E-mail – Definition, Invention, Representation, Advantages - Techodis.com

E-mail – Definition, Invention, Representation, Advantages

1) What is E-mail

Electronic mail or E-mail is a medium of exchange of computer-stored information (generally text messages and files) between two users (e.g. from sender to specified individual or group of individuals) by the telecommunication. We can say e-mail is a digital letter which is generally encoded in ASCII text. Today’s e-mail also capable of sending various attachments of non-text files such as graphic images and sound files sent in binary streams.

There are many platforms (such as online web-based applications called webmail system, various desktop or mobile installed applications called email client) to use (send and receive) and store emails. In today’s scenario, email acquires the most popular usage or traffic of the internet from its discovery as it has many advantages over postal mail system.

2) E-mail Invention History

Like other technological advances, the first ever e-mail was sent by a computer engineer Ray Tomlinson as a test message in the year 1971 which made a historic moment in the evolution of communication. That first e-mail sent by Ray from one computer to another computer in Cambridge, Massachusetts and it contained the text “something like QWERTYUIOP.” and it traveled via a network of computers which is the precursor to the Internet, ARPANET. After invention, there were regular updates in the email system to make it usable in daily life and by the year 1996 more electronic mail was being sent than postal mail.

3) Formatting of an E-mail Address


From the above example, mainly we can see three parts of typical email id.

A. First Part

The part before @ symbol (e.g. here “contact”) is the first part of all e-mail addresses. It indicates the alias, user, group, or department of a company. In our above example, contact is the Contact Support Department at Technology and Discovery.

To understand more clearly we can think the computer every email address service provider (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail) as a family or house in a colony. So, the first part will be considered as the address or indication of a person in the house.

B. Second Part

Middle part only contains the “@” symbol (at sign) which acts as a divider in the e-mail address. It was first used by Ray Tomlinson while he had sent his first email and still required for all SMTP e-mail addresses.

For better understanding, we can consider this middle section as the indicator which tells that a person belongs to which family or house in a colony.

C. Third Part

Finally, the third part is the domain name which denotes the email service provider, an institution or a group in which the first part belongs. In our above example, techodis.com is the domain name of Technology and Discovery in which contact belongs to.

To understand more clearly, you can resemble this part as a family or house in a colony.

4) E-mail Address – Valid or Not

There are several rules to check an email address is valid or not. Though email providers have their own logic behind generating email address they also need to follow some basic rules.

  • There must have a username followed by @ followed by domain name with a domain suffix.
  • There must be only one @ sign.
  • The space, quotation mark and special characters: ( ) , : ; < > \ [ ] are allowed but it must be preceded with a forward slash.
  • The period cannot be the start and end character of username and email id as a whole.
  • More than one consecutive period is not allowed.
  • The maximum length of username and the domain name is 64 characters and 254 characters respectively.

5) Managing E-mails

To send and receive emails we can use mainly two types of programs – Desktop Email Application or Email Client and Online Webmail platform.

A. E-mail Program

Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird are the types of installed email program also recognized as the email client. We can use this type of programs to write, send and receive emails.

To use this program we just need an internet connection and connect/put our email account with the specified configuration details in this software and this program does the rest like updates inbox, notify in new email receives, synchronize email folders, etc.

B. E-mail Online

Online email platform or webmail is the alternate way to send and receive emails, their synchronization, etc. This is the most used and popular way of managing emails daily by the common people. For example, we can say Gmail.com for google emails, Outlook.com for Hotmail, Yahoo.com for Yahoo email services, etc.

Normally this type of email platform is free to use up to a certain storage limit which is enough for our daily usage. Beyond that, if you want to store some important huge amount of data on the server then you can buy one of their premium services according to your criteria.

6) Writing an E-mail

Writing an email is like writing a letter. A typical email has the following parts below –

  • To: In this section, you have to enter the recipient email address correctly so that he or she can get the message written in the BODY section. Whenever you are replying any of incoming emails this section will be automatically filled by the system.
  • From: You haven’t do anything here. Email Client or Webmail will automatically fill up this section as you logged in for writing email. Here this part denotes your email address.
  • Subject: Like letter an email also has the SUBJECT part where you need to put something important or gist so that recipient can understand about the email without reading the whole BODY part (message). Though this field is optional.
  • CC (“Carbon Copy”): In this field, you can add more email addresses to whom you want to send a copy of your email and everyone mentioned in the email will be shown to everyone. For example, you are sending an email to A and added B, C, D’s email address in the CC section. Now your email will be sent directly to A and a copy of this email also be send to B, C, and D. Also, A, B, C, D’s email addresses will be visible to each other and know who else received the same email. This is an optional field.
  • BCC (“Blind Carbon Copy”): BCC is like CC but only one difference is there. In BCC recipients’ email addresses will be kept secret. They will not know who else receive the same copy of this email. This is also an optional field.
  • Message Body: This part contains the main important message of email including a signature part like a hand-written letter system. You can write here anything and anyway you want to send that to the recipient. It mainly contains the text part.
  • Attachment: This section helps you to send any files to the recipient through the email system. A wide variety of attachment file types supported like document, pdf, image, video, song, etc.

7) What can be sent through an E-mail

An email mainly contains texts but we can send various types of files as an attachment like Word Processor Document Files, PDF File, Image, Audio, Video, Program Files, Compressed Files, etc. Though for security reason some email providers need extra steps for verification before attaching the program files(like .exe). You may have to zip that file first before attaching. There may have some restrictions on file size for attachments and also those attachments can use storage limit.

8) Advantages of E-mail over Postal Mail

There are numerous benefits and advances of email over the postal mailing system. Read the following –

  • Global Delivery: Emails can be sent to anyone having an email address, anywhere in the world.
  • Instant Delivery: Generally emails are delivered almost instantly without delay which cannot be possible for the postal mailing system.
  • Free Delivery: If you have a working internet connection then you are capable to send emails at free of cost. But in the postal system, you need to buy the postal stamp to send a letter which is costly.
  • Send to more than One Recipient Easily: Through email system, you can send the same copy of the information to many in a single click. But in case of Postal System, you need the physical copy of the same letter for each recipient.
  • Easy Management: We can easily manage (sort, search, delete, etc) thousands of lakhs of emails very easily and efficiently.
  • Time-Saving: You can compose a letter anytime and send it by just a few clicks irrespective of the time of the day.
  • Long-Term Storage: You can keep thousands of lakhs of important emails for the long term without any hesitation which may not be easy for the postal letter as there need to have a much space and management system required to find out a certain letter in future.
  • Environment-Friendly: As email is a virtual thing that’s why it doesn’t require any physical paper, cardboard and packaging system which ultimately saves our world’s environment efficiently.
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