Mount Point Modes
The IMAP integration offers the following three different access Modes.
- ARCHIVE - Allows emails to be written to and read from Alfresco by the IMAP client by dragging/dropping, copy/pasting etc from the email client. Share Sites are not shown in ARCHIVE mode.
- VIRTUAL - Documents managed by Alfresco may be viewed as 'emails' from the IMAP client. Documents are shown as virtual emails with the ability to view metadata and trigger actions on the document using links included in the email body.
- MIXED - A combination of both archive & virtual modes i.e. both document access and email management are available.
Default Mount Point
By default, a single mount point called AlfrescoIMAP is defined for /Company Home running in Mixed mode.
Quick start : Enabling the IMAP Protocol
The IMAP subsystem is an optional service provided by Alfresco and is not switched on by default. To enable the IMAP protocol, locate and uncomment the following sample configuration entries in alfresco-global.properties:
Important: You should not use localhost as the imap.server.host - update this value with the IP address (or corresponding DNS address) of your external IP interface. A value of 0.0.0.0 in Unix will make it listen on the specified port on all IP interfaces.
Note: You will need to restart your Alfresco server for the new configuration to take effect.
More details about how to configure the IMAP subsystem
The Virtual View Email Format
The virtualized view uses Presentation Templates to generate the mail body and display document metadata, action links (for download, view, webdav, folder) and Start Workflow form (HTML view only). The templates are stored in the repository in /Company Home/Data Dictionary/Imap Configs/Templates There are separate templates provided to generate either a HTML or Plan Text body based on the the format request by the email client. The templates can be customized to change the metadata and actions available in the email body, see Template Guide for details on working with templates.
Check  for Alfresco & Microsoft Outlook 2007 integration.You can access Alfresco Content Repository in your outlook 2007 client on your machine.
Marking Sites as IMAP Favorites
In ARCHIVE and MIXED mode. In order to have access to Alfresco Share sites via IMAP , the site(s) need to be added to your list of sites using Share IMAP Favorites.
To add your site(s) to your list of sites available via IMAP, click the 'IMAP Favorites' icon in the Share - My Sites dashlet on your Share - My Dashboard page as illustrated in the screenshot below:
Refresh your IMAP view to see the new Site as illustrated below:
Connecting to Alfresco from Thunderbird
Connecting to Alfresco from Zimbra Desktop Client
The Zimbra Desktop Client allows you to specify an IMAP account.
Add New Account, Type IMAP
The important settings are:
- The imap port which will be 143 unless it has been changed.
- The imap server name which is the name of the machine running alfresco.
- The user which is a valid alfresco user id.
- The password which is a valid password for the specified user id.