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From Nitin Borwankar <>
Subject MIME dump/load and implications
Date Thu, 06 Aug 2009 20:46:26 GMT
Hi guys,

I see that the python based dump/load uses MIME multipart docs as an on-disk
serialisation format for couchdb databases.
An overall question then arises - can CouchDB be considered a MIME database
which oh also happens to talk JSON?
So before that - is there a 1-1 strong correspondence between a CouchDB
document and a MIME multipart, or are there things around the edges that are
crufty - I would assume a strong correspondence since dump/load uses it and
I haven't seen any caveast about document content that is not dumpable.

So assuming the 1-1 correspondence - could one use some "translation layer"
couchapp that accepts arbitrary content/type + multipart-mixed MIME object
over HTTP and then transparenty serialise them to JSON underneath.

Given that dump/load already does this - it would see that there are no
obvious glaring flaws in this logic - but I have been known to be wrong,
once :-).

If this is indeed feasible - then each CouchDB + MIME-trans becomes a web
mail node - and Couch begins to be the platform for  a messaging revolution
as well as an application revolution. I am thinking now not as CouchDB for
backing up your email - but CouchDB as your mail client/server for p2p MIME
based "email".

Permissions etc are important to avoid complete disaster of course - but
private high quality communication that just reuses existing message
formats, with better storage and transport would seem like an idea whose
time has come a long time ago and has been knocking at the door for a

Yes, yes, there's the issue of spam - so see the P.S.

Just a few idle thoughts,


P.S.  Back in 1998 I tried to convince Sybase to have MIME as a native type
in the db and it even got speced out ( I have the spec with the date on it!
) but got canned becous ethe VP of enginnering wanted to know "what was the
market exactly for this kind of stuff".  Other than that I was granted  a
patent for doing p2p discussions over email back in 2003 - I let it expire
for multiple reasons.  So I am somewhat non-naive about and aware of the
issues and pitfalls around this sort of thinking. At the same time I am of
the strong belief that when one looks at messages as data to be moved around
between endpoints with well defined addressing schemes, and one ignores the
protocols for a bit, then all sorts of fun things start to happen.

37% of all statistics are made up on the spot
Nitin Borwankar

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