Parsing an Email header

Posted on 2003-11-02
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Hello, I want to Parse the Date from a header, so I need a parser which looks for ";" in the header and Save the Value after ";" as a String.

Here is a header;:
Return-Path: <>
Received: from ( [])
      by (8.12.8/8.12.8) with ESMTP id h9OFOduM018338
      for <>; Fri, 24 Oct 2003 17:24:39 +0200
Received: from (localhost.localdomain [])
      by (8.12.8/8.12.8) with ESMTP id h9OFOcag028455
      for <>; Fri, 24 Oct 2003 17:24:38 +0200
Received: from ([])
      by (MailMonitor for SMTP v1.2.2 ) ;
      Fri, 24 Oct 2003 17:24:38 +0200 (CEST)
Received: from ( [])
      by (8.12.8/8.12.8) with ESMTP id h9OFOcAO010270
      (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=EDH-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA bits=168 verify=NO)
      for <>; Fri, 24 Oct 2003 17:24:38 +0200
Received: (from wwwrun@localhost)
      by (8.11.3/8.11.3/SuSE Linux 8.11.1-0.5) id h9OFOce24381;
      Fri, 24 Oct 2003 17:24:38 +0200
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1899 01:00:00 +0100
Message-Id: <>
Subject: test
Content-Type: text/html; charset=windows-1254
From: "Arash Mahini" <>
X-Mailer: System33r
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=4.2 required=5.0 tests=FORGED_YAHOO_RCVD,HTML_MESSAGE,
      autolearn=no version=2.60
X-Spam-Level: ****
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.60 (1.212-2003-09-23-exp) on
In-Reply-To: test
I want to get "Fri, 24 Oct 2003 17:24:39 +0200" in a String (Or TDateTime).

Question by:k4hvd66
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

Wim ten Brink earned 113 total points
ID: 9667200
The Indy components have a component called TidMessage. If you load this source into such a component then the properties allow you access to most of these fields.

Expert Comment

ID: 9669160
My problem is the TIdMessage, I cannot get the right Date of message with TIdmessage, it changes the date to "Now"!!
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:Wim ten Brink
ID: 9669928
And what if you use TIdMessage.Headers.Values['Date'] instead of the Date property? The Date property is not the same as the Date value in the header.
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LVL 26

Assisted Solution

EddieShipman earned 112 total points
ID: 9673937
The problem with the appraach you are taking in searching for a ';' is that other headers may and do have that character in them.

What you are trying to parse, from what I can see, is the Received headers.

Even TidMessage doesn't parse the headers of an email like we would like. It just places them into a stringlist.

What you can do is to write a handler to take the headers, look for the word "Received:" . Something a little like this using
the NameValue Pairs on the headers:

        idPop31.Retrieve(i, msg);
        msg.Headers.NameValueSeparator := ':';
        if Length(msg.Headers.Text) > 0 then
          for x := 0 to msg.Headers.Count-1 do
            s := msg.Headers.Names[x];
            if s = 'Received' then
              s := msg.Headers.Values[s];
              iPos := Pos(';', s);
              s := Trim(Copy(s, iPos+1, Length(s)));
               // s now contains the date from the received header

Its too bad that there isn't a standard that these haders should be formatted. That is one beef I have with W3C because it makes
fighting spam a lot more difficult.

LVL 26

Expert Comment

ID: 9673959
But, your header may have multiple Received haeders and you would get a date for each one.
If you really are looking for just the Date header, then Workshop_Alex had the right answer

But then again, you asked to get the "Fri, 24 Oct 2003 17:24:39 +0200" datetime and it is in
your Received header....


Author Comment

ID: 9673967
what do you mean to this:
procedure TForm1.Parse(S : String; var List : TStringList);
L : TstringList;
I : Integer;
 L := TstringList.Create; // use another TStringList to parse source string on subelements
 L.Text :=S;

 If L.Count > 0 Then
    If List = Nil Then List := TStringList.Create Else List.Clear;
    For I := 0 To L.Count-1 Do
      List.Values[Copy(Trim(L[I]),1,Pos(';',Trim(L[I]))-1)] := Trim(Copy(Trim(L[I]),Pos(';',Trim(L[I]))+1,Length(Trim(L[I]))));


procedure TForm1.Button1Click(Sender: TObject);
VAR S:STring; L1:TStringList;
L1 :=TStringList.Create;
Parse (Memo1.Lines.Text, L1);
ShowMessage('Date: '+L1.Values['']);



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