Hep is a message server. It’s a server in the sense that it’s a program without a graphical user interface, that runs in the background, waiting for other programs to connect to it over the network. I call it a “message server” because it does things with messages, which as far as Hep is concerned are any little bits of text or HTML that you want to read, or save, or publish, or pass on to somebody else, or convert into a different format, or organize.
The goal of Hep is to make it possible to work with messages in all these ways, without having to worry about where the messages are, what format they’re stored in, or what protocol you have to use to get at them. Hep lets you use a program that was designed to to work with a specific kind of messages (like an e-mail client), and use it to work with all kinds of other types or messages (like RSS news feeds, news groups, and your weblog).
Writing about where Hep is going, Abe adds:
The next step for Hep is adding support for message stores, collections of messages that you can read, write, delete from, add to, and edit. Hep should be able to provide access to messages in its own internal folders, as well as remote stores like weblogs, newsgroups, and IMAP mailboxes. Of course this means that Hep will have to include some new server protocols: IMAP and WebDAV.
IMAP is the protocol I’m most excited about. Almost all popular e-mail clients support it, and it’s a designed specifically for managing messages. Hep’s IMAP server would let you work with both internal and remote stores, so your weblog will look like just another folder full of messages. Want to publish a set of e-mail messages as a weblog? Just copy the e-mails into the weblog’s folder, and Hep will automatically convert and publish them. IMAP also uses a constant connection between the client and server, and lets the server notify the client of changes. This would let users see new messages as soon as they are recieved, which is important for instant messaging.