Sending Mail via the Web

Mr. Lerner continues his look at building a simple, integrated mail system that can be accessed using a web browser.

Sending mail from an HTML form is one of the oldest uses of the CGI standard. Many such programs have been created, although they have not always been careful to restrict spam or other abuses. As we have seen, it is possible to get around most of these problems, but it is important to think about them before putting your system on-line.

By combining a simple mail-reading program with a simple mail-sending program, we can create a basic web-based mail service that is as open or closed as we desire. Perhaps these programs do not scale as well as Hotmail, but they do give us some insight into how that service (and similar ones) work, as well as what we might need to do with our own programs in order to make them as useful as possible.


Reuven M. Lerner is an Internet and Web consultant living in Haifa, Israel, who has been using the Web since early 1993. His book “Core Perl” will be published by Prentice-Hall in the spring. Reuven can be reached at The ATF home page including archives and discussion forums, is at


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