Elegant email

Discussion in 'HTML' started by David Segall, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. David Segall

    David Segall Guest

    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?
    David Segall, Jul 15, 2007
    #1
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  2. David Segall

    J.O. Aho Guest

    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
    J.O. Aho, Jul 15, 2007
    #2
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  3. David Segall

    andrew Guest

    On 2007-07-15, 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'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
    andrew, Jul 15, 2007
    #3
  4. David Segall

    dorayme Guest

    In article <>,
    andrew <> wrote:

    > On 2007-07-15, 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'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
    dorayme, Jul 15, 2007
    #4
  5. 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
    Blinky the Shark, Jul 16, 2007
    #5
  6. David Segall

    Ben C Guest

    On 2007-07-15, andrew <> wrote:
    > On 2007-07-15, 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'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.
    Ben C, Jul 16, 2007
    #6
  7. David Segall

    andrew Guest

    On 2007-07-16, Ben C <> wrote:
    > On 2007-07-15, andrew <> 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
    andrew, Jul 16, 2007
    #7
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