• United States
Senior Editor

Controlling e-mail

Jul 28, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Proposed standard and scripting language Sieve struggling to find a niche

Once thought of a s technology that might offer relief for corporate users struggling to manage overflowing e-mail in-boxes, Sieve is now struggling to find a niche.

Sieve, which became a proposed Internet Engineering Task Force Standard in January 2001, is a scripting language designed for use by end users to write e-mail filters, such as automatically sorting incoming mail into folders based on a sender’s address.

Network World Senior Editor John Fontana this week writes that since then, the complexity of scripting and lack of support in standard clients has conspired to keep adoption low. Dramatic changes in the messaging landscape, most notably spam now appear to be casting Sieve in a new light.

Fontana notes that with the spam explosion, companies have taken mail filtering chores from the desktop to the IT level and deployed gateways or firewalls in an attempt to stem the blitz. For vendors, such as Vircom, Brightmail and Rockliffe, Sieve has become one tool that lets its customers write customized filters for their spam engines and even share scripts.

It could breath new life into Sieve because adoption by end-users has been stymied by the fact that in-box filtering is mostly a power-user endeavor. Also, Microsoft’s Outlook, which has its own filtering technology and does not support Sieve, is now the default client for both Microsoft’s Exchange Server and IBM/Lotus Domino, which together account for more than 200 million e-mail seats. In addition, neither messaging server supports Sieve, which can be implemented on a server or a client. Also, Sieve, which at its heart is a scripting language, has never had an easy-to-use GUI interface for low-tech end-users.

For more on where Sieve is going see: