Eden's IMAP object does uses fsocket() rather than PHP's built in IMAP functions. We chose to use fsocket() instead purely because of performance reasons. You'll find setting up IMAP is overall easier with Eden. Figure 1 shows how to set up the IMAP object.

Figure 1. Setting up the IMAP Object
$imap = eden('mail')->imap('', '', '[YOUR PASSWORD]', 993, true);

Very simply, there are 4 requirements that's needed and all requirements are dependent on your specific email provider. In the figure above we use GMAIL settings as an example. The last argument is a flag. Set it to true if your email provider requires SSL.


The next thing we want to know are the available mailboxes we can set to active. To get a list of mailboxes follow Figure 2.

Figure 2. Mailbox List
$mailboxes = $imap->getMailboxes(); 

Executing the above command will give you the following results.

Array (
    [0] => Deleted Messages
    [1] => Drafts
    [2] => INBOX
    [3] => Junk E-mail
    [4] => Notes
    [5] => Sent Messages
    [6] => Trash
    [9] => [Gmail]/All Mail
    [10] => [Gmail]/Drafts
    [11] => [Gmail]/Important
    [12] => [Gmail]/Personal
    [13] => [Gmail]/Sent Mail
    [14] => [Gmail]/Spam
    [15] => [Gmail]/Starred
    [16] => [Gmail]/System
    [17] => [Gmail]/Trash
    [18] => [Gmail]/Unsorted
Every mail server we looked at has the INBOX folder. So when in doubt, we would say this should be the default active mailbox.

Next let's set the INBOX as the active mailbox. Figure 3 shows how we would set and retrieve the active mailbox in one line.

Figure 3. Set Active Mailbox FIRST!
echo $imap->setMailboxes('INBOX')->getActiveInbox(); //--> INBOX 


Now that we have set the active mailbox, we can now continue to get a list of emails. Figure 4 shows how we would go about doing that.

Figure 4. Getting a List of Emails
$emails = $imap->getEmails(0, 3); 
$count = $imap->getEmailTotal(); 

Executing the above figure would yield you results similar to the snippet below.

Figure 4a. Example Email Results
Array (
    [0] => Array
            [id] => <50041ab1c9383_178f6b3294527919f@job01.tmail>
            [parent] => 
            [topic] => Trending Startups and Updates
            [mailbox] => INBOX
            [uid] => 22363
            [date] => 1342446257
            [subject] => Trending Startups and Updates
            [from] => Array( [name] => AngelList [email] => )
            [flags] => Array ( [0] => seen )
            [to] => Array ( [0] => Array( [email] => ) )
            [cc] => Array()
            [bcc] => Array()

As you might realize, the email list does not come with the full body nor the attachments. Standard IMAP practices explain you should not try to get a detailed list, because the mere size of the full data could take a long while.

The idea for when you should retrieve the full details is when a user specifically call to action to see the body. Figure 5 shows how we would get the details of an email.

Figure 5. Get the Complete Email Details
$email = $imap->getUniqueEmails(22363, true); 
echo $email['body']['text/html'];

In the figure above, we call getUniqueEmails() the first argument should. be the unique identifier (UID) found in Figure 4a. The second argument is whether if you want the body, leave this true usually. You could get a group of emails comma separated by UIDs in the following manner.

Figure 5a. Get More Than One Email Detail
$emails = $imap->getUniqueEmails(array(22363, 22364), true);
Including the body and attachments in a list request would definitely take a long time and is not recommended.


Searching Emails follows the basic IMAP format for searching. An example of how to search can be found in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Searching
$emails = $imap->search(array('TO ""'), 0, 3); 
Search is confined to the emails in the active mailbox. This is an IMAP standard. There is no work around for this.

The combinations of search queries can be referenced below:

  • ALL - return all messages matching the rest of the criteria
  • ANSWERED - match messages with the \\ANSWERED flag set
  • BCC "string" - match messages with "string" in the Bcc: field
  • BEFORE "date" - match messages with Date: before "date"
  • BODY "string" - match messages with "string" in the body of the message
  • CC "string" - match messages with "string" in the Cc: field
  • DELETED - match deleted messages
  • FLAGGED - match messages with the \\FLAGGED (sometimes referred to as Important or Urgent) flag set
  • FROM "string" - match messages with "string" in the From: field
  • KEYWORD "string" - match messages with "string" as a keyword
  • NEW - match new messages
  • OLD - match old messages
  • ON "date" - match messages with Date: matching "date"
  • RECENT - match messages with the \\RECENT flag set
  • SEEN - match messages that have been read (the \\SEEN flag is set)
  • SINCE "date" - match messages with Date: after "date"
  • SUBJECT "string" - match messages with "string" in the Subject:
  • TEXT "string" - match messages with text "string"
  • TO "string" - match messages with "string" in the To:
  • UNANSWERED - match messages that have not been answered
  • UNDELETED - match messages that are not deleted
  • UNFLAGGED - match messages that are not flagged
  • UNKEYWORD "string" - match messages that do not have the keyword "string"
  • UNSEEN - match messages which have not been read yet


Some other actions you would probably like to perform is moving an email and removing an email. The following figures shows basically the rest of the possible actions you can perform with Eden.

Figure 7. Move Email to Another Folder
$imap->move(22363, 'Notes'); 
Figure 8. Delete Email
$imap->remove(22363, true); 
Figure 9. Don't Forget to Disconnect!

IMAP is used only for retrieving documents. To send emails the best way is with SMTP, which is covered in our next section B. SMTP.

© 2012 Openovate Labs. All rights reserved.