[linux-elitists] Seperating Content from Presentation

Mike MacCana mikem@cyber.com.au
Wed Jun 9 20:16:31 PDT 2004

On Thu, 2004-06-10 at 01:31, Jeff Kinz wrote:
> I won't bother going thru all this stuff that's been hashed thru before..
> On Wed, Jun 09, 2004 at 03:16:13PM +1000, Mike MacCana wrote:
> > 
> > Data with unnecessary line wraps is dumb.
> > 
> > * Keep data from presentation
> > * Don't assume users use particular client software 
> > * Don't overwrite users preferences
> > 
> Text wrapping is a separate issue from using html in email.

Certainly. But its a comparable one, in  terms of its affect over the
ability to display that information in some client software.

> Consider the problem of email arriving to a small display device such
> as a PDA or cell phone. No matter how you wrapped, or did not wrap your
> text, there is a presentation problem. 

Why? If you carriage return at end of a paragraph, it should be fine. If
there's carriage returns in the middle of paragraphs at 80 lines, it

> Now consider email arriving at a location which has almost no money, or
> hardware resources and is forced to make do with recycled, obsolete
> equipment which they will have to use until it crumbles to dust.
> Current Examples are:
> 	+ Most of the world population outside the industrialized centers
> 	+ The IRS in America  (OK, most of USA is happy about that :) 
> 	+ Most elementary schools in the world, and many in USA.
> 	+ Thousands of American companies, hospitals, state agencies
> 	  where ALL the email is accessed via "green screens" IE mainframe
> 	  terminals and emulators of same.  Same w/ROW
> Congratulations.  Your HTML email is completely unreadable.

As said earlier, most maintained mail clients can read HTML - that
includes mutt, which I'd consider reasonable for use in such
environments. Remember, unmaintained software is generally insecure. 

Of course, I don't generally recommend the unnecessary use of HTML (ie,
where there's nothing that needs markup). But its a comparable situation
- and an interesting one, because people tend to care less about the
usability and accessability issues caused by eight character forced

> > Consider: More currently maintained mail client have a chance of
> > displaying your message properly if its in HTML than if its terminal
> > limited.
> This is a very self-centric world view.  Most of the people in the world
> haven't access to the resources we have.  

I disagree. I think assuming most people are reading their email in an
eighty character wide display is, frankly, hilarious.


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