Return Receipt capabilities

Posted on 2004-03-30
Last Modified: 2013-12-18
I'm trying to explain to a user why his Lotus clients “return receipt” option doesn’t work when he sends it to someone’s hotmail account.

To my knowledge, this function only works on other lotus mail clients that don’t have it blocked.  But I'm curious as to whether the return receipt memo is a generated by lotus script or what.
Question by:Marketing_Insists
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Accepted Solution

RanjeetRain earned 125 total points
ID: 10720770
You are right about it. But there is a sligh clarification I must make. It is basically a 'client feature'. What actually happens is, the mail is sent with an header something like x-notificationto (cant recall exactly, i can elaborate if you so desire). Now, the clients who understand this header, process it accordingly. Most sophisticated mail clients do. Since these web based mail clients are not programmed to process them, they do not respond to such headers.

Explaining can be difficult. But you may ask your users that if the recipients are  using a client like Outlook express (possible to use with hotmail in addition to all standard POP3, SMTP mail providers), they may get a return reciept, subject to the recipient wanting to do so.

Expert Comment

ID: 10723045
As long as the mail is sent in and among Notes Networks you will get the return receipt.  I dont think other clients like outlook express will be able to process this return receipt flag generated in Notes.  I am out of touch and may be outdated.  Lets see experts answers.
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Expert Comment

ID: 10724282
Return receipts are handled by the receiving server and not by our lotus server which sends the mail. So if the External server has methods to handle it, it will send u back , there is nothign much u can do from your side

The external server shd conform to MAPI (messaging application program interface) , i have seen Outlook and Eudora adhering to it ...

I am sure qwalette will answer this , as he is interested and expert in these topics

Partha ;-)
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Assisted Solution

qwaletee earned 125 total points
ID: 10728127
Hi p_partha,

Must I?

Oh, OK.  Notes hasndles return receipts by adding a "field" to the message.  Internet handles it by adding a "header."  The Domino SMTP server is wise enough to change the field to the appropriate header when a Notes message that bears a return receipt request is sent off to the Internet.

Problem is, not every mail system honors this header.  In fact, I can get Lotus Notes to not honor return receipts either.

The "unhonored" return receipt issue may lie in the client used to read the mail, or in the server the mail resides on.  When using a POP3 Windows client, it is generally the client itself (Outlook, Eudora, Messenger) that decides on (or is programmed to) honor of return receipt.  When using a web browser to read mail, it HAS to be the server that is programmed and decides.  Apparently, the Hotmail programmers either failed to support it properly, or decided it was something they did not want to allow.

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Expert Comment

ID: 10728257
Thx for the education qwal :-)

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Expert Comment

ID: 10729824
I do not know where the gap is! I think I was saying something similar. The term server and the client is the problem I suppose. Ok some more facts:

Read receipts (a confirmation message is sent to you when your message is actually read by its recipient) are a matter for mail user agents (clients) that actually read the messages out of message stores, rather than mail transfer agents such as PMDF that deliver messages to message stores. PMDF passes read receipts through so that mail user agents that support read receipts may act upon them, should they want to. [Source:]

Besides, the RFC 2298: Message Disposition Notifications says: Message disposition notifications are requested by including a Disposition-Notification-To header in the message.  Further information to be used by the recipient's UA in generating the MDN may be provided by including Original-Recipient and/or Disposition-Notification-Options headers in the message.

So, as it SHOULD be, it is a MUA feature. It depends on our understanding of MUA now.
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Expert Comment

ID: 10736363

Technically, it does NOT have to be the MUA that generates the receipt.  There are actually three pieces in the puzzle:

1) MTA -- either the final SMTP server, or some process the final SMTP server hansd the data off to; in Notes, that would be the Notes router.  For hotmail, that's a database engine that the SMTP receiver works with.

2) Client/Server interface -- POP3, IMAP4, or Notes server NRPC.  For hotmail, that would be the HTTP application server

3) The MUA -- Notes, Outlook, Eudora, or in hotmail's case... well, you might consider it the browser, or you might consider it the same as the "client/server" piece, since the browser is just the rendering agent, the network is the rendering carrier, HTTP is the render outbound trasnfer agent, and the applicatin code is the mail reader.

As you can see from the last few dozen words, the definition of an MUA is ill-defined.  And even in fairly well-defined cases -- standar POP3 servers -- there is nothing that says the Client/Server interface cna't gen a return receipt at the time the MUA downloads the message, and that could happen on the MUA side or the server side.

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Expert Comment

ID: 10738256
Qwaletee, that is agreeable. MUA can be interpreted differntly. That's the reason I said "it is a MUA feature. It depends on our understanding of MUA." Bsically, its all about how it is implemented or where (in which process) they execute that code. But in all fairness, in case of Hotmail, it is the client. In case of webbrowser they might not have implemented it, but any client that processes these headers can return a read reciept via the Hotmail server.

Marketing_Insists, for the sake of simplicity, you might tell your user that it is a client feature (you can safely assume that most industrial grade mail server implement return reciepts). So, if their recipients are using a web browser to access their Hotmail mails, they will not be recieving any return reciepts.

Author Comment

ID: 10846591
Lot's of Info, thanks.

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