wmcbrine.github.io

The Blue Wave Offline Mail System Developer’s Kit

Copyright (C) 1992-1995 by Cutting Edge Computing
All Rights Reserved

File Structures - Version 3
November 30, 1995

Created by George Hatchew
Documentation by Martin Pollard

Markdown by William McBrine on 21 January 2022

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Blue Wave Offline Mail System File Structures (hereafter known as “structures” or “the structures”) were created by George Hatchew, and are the copyrighted property of George Hatchew and Cutting Edge Computing. Permission is granted for third parties to use these structures in their own programs, without any royalties or licenses required. Cutting Edge Computing reserves the right to make any changes to these structures, at any time. As such, third parties are requested not to make any unauthorized changes to these structures, as Cutting Edge Computing is not bound to follow these changes. Any proposed changes should be brought to the attention of Cutting Edge Computing, where they may be included in future revisions of the structures.

Authors that use these structures are allowed to claim that their programs are “Blue Wave compatible”, provided that such programs can process mail and reply packets that can be handled without problems or difficulties by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Doors and Readers from Cutting Edge Computing. (Think of it as the “litmus test” for Blue Wave compatibility.)

Finally, “Blue Wave” is a trademarked term of Cutting Edge Computing, and cannot be used by authors in the titles of their applications. This does not, however, restrict the ability to describe the application as a “Blue Wave compatible” offline mail application (i.e. “FooBar: The Blue Wave-Compatible Offline Mail Door for Widget BBS”).

TRADEMARK NOTICES

The following are products, trademarks, or registered trademarks of the following individuals and/or companies:

Any omissions from this list are purely unintentional.

Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Section 1.1 Introduction

The Blue Wave Offline Mail System Developer’s Kit allows you to create applications that can process mail and reply packets that are compatible with The Blue Wave Offline Mail System. Examples of such applications include (but are not limited to):

The Blue Wave packet format was designed as a means to provide advanced offline mail capabilities in an easy-to-develop-for design. Initially created for the mail technology of the FidoNet network, it has been expanded to allow offline mail capabilities for the global Internet network, and has plenty of room to expand for the future.

Section 1.2 Overview of The Developer’s Kit

The following files are included in The Blue Wave Offline Mail System Developer’s Kit:

BLUEWAVE.H

Blue Wave file structures for C. To use in your applications, simply place:

#include "bluewave.h"

at the start of your program. This header uses data types and preprocessor directives defined in the 1989 ANSI/ISO C standard, and should be compatible with any C compiler that conforms to the ANSI/ISO specification. In addition, the data types have been defined in such a way that the header can be used in both 16-bit and 32- bit programs.

BLUEWAVE.INC

Blue Wave file structures for Turbo Pascal. To use in your applications, simply place:

{$I bluewave.inc}

at the start of your program. This header uses data types and other language features found only in Borland Turbo Pascal; users of other Pascal compilers may need to make modifications. It has been tested with both Turbo Pascal and Borland Pascal, versions 5.5 through 7.0.

Note that the Turbo Pascal header is provided only as a convenience for Pascal programmers. Since all Cutting Edge Computing products are written in C, little to no support for Pascal programmers can be provided. For all intents and purposes, Pascal programmers are on their own.

The Blue Wave Offline Mail System Developer’s Kit is designed for the professional programmer, one who’s been “around the block a few times” and knows his way around a compiler and the operating system. (We do NOT recommend this developer’s kit for the less experienced programmer.) As such, this document was written with the professional programmer in mind. It is NOT a tutorial on programming, compilers, or operating systems; that would be far beyond the scope of this developer’s kit.

Chapter 2: A SHORT HISTORY OF OFFLINE MAIL

Before diving into the specifics of the Blue Wave format, it may be of interest to examine the history of offline mail, and the role Blue Wave plays in this little drama. This will give you an understanding of where Blue Wave came from, and why it was created.

Section 2.1 Necessity is a Mother…

The concept of offline mail was popularized in the late 1980s, due mainly to the ever-increasing popularity of networks such as FidoNet and RIME. As the flow of mail increased, systems became increasingly bogged down as users spent more and more time reading mail online. This presented problems for both users and SysOps: Users often racked up large phone bills due to the enormous amount of time they spent online, and SysOps became frustrated at the fact that fewer and fewer users could access their systems (since users were spending more and more time online). There HAD to be a better way.

Fortunately, a “better mousetrap” would soon become available: Software that allowed users to download mail bundles, or “packets”, and read them offline, on their own systems. Replies could then be created, stored in reply packets, and uploaded to the BBS the next time the user was online. This combination of BBS (door) and user (reader) software became known as “offline mail systems”, and was a godsend all around: Users got a break in their phone bills, and BBSes became less clogged with people reading mail online, allowing more users to enjoy them.

Section 2.2 The Pioneers of Offline Mail

Three gentlemen from the FidoNet and RIME network communities – Mike Ratledge, Hector Santos, and Mark “Sparky” Herring – are generally regarded as being the pioneers of offline mail. They were the first to bring the concept to the masses.

  1. Mike Ratledge and XRS. XRS, or Express Response System, was an offline mail door/reader combination for the QuickBBS bulletin board system. XRS became quite popular within the QuickBBS community, but unfortunately, never developed beyond it. Updates to XRS soon became few and far between, and eventually, Mr. Ratledge officially ended development of XRS.

  2. Hector Santos and Silver Xpress. Like XRS, the Silver Xpress door/reader combination was originally written for a specific BBS package, (Opus; in fact, Silver Xpress was originally called Opus Xpress). Unlike XRS, however, the Silver Xpress software line branched out into other BBS packages, and has become quite popular with users. Software developers, however, do not enjoy that popularity, as the advanced Silver Xpress packet format is proprietary. As such, no third-party doors, readers, or utilities can be created that will work with Silver Xpress mail packets, and limits Silver Xpress to only those software and hardware platforms that are supported by Santronics Software.

  3. Mark “Sparky” Herring and QWK. The QWK mail format was developed out of the message base format used by the PCBoard BBS software, and was used by Mr. Herring to create a door (Qmail) and reader (DeLuxe2, then 1st Reader) for it. Eventually, the format of QWK mail packets became widely known, and many QWK-compatible doors and readers sprang into existence, making QWK one of the most popular formats available for offline mail. Unfortunately, there is a down side to QWK, which will be explained shortly.

Section 2.3 Open Standards and the Blue Wave Format

The availability of an open standard for offline mail has several advantages, the main one being that anyone can create a door, reader, or utility which processes mail packets in such a format. It’s not restricted to one person or platform.

The QWK format is one such format; to date, there are dozens of doors, readers, and utilities that support QWK. Unfortunately, the format has one rather glaring drawback, in that there is no consistency to it. Mark Herring never officially released the specifications for the QWK format to the public; by all reports, it was “hacked out” by several people. As such, much of what is supposed to be done to create a QWK mail packet is left open to interpretation. Also, QWK was never designed to handle the complexities of mail from such networks as FidoNet and the Internet (as mentioned earlier, QWK was derived from the PCBoard message base format, and PCBoard did not support FidoNet and Internet mail until very recently). Because of this, authors of QWK products took it upon themselves to add their own enhancements and extensions to the format, most of which conflict with each other. The result is that the “QWK standard” is hardly a standard at all, and anyone who wishes to write a program to fully handle QWK packets must go through lots of programming gymnastics to support all the variations.

Enter the Blue Wave format. The Blue Wave Offline Mail System was developed by George Hatchew in 1990, after becoming dissatisfied with the offline mail system offerings of the time.

For several years, the Blue Wave format was as proprietary as the XRS and Silver Xpress formats, until Mr. Hatchew decided to add QWK packet support to his reader. He then became painfully aware of the many problems inherent in the QWK format, and decided:

  1. That a more powerful format needed to be made available to the public, one that would handle the many complexities of current mail systems, while at the same time be easy for developers to implement.

  2. That control over future enhancements and development of the format be retained by a single party, in order to avoid the same chaos that is rampant in the QWK developer community.

Thus, Mr. Hatchew decided to make the newly-overhauled Blue Wave format available to third-party developers, subject to the condition that any enhancements or modifications be approved and made ONLY by him (to prevent the Blue Wave format from receiving the same “hatchet job” that the QWK format has undergone). Since that time, over two dozen Blue Wave compatible doors, readers, and utilities have been created, covering a wide range of hardware (IBM PC, Macintosh, Amiga) and operating systems (MS- DOS, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, MacOS), with more applications arriving all the time. In addition, several BBS programs are now including Blue Wave offline mail as an integral part of the BBS software, with more sure to follow.

Chapter 3: DESCRIPTION OF BLUE WAVE PACKETS

Any discussion of the Blue Wave format must begin with a description of the concepts of “mail packets” and “reply packets”, as well as the individual files found in both. Such information is essential to understanding the Blue Wave format as a whole.

Section 3.1 Filename Conventions

The Blue Wave Offline Mail System was originally developed for IBM PC and compatible computer systems running MS-DOS (or a compatible operating system such as PC-DOS or Novell DOS). As such, the Blue Wave format revolves around the DOS filename convention: One to eight characters, followed by an optional period and up to three additional characters (the “DOS filename” or “8.3 filename” format).

Other operating systems, such as OS/2, Windows NT, and Windows 95, allow filenames that can be up to 255 characters long, and do not have to conform to the DOS filename convention. However, in order to keep mail and reply packets compatible with DOS systems – still the most widely available, and thus the “lowest common denominator” – the Blue Wave format requires that the DOS filename convention be used, even on systems that don’t have this limitation.

Finally, DOS filenames can consist of letters, numbers, and several punctuation characters. However, if you plan to write a Blue Wave compatible application that will create packets which will be used on non-DOS systems, you should keep in mind the fact that some systems might not be able to handle any characters other than letters and numbers. (This is especially true for ASCII characters 128 through 255, which DOS will allow but other systems almost certainly will not. You should therefore consider these characters to be strictly off limits.)

Section 3.2 The Packet ID

Blue Wave mail and reply packets revolve around what is called the “packet ID”. This is a string of one to eight characters, and serves as a unique identifier for each host system. It is mainly used to create the filenames for mail and reply packets, and the data files contained within each. (For example, the packet ID for The Wild! Blue BBS is “WILDBLUE”.)

Section 3.3 The Blue Wave Mail Packet

A Blue Wave mail packet actually consists of several files, all bundled together into an archive file. (It is assumed that you are already familiar with archiving utilities, such as PKWare’s PKZIP and PKUNZIP.) The mail packet is created on a host system, and contains messages selected by the user to be read offline.

Mail packets consist of the following data files (“<packetid>” refers to the packet ID used by the host system):

<packetid>.INF

Contains information about the host system, the user who requested the mail packet, and the message areas available on the host system.

<packetid>.FTI

Contains the header information for each message obtained from the host system. The information contained in the headers include the person who wrote the message (the “From” field), the person to whom the message was addressed (the “To:” field), and so on.

<packetid>.MIX

An index file designed to provide quick access to messages within the mail packet.

<packetid>.DAT

The text of each message obtained from the host system.

Optionally, some additional files may also be present in the mail packet. These files include:

Text files containing bulletins and other announcements from the host system. They can either be specified in the *.INF file, or be present as files named “BLT.” (any filename is valid, so long as it begins with “BLT”) or “*.TXT” (i.e. any filename with an extension of .TXT). The methods used to display these bulletins is up to the programmer.

A file called “NEWFILES.*” (any extension is valid), a text file listing all new files available for download from the host system. The methods used to display this list is up to the programmer.

The filename to be used for mail packets consists of the packet ID, followed by an extension in one of two formats:

DAY OF WEEK - Comprised of the first two characters of the weekday name, followed by a digit from 0 to 9. Examples: SU1, MO4, TH0, FR9. Keeping track of the next valid digit to be used for a user’s mail packet is up to the programmer.

NUMERIC - Comprised of a one to three digit number, i.e. 0-9, 00-99, or 000-999. (Using a three digit number is highly recommended.) Keeping track of the next valid number to be used for a user’s mail packet is up to the programmer.

Some examples of mail packet filenames are WILDBLUE.SU0 and WILDBLUE.019.

Section 3.4 The Blue Wave Reply Packet

A Blue Wave reply packet actually consists of several files, all bundled together into an archive file. It is created by the offline reader, and contains messages written by the user that are to be uploaded to a host system.

Reply packets consist of the following data files (“<packetid>” refers to the packet ID used by the host system):

<packetid>.UPL

Contains information about the reader, as well as the header information and the filename containing the message text (see below) for each message in the reply packet.

<filename>

A text file containing the text of a reply message. Each reply message is stored in its own individual text file, and each text file can only correspond to ONE reply message (that is, one text file cannot be used for multiple reply messages). The names used for these files is up to the programmer.

In addition, one of more of the following optional files may be contained in the reply packet:

<packetid>.REQ

Contains a list of files that the user wishes to download from the host system. The procedure used to actually download requested files is left to the programmer.

<packetid>.OLC

Contains information used to configure the offline mail features on the host system. Also known as “offline configuration” or “door configuration”. The *.OLC file is a plain text file, making it easier to add enhancements and extensions.

The following files are now officially obsolete, but door authors may still need to write code to handle them:

<packetid>.UPI

Contains information about the reader, as well as the header information and the filename containing the message text for each NON-NETMAIL message in the reply packet.

<packetid>.NET

Contains the header information and the filename containing the message text for each NetMail message in the reply packet.

<packetid>.PDQ

Contains information used to configure the offline mail features on the host system.

The functions of the *.UPI and *.NET files were combined into the *.UPL file. The limited *.PDQ file was replaced by the more extensible *.OLC file (the latter being a plain text file, and hence easier to add updates and new features).

The filename of the reply packet consists of the packet ID and the extension “.NEW”. For example, a reply packet destined for The Wild! Blue BBS would be assigned the name “WILDBLUE.NEW”.

Chapter 4: FILE STRUCTURE TECHNICAL INFORMATION

This chapter goes into the technical details behind the Blue Wave file structures. Such details include the data types that are used and how they’re stored in the structure, how the structures are defined in programs, “big endian” versus “little endian” CPU architectures, and reserved fields in the structures.

Section 4.1 Data Types

The following data types are used in the structure definitions:

tBYTE

An unsigned 8-bit integer. Allowable values range from 0 to 255.

tCHAR

An unsigned 8-bit integer. Allowable values range from 0 to 255. Used to define an array of ASCII characters, aka a “string”. (Strings are stored in C fashion: Zero or more characters terminated with an ASCII 0 character.)

tINT

A signed 16-bit integer. Allowable values range from -32,768 to 32,767.

tWORD

An unsigned 16-bit integer. Allowable values range from 0 to 65,535.

tLONG

A signed 32-bit integer. Allowable values range from -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647.

tDWORD

An unsigned 32-bit integer. Allowable values range from 0 to 4,294,967,295.

Since the Blue Wave format was originally designed for the IBM Personal Computer and compatible systems, multi-byte data types (tINT, tWORD, tLONG, and tDWORD) are expected to be stored in the format used by the Intel 80x86 CPU. This format is called “little endian”, and specifies that the least significant byte is to be stored first, followed by the next significant byte, and so on. However, some CPUs – such as the Motorola 68000 – store multi-byte data types in the exact opposite way (known as “big endian” format). Using the Blue Wave structures on a “big endian” CPU will be discussed in a moment.

Section 4.2 Using the File Structures

As explained in section 1.2, the file structures are provided as a header file for use with the C programming language. To include the header file into your program, simply place the statement:

#include "bluewave.h"

at the start of your source file.

Each file structure is defined as a C data structure (struct) via the typedef directive. This makes it easy to define variables and pointers in your programs. For example:

INF_HEADER infhdr;

defines the infhdr variable as a data structure of type INF_HEADER. (Again, it is assumed that you are familiar with the C language and the concepts of structures, type definitions, and so forth.)

Accessing fields in the data structures is accomplished just like any other C variable or data structure. However, if you are programming for a “big endian” CPU, you have an additional chore: Converting data types between “little endian” and “big endian”. First off, place the following line in your program BEFORE you include the header file, like so:

#define BIG_ENDIAN
#include "bluewave.h"

This will define the 16-bit and 32-bit data types as arrays of bytes. You must then write functions that will convert these fields from “little endian” to “big endian” and back again, and use these functions whenever you access a structure field.

Finally, all structures must be stored in “packed” format; that is, the compiler must not insert padding between the data fields in order to force those fields onto CPU word boundaries. Most Intel compilers default to “packed” mode, but if yours does not, you must use the appropriate compiler commands or preprocessor directives to set “packed” mode before including the header file in your program. If this is not done, mail and reply packets generated by your program will not be compatible with the vast majority of Blue Wave compatible programs.

Section 4.3 Using the Structure Length Fields

Several of the file structures include fields that define the lengths of the other structures used in mail and reply packets. These fields are used to ensure that programs can use future versions of the structures without breaking.

Authors should take the time to add the few extra lines of code needed to fill in the structure length fields, and take into account (when reading mail and reply packets) the possibility of extensions to the file structures. If the structures are LONGER than expected, simply perform a seek() to move past the additional information to the next record. If the structures are SHORTER than expected – a situation which you should almost never encounter, but is nevertheless possible – a simple “please upgrade your door [or reader]” should suffice, as any additional information that is sent in the structure probably would not be crucial, and you will most likely be able to continue without it.

(It should be noted that all versions of The Blue Wave Offline Mail Door prior to version 3.00 set these fields to 0, as this extensibility was not added to the Blue Wave format until the 3.00 series was released. If the structure length fields are 0, applications should assume that all records are of the sizes defined as the “ORIGINAL_xxx_LEN” macros. Note that there is no definition for the original length of the *.UPL structures, as the pre-3.00 doors did not recognize *.UPL files.)

An example of how to use these structure length fields is given in the comments at the start of the header file. A snippet of C code not only demonstrates the length fields, but the use of the ORIGINAL_xxx_LEN macros as well.

Section 4.4 Unused and Reserved Fields

There are plenty of fields in the Blue Wave structures that are not yet being used, and are marked as “reserved” in the header file. THESE AREAS ARE NOT TO BE USED BY PROGRAMMERS. They are reserved for future expansion of the Blue Wave format, and if you use them for your own purposes, you run the very real risk of making your program incompatible with future versions of the Blue Wave format.

Future updates of the Blue Wave structures will assume that any unused fields (including unused bits in bit-flag fields) are “garbage free” (i.e. filled with binary zeroes). To accomplish this, you should use the memset() function to zero out the structure before adding information to it. For example, using:

memset(&inf_record, 0, sizeof(INF_AREA_INFO));

prior to putting information into the structure will ensure that programs using future versions of the structures will not break on packets created by programs using older structures.

Again, WE CANNOT STRESS HIGHLY ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF ENSURING THAT UNUSED FIELDS ARE CLEARED TO BINARY ZERO! Get into the habit of zeroing out structures before adding information to them and writing them to disk; a little work now will save everyone a whole lot of grief in the long run.

Chapter 5: BLUE WAVE FORMAT DETAILED ANALYSIS

This chapter goes into detail on each file in the Blue Wave mail and reply packets; the file structures that comprise each file; and the fields in each file structure.

Section 5.1 The *.INF File

The *.INF file consists of two parts: A single required header, and zero or more message area information records corresponding to each area on the host system to which the user has access.

Note that ALL message areas to which the user has access MUST be included in the *.INF file. The only time an area can be omitted is if the user does not have access to that area on the host system. This is necessary in order for the user to be able to add and/or drop message areas via offline configuration.

The header is called INF_HEADER, and contains the following fields:

ver

The version of the Blue Wave format being used. This value can be obtained using the PACKET_LEVEL macro defined in the header file.

readerfiles[]

An array specifying the filenames of the bulletin files included in the packet by the host system. The method used to display these files is up to the programmer. Up to 5 files can be specified.

regnum

Used by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Door to store the registration code of the door. Third-party authors should ignore this field.

mashtype

Used by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader to store the compression type of the mail packet archive.

loginname

The name used by the user when logging on to the host system. This is usually the user’s real name. Doors are required to fill this field.

aliasname

An alternate name used by the user on the host system. This is usually the user’s alias, or “handle”. If this field is empty, it usually means that the host system does not support alternate names, and the loginname field should be used instead.

password

The password required to access the mail packet. As a simple security measure, each character of the password is stored as the ASCII value plus 10.

passtype

A value indicating the type of password specified in the password field. 0 indicates no password, 1 indicates a door password, 2 indicates a reader password, and 3 indicates both a door and a reader password.

zone, net, node, point

These four fields make up the main FidoNet-style network address of the host system. If the host system does not have a FidoNet-style address, these fields should be set to 0.

sysop

The name of the SysOp of the host system.

ctrl_flags

Bit-mapped flags that control certain features of the reader. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

systemname

The name of the host system.

maxfreqs

The maximum number of files that the user may request from the host system. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline file request feature.)

is_QWK

Normally, the Blue Wave reader stores a copy of the *.INF file each time a mail packet is open, so that it can process reply packets without the need to open a mail packet. QWK mail packets, however, do not have *.INF files, thus the Blue Wave reader creates one and sets this flag. This way, the reader will properly access the *.REP reply packet (instead of trying to access a Blue Wave format *.NEW reply packet).

uflags

Bit-mapped flags that indicate the options enabled by the user on the host system mail door. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline configuration feature.)

keywords[]

An array specifying the mail bundling keywords defined by the user on the host system mail door. Up to 10 keywords may be specified. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline configuration feature.)

filters[]

An array specifying the mail bundling filters defined by the user on the host system mail door. Up to 10 filters may be specified. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline configuration feature.)

macros[]

An array specifying the mail bundling macros defined by the user on the host system mail door. Up to 3 macros may be specified. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline configuration feature.)

netmail_flags

Bit-mapped flags indicating the NetMail status flags that the user is allowed to specify on NetMail messages sent through the host system. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

credits

The current amount of NetMail credit accumulated by the user on the host system.

debits

The current amount of NetMail debit accumulated by the user on the host system.

can_forward

A flag that indicates if the host system allows the user to forward messages. A non-zero value indicates that forwarding is allowed.

inf_header_len

Indicates the size of the INF_HEADER structure.

inf_areainfo_len

Indicates the size of the INF_AREA_INFO structure.

mix_structlen

Indicates the size of the MIX_REC structure.

fti_structlen

Indicates the size of the FTI_REC structure.

uses_upl_file

A flag that indicates if the host system can handle a *.UPL file in the reply packet. A non-zero value indicates that *.UPL files are supported.

Note that version 3 and later of the Blue Wave format requires the use and support of *.UPL files.

from_to_len

The maximum length of the From: and To: fields that the host system can support. If this value is 0, then a value of 35 must be assumed (35 characters is the limit in the Blue Wave reply header).

subject_len

The maximum length of the Subject: field that the host system can support. If this value is 0, then a value of 71 must be assumed (71 characters is the limit in the Blue Wave reply header).

packet_id

The host system packet ID. This is provided so that even if the mail or reply packets are renamed to something completely different, doors and readers will still be able to work with the proper files (the files inside the mail and reply packets use the packet ID as part of the filename).

Note that this field was not supported until version 3.00 of The Blue Wave Offline Mail Door. If this field is empty, reader authors should assume that the root name of the *.INF filename is the packet ID.

file_list_type

Indicates the type of new file list that is generated by the host system. Refer to the header file for a list of valid types. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline configuration feature.)

auto_macro[]

An array of flags specifying which of the macros in the macros[] array are auto-macros (i.e. the door executes them automatically every time a user requests a mail packet be bundled for download). Up to three flags may be specified, each corresponding to the three entries in the macros[] array. A non-zero value indicates that a particular macro is an auto-macro. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline configuration feature.)

max_packet_size

Specifies the maximum size (in kilobytes) allowed for an uncompressed mail packet. A zero value specifies that there is no limit to the maximum size of the mail packet. (This field is intended for use with the reader’s offline configuration feature.)

The message area information record is called INF_AREA_INFO, and contains the following fields:

areanum

The area number on the host system. The string placed in this field may (and usually will) correspond to a numeric value; some systems may allow non-numeric characters as an area identifier, which is perfectly legal. Duplicate area numbers are not allowed.

Doors must place the value contained here into the *.MIX index file record (discussed later). Readers normally won’t need to use this field, except perhaps when displaying the list of message areas to the user.

echotag

A tag name that uniquely identifies the message area. Duplicate tag names are not allowed. (For FidoNet EchoMail areas, we recommend using the EchoMail tag name, as they are also required to be unique.)

Readers will use this field when generating records in the *.UPL reply file (discussed later). Doors can then use the value to ensure that messages are posted to the proper message areas (if, for example, the SysOp has added, deleted, or moved message areas around on the host system).

title

A short description of the message area. Most host systems will provide this information; if not, you can probably use the value in the “echotag” field.

area_flags

Bit-mapped flags indicating the status and usage of the message area. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

network_type

Indicates the type of network to which messages in this area belong. Refer to the header file for a list of available network types. (Currently, the Blue Wave format supports the FidoNet and Internet networks.)

Section 5.2 The *.MIX File

The *.MIX file consists of zero or more records, each corresponding to a message area listed in the *.INF file. Each *.MIX record contains information on the number of messages in each area, as well as the offset in the *.FTI file (described later) to the start of the message headers for each area.

The index record is called MIX_REC, and contains the following fields:

areanum

The area number on the host system. This field must contain the same value as the corresponding field in the *.INF record.

totmsgs

The total number of messages in the area. (Note that this is the number of messages that were downloaded from the host system.)

numpers

The total number of personal messages (i.e. messages addressed to the user) in the area.

msghptr

The offset (in bytes) in the *.FTI file (described later) to the start of message headers for the area. This allows readers to quickly find the message headers for the area, rather than having to scan through the entire *.FTI file for them. (If there are no messages in the area, this field is irrelevant, and should be ignored by readers.)

Section 5.3 The *.FTI File

The *.FTI file contains the header information for each message downloaded from the host system. This includes the names of the persons who wrote the messages and who they are addressed to, the date and time each message was written, and the offsets into the *.DAT file (discussed later) for the text of each message.

Note that message headers for each area must be in area number order, and all messages for an area must be grouped together. That is, all headers for the first message area will appear in the *.FTI file first, followed by the headers for the second area, then the third area, and so on.

The message header record is called FTI_REC, and contains the following fields:

from

The name of the person who wrote the message.

For Internet E-mail messages and Usenet newsgroup articles, this field should contain the name derived from the “From:” line in the RFC header, which is usually in one of the following formats:

From: George Hatchew <bwave@ibm.net>
From: bwave@ibm.net (George Hatchew)

and may or may not be contained within quote marks. If the name cannot be accurately determined, the Internet address can be used instead. (Refer to section 5.4, “The *.DAT File”, for information on preserving the RFC header for Internet messages.)

to

The name of the person to whom the message is addressed.

For Usenet newsgroup articles, the text “All” should be placed in this field, as Usenet articles are not addressed to specific individuals. For Internet E-mail messages, this field should contain the name derived from the “To:” line in the RFC header, which is usually in one of the following formats:

To: George Hatchew <bluewave@cris.com>
To: bluewave@cris.com (George Hatchew)

and may or may not be contained within quote marks. If the name cannot be accurately determined, the Internet address can be used instead. (Refer to section 5.4, “The *.DAT File”, for information on preserving the RFC header for Internet messages.)

subject

The subject of the message. For Internet E-mail messages and Usenet newsgroup articles, this field should contain as much of the text in the “Subject:” line of the RFC header as possible. (Refer to section 5.4, “The *.DAT File”, for more information on preserving the RFC header for Internet messages.)

date

The date and time the message was written. There is no exact format required for this field; it is mainly used for display purposes in the reader. We recommend the use of the Fido date format (“DD MMM YY HH:MM:SS”), if possible.

msgnum

The number corresponding to the message stored on the host system. Values greater than 65,535 should be wrapped (i.e. 65,536 will be 0, 65,537 will be 1, and so on). This field is used mainly for display purposes in the reader.

replyto

The message number on the host system to which this message is a reply. Used in the reader to jump back and forth along a message thread.

replyat

The message number on the host system which is a reply to this message. Used in the reader to jump back and forth along a message thread.

msgptr

The offset (in bytes) to the start of the text of this message in the *.DAT file (described later). Each message in the mail packet MUST have corresponding text in the *.DAT file; refer to section 5.4, “The *.DAT File”, for more information.

msglength

Length of the message text, in bytes.

flags

Bit-mapped flags indicating the status of the message. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

orig_zone, orig_net, orig_node

For FidoNet NetMail messages, these fields indicate the address of the node (zone:net/node) that created the message.

Section 5.4 The *.DAT File

The *.DAT file contains the text of each message in the mail packet. A message consists of a mandatory space character (ASCII 32), followed by zero or more characters. (ASCII characters 1 to 255 are valid. ASCII 0 is not permitted, since it is used as a string terminator in the C language.) The message does not need to be terminated with an ASCII 0 character, since the exact length of the text (including the leading space character) is stored in the *.FTI record.

The formatting of text follows the standard established by FidoNet, with each paragraph terminated by a carriage return (ASCII 13). Linefeeds (ASCII 10), if present, are to be ignored. So-called “soft carriage returns” (ASCII 141), which some editors use for formatting lines of text, should generally be ignored except under special circumstances (such as in situations where foreign or double-byte character sets are recognized). “Hidden text lines” are allowed by placing an ASCII 1 character at the start of the line, and terminating the line with a carriage return; such lines should generally not exceed 79 characters. In FidoNet bases, hidden text lines serve as extensions to the specs of FidoNet messages, and are used to specify control information that is otherwise incomplete or unavailable. (FidoNet refers to these lines as “kludge lines” or “control lines”.)

Note that if the host system uses a different character to terminate lines and paragraphs, that character should be replaced with a carriage return when packing messages. An example of such a system is PCBoard, which uses an ASCII 227 for terminating lines and paragraphs in messages.

General guidelines for packing messages in doors:

Local message bases

The entire text of the message can be packed verbatim.

FidoNet NetMail bases

Again, the text of the message can be packed verbatim. You may also elect to strip out kludge lines, as they add unnecessary overhead to the mail packet (this is usually provided as a user-selectable option).

Note that the FMPT kludge line, which specifies the point number portion of the origin address, MUST be present in NetMail messages if the point number is not zero. This is to overcome an oversight in the Blue Wave specifications (the *.FTI record does not include a field for the point number). If a message contains this line, it must not be stripped out; if it does not have one, but the point number is not zero, then it must be added to the message during packing. The format is FMPT nnn, where “nnn” is the point number (the line is preceded by an ASCII 1, and terminated with a carriage return).

FidoNet EchoMail bases

Once again, the text can be packed verbatim, and hidden text lines may be stripped out at the user’s request.

Note that the MSGID kludge line, if present, MUST NOT be stripped, in order to accommodate reply linking. (Reply linking is discussed in section 5.5, “The *.UPL File”.) Also note that SEEN-BY lines, which indicate the systems that have seen the message, can be treated as kludge lines; they can be stripped at the user’s request, or they can be included in the text (and should, ideally, be hidden behind ASCII 1 characters, so that they will be treated by readers as hidden text lines).

Internet and Usenet bases

Internet E-mail and Usenet newsgroup messages, as obtained from the Internet, follow the format specified in Internet document RFC-822. This format calls for messages to be stored as lines of text, with the header lines first, followed by a blank line, then the lines of message text. Most host systems, when importing Internet E-mail and Usenet newsgroups, will usually retain this format.

When packing RFC-822 style messages, the header lines must be converted to hidden text lines; these hidden text lines must not be stripped. Not only will this hide the header from the user (in readers that suppress the display of hidden text lines), it allows the reader to more easily find header lines when creating reply messages, as creating replies to these messages requires information that can only be obtained from the RFC-822 header.

General guidelines for handling messages in readers:

If the initial space character is not present when reading the message text, the reader can assume that the message text (and possibly the enter *.DAT file itself) has been damaged. The character itself is not to be displayed, as it is only used as an indicator in the *.DAT file.

If a line of text is wider than the display area, the text should be wrapped. Generally, this wrapping is done at the first space character before the display area limit, so that words do not get chopped in half.

Hidden text lines should ideally be suppressed by the reader, as they usually contain control information that is not important to the user. Under such circumstances, the reader should provide an option for displaying these lines upon request of the user. (For example, The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader will – starting with version 2.20 – only display hidden text lines in a pop-up window when the user enters the command to do so.) It’s the best of both worlds: The lines are hidden, yet available to the user whenever the need arises.

Section 5.5 The *.UPL File

The *.UPL file consists of two parts: A single required header, and zero or more reply records corresponding to each message contained in the reply packet. Each reply record includes the names of the persons who wrote the replies and who they are addressed to, the date and time the reply was written, and the name of the file containing the text of the reply message.

Note that reply records do not have to appear in any particular order, save for the fact that they must always follow the header.

The header record is called UPL_HEADER, and contains the following fields:

regnum

Used by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader to store the registration code of the reader. Third-party authors should ignore this field.

vernum

The version number of the reader. As a simple security measure, each character of the version number is stored as the ASCII value plus 10.

reader_major

The major version number of the reader (i.e. the number to the left of the decimal point). For example, the value 2 would be stored here for version 2.20.

reader_minor

The minor version number of the reader (i.e. the number to the right of the decimal point). For example, the value 20 (decimal) would be stored here for version 2.20.

reader_name

The name of the reader. Door programmers can use this field to display the name of the program which created the reply packet.

upl_header_len

Indicates the size of the UPL_HEADER structure.

upl_rec_len

Indicates the size of the UPL_REC structure.

loginname

The name used by the user when logging on to the host system. It should be filled with the name found in the corresponding field in INF_HEADER, and can be used by door authors as a possible security measure.

aliasname

An alternate name used by the user on the host system. It should be filled with the name found in the corresponding field in INF_HEADER, and can be used by door authors as a possible security measure.

reader_tear

The abbreviated name of the reader. Doors can use this field, in conjunction with the vernum field, to add “brag lines” (and tear lines in FidoNet EchoMail bases) to reply messages when storing them in the host’s message bases.

Note that older readers, such as versions of The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader prior to version 2.20, may not fill in this field. If it is blank, the brag/tear line to be generated is left to the discretion of the author.

compress_type

Used by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader to store the compression type used by the reply packet.

flags

Used by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader to store various flags required for reply message processing.

not_registered

A flag that indicates the reader is not registered. If it is non-zero, the reader that generated the reply packet has not been registered by its user. Doors can use this field to add an indicator to the brag/tear line which shows that the reader is not registered (for example, The Blue Wave Offline Mail Door will append “[NR]” to the line).

The reply message record is called UPL_REC, and contains the following fields:

from

The name of the person who wrote the reply message. This field should only be used for message areas that allow any name to be entered in the From field; otherwise, the user’s name or alias (obtained from the host system) should be used.

to

The name of the person to whom the reply message is addressed. Note that this field applies only to local and FidoNet areas only. For Internet E-mail areas, the destination E-mail address is obtained from the net_dest field (described below). Usenet newsgroups do not use a To field, thus doors should use the text “All” when storing messages on host systems that have such a field.

subj

The subject of the reply message. For Internet E-mail and Usenet newsgroup areas, doors should examine the text of the reply message for a Subject control line, and compare the text in that line with this field (ignoring any “Re:” sequences). If the two are equal, up to the length of the text in this field, the door should assume that the user did not change the subject, and use the text in the Subject line instead of the text in this field (in order to preserve subjects longer than 71 characters). Otherwise, the door can assume that the user has changed the subject, and should use the text in this field.

destzone, destnet, destnode, destpoint

For FidoNet NetMail reply messages, these fields indicate the address (zone:net/node.point) of the node to whom the message is addressed.

msg_attr

Bit-mapped flags indicating the status of the reply message. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

netmail_attr

For FidoNet NetMail reply messages, these bit-mapped flags indicate the attributes that should be applied to the message. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

unix_date

The date and time the message was written, stored Unix style as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970. Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) should be taken into account when storing and using this value (the date and time functions in many C compilers handle this automatically).

replyto

The message number (obtained from the msgnum field in FTI_REC) to which this message is a reply.

filename

The name of the file which contains the text of the reply message. If the file does not exist in the reply packet, or if this field is empty, the door should consider the record to be invalid.

echotag

The tag for the message area on the host where this reply message should be stored. This field must contain the same text as the corresponding field in INF_AREA_INFO, and is used by the door to ensure that the reply message ends up in the proper area.

area_flags

Contains the value stored in the corresponding field in INF_AREA_INFO, and is used to ensure that later editing of the reply message is handled properly. This is useful in situations where the reader has not kept a copy of the *.INF file from the host system and the user wishes to modify the reply packet without also opening a mail packet for the host system. Door authors should ignore this field.

f_attach

The name of the file that is “attached” to the reply message. Used on host systems that support attaching files to messages. If the UPL_HAS_FILE flag in the msg_attr field is not set, or the area does not support attached messages, doors should ignore this field.

user_area

Provided for reader authors to use as they see fit, to store reader- specific information for the reply message. Doors should ignore this field.

Note that even though this field is provided for your use, the use of a separate file (one that is not part of the official Blue Wave specification) is recommended. The reason for this is that reader authors have no way of distinguishing the information in this field; thus, if the reply packet is handled by more than one reader, the information in this field could be clobbered.

network_type

Contains the value stored in the corresponding field in INF_AREA_INFO, and is used to indicate the type of network to which the reply message belongs. This allows for proper processing of the reply message, as doors and readers can tell “at a glance” which fields in the reply record should be used for the particular network type.

net_dest

For Internet E-mail reply messages, this field contains the E-mail address of the person to whom the reply message is destined. It is this text that will be placed in the To: line of the RFC-822 header.

For FidoNet NetMail and EchoMail messages, this field is used to store the information necessary for the door to generate a MSGID/REPLY kludge line, as per FidoNet technical document FTS-0009. The text to be stored in this field should be in the format REPLY: msgid_info, where “msgid_info” is the information following the MSGID keyword. Doors can then take the information in this field and store it in the message on the host system (be sure to place an ASCII 1 in front of it).

Note that doors should ensure that the field is valid by testing to see if it begins with REPLY: (FidoNet areas only). If it does not, the field should be ignored.

Section 5.6 Reply Message Text

As indicated above, the text of each reply message is stored in its own separate file in the reply packet. As with the message text stored in the *.DAT file, the text stored in a reply message text file consists of zero or more characters (ASCII values 1 through 255), with each line or paragraph terminated by a carriage return (ASCII 13). Linefeeds (ASCII 10) are optional, as are so-called “soft” carriage returns (ASCII 141). Carriage returns and linefeeds should be handled according to the conventions of the host system (for example, PCBoard requires that lines and paragraphs be terminated with an ASCII 227 character; in such cases, carriage returns should be converted to ASCII 227, and linefeeds should be ignored).

For local and FidoNet reply messages, readers should not generate any hidden text lines in the message text. Doors should strip any such lines before storing the message text on the host system. This is to prevent malicious users from sending out fake control information through FidoNet. (Authors should obtain FidoNet technical documents FTS-0001, FTS-0004, and FTS-0009 for more detailed information.)

For Internet E-mail and Usenet newsgroup reply messages, the following hidden text lines can be placed in the message text (authors should obtain Internet technical documents RFC-822 and RFC-1036 for more information):

Subject:

This should be an exact copy of the Subject: line from the message in the mail packet. Doors can compare this line to the subject text in the “subj” field of UPL_REC, to determine if this field should be used in place of the “subj” text. This allows long subject lines to be preserved, and is a requirement for proper message processing in Usenet newsgroups.

References: (Usenet newsgroup areas only)

This should be an exact copy of the References: line from the message in the mail packet, with the text of the Message-ID: line (if present) appended to it. If a References: line is not present in the original message, readers should create one (using the contents of the Message-ID: line). This allows the References: line – used by many Usenet news readers to thread messages – to be preserved, and is a requirement for proper message processing in Usenet newsgroups.

Newsgroups: (Usenet newsgroup areas only)

This line lists the newsgroups to which the message will be posted. If a Followup-To: line is not present in the original message, the contents of the original Newsgroups: line should be used (if present). If a Followup-To: line is present, the contents of that line should be used, and the original Newsgroups: line discarded. (This follows standard practice for Usenet news readers.)

Readers can allow the user to alter the contents of this line, if needed, so that the reply message will be posted (by the news server) to multiple newsgroups.

Followup-To: (Usenet newsgroup areas only)

This line lists the newsgroups to which replies to this message should be posted, and is completely optional. Readers can allow the user to alter the contents of this line, if needed, so that when other users reply to this message, it will be posted (by their news server) to the newsgroups listed in this line.

X-Mailreader: (Internet E-mail areas only)

X-Newsreader: (Usenet newsgroup areas only)

Identifies the reader which created the reply message. This line should be appended to the end of the RFC-822 header when generating the message on the host system.

Other RFC-822 header lines – From:, To:, Message-ID:, etc. – should not be included, as it is the job of the door to create these lines when uploading the reply message to the host system.

The following details should be observed by doors when uploading messages to the host system:

Local areas

No special circumstances required.

FidoNet NetMail areas

The FMPT and TOPT kludge lines should be added, as appropriate, so that point messages are properly processed. An INTL kludge line should be added to messages destined for a different zone. Adding a MSGID kludge line is recommended, and a REPLY kludge line should be added if the necessary information is in the net_dest field of UPL_REC. Refer to FidoNet technical documents FTS-0001 and FTS-0009 for more information.

FidoNet EchoMail areas

The FMPT, TOPT, and INTL kludge lines are not needed, and in fact are illegal in EchoMail messages. Adding a MSGID kludge line is recommended, and a REPLY kludge line should be added if the necessary information is in the net_dest field of UPL_REC. A tear line and an origin line should be appended to the message. Refer to FidoNet technical documents FTS-0004 and FTS-0009 for more information.

Internet E-mail areas

For host systems that require it, the complete RFC-822 header should be generated, with all necessary fields (including From:, To:, Date:, and Message-ID:). Include the fields described earlier if necessary.

Some host systems may require more or less information; the door author will have to code the door to handle things accordingly.

Usenet newsgroup areas

For host systems that require it, the complete RFC-822 header should be generated, with all necessary fields (including From:, Date:, Message-ID:, and Newsgroups:). Include the fields described earlier if necessary. If a Newsgroups: line is not present in the reply message, one should be created using information available from the host system.

Some host systems may require more or less information; the door author will have to code the door to handle things accordingly.

Finally, door authors will need to handle such details as ANSI escape sequences, ASCII characters in the range 128-255 (so- called “high ASCII”), and so forth. You should not rely on the reader to handle them.

Section 5.7 The *.REQ File

The *.REQ file consists of zero or more records, each containing the name of a file which the user wishes to download from the host system.

The record is called REQ_REC, and contains the following field:

filename

The name of the file to download from the host system, in MS-DOS format. The filename may contain wildcard characters (“*” and “?”), but doors are not required to honor them.

In theory, the number of records which can be contained in a *.REQ file is unlimited. However, doors and readers may impose limits on the number of files which the user may request. For example, The Blue Wave Offline Mail Door will not accept more than 10 files, and will ignore any entries in the *.REQ file past the 10th record.

The fixed-length nature of the filename field in REQ_REC means that long filenames, as supported by such operating systems as OS/2, Unix, MacOS, Windows NT, and Windows 95, cannot be supported. A future revision of the Blue Wave specification will contain a replacement for the *.REQ file, one which will allow the use of long filenames.

Section 5.8 The *.OLC File

The *.OLC file is a text file that contains information with which the mail door on the host system can be configured. The file is in Microsoft Windows INI format (refer to Appendix B for a description of this format), and consists of a single required section for global information, and zero or more sections that indicate configuration information for message areas.

The global information section uses the header:

[Global Mail Host Information]

The following keywords may appear in this section (any keyword that does not appear indicate that the feature in question should be left unchanged):

Specifies whether or not “hot keys” are to be used in the door’s menus. (“Hot keys” indicate that the user does not have to press ENTER after selecting a menu item.)

ExpertMenus=flag

Specifies whether or not expert mode is to be used in the door. In expert mode, only the menu prompt is displayed, as opposed to the full menu.

SkipUserMsgs=flag

Indicates whether or not to bundle messages that were written by the user.

ExtendedInfo=flag

Specifies whether or not to include hidden text lines in messages that are bundled for download.

NumericExtensions=flag

Specifies whether or not to use numeric extensions for mail packets. If enabled, numeric extensions (“999”) are used; if disabled, day of week extensions (“SU1”) are used.

NewFileList=style

Specifies whether or not a list of new files is to be generated when creating a mail packet, and how that list is to appear. “Style” can be TEXT, ANSI, or OFF. If set to TEXT, the list is generated as a plain ASCII text file. If set to ANSI, the list will be colorized with ANSI color sequences. If set to OFF, the list is not generated.

DoorGraphics=flag

Specifies whether or not ANSI color sequences are to be used when displaying output from the door. If enabled, ANSI color codes are used; if disabled, output is done using plain text.

Password=type[,password]

Sets the user’s password and specifies the type of password to be used. “Type” can be “No”, “Door”, “Reader”, or “Both”. If “No” is specified, the password is to be removed; otherwise, the password is to be set as defined.

MaxPacketSize=nnnK

Specifies the maximum size (in kilobytes) of the download packet, BEFORE archiving. The value “nnn” can range from 0 to 32,767, with 0 indicating the packet can be of unlimited size.

Filter=text

Specifies the text to be used for a bundling filter. Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of Filter statements that can be included, though the door can limit how many it will accept (and besides, the filter table in the *.INF file is limited to 10 entries).

If the door detects one or more Filter keywords in the *.OLC file, it should erase all currently defined bundling filters and replace them with the ones specified in the *.OLC file.

Keyword=text

Specifies the text to be used for a bundling keyword. Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of Keyword statements that can be included, though the door can limit how many it will accept (and besides, the keyword table in the *.INF file is limited to 10 entries).

If the door detects one or more Keyword keywords in the *.OLC file, it should erase all currently defined bundling keywords and replace them with the ones specified in the *.OLC file.

Macro=[Auto,]text

Specifies the text to be used for a bundling macro. If “Auto,” appears in front of the text, the macro will be considered an auto-execute macro, which the door will execute immediately when the user chooses to download a packet.

Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of Macro statements that can be included, though the door can limit how many it will accept (and besides, the macro table in the *.INF file is limited to three entries).

If the door detects one or more Macro keywords in the *.OLC file, it should erase all currently defined bundling macros and replace them with the ones specified in the *.OLC file.

AreaChanges=flag

Indicates whether or not the status of one or more message areas have been changed. See below for more details.

If the AreaChanges keyword is true, then the door will need to begin processing message areas. Each message area in the file has its own section, with the echo tag for the message area serving as the section header. (Do not worry about conflicting with the global section header. Echo tags are limited to 20 characters, and the global section header text is much longer.)

The following keywords are currently allowed for a message area section:

Scan=type

Specifies how messages in the message area are to be bundled. “Type” can be “All” (all messages), “PersOnly” (only personal messages), or “Pers+All” (only personal messages and messages addressed to “All”).

When the door processes the areas in the *.OLC file, it must first mark as inactive all areas for the user, then re-activate the ones specified in the file. The reader must make sure that the *.OLC file includes sections for all areas which the user has kept active. It’s not the most sophisticated system, true, but it’s simple and easy to implement.

APPENDIX A: OBSOLETE BLUE WAVE STRUCTURES

As the Blue Wave format has evolved, several files used in older versions have become obsolete. However, older versions of Blue Wave applications may require that these files be present. Thus, they are described here, and included in the header file. Note, however, that expectations of backwards compatibility cannot be maintained forever, and eventually, these structures will be dropped completely.

Section A.1 The *.UPI File

The *.UPI file serves the same purpose as the current *.UPL file, the exception being that it does not define reply messages for FidoNet NetMail areas. Since it does not contain the extended information present in the *.UPL file, the *.UPI file can only be used for local and FidoNet areas.

The *.UPI file consists of two parts: A single required header, and zero or more reply records corresponding to each non-NetMail message contained in the reply packet. Each reply record includes the names of the persons who wrote the replies and who they are addressed to, the date and time the reply was written, and the name of the file containing the text of the reply message.

Note that reply records do not have to appear in any particular order, save for the fact that they must always follow the header.

The header record is called UPI_HEADER, and contains the following fields:

regnum

Used by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader to store the registration code of the reader. Third-party authors should ignore this field.

vernum

The version number of the reader. As a simple security measure, each character of the version number is stored as the ASCII value plus 10.

The reply message record is called UPI_REC, and contains the following fields:

from

The name of the person who wrote the reply message. This field should only be used for message areas that allow any name to be entered in the From field; otherwise, the user’s name or alias (obtained from the host system) should be used.

to

The name of the person to whom the reply message is addressed.

subj

The subject of the reply message.

unix_date

The date and time the message was written, stored Unix style as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970. Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) should be taken into account when storing and using this value (the date and time functions in many C compilers handle this automatically).

fname

The name of the file which contains the text of the reply message. If the file does not exist in the reply packet, or if this field is empty, the door should consider the record to be invalid.

echotag

The tag for the message area on the host where this reply message should be stored. This field must contain the same text as the corresponding field in INF_AREA_INFO, and is used by the door to ensure that the reply message ends up in the proper area.

flags

Bit-mapped flags indicating the status of the reply message. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

reedit

Used by The Blue Wave Offline Mail Reader. Third party applications should ignore this field.

Readers should generate a *.UPI file only if the uses_upl_file field in INF_HEADER is not set, AND the mail packet format is earlier than version 3. Doors should process a *.UPI file only if a *.UPL file is not present.

Section A.2 The *.NET File

The *.NET file serves the same purpose as the current *.UPL file, the exception being that it only defines reply messages for FidoNet NetMail areas. It consists of one or more records, each containing the information for a FidoNet NetMail reply message.

The NetMail reply message record is called NET_REC, and contains the following fields:

msg

A structure containing the addressing information for the NetMail message. This structure is exactly the same as the header for the Fido *.MSG file, and is described below.

fname

The name of the file which contains the text of the reply message. If the file does not exist in the reply packet, or if this field is empty, the door should consider the record to be invalid.

echotag

The tag for the message area on the host where this reply message should be stored. This field must contain the same text as the corresponding field in INF_AREA_INFO, and is used by the door to ensure that the reply message ends up in the proper area.

zone

Contains the zone number of the destination FidoNet node address (zone:net/node.point), as the Fido *.MSG header does not contain a field for the zone number.

point

Contains the point number of the destination FidoNet node address (zone:net/node.point), as the Fido *.MSG header does not contain a field for the point number.

unix_date

The date and time the message was written, stored Unix style as the number of seconds since January 1, 1970. Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) should be taken into account when storing and using this value (the date and time functions in many C compilers handle this automatically).

The Fido *.MSG structure is defined in the header file as MSG_REC. The following fields in MSG_REC are of concern to doors and readers (the rest can be ignored):

from

The name of the person who wrote the reply message. This field should only be used for message areas that allow any name to be entered in the From field; otherwise, the user’s name or alias (obtained from the host system) should be used.

to

The name of the person to whom the reply message is addressed.

subj

The subject of the reply message.

dest

The node number of the destination FidoNet node address (zone:net/node.point).

destnet

The net number of the destination FidoNet node address (zone:net/node.point).

attr

Bit-mapped flags indicating the NetMail attributes that should be applied to the message. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

Readers should generate a *.NET file if the uses_upl_file field in INF_HEADER is not set, AND the mail packet format is earlier than version 3. Doors should process a *.NET file only if a *.UPL file is not present.

Section A.3 The *.PDQ File

The *.PDQ file serves the same purpose as the *.OLC file, in that it defines the necessary values to perform offline configuration of the mail door. The *.PDQ file consists of a single header, followed by zero or more records defining the message areas that the user wishes to enable for bundling.

The configuration file header is called PDQ_HEADER, and contains the following fields:

keywords

The keywords used when bundling messages. Up to 10 keywords may be defined.

filters

The filters used when bundling messages. Up to 10 filters may be defined.

macros

The macros used to specify bundling commands. Up to three macros may be defined.

password

The user’s password.

passtype

The intended use for the defined password. 0 indicates no password, 1 indicates a door password, 2 indicates a reader password, and 3 indicates a password for both the reader and the door.

flags

Bit-mapped flags indicating which door options should be enabled and disabled. Refer to the header file for a list of available flags.

The configuration file message area record is called PDQ_REC, and contains the following field:

echotag

The echo tag of the message area that is to be made active for bundling.

If the PDQ_AREA_CHANGES flag in the “flags” field of PDQ_HEADER is set, the door should deactivate all of the user’s message areas, then activate each area specified in the PDQ_REC records contained in the *.PDQ file.

Readers should generate a *.PDQ file only if the mail packet format is earlier than version 3; otherwise, a *.OLC file should be generated. Doors should process a *.PDQ file only if a *.OLC file is not present.

APPENDIX B: THE MICROSOFT WINDOWS INI FORMAT

As mentioned earlier, the offline configuration file (*.OLC) used in the reply packet is a text file that uses a format similar to the Microsoft Windows INI format. The greatest advantage to using this format, as opposed to a binary file with fixed-length records, is that it can be easily extended without breaking older applications.

The INI file format is quite simple. It consists of one or more sections, with a section consisting of a unique header name (in square brackets, []) followed by zero or more configuration lines. These configuration lines take the form of a keyword, followed by an equal sign, followed by a value. It is similar to the following:

[Header]
Keyword=Value
Keyword=Value
.
.
.

Keywords are case-insensitive. The value itself can be a decimal number, a string, or a true/false value, depending on the keyword and what it configures. True values can be specified as YES, ON, or TRUE; false values can be specified as NO, OFF, or FALSE.

To obtain information from the file, you must first search for the desired header. (Strip any and all spaces and tab characters – ASCII 9 – that are present at the start of the line, as well as all such characters before and after the equal sign on lines containing a keyword.) After the header has been found, each line that follows should be read and examined. If the line begins with a recognized keyword, that line is processed accordingly. If the line begins with a left bracket ([), there are no more keywords in the section.

Keywords that are not recognized are to be ignored. This is the key to the format’s extensibility, as new keywords can be added to the file in future versions with the assurance that older versions will ignore the new keywords.

The file can also contain any number of blank lines, as well as comment lines. If a line begins with a semicolon (;), it is a comment line and should be ignored.