Feeds

Lamson - email app coding without the palm sweat

Doing what Java never did

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Lamson actually tackles the problem of e-mail development being hard, instead of taking the pathological attitude of the Java community to leave everything as an exercise to the reader.

A good example is an e-mail list. A user subscribes by sending a message to subscribe@manpanties.com, expressing his interest in joining a list for men who prefer the comfort and style of ladies' underwear. The list server then sends back a confirmation message to which this gentleman must reply. After a successful reply, he is free to discuss silk vs. cotton with his brethren. This interaction can be modeled by a state transition diagram, which I'm sure you will remember from computer science class. A user transitions from START to PENDING to POSTING, depending on how he has interacted with the system. Lamson applications make heavy use of finite state machines and allow you to program them in a silky soft, Pythonic way.

Now, that's a clean example of the type of application Lamson encourages. The dirty example is spam, of course. Perhaps some of the greatest minds on e-mail specifications and programming have devoted their lives to selling penis pills, weight loss pills, and pyramid scams. It's possible that a framework like Lamson already exists in the discount Viagra underground, but is considered a competitive advantage, so it stays under wraps. Even so, Lamson will make it very easy for spammers to track their victims' interactions with the campaigns, but that may actually be a net positive for the internet.

As Zed explains, "I totally think Lamson will be used more for spam than for anything really useful. My hope with Lamson is that it acts like a modern sewage system for the internet. Everyone's gotta poop. You can't escape it, so why not try to do it in a clean fashion that improves the general health of everyone involved?

He adds: "With Lamson, you have a simple system for either blocking or sending spam, but more importantly for doing it in a modern high quality smart way. Rather than blasting out billions of junk ads nobody wants, I'm hoping that smart spammers will become "marketers" and start sending clean advertisement to people who might actually want it."

With easier stateful e-mail programming, it's possible that spammers will concentrate more on conversion rates than number of impressions. If that's possible, it may also be possible to convince them that you can get a cheap and quick buzz by inhaling the fumes released when you mix ammonia and bleach. Hey, a man can dream.

Lamson is yet another iteration of the Cycle of Hard Stuff. In programming, there are many protocols and standards that are ill understood by the masses. Every now and again, and alpha programmer will come along and put a nice API on top of one of these protocols, which opens the field up to anyone with a computer and enough denial power to turn that humility into self-confidence. Rails did this to web development, JQuery did it to Javascript, and now Lamson is doing it to e-mail. With a fresh tarball of Lamson and your copy of Learn Python in 24 Hours, you'll be up and spamming in no time.

Either that or you can use it to integrate your company's helpdesk system with e-mail. Take your pick.

You can visit the Lamson Project home page here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV
Alert system tips oblivious phone junkies to oncoming traffic
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.