12.6 rfc822 -- Parse RFC 822 mail headers

This module defines a class, Message, which represents a collection of ``email headers'' as defined by the Internet standard RFC 822. It is used in various contexts, usually to read such headers from a file. This module also defines a helper class AddressList for parsing RFC 822 addresses. Please refer to the RFC for information on the specific syntax of RFC 822 headers.

The mailbox module provides classes to read mailboxes produced by various end-user mail programs.

Message (file[, seekable])
A Message instance is instantiated with an input object as parameter. Message relies only on the input object having a readline() method; in particular, ordinary file objects qualify. Instantiation reads headers from the input object up to a delimiter line (normally a blank line) and stores them in the instance.

This class can work with any input object that supports a readline() method. If the input object has seek and tell capability, the rewindbody() method will work; also, illegal lines will be pushed back onto the input stream. If the input object lacks seek but has an unread() method that can push back a line of input, Message will use that to push back illegal lines. Thus this class can be used to parse messages coming from a buffered stream.

The optional seekable argument is provided as a workaround for certain stdio libraries in which tell() discards buffered data before discovering that the lseek() system call doesn't work. For maximum portability, you should set the seekable argument to zero to prevent that initial tell() when passing in an unseekable object such as a a file object created from a socket object.

Input lines as read from the file may either be terminated by CR-LF or by a single linefeed; a terminating CR-LF is replaced by a single linefeed before the line is stored.

All header matching is done independent of upper or lower case; e.g. m['From'], m['from'] and m['FROM'] all yield the same result.

AddressList (field)
You may instantiate the AddressList helper class using a single string parameter, a comma-separated list of RFC 822 addresses to be parsed. (The parameter None yields an empty list.)

parsedate (date)
Attempts to parse a date according to the rules in RFC 822. however, some mailers don't follow that format as specified, so parsedate() tries to guess correctly in such cases. date is a string containing an RFC 822 date, such as 'Mon, 20 Nov 1995 19:12:08 -0500'. If it succeeds in parsing the date, parsedate() returns a 9-tuple that can be passed directly to time.mktime(); otherwise None will be returned. Note that fields 6, 7, and 8 of the result tuple are not usable.

parsedate_tz (date)
Performs the same function as parsedate(), but returns either None or a 10-tuple; the first 9 elements make up a tuple that can be passed directly to time.mktime(), and the tenth is the offset of the date's timezone from UTC (which is the official term for Greenwich Mean Time). (Note that the sign of the timezone offset is the opposite of the sign of the time.timezonevariable for the same timezone; the latter variable follows the POSIX standard while this module follows RFC 822.) If the input string has no timezone, the last element of the tuple returned is None. Note that fields 6, 7, and 8 of the result tuple are not usable.

mktime_tz (tuple)
Turn a 10-tuple as returned by parsedate_tz() into a UTC timestamp. It the timezone item in the tuple is None, assume local time. Minor deficiency: this first interprets the first 8 elements as a local time and then compensates for the timezone difference; this may yield a slight error around daylight savings time switch dates. Not enough to worry about for common use.

See Also:

Module mailbox:
Classes to read various mailbox formats produced by end-user mail programs.

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