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Elegant email

 
 
David Segall
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      07-15-2007
I was recently challenged by a friend because I send plain text emails
and I replied with a reference to the usual arguments
<http://www.georgedillon.com/web/html_email_is_evil.shtml>. At about
the same time I received an email from another friend that was written
using HTML on his company "letterhead". It looked great.

Do you use HTML for your corporate or personal email? I'm talking
about ordinary email, not newsletters or flyers. Can you point me to a
site with some elegant HTML email samples? Can an HTML email be
written so that it looks OK in a client that does not accept them?
Apart from the "usual arguments" are there other pitfalls?
 
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J.O. Aho
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      07-15-2007
David Segall wrote:
> I was recently challenged by a friend because I send plain text emails
> and I replied with a reference to the usual arguments
> <http://www.georgedillon.com/web/html_email_is_evil.shtml>. At about
> the same time I received an email from another friend that was written
> using HTML on his company "letterhead". It looked great.
>
> Do you use HTML for your corporate or personal email?


I use plain text for both my private e-mails and my work e-mails and I dislike
to get the HTML junk, as it just makes the mail bigger, slower and it won't
look the same in every html-displaying-mail-client.


> Can an HTML email be
> written so that it looks OK in a client that does not accept them?


IMHO they don't look great, but you can get an acceptable result if you use
plain html 4.1 without style sheets. I hate to get those long lists of images
like banners, backgrounds and so on that are included in the mail as
attachments (if you have to use such things, use external links to images
instead of sending them with the mail).


> Apart from the "usual arguments" are there other pitfalls?


There are of course pitfalls for the person receiving the mail, as the sender
can try to play dirty tricks, it seems like OE is the client that can get the
most trouble with scripts and images that tries to use bugs to get access to
the system.

--

//Aho
 
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andrew
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      07-15-2007
On 2007-07-15, David Segall <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I was recently challenged by a friend because I send plain text emails
> and I replied with a reference to the usual arguments
><http://www.georgedillon.com/web/html_email_is_evil.shtml>. At about
> the same time I received an email from another friend that was written
> using HTML on his company "letterhead". It looked great.
>
> Do you use HTML for your corporate or personal email? I'm talking
> about ordinary email, not newsletters or flyers. Can you point me to a
> site with some elegant HTML email samples? Can an HTML email be
> written so that it looks OK in a client that does not accept them?
> Apart from the "usual arguments" are there other pitfalls?


There is a significant number of people who resent html in email. I
count myself as one of them and count myself as fortunate that my
email client (mutt) has the ability to strip away the text/html and
present it as text/plain.

I read the page you mentioned and I agree with all the points
presented there. Why not make a stand and _not_ use text/html?

Andrew

--
Andrew's Corner
http://people.aapt.net.au/~adjlstrong/homer.html
 
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dorayme
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      07-15-2007
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
andrew <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> On 2007-07-15, David Segall <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > I was recently challenged by a friend because I send plain text emails
> > and I replied with a reference to the usual arguments
> ><http://www.georgedillon.com/web/html_email_is_evil.shtml>. At about
> > the same time I received an email from another friend that was written
> > using HTML on his company "letterhead". It looked great.
> >
> > Do you use HTML for your corporate or personal email? I'm talking
> > about ordinary email, not newsletters or flyers. Can you point me to a
> > site with some elegant HTML email samples? Can an HTML email be
> > written so that it looks OK in a client that does not accept them?
> > Apart from the "usual arguments" are there other pitfalls?

>
> There is a significant number of people who resent html in email. I
> count myself as one of them and count myself as fortunate that my
> email client (mutt) has the ability to strip away the text/html and
> present it as text/plain.
>
> I read the page you mentioned and I agree with all the points
> presented there. Why not make a stand and _not_ use text/html?
>
> Andrew


Look, I do understand the Talibanic view that is often expressed
here on this subject. I have much sympathy for the idea that a
huge reduction in html email traffic would better the world. But
in some cases for my work, I find it very helpful in particular
situations to _receive_ a competently made html email (I almost
never send them).

I had a case lately where I lost one. I went to the server and
forwarded it to myself to recover it. Never mind why, but it came
to me on my local machine but had lost the formatting and it was
a big nuisance with all its remote attachments of information.
Before I had it all nicely there where I could use the
instructions without fiddle faddling around. (The instructions
included tables, pics, specifications, and other things that I
needed for preparing artwork for printing). Afterwards I had to
open attachments, I lost the table formatting and it was simply
not as convenient.

--
dorayme
 
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Blinky the Shark
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-16-2007
David Segall wrote:
> I was recently challenged by a friend because I send plain text emails
> and I replied with a reference to the usual arguments
><http://www.georgedillon.com/web/html_email_is_evil.shtml>. At about
> the same time I received an email from another friend that was written
> using HTML on his company "letterhead". It looked great.
>
> Do you use HTML for your corporate or personal email?


No.


--
Blinky RLU 297263
Killing all posts from Google Groups
The Usenet Improvement Project: http://blinkynet.net/comp/uip5.html
 
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Ben C
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      07-16-2007
On 2007-07-15, andrew <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 2007-07-15, David Segall <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> I was recently challenged by a friend because I send plain text emails
>> and I replied with a reference to the usual arguments
>><http://www.georgedillon.com/web/html_email_is_evil.shtml>. At about
>> the same time I received an email from another friend that was written
>> using HTML on his company "letterhead". It looked great.
>>
>> Do you use HTML for your corporate or personal email? I'm talking
>> about ordinary email, not newsletters or flyers. Can you point me to a
>> site with some elegant HTML email samples? Can an HTML email be
>> written so that it looks OK in a client that does not accept them?
>> Apart from the "usual arguments" are there other pitfalls?

>
> There is a significant number of people who resent html in email. I
> count myself as one of them and count myself as fortunate that my
> email client (mutt) has the ability to strip away the text/html and
> present it as text/plain.


Are you sure that's what mutt does? I think often an html email comes
with a plain text component as well. Mutt shows that by default. Then
you can go "view attachments" and look at the HTML (or "HTML") version
with the program specified in ~/.mailcap or /etc/mailcap. On my system
that's "w3m -dump %s". W3m is a text browser a bit like Lynx. But you
can change that to open the HTML email in Konqueror or Firefox if you
like by adding a line to ~/.mailcap.

For example I have one for Word documents:

application/msword;antiword %s | less

that lets me view Word doc attachments in the console.

I think some emails may come without the plain text part, and you have
to view the attachments to see the message at all.

But it's w3m that's rendering the HTML in a plain text-only style. Mutt
is designed strictly according to purist UNIX/Eric Raymond principles
that computer programs should be small and do one thing well. It even
uses another program (called abook) for the address book instead of
building it in.
 
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andrew
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      07-16-2007
On 2007-07-16, Ben C <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 2007-07-15, andrew <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


[...]

>> There is a significant number of people who resent html in email. I
>> count myself as one of them and count myself as fortunate that my
>> email client (mutt) has the ability to strip away the text/html and
>> present it as text/plain.

>
> Are you sure that's what mutt does? I think often an html email comes
> with a plain text component as well. Mutt shows that by default. Then
> you can go "view attachments" and look at the HTML (or "HTML") version
> with the program specified in ~/.mailcap or /etc/mailcap. On my system
> that's "w3m -dump %s". W3m is a text browser a bit like Lynx. But you
> can change that to open the HTML email in Konqueror or Firefox if you
> like by adding a line to ~/.mailcap.


You are of course quite correct, although I deliberately left the
detail out. But since you mentioned it:

On my system the .muttrc file specifies:

### Taming HTML Messages ###
set implicit_autoview=yes
auto_view text/html application/x_pgp_message
set mailcap_path="~/.mailcap"

And the mailcap file invokes Lynx treat the text/html as full html and
gives it back to mutt as plain text:

text/html; lynx -dump -force_html %s; copiousoutput

So it is true that mutt does not _natively_ do all this but a little
work will set it up to do so. My apologies for frightening all the
Windows users

Andrew

--
Andrew's Corner
http://people.aapt.net.au/~adjlstrong/homer.html
 
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