JSON Meta Application Protocol

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The JSON Meta Application Protocol (JMAP) is an Internet protocol under development that is meant to handle the submission and access/synchronization of e-mails, and which was designed to be a possible successor to IMAP.

Additional protocols that are built on top of the core of JMAP and that are meant to handle contacts/address book as well as calendar synchronization are also planned as potential replacements for CardDAV and CalDAV.


According to the developers the current standards for email protocols, namely IMAP and SMTP (for client-server communication, since server-server communication is not part of JMAP), are too complicated and are not well-suited for modern mobile networks and in high-latency scenarios. They believe that this has additionally led to stagnation in the quality of (especially free) e-mail clients, as well as to a proliferation of proprietary protocols developed by market-leading companies, e.g. for Google’s Gmail or Microsoft Outlook, all of which are meant to mitigate the various shortcomings of the current generation of protocols.[1]

JMAP was developed with the intention of providing a modern and open solution to this challenge. It relies heavily upon the commonly-implemented JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), in order to improve the reliability of the protocol as well as its ease of implementation. According to Bron Gondwana of FastMail, which has been one of the leading developers of the protocol, in December of 2018, "The use of JSON and HTTP as the basis of JMAP was always a key point — it means that people wanting to build something on top of email don’t have to re-implement complex parsers or find a software library in order to get started."[2]

After atmail decided to implement JMAP, CEO Dave Richards wrote in 2018 that "the complexities required to implement IMAP in both user and server side software has resulted in user difficulties and a lack of software options, along with a rigid user experience...The new JMAP protocol solves the existing issues and is modular enough to take advantage of future technology. JMAP makes email better."[3]


JMAP started around 2014 as an internal development project by the Australian e-mail provider Fastmail.[4] Since 2017 a working group at the IETF is leading the development and standardization process[5], which is expected to be finished in 2019.[6] In addition to Fastmail, another company that has been involved in the development is Oracle.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "JMAP". JMAP.
  2. ^ "JMAP is on the home straight". Fastmail blog.
  3. ^ "Dear Mr Laguna, IMAP is Not the Right Protocol for Chat". atmail blog.
  4. ^ "FOSDEM 2019: IMAP, JMAP, and the Future of Open Email Standards". Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  5. ^ "JSON Mail Access Protocol (jmap) -". Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  6. ^ "JMAP is on the home straight". FastMail blog. 2018-12-27. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  7. ^ "Apache James Project – Apache James Server 3 - Release Notes". Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  8. ^ "JMAP support — Cyrus IMAP 3.1.6 (dev) documentation". www.cyrusimap.org. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  9. ^ "FastMail blog".