Open Push Email

email-broadcast.pngPeople are obsessed with making their email “broadcast”. Push email is a big deal… but sadly it means you have to lock yourself into a single email service from a single provider. You want near real-time push email… Blackberry or Exchange… or you can pretty much forget about it.

So, why can’t we have an open alternative?

There are a multitude of ways to get real time notifications of new emails, and there is no reason for that mechanism to be an integral part of the email solution itself. Given that I set out to make a push email solution for my Google Apps accounts that would effectively notify on my iPhone or any other device.

As it turns out the solution is actually very simple. I created a simple server process that checks my inbox every few seconds and sends me an Instant Message (IM) when I have a new email. I also incorporated sender and subject filters – so you can get notified only for the emails you want.

I could have made it send me a Twitter DM, or an SMS, or plugged it in to PubSubHubBub, or RSS Cloud…

The point is, the actual mechanism for the notification isn’t really all that important…

More after the jump…

How does it work?

EmailToIM is a PHP daemon that will run on any system that has PHP installed. It periodically checks for new messages on your email server (IMAP only) and sends you an IM if it finds one.

For notifications on my iPhone I use BeeJive IM with Apple’s push notifications turned on.

Where can I get it?

I’ve set up a Google Code project for it here.

It is open source (GPL v3).

If you have any questions let me know.

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