HTML mail [was Re: FEL was Re: Hi]

Tim ignored_mailbox at
Sun Aug 8 23:29:23 UTC 2010

On Sun, 2010-08-08 at 15:30 +0100, Marko Vojinovic wrote:
> But this is just a declaration. The message doesn't actually contain
> any html code, AFAICS. Things like <head>, <body>, and other tags.

A HTML message section doesn't actually have to have any HTML tags, just
needs to be treated as if it might.  i.e. Any HTML elements that are
found are parsed as per HTML rules, and the content treated the same as
if it were being parsed as HTML.  e.g. All white space condensed to just
one white space, line endings ignored, etc.  The head and body tags can
be present, or just presumed to be present in the right place for them.
Likewise for other tags.

The original message HTML content had a few line breaks (BR tags)
inserted, to break the text in the desired places, but let line wrapping
fit the width of your viewing pane.  And had a few character entities

The first thing (the line breaks and letting the reader pane fit to the
viewer's preferred width), is actually a useful feature of HTML mail
(one of the few), and not always neatly do-able with other techniques.
The ability to use character entities can be useful, though it was
pointless in this particular case (it was the ordinary ASCII apostrophe
mark).  For instance, if they'd used some character that you couldn't
render, for any reason, instead of seeing a meaningless "?" in the
message, you'd see a code that you could interpret and understand.

The original post's scant use of HTML, only using the most basic, and
not bloating it with numerous nested tags and pointless ones (e.g. font
sizes all over the place, tables inside tables, etc.), make it one of
the better examples of HTML in an email.  But that seems to be the
exception to the rule, people using dislike HTML for good reasons
(bloated content, quoting difficulty, security hazards, etc.).

[tim at localhost ~]$ uname -r

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