format=flowed (was Re: [linux-elitists] Seperating Content from Presentation)
Wed Jun 9 21:33:04 PDT 2004
* Ben Finney <firstname.lastname@example.org> [2004-05-31 15:28+1000]
> On 31-May-2004, Mike MacCana wrote:
> > Maillers shouldn't wrap at all. Wrapping is a terrible idea which
> > assumes one's audience:
> > 1. Reads their email in a monospaced font
> No, it doesn't assume this. If the line-wrapped mail is rendered in the
> user's chosen font, it is no less readable if the lines are wrapped.
> > 2. In an eighty character wide terminal.
> Or wider. This assumption is better than assuming the MUA somehow knows
> the difference between a line that should be automagically wrapped and
> one that shouldn't.
> HTML documents can assume that their lines will be wrapped, because in
> the cases where they shouldn't be wrapped there is markup to say so.
> Text documents (like email messages) cannot make that assumption.
> Remember, make the data smart, so the software can be simple.
RFC 2646 (The Text/Plain Format Parameter) addresses this problem
quite nicely, defining a format=flowed parameter for text/plain
documents which indicates that text may be reflowed.
What is required is a format which is in all significant ways
Text/Plain, and therefore is quite suitable for display as
Text/Plain, and yet allows the sender to express to the receiver
which lines can be considered a logical paragraph, and thus flowed
(wrapped and joined) as appropriate.
This memo proposes a new parameter to be used with Text/Plain, and,
in the presence of this parameter, the use of trailing whitespace to
indicate flowed lines. This results in an encoding which appears as
normal Text/Plain in older implementations, since it is in fact
Basically, lines that have a trailing space are OK to reflow,
others are not.
Checking my email intake yesterday, the following MUAs seem to
generate messages with format=flowed:
QUALCOMM Windows Eudora
I don't know how many of those actually reflow text using format=flowed.
Gerald Oskoboiny <email@example.com>
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