Home > Articles > Programming > Java

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

10.3 Solution Analysis: The Lifecycle of a Hybrid Letter

The way in which hybrid mail is created by the end user is quite simple: A company or organization visits a participating postal operator's site and registers its name, address, credit card information or other payment method, and then downloads the Java applet to run WEB ePOST. This large applet carries a variety of functionalities, including calculating mailing costs and previewing copies of the letter before shipping.

After creating a document, the user starts the applet from a Web browser with a built-in Java virtual machine (VM) and enters various criteria, such as recipients, paper choice, speed of delivery and envelope format, which are then sent to iPlanet Web Server. It routes the file to the business-logic tier, where a Java servlet running on iPlanet Application Server prepares the document for delivery, inserts the appropriate addresses, and sends a copy back to the user for review. This process is repeated until the user is satisfied and a final version of the letter is ready internally; it is then sent over the Web to the postal operator's system for processing and delivery.

The Java servlet has four primary functions: managing communication between the user and the application server; communicating with the UNIX-based application server that renders JPEG images from HML documents with embedded Postscript files and passes these back to the applet for preview; storing Postscript documents on the file system; and calling up stateless session EJB components, which keep track of users actions with WEB ePOST in real time. IDP also worked with Sun Professional Services to map several Data Access Objects (DAO), which are responsible for inserting data into the Oracle8i database, handling searches of items end users save and managing the JDBC connection to the database tier.

The EJB components verify users and credit cards, maintain their security, authorize special functions, and register completed transactions. As soon as a transaction is validated, WEB ePOST notifies the end user using the Java applet, which also provides document previewing. In addition, IDP offers an administration system that can be hosted at a customer's location. The system essentially transfers HTML forms via JSPs from the postal operator's system to a company's site, enabling new users to create profiles, existing users to change names and addresses, and hybrid mail jobs to be tracked~all accomplished while staying within their companies' firewalls.

WEB ePost users fall into three primary categories. There are those who create and send letters (the end users). There are administrators, who run the WEB ePOST server in their environment (IDP's licensees). And there are help-desk personnel who monitor usage. All of them use JSP pages that generate HTML forms, which keep track of information and enable users to conduct their respective administrative tasks.

Since postal mail has a history of security and reliability~"through rain, sleet, or snow"~IDP wanted to bring these high standards to its Web-enabled system. WEB ePOST uses secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption, which encrypts the transmission of the document from the client to the application server. All the data retrieved from the client, such as credit card numbers and passwords, is encrypted with up to 128-bit algorithmic technology, so it can traverse the Internet securely.

In summary, a transaction that goes through the WEB ePOST infrastructure tiers follows these steps:

Step 1:
A new user registers at the WEB ePOST site and downloads a self-installing .exe file. This file contains the Java applet and a printer driver, which is installed on the hard disk and can be launched from a browser, or directly from the printer driver.

Step 2:
The Java applet connects to the site where a Java servlet, working in conjunction with an EJB, authenticates the user.

Step 3:
Users write a letter or attach a Postscript file, then select recipients from Outlook, ODBC or LDAP, or write them manually. Users then select a registered payment option, letter option and delivery option.

Step 4:
The Java applet creates a preview of the letter and sends it back to the user for approval. Prior to being sent, the electronic letter is wrapped in HML. The letter is then routed to the appropriate stateless sessions EJB.

Step 5:
The user selects appropriate delivery options, service types, payment options and confirms the transaction via the Java applet.

Step 6:
An EJB receives the letter, authorizes the transaction through credit card payment servers and places the electronic letter into the WEB ePOST server for delivery.

10.3.1 Future of Hybrid Mail

IDP and Sun have only scratched the surface of this nascent market—a world of opportunity awaits. According to the "Hybrid Mail in the Third Millennium" report1 , the potential of hybrid mail messaging (in computer mail processing markets) will increase more than 460 percent between 1998 and 2005. And thanks to

an aggressive first-mover advantage, IDP stands to become the de facto standard hybrid message management system provider. Moreover, it is not just the technology that gives the company its edge; rather, it is also the fact that IDP was heavily involved in the development of HML (Hybrid Mail Language), which was approved by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) in January 2001. IDP serves as a technical advisor to the committee.

HML is a superset of Extensible Markup Language (XML), the standard protocol for describing Web documents. J2EE technology defines a set of descriptors in XML, making it easy to implement customizable components and to develop custom tools. HML allows applications to exchange mail or messages according to a standard, the "electronic envelope." In this way, any document format can be exchanged between systems.

Prior to being sent, an electronic letter is wrapped in an HML formatted file so that it can be sent over the Internet and read by the receiving Web server. However, not all XML—or in this case, HML—documents are created equal. XML uses HTML-style tags not only to format documents but to identify the kinds of information in documents so that it can be reformatted for use in other documents, as well as used in information processing. For example, lawyers have a very different way of describing a particular event than, say, a marketing professional. HML is already being adopted by major postal operators as the industry's standard document type definition (DTD).

"IDP has been a major driver in defining hybrid-mail language," says Olsen. "We have helped introduce HML as the interface language between Java technology–based transactions, developed by Sun Professional Services, and the back-office system that we developed." Messages are collected in WEB ePOST and transferred from the customer to the application server using HML. These messages are then routed by an appropriate EJB component through the JDBC layer to the back-end systems. Explains Johnsen, "HML gives us the flexibility to draw from, create, and exchange documents in multiple formats. That means our customers can count on WEB ePOST to support most business or personal communications."

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020