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Sieve Extension for Converting Messages before Delivery

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 6558.
Authors Kepeng Li , Alexey Melnikov , Barry Leiba
Last updated 2020-01-21 (Latest revision 2011-12-01)
Replaces draft-melnikov-sieve-convert
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Proposed Standard
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream WG state WG Document
Document shepherd (None)
IESG IESG state Became RFC 6558 (Proposed Standard)
Action Holders
Consensus boilerplate Unknown
Telechat date (None)
Responsible AD Pete Resnick
Send notices to (None)
Sieve Working Group                                          A. Melnikov
Internet-Draft                                             Isode Limited
Intended status: Standards Track                                  Q. Sun
Expires: June 3, 2012                                           B. Leiba
                                                                   K. Li
                                                     Huawei Technologies
                                                        December 1, 2011

        Sieve Extension for Converting Messages Before Delivery


   This document describes how the "CONVERT" IMAP extension can be used
   within the Sieve mail filtering language to transform messages before
   final delivery.

Status of this Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on June 3, 2012.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2011 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as

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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.    Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   1.1.  Conventions Used in this Document . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

   2.    "convert" action  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
   2.1.  Interaction with other tests and actions  . . . . . . . . . . 4
   2.2.  "convert" as a test . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

   3.    Examples  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   3.1.  Example 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
   3.2.  Example 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   3.3.  Example 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
   3.4.  Example 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

   4.    Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

   5.    IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

   6.    Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

   7.    Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

         Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

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1.  Introduction

   The IMAP "CONVERT" extension [RFC5259] adds an IMAP command for
   performing client-controlled conversions on whole messages or their
   body parts.  This document defines a similar extension to the Sieve
   mail filtering language [RFC5228], which reuses the conversion
   parameters and framework established by IMAP CONVERT.

1.1.  Conventions Used in this Document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

   Conventions for notations are as in Sieve [RFC5228] section 1.1,
   including the use of ABNF [RFC5234].

2.  "convert" action

   Usage: convert  <quoted-from-mime-type: string>
           <quoted-to-mime-type: string>
           <transcoding-params: string-list>

   The "convert" action specifies that body parts with "quoted-from-
   mime-type" MIME type be converted to "quoted-to-mime-type" MIME type
   using conversion parameters specified in "transcoding-params".  Each
   conversion parameter value has the following syntax: "<transcoding-
   param-name>=<transcoding-param-value>", where <transcoding-param-
   name> and <transcoding-param-value> are defined in CONVERT [RFC5259].
   Messages that don't have any body parts with the "quoted-from-mime-
   type" MIME type are not affected by the conversion.

   The "convert" action can be used with Sieve MIME Part Tests
   [RFC5703], in the case that some, but not all of the body parts need
   to be converted, or where different body parts might require
   different conversions.  When the "convert" action appears in a
   "foreverypart" loop, it applies only to the body part being
   processed, and not to any other body parts (see Section 3.2 for an

   When the "convert" action appears outside a "foreverypart" loop, the
   conversion applies equally to all body parts -- that is, all body
   parts that have the "quoted-from-mime-type" are converted, using the
   same transcoding parameters.

   A single "convert" action will only apply once to any body part.  If,
   for example, << convert "image/jpeg" "image/jpeg" ["pix-x=100","pix-

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   y=120"] >> converts a larger JPEG image to the smaller 100 x 120
   size, that will be the end of that "convert" action on that body
   part.  The action will not see a "new" JPEG body part to process,
   resulting from the conversion.

   If a "convert" action cannot be completed -- perhaps because the
   conversion failed, or because the requested conversion is not
   available -- that "convert" action MUST terminate and leave the
   message unchanged, rolling back any other conversions done by that
   action.  The script processing continues, and prior or subsequent
   "convert" actions are not affected.  No error condition is raised,
   and no partial conversions from a single "convert" action are

   Implementations might defer any actual conversion until the the
   results of the conversion are needed for script processing, to avoid
   doing conversions unnecessarily.  Consider the case wherein a
   "convert" action is processed, but a "discard" action results without
   the need to actually perform the conversion.

   When conversions actually need to be done, they can put a significant
   load on the server.  Computationally expensive conversions of a lot
   of body parts can constitute an attack vector, and even if done
   legitimately they can create an unacceptable load.  Servers MAY
   refuse conversions, or do them at lower priority, effectively slowing
   the requesting process in order to avoid negative effects on service
   to other processes.

2.1.  Interaction with other tests and actions

   Whether the actual conversion has been done yet or not, a successful
   "convert" action effectively changes the message, and all subsequent
   actions, including any other "convert" actions, apply to the changed
   message.  The "convert" action does not affect the applicability of
   other actions; any action that was applicable before the "convert" is
   equally applicable to the changed message afterward.

   When a disposition-type action, such as "fileinto" or "redirect", is
   encountered, the state of the message with respect to conversions is
   "locked in" for that disposition-type action.  Whether the
   implementation performs the action at that point or batches it for
   later, it MUST perform the action on the message as it stood at the
   time, and MUST NOT include subsequent conversions encountered later
   in the script processing.  Therefore, the sequence "convert,
   fileinto, convert, fileinto" will store two different versions of the
   message: the first "fileinto" uses only the first conversion, while
   the second uses both.  See Section 3.4 for an example of how this can
   be used.

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   In addition, any tests done on the message and its parts will test
   the message after prior conversions have been done.  The fourth block
   of Section 3.4 shows an example of this situation.

   Convert actions are cumulative, and each conversion operates on the
   message as it stands after all prior conversions.  See the fourth
   block of Section 3.4 for an example of how this might be tricky.

   Because the implicit keep (see Section 2.10.2 of [RFC5228]), if it is
   in effect, acts on the final state of the message, all conversions
   are performed before any implicit keep.

2.2.  "convert" as a test

   To simplify testing for supported and successful conversions, the
   "convert" action can also be used as a test.  As such, it will
   attempt to perform the requested conversion(s), and will evaluate to
   "false" if and only if at least one conversion failed.  The failure
   can be because a conversion was unsupported, or because the data
   could not be converted (perhaps it had been corrupted in transit, or
   mislabeled at its origin).

   This creates a new type of Sieve action, a "testable action".  The
   usage as a test is exactly the same as for an action, and it doubles
   as an action and a test of the action's result at the same time.  See
   Section 3.2 for an example of how this test can be used.

   Note that defining this new testable action does not change the
   definitions of any other actions -- it does not imply that other
   actions can be used as tests.  Future extensions might define other
   testable actions, but those specifications would be responsible for
   clearly specifying that.

3.  Examples

3.1.  Example 1

   In the following example, all "image/tiff" body parts of the message
   are converted to "image/jpeg" with image resolution of 320x240
   pixels.  The converted message is then subject to the implicit keep.

       require ["convert"];
       convert "image/tiff" "image/jpeg" ["pix-x=320","pix-y=240"];

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3.2.  Example 2

   In the following example, all "image/tiff" body parts of the message
   are converted to "image/jpeg", as in Example 1.  If the conversions
   were successful, those messages are then filed into a mailbox called
   "".  Other messages (those with no image/tiff body parts)
   are subject to the implicit keep, and have not been converted.

       require ["mime", "fileinto", "convert"];
       if header :mime :anychild :contenttype
                 "Content-Type" "image/tiff"
        if (convert "image/tiff" "image/jpeg" ["pix-x=320","pix-y=240"])
         fileinto "";

3.3.  Example 3

   In the following example, only "image/tiff" body parts with a
   Content-Disposition of "inline" are converted.  Matching parts that
   are larger than 500 kilobytes are converted using an image resolution
   of 640x480 pixels, and those smaller are converted to 320x240 pixels.
   The message disposition is not changed, so the implicit keep will be
   in effect unless something else in the script changes that.

       require ["mime", "foreverypart", "fileinto", "convert"];
         if header :mime :param "filename" :contains
                   "Content-Disposition" "inline"
           if size :over "500K"
            convert "image/tiff" "image/jpeg" ["pix-x=640","pix-y=480"];
           } else {
            convert "image/tiff" "image/jpeg" ["pix-x=320","pix-y=240"];

       [... script continues ...]

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3.4.  Example 4

   The following example shows some tricky interactions between multiple
   "convert" actions and other disposition-type actions.

       require ["mime", "foreverypart",
                "fileinto", "redirect" "convert"];

       # The first "if" block will convert all image/tiff body parts
       # to 640x480 jpegs, and will file the message
       # into the "" mailbox as converted at this point.
       if header :mime :anychild :contenttype
                 "Content-Type" "image/tiff"
         convert "image/tiff" "image/jpeg" ["pix-x=640","pix-y=480"];
         fileinto "";

       # The second block, the "foreverypart" loop, will convert all
       # inline jpegs to 320x240 resolution... including any tiff body
       # parts that had been converted in the first block, above.
       # Therefore, any tiff that had been converted to a 640x480 jpeg
       # will be re-converted to a 320x240 jpeg here if its
       # Content-Disposition is specified as "inline".
         if header :mime :param "filename" :contains
                   "Content-Disposition" "inline"
           convert "image/jpeg" "image/jpeg" ["pix-x=320","pix-y=240"];

       # The third block will take any message that contains a header
       # field called "Mobile-Link" and redirect it to the user's
       # mobile address.  The redirected message will include both
       # conversions above, from block one and block two.
       if exists "Mobile-Link"
         redirect "";

       # The fourth block will file the message into "Tiff" if it
       # contains any tiff body parts.  But because of the earlier
       # conversion (in the first block), there will never be any
       # tiff body parts, so this "fileinto" will never happen.
       if header :mime :anychild :contenttype
                 "Content-Type" "image/tiff"

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         fileinto "Tiff";

       # Now, at the end of the script processing, the Sieve
       # processor will perform an implicit keep if none of
       # the "fileinto" and "redirect" actions were taken.
       # The kept message will include any conversions that
       # were done (that is, any from the second block).

4.  Security Considerations

   Security considerations given in IMAP CONVERT [RFC5259] and Sieve
   [RFC5228] are relevant to this document.  There are no additional
   security considerations resulting from combining the two.

5.  IANA Considerations

   IANA is requested to add the following registration to the Sieve
   Extensions registry, as defined in RFC 5228:

   Capability name:  convert
   Description:  adds a new Sieve test and action that enable Sieve
      scripts to perform data conversions on the message being
   RFC number:  this RFC
   Contact address:  The Sieve discussion list <>

6.  Acknowledgements

   The authors also want to thank all who have contributed key insight
   and extensively reviewed and discussed the concepts of CONVERT.

7.  Normative References

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC5228]  Guenther, P. and T. Showalter, "Sieve: An Email Filtering
              Language", RFC 5228, January 2008.

   [RFC5234]  Crocker, D. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax
              Specifications: ABNF", STD 68, RFC 5234, January 2008.

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   [RFC5259]  Melnikov, A. and P. Coates, "Internet Message Access
              Protocol - CONVERT Extension", RFC 5259, July 2008.

   [RFC5703]  Hansen, T. and C. Daboo, "Sieve Email Filtering: MIME Part
              Tests, Iteration, Extraction, Replacement, and Enclosure",
              RFC 5703, October 2009.

Authors' Addresses

   Alexey Melnikov
   Isode Limited
   5 Castle Business Village
   36 Station Road
   Hampton, Middlesex  TW12 2BX


   Qian Sun
   Huawei Technologies
   Bantian Longgang
   Shenzhen, Guandong  518129
   P.R China

   Phone: +86 755 28780808

   Barry Leiba
   Huawei Technologies

   Phone: +1 646 827 0648

   Kepeng Li
   Huawei Technologies
   Huawei Base, Bantian, Longgang District
   Shenzhen, Guangdong  518129
   P. R. China

   Phone: +86-755-28974289

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