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11.7.2.6 Mail-like Back Ends

One of the things that separate the mail back ends from the rest of the back ends is the heavy dependence by most of the mail back ends on common functions in nnmail.el. For instance, here's the definition of nnml-request-scan:

     (deffoo nnml-request-scan (&optional group server)
       (setq nnml-article-file-alist nil)
       (nnmail-get-new-mail 'nnml 'nnml-save-nov nnml-directory group))

It simply calls nnmail-get-new-mail with a few parameters, and nnmail takes care of all the moving and splitting of the mail.

This function takes four parameters.

method
This should be a symbol to designate which back end is responsible for the call.
exit-function
This function should be called after the splitting has been performed.
temp-directory
Where the temporary files should be stored.
group
This optional argument should be a group name if the splitting is to be performed for one group only.

nnmail-get-new-mail will call back-end-save-mail to save each article. back-end-active-number will be called to find the article number assigned to this article.

The function also uses the following variables: back-end-get-new-mail (to see whether to get new mail for this back end); and back-end-group-alist and back-end-active-file to generate the new active file. back-end-group-alist should be a group-active alist, like this:

     (("a-group" (1 . 10))
      ("some-group" (34 . 39)))