Command Line

imap-backup is a command line application.

It is written in Ruby.

Comands are processed by Thor modules - under the CLI namespace.


The setup program uses the highline gem to present its menu-driven interface.


In an attempt to use a standard format, the program saves emails on disk in mboxrd files. The format was chosen for two reasons: mboxrd does not suffer from the problems related to serializing 'From ' headers and the Thunderbird email client uses this format.

Backup Strategies

The backup system saves a metadata file alongside the mboxrd file. This file contains information about each email: its length and offest in the mboxrd file. If this file is rewritten when each new messsage is downloaded, the backup slows down progressively as the mailbox grows. To avoid this problem, the default strategy is to only write metadata at the end of the download for each folder.


If an account is mirrord to another server, the emails on each server are different. In order to know which email on the mirror relates to which email on the source account, a map file is created.


The project's code style is guaranteed by Rubocop rules.


Tests use RSpec. There are three types: unit, integration ("feature") and performance.

The performance tests are not for normal use - they are extremely slow, taking many hours to complete.

The intention is to have almost complete coverage on two levels - unit and integration.

The integration tests run the application using the aruba gem.

These tests make connections to two containers running dovecot and postfix. This allows simulation of mirroring and migrations.